1AC 1AC Cartels Advantage---1AC CONTENTION 1 IS DRUG VIOLENCE: Violence in Mexico is worsening---cartels are fragmenting and using more violent methods David James Cantor 14, Director, Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Study, University of London, “The New Wave: Forced Displacement Caused by Organized Crime in Central America and Mexico”, Refugee Survey Quarterly (2014), first published online 6/10/14, http://rsq.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/06/10/rsq.hdu008.full.pdf+html Drug-smuggling organizations also have a long history in Mexico. Traditionally, like Central American transportistas, the Mexican cartels were rooted in strategically-important areas of the country and led by particular local families. Yet, from the 1990s, a process of increasing fragmentation and militarisation has produced a new modus operandi in which each cartel seeks to establish exclusive control over territories through which drugs are trafficked (plazas), on which they then levy a tax (piso).48 As well as moving drugs through Mexican territory, these cartels have increasingly assumed a dominant regional role as drug owners and managers.49 Many – especially the newer cartels – are also diversifying their interests in controlled territories to include extortion and charging piso on other local criminal activities.50 This new mode of operations appears to have provoked forced displacement on a significant scale since the mid-2000s.¶ The wave of violence experienced in Mexico over the past decade results largely from disputes for the control of plazas by these ruthless and heavily-armed criminal organizations. In affected parts of the country, much of the intense violent confrontation occurs outside the major cities, in the rural zones through which drug transportation takes place. Rural zones in states such as Sinaloa are also a focal point for armed dispute over the production of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamines there.51 However, the confrontations are not exclusively confined to rural areas but have increasingly extended to nearby cities, which provide attractive opportunities for diversifying into extortion and control of the local drug-dealing market.52 In the last few years, disputes over control of drug-smuggling routes have also spread with the cartels to Mexico’s southern neighbours .¶ The growing militarisation of the Mexican cartels has not only exacerbated their fragmentation, but also altered the way in which they interact with inhabitants of such territories. Most notably among the newer cartels, a bloody and uncompromising mind-set prevails in which intimidation and extreme spectacles of violence are used to control inhabitants (and officials) or to dominate new territories.54 The deployment of such tactics has raised the stakes for other cartels, which have not hesitated to respond in kind. In urban areas,55 violent Mexican street gangs are also sometimes employed by rival cartels as a means of waging war by proxy, thereby further fracturing the control and discipline of the cartels.¶ While the cartels’ extensive territories are comparable to those of transportistas, their pursuit of exclusive territorial control via intimidation and extreme violence is thus more similar to the strategy now favoured by the maras. Yet their power, resources, and positioning in the regional drug trade put their capacity for violence in a league far above that of other criminal organizations in the region. Marijuana prohibition drives cartel violence---artificially high prices sustain criminal enterprises---legalization is key Paul Armentano 09, Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, an expert in the field of marijuana policy, health, and pharmacology, has served as a consultant for Health Canada and the Canadian Public Health Association, “How to End Mexico's Deadly Drug War”, 1/18/09, The Foundation for Economic Education, http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/how-to-end-mexicos-deadly-drug-war The U.S. Office of Drug Control Policy (more commonly known as the drug czar’s office) says more than 60 percent of the profits reaped by Mexican drug lords are derived from the exportation and sale of cannabis to the American market. To anyone who has studied the marijuana issue, this figure should come as no surprise. An estimated 100 million Americans age 12 or older—or about 43 percent of the country—admit to having tried pot, a higher percentage, according to the World Health Organization, than any other country on the planet. Twenty-five million Americans admit (on government surveys, no less) to smoking marijuana during the past year, and 15 million say that they indulge regularly. This high demand, combined with the drug’s artificially inflated black-market value (pot possession has been illegal under federal law since 1937), now makes cannabis America’s top cash crop.¶ In fact, according to a 2007 analysis by George Mason University professor Jon Gettman, the annual retail value of the U.S. marijuana market is some $113 billion.