Shooting Up

Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs

Vanda. Felbab-Brown,

Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs
 
 
Shooting Up analyzes how involvement in the production and trafficking of illicit commodities, especially drugs, affects the strength of belligerents and governments. Much of U.S. anti-narcotics policy abroad is based on the assumption of symbiotic relationships between drug producers, traffickers, insurgents, and terrorists; thus, policy is organized around the premise that the suppression of drug production will service both anti-drug and counterterrorist goals. The author challenges this “narcoguerrilla” premise of U.S. policy. She shows that, far from being complementary, anti-narcotics and counterinsurgency policies are frequently at odds with one another. Given that warlords, terrorists, and insurgents gain vast financial resources from the illicit drug economy, U.S. policymakers rely heavily on crop eradication as a way to end the military conflict in a particular country. Eradication, however, often fails to significantly diminish the physical capabilities of the belligerents and—counterproductively—enhances their legitimacy. She demonstrates that success in suppressing illicit economies, such as drugs, cannot be achieved without first addressing the security situation in the country.The book provides hard-hitting recommendations for reformulating this dimension of U.S. national security policy and for optimal sequencing of counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and counternarcotics policies. Likewise, it points the way for other governments to deal effectively with the nexus between military conflict and illicit economies. The book contains specific case studies of Peru, Colombia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Northern Ireland.


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