The U.S. Strategic Imperative Must Shift

Posted on October 20, 2010

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Dr. Robert Bunker argues at SmallWarsJournal.org that the U.S. strategic imperative must shift from Iraq/Afghanistan to Mexico/The Americas and the stabilization of Europe

The United States currently faces two strategic level non-state (network) threats—but only one of them is openly recognized. Al Qaeda, and other elements of radical Islam, have been recognized as the #1 threat since the 11 September 2001 attacks which killed nearly 3,000 Americans and caused well over 100 billion dollars in infrastructure damage, emergency response, and economic disruption. This threat which garners ongoing media attention, however, on many fronts pales in comparison to that represented by the drug cartels and narco-gangs which for decades now have been evolving, mutating, and growing in capabilities and power in the Americas. While presently viewed as a ‘crime and law enforcement issue’, as Al Qaeda was pre 9-11, this more subtle and encompassing strategic threat has resulted in the deaths of well over 100,000 citizens of the Americas (roughly 30,000 in Mexico alone in the last 4 years) and has caused the destabilization of a number of nations including Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, and witnessed the rise of heightened narco influence within regions of the US homeland along its Southern Border. Economically, the sustained damage and disruption caused by drug cartel and narco-gang activities to private individuals, local economies, and governmental bodies is well past the trillion dollar mark and rising. Both of these non-state (network) threats challenge the institutions of the many nations affected, the loyalty of the indigenous populations to the state itself, and are indicative of the ‘war over social and political organization’ now being waged in various regions of the globe.

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