Friday, February 23, 2007

The Wrong Model

I have only recently become aware that the international drug trade, even that from Afghanistan and elsewhere in Asia, is managed largely by the Colombian mafia. It turns out that the Columbian mafia have a much wider grip on the system than I had imagined. And, as I am coming to know, the whole contraband enterprise -- or enteprises of many sorts -- has grown to such proportions that at some point one wonders where contraband simply becomes "business" -- the two being linked in many ways. The problem for the social scientist in trying to understand a world spinning ever faster out of control is that reliable information on sub rosa activities is so scanty and fragmentary. I post this article because it draws our attention to how broadly and deeply the contraband industry has reached into world affairs.

The wrong model
The Boston Globe
By Dan Restrepo

"...Bush administration ... appears to have selected [Columbia] as a model for the path forward in Afghanistan.
Although Colombia's decades- long struggles against narco-trafficking and insurgencies certainly offer lessons for Afghanistan, they are not the road map to success...
The erstwhile public secret of the deep connections between Colombia's political and governing class and narco-terrorist paramilitary organizations has begun to unravel. Formal charges have been brought against numerous members of Congress...
Colombia's long struggle with powerful drug lords underscores the threat these individuals and organizations pose to democratic institutions. If Colombia, a country with a long tradition of democracy, has been compromised, the challenge for the fledgling Afghani democracy is even greater...
The Colombianization of U.S.-Afghanistan policy is rife with peril,not the least because it is unclear that U.S. policy in Colombia has been a success or that Colombia is the shining example the administration would like to believe..."

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