¶ How much of this goes directly to Mexican cartels is difficult to quantify, but no doubt the percentage is significant. Government officials estimate that approximately half the marijuana consumed in the United States originates from outside its borders, and they have identified Mexico as far and away America’s largest pot provider. Because Mexican-grown marijuana tends to fetch lower prices on the black market than domestically grown weed (a result attributed largely to lower production costs—the Mexican variety tends to be grown outdoors, while an increasing percentage of American-grown pot is produced hydroponically indoors), it remains consistently popular among U.S. consumers, particularly in a down economy. As a result, U.S. law officials now report that some Mexican cartels are moving to the United States to set up shop permanently. A Congressional Research Service report says low-level cartel members are now establishing clandestine growing operations inside the United States (thus eliminating the need to cross the border), as well as partnering with domestic gangs and other criminal enterprises. A March 23 New York Times story speculated that Mexican drug gangs or their affiliates are now active in some 230 U.S. cities, extending from Tucson, Arizona, to Anchorage, Alaska.¶ In short, America’s multibillion-dollar demand for pot is fueling the Mexican drug trade and much of the turf battles and carnage associated with it. ¶ Same Old “Solutions”¶ So what are the administration’s plans to quell the cartels’ growing influence and surging violence? Troublingly, the White House appears intent on recycling the very strategies that gave rise to Mexico’s infamous drug lords in the first place.¶ In March the administration requested $700 million from Congress to “bolster existing efforts by Washington and Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s administration to fight violent trafficking in drugs . . . into the United States.” These efforts, as described by the Los Angeles Times, include: “vowing to send U.S. money, manpower, and technology to the southwestern border” and “reducing illegal flows (of drugs) in both directions across the border.” The administration also announced that it intends to clamp down on the U.S. demand for illicit drugs by increasing funding for drug treatment and drug courts.¶ There are three primary problems with this strategy.¶ First, marijuana production is a lucrative business that attracts criminal entrepreneurs precisely because it is a black-market (and highly sought after) commodity. As long as pot remains federally prohibited its retail price to the consumer will remain artificially high, and its production and distribution will attract criminal enterprises willing to turn to violence (rather than the judicial system) to maintain their slice of the multi-billion-dollar pie.¶ Second, the United States is already spending more money on illicit-drug law enforcement, drug treatment, and drug courts than at any time in our history. FBI data show that domestic marijuana arrests have increased from under 300,000 annually in 1991 to over 800,000 today. Police seizures of marijuana have also risen dramatically in recent years, as has the amount of taxpayer dollars federal officials have spent on so-called “educational efforts” to discourage the drug’s use. (For example, since the late 1990s Congress has appropriated well over a billion dollars in anti-pot public service announcements alone.) Yet despite these combined efforts to discourage demand, Americans use more pot than anyone else in the world.¶ Third, law enforcement’s recent attempts to crack down on the cartels’ marijuana distribution rings, particularly new efforts launched by the Calderón administration in Mexico, are driving the unprecedented wave in Mexican violence—not abating it. The New York Times states: “A crackdown begun more than two years ago by President Felipe Calderón, coupled with feuds over turf and control of the organizations, has set off an unprecedented wave of killings in Mexico. . . . Many of the victims were tortured. Beheadings have become common.” Because of this escalating violence, Mexico now ranks behind only Pakistan and Iran as the administration’s top international security concern.¶ Despite the rising death toll, drug war hawks at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) remain adamant that the United States’ and Mexico’s “supply side” strategies are in fact successful. “Our view is that the violence we have been seeing is a signpost of the success our very courageous Mexican counterparts are having,” acting DEA administrator Michele Lionhart said recently. “The cartels are acting out like caged animals, because they are caged animals.” President Obama also appears to share this view. After visiting with the Calderón government in April, he told CNN he intended to “beef up” security on the border. When asked whether the administration would consider alternative strategies, such as potentially liberalizing pot’s criminal classification, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano replied that such an option “is not on the table.”¶ A New Remedy¶ By contrast the Calderón administration appears open to the idea of legalizing marijuana—or at least reducing criminal sanctions on the possession of small quantities of drugs—as a way to stem the tide of violence. Last spring Mexican lawmakers made the possession of personal-use quantities of cannabis and other illicit substances a noncriminal offense. And in April Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, told CBS’s Face the Nation that legalizing the marijuana trade was a legitimate option for both the Mexican and U.S. governments. “[T]hose who would suggest that some of these measures [legalization] be looked at understand the dynamics of the drug trade,” Sarukhan said.