Miami.– Ron DeSantis wants drug traffickers on the U.S.-Mexico border taken down. Nikki Haley promised to send special forces to Mexico.
Vivek Ramaswamy has accused Mexico’s president of treating drug cartels as his “sugar daddy” and says if he is elected president, “there will be a new daddy.”
Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the 2024 nomination and a shifter in his party’s rhetoric on the border, has often blamed Mexico for problems in the United States and is again promising to use military force and covert action if he enters White House returns.
Many Republican presidential candidates say they will use the military against Mexico in response to the trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
More than 75,000 people died from synthetic opioid overdoses in the United States last year, an annual number about 20 times higher than a decade ago.
The candidates’ hostility toward Mexico has been welcomed by some families who have lost loved ones, arguing that Washington has not done enough to solve the worst drug crisis in U.S. history.
But nonpartisan analysts and experts warn that military force is not the answer and would instead fuel racism and xenophobia, undermining efforts to curb drug trafficking.
“On the one hand there is politics, and on the Mexican side of the border there is a president who ignores what is happening in Mexico and who has destroyed cooperation with the United States,” commented Arturo Sarukán, Mexican ambassador to the United States States 2007 to 2013.
“This is a very dangerous mixture.”
Ahead of next year’s elections, Democrats are also under enormous political pressure on border issues. The White House has funded national programs to reduce fentanyl overdoses and sanctioned Chinese companies that imported chemicals used to make the drug.
In a statement on Sunday, the White House said the administration imposed sanctions last week and blamed congressional Republicans for blocking an $800 million proposal to combat fentanyl trafficking, which includes resources for enforcing the law .
Mexico has not solved its fentanyl production and drug trafficking problem. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has repeatedly denied that his country produces the synthetic opioid, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
A study released last year by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies listed Mexico as a “major source” of fentanyl because cartels produce it using Chinese precursors.
However, they noted that the crisis cannot be solved without curbing addiction in the United States, which is leading to overwhelming demand for illicit opioids.