We're dealing more effectively and diplomatically with drugs abroad. ONDCP has resisted the temptation to scold other countries, which has caused especially painful frictions with our Central and South American neighbors. ONDCP also notes with greater candor the problems that American drug consumption causes outside our borders. As McLellan puts it, "For once, we are not wagging our fingers at other countries." When I asked Kerlikowske how we should respond to Mexico's drug violence, he endorsed Secretary Clinton's comment that U.S. weapons and U.S. drug demand are key aspects of the problem:
"I think those are fairly new terms and words. And I think they have resonated well, not just in Mexico. ... The second thing would be to work with much greater intensity, in keeping guns from going across the border into Mexico, and in reducing the cash that goes back to Mexico that fuels those cartels."
It's hard to quantify the resulting gains in American global standing, I am convinced that these gains provide an important boost to our ability to deal cooperatively with the international drug trade.It's definitely better that we are being more polite, but we haven't failed over the past forty years because we were overbearing. And I don't see how we are going to make a major dent in the drug trades arms purchases without new legislation that is far tougher than anything possible in the present political climate. (More here.) And even if we do (and we should) enact strict new gun laws, violent organized crime is a global phenomenon, so proximity to US gun shows is demonstrably not a prerequisite for firearm violence.
Otherwise, the piece is a good primer on what's new and what's good about the administration's strategy.