¶ Former Mexican President Vicente Fox recently echoed Sarukhan’s remarks, as did a commission of former Latin American presidents. “I believe it’s time to open the debate over legalizing drugs,” Fox told CNN in May. “It can’t be that the only way [to try to control illicit drug use] is for the state to use force.”¶ Writing recently on CNN.com, Harvard economist and Freeman contributor Jeffrey Miron said that ending drug prohibition—on both sides of the border—is the only realistic and viable way to put a permanent stop to the rising power and violence associated with Mexico’s drug traffickers. “Prohibition creates violence because it drives the drug market underground,” he wrote. “This means buyers and sellers cannot resolve their disputes with lawsuits, arbitration or advertising, so they resort to violence instead. . . . The only way to reduce violence , therefore, is to legalize drugs .” Marijuana’s key---legalization weakens the cartels sufficiently to allow current operations to succeed Ioan Grillo 12, author, journalist, writer and TV producer based in Mexico City, has reported on Mexico and Latin American since 2001, “Hit Mexico’s Cartels With Legalization”, 11/1/12, NYT, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/opinion/hit-mexicos-cartels-with-legalization.html Marijuana is just one of the drugs that the cartels traffic. Chemicals such as crystal meth may be too venomous to ever be legalized. But cannabis is a cash crop that provides huge profits to criminal armies , paying for assassins and guns south of the Rio Grande. The scale of the Mexican marijuana business was illustrated by a mammoth 120-hectare plantation busted last year in Baja California. It had a sophisticated irrigation system, sleeping quarters for 60 workers and could produce 120 metric tons of cannabis per harvest.¶ Again, nobody knows exactly how much the whole Mexico-U.S. marijuana trade is worth, with estimates ranging from $2 billion to $20 billion annually. But even if you believe the lowest numbers, legal marijuana would take billions of dollars a year away from organized crime. This would inflict more financial damage than soldiers or drug agents have managed in years and substantially weaken cartels.¶ It is also argued that Mexican gangsters have expanded to a portfolio of crimes that includes kidnapping, extortion, human smuggling and theft from oil pipelines. This is a terrifying truth. But this does not take away from the fact that the marijuana trade provides the crime groups with major resources. That they are committing crimes such as kidnapping, which have a horrific effect on innocent people, makes cutting off their financing all the more urgent.¶ The cartels will not disappear overnight. U.S. agents and the Mexican police need to continue battling hit squads that wield rocket-propelled grenades and belt-driven machine guns. Killers who hack off heads still have to be locked away. Mexico needs to clean up corruption among the police and build a valid justice system. And young men in the barrios have to be given a better option than signing up as killers.¶ All these tasks will be easier if the flow of money to the cartels is dramatically slowed down . Do we really want to hand them another trillion dollars over the next three decades? Specifically, the aff undercuts the Sinaloa and Tijuana cartels, the most powerful and influential cartels---that’s key to lasting peace in Mexico Chad Murray 11, M.A. student in the Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program @ George Washington, supervised and sponsored by the OAS and Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, “Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations and Marijuana: The Potential Effects of U.S. Legalization”, 4/26/11, https://elliott.gwu.edu/sites/elliott.gwu.edu/files/downloads/acad/lahs/mexico-marijuana071111.pdf While Los Zetas and La Familia have recently dominated the media coverage of the drug war in Mexico, they might not be objectively termed the strongest cartels in the country. They are the most active in attacking government forces and setting up narco bloqueos in major cities.59 However, they do not have the financial strength, military prowess, territorial reach, or tactical discipline of Mexico‟s largest DTO, the Sinaloa cartel. 60 This DTO and the Tijuana cartel are major traffickers of marijuana, and their territories are the major marijuana production areas in Mexico. They have near exclusive control of the so called “Golden Triangle” region of Mexico where the mountainous areas of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua states meet. This makes sense, because according to sources in the Drug Enforcement Agency these two DTOs likely make a majority their revenue from marijuana.¶ The amount of marijuana trafficked by the Sinaloa cartel is evident by the scale of recent drug busts. In October of 2010 Mexican police and military forces seized more than 134 metric tons of marijuana in one Sinaloa facility. This was equal to almost $200 million according to Mexican authorities.63 The very next month 30 tons of marijuana was retrieved by law enforcement on both sides of the border after a Tijuana drug smuggling tunnel was discovered.64 The DTO behind this operation has not been determined, but based on the location it is likely to be either the Sinaloa cartel or Arello Felix Organization. These seizures represent only a proportion of the amount marijuana trafficked into the United States from Mexico through the San DiegoTijuana corridor in 2 months. There are other drug transport corridors that likely receive more marijuana traffic. ¶ Although the Sinaloa cartel does not often target civilians, it is the most violent DTO in terms of overall casualties . It has targeted hundreds of police officers and its leader, “El Chapo” Guzmán, is widely thought to have caused a recent upsurge in violence after breaking a truce with the other major criminal groups in the country.66 The feud between the Sinaloa and Juarez organizations is the reason that Juarez is the most violent city in Mexico, and according to some accounts, the entire world. 67 The Sinaloa cartel’s huge financial resources make it a major threat to the government , because they are able to corrupt large numbers of local, state, and federal government officials. This was revealed in several high profile cases in recent years.68The Sinaloa cartel is constantly trying to expand its territory into that traditionally held by other cartels, particularly in Juarez, and this is a major cause of much of the violence.¶ The Sinaloa cartel has the greatest capacity to wage „all-out war‟ because they have far more money than the other DTOs. Guzmán is also more focused on winning the favor and tacit protection of the populace, and thus is more involved in the drugs trade than kidnapping, and prefers to bribe rather than confront authorities.69 However, in many ways this makes the Sinaloa cartel more dangerous to the Government in Mexico. Its use of bribes can make local state and even federal law enforcement unreliable. Furthermore, the Sinaloa organization’s outreach to the civilian population makes it even harder for the government to gain information about Guzmán. In addition, the massive strength of the Sinaloa cartel makes an eventual peace all the more allusive. In the event that the government would try to reduce the violence through talks with cartels, the Sinaloa organization would be unlikely to take them seriously. The government has little to offer big organizations like Sinaloa, which already enjoy near uncontested control over the areas in which they operate. ¶ The Tijuana cartel is also a powerful, though often underrated organization. This group was infamous in 2008 and 2009, when it destabilized much of Tijuana with its attacks on the police and rival cartels. 71As with the Sinaloa cartel, the Tijuana cartel is a very important organization with networks mainly in the Tijuana and the San Diego area. This DTO is famous for both its violence and the brutality. Most notoriously, Teodoro García Simental’s war for control of Tijuana led to hundreds being tortured and killed until his arrest in 2010. ¶ The main areas where the Sinaloa and Tijuana cartels tend to cultivate marijuana include Sonora, Michoacán, and Sinaloa states. They focus on trafficking in marijuana because it is easy to grow, profitable for wholesale, and cheap to pay laborers . In 2010 farmers received only 15 to 20 dollars for a pound of marijuana. 73 This price is just barely above the amount farmers could get for corn and other produce. Therefore, if the price farmers were to be paid for marijuana were to fall much further, it is not unlikely that many would turn to more legitimate crops.¶ These cartels represent a huge part of the Mexican organized criminal structure . Dealing a major blow to these groups could give the Mexican government a leg up. The Sinaloa cartel currently has the ability, due to its huge monetary reserves, to project its influence and carry out violence acts across vast swathes of Mexico. The Tijuana cartel holds large parts of its namesake city through violence and coercion. The following chapter will explore what effect, if any, the legalization of marijuana would have on the revenue, operational capacities, overall strength, and ability to wage violence for these two cartels. The plan massively disrupts cartel revenues and independently frees up law enforcement resources to focus on other sources of revenue---creates long-term peace David Shirk 11, director of the Trans-Border Institute and associate professor of political science at the University of San Diego, conducts research on Mexican politics, U.S.-Mexico relations, and law enforcement and security along the U.S.-Mexico border, currently the principal investigator for the Justice in Mexico project, a binational research initiative on criminal justice and the rule of law in Mexico, “Drug Violence and State Responses in Mexico”, last date cited was 2011, http://iis-db.stanford.edu/evnts/6716/ShirkDrug_Violence_and_State_Responses_in_Mexico.pdf In evaluating Mexico’s efforts to address these challenges, it seems clear that inter-cartel dynamics and the government’s own efforts to decapitate top leadership structures has contributed to the fractionalization of organized crime groups, more severe and disorganized violence, and a diversification of organized criminal activities. If current trends continue, my estimation is that we are likely to see a reconfiguration of international drug trafficking networks —with a continued shift to Central America— and a gradual diminishing, but greater dispersion of crime and violence in Mexico. For some, this result will seem like a victory, since it would achieve the Calderón administration’s stated goal of eliminating drug trafficking organizations as a national security threat. However, in my view, this result would merely illustrate the utter failure of counter-drug efforts, in that it would perpetuate the pattern of displacement —the so-called balloon effect— that has characterized the war on drugs for over 40 years. Meanwhile, little real progress has been made with regard to the two factors of greatest concern to ordinary people: significantly reducing drug violence and the accessibility of traditional strategies associated with the drug war —the disruption of cartel leadership structures, the concentration of interdiction efforts at the border, and the overall psychotropic substances. In fact, in both areas, the emphasis of a law enforcement approach to the shared problem of drug consumption— have arguably produced more harm than good. ¶ Still, the policy options available to Mexico partly reflect the policies and priorities of the United States, which is presently opposed to any alternative to the criminalization of drugs and strongly supports counter drug efforts in Mexico. What most ordinary U.S. and Mexican citizens don't realize is that the vast majority of counter-drug efforts currently focus on the drug that is most widely used: marijuana. Indeed, last year marijuana represented 98% of the bulk tonnage seized by authorities at the U.S. Mexican border , although even the most generous estimates suggest that this represented no more than 5-10% of the total volume of marijuana flowing across the border. Meanwhile, more than half of U.S. drug arrests—and roughly 6% of all arrests in the United States — are related to the illegal possession, consumption, or sale of cannabis.¶ Efforts to restrict cannabis flows and consumption does little damage to drug cartels, since marijuana sales in the United States represent 20-25% of proceeds from exports by Mexican drug traffickers, at best. Some observers stress this point to argue that legalization of marijuana would do little to sway the fight against organized crime. Given that the repeal of marijuana prohibition would cause drug traffickers to lose roughly a fifth of their U.S. proceeds almost overnight, they are probably wrong . Indeed, repealing marijuana prohibition would likely do far more than our current, costly restrictions to deprive organized crime groups of profits, and it would also free up badly needed law enforcement resources to fight organized crime groups on other fronts and reduce consumer dependence on high risk drugs like cocaine and heroin. Marijuana legalization is therefore a potential first step toward a more rationale and effective approach to combating organized crime. Drug violence spills over—destabilizes Central America and the Caribbean David Shirk 11, director of the Trans-Border Institute and associate professor of political science at the University of San Diego, conducts research on Mexican politics, U.S.-Mexico relations, and law enforcement and security along the U.S.-Mexico border, “The Drug War in Mexico Confronting a Shared Threat”, March 2011, Council on Foreign Relations, http://www.cfr.org/mexico/drug-war-mexico/p24262 Third, Mexican stability serves as an important anchor for the region. With networks stretching into Central America, the Caribbean, and the Andean countries, Mexican DTOs undermine the security and reliability of other U.S. partners in the hemisphere, corrupting high-level officials, military operatives, and law enforcement personnel; undermining due process and human rights; reducing public support for counter-drug efforts; and even provoking hostility toward the United States. Given the fragility of some Central American and Caribbean states, expansion of DTO operations and violence into the region would have a gravely destabilizing effect . Instability causes bioterror attacks Stephen Flynn 1, Founding Co-Director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, “Terrorism, Porous Borders, and Homeland Security: The Case for U.S.-Caribbean Cooperation”, 10/21/01, http://www.cfr.org/border-and-portsecurity/terrorism-porous-borders-homeland-security-case-us-caribbean-cooperation/p4844 Terrorist acts can take place anywhere. The Caribbean is no exception. Already the linkages between drug trafficking and terrorism are clear in countries like Colombia and Peru, and such connections have similar potential in the Caribbean. The security of major industrial complexes in some Caribbean countries is vital. Petroleum refineries and major industrial estates in Trinidad, which host more than 100 companies that produce the majority of the world’s methanol, ammonium sulphate, and 40 percent of U.S. imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), are terrorists are likely to strike at U.S. and European interests in Caribbean countries.