There are more ice storms in Hades than there are instances in which Ethan Nadelmann and I agree about any drug policy question. But we seem to be in some agreement about the value of political attention to drug-policy issues:
Here’s the final paragraph of a Council on Foreign Relations “background Q & A” just posted:
Is the U.S. war on drugs losing steam?
Yes, to an extent. But given a lack of meaningful long-term statistics, general financial accountability, and also the presumed lack of long-term effectiveness of interdiction efforts, many experts say this might not be a bad thing. “The Bush administration has indeed put drugs on the backburner, which is mostly where they belong,” says Kleiman. “Current policies are no smarter than past policies, but they aren’t quite as loud.” In other words, better to spend less money than to simply waste it. Nadelmann agrees that the issue has been put on the backburner. “It’s a question of whether that’s a good or bad thing,” he says. “Given that what works is politically impossible, and what’s politically possible is destructive, the fact that the drug war now gets less attention is probably a good thing.”
Of course, I’d also like to hear less from the “drug policy reform” types such as Nadelmann, who have mostly succeeded in helping the drug warriors convince the voters that there’s no sensible middle ground between fighting the drug war in its current form and abolishing drug prohibitions entirely. In my dreamworld, the warriors and the reformers both quiet down and let the voices of the tiny band of drug policy analysts be heard. But then I wake up.