Drug-related violence has claimed 35,000 Mexican lives since 2006, and the level of bloodshed is still rising. With legalization not in the cards and an all-out crackdown unlikely to succeed, good options seem to be scarce.
Here’s a candidate, based on a strategy of dynamic concentration:
Mexico should, after a public and transparent process, designate one of its dealing Â organizations as the most violent of the group, and Mexican and U.S. enforcement efforts should focus on destroying that organization. Once that group has been dismantled – not hard, in a competitive market – the process should be run again, with all the remaining organizations Â told that finishing first in the violence race will lead to destruction. If it worked, this process would force a “race to the bottom” in violence; in effect, each organization’s drug-dealing revenues would be held hostage to its self-restraint when it comes to gunfire.
This is parallel to David Kennedy’s “pulling levers” strategy to deal with gang violence.
Would it work? Â Hard to guess. But it might. Â That’s more than you can say for any of the other proposals currently on the table.