Back in September of 2018, I criticized Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s suggestion that the United States military invade Mexico if Mexico legalizes heroin. Now, several Republican Congress members are using fentanyl fears as a new drug war basis for urging US military action south of the border.
Politico writer Alexander Ward provided details in a Monday article. The article begins with the following:
A growing number of prominent Republicans are rallying around the idea that to solve the fentanyl crisis, America must bomb it away.
In recent weeks, Donald Trump has discussed sending “special forces” and using “cyber warfare” to target cartel leaders if he’s reelected president and, per Rolling Stone, asked for “battle plans” to strike Mexico. Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) introduced a bill seeking authorization for the use of military force to “put us at war with the cartels.” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said he is open to sending U.S. troops into Mexico to target drug lords even without that nation’s permission. And lawmakers in both chambers have filed legislation to label some cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, a move supported by GOP presidential aspirants.
While much focus has been on Mexico, fighting drug cartels can mean globe-spanning US military action.
Read Ward’s article here.
Trump’s comments about US military actions to advance the drug war is at odds with his presidential campaign effort to run as the peace candidate. The comments, though, do follow directly from his declaration in his November 17 candidacy announcement speech that “We will wage war upon the cartels and stop the fentanyl and deadly drugs from killing 200,000 Americans per year.” Trump’s comments also fit in with those of other Republican presidential candidates mentioned in the Politico article — Asa Hutchinson and Vivek Ramaswamy — indicating they are open to labeling drug cartels as terrorist organizations and taking military action against them.
Potential presidential candidate John Bolton almost appears the moderate when quoted in the article stating that unilateral military operations “are not going to solve the problem.” That, though, leaves open the potential of US dominated coalition action à la the Bolton fave Iraq War or pressuring Mexico to consent to the intervention. Obtaining permission from Mexico for the US military to fight drug cartels in Mexico was an option Trump floated during his presidential term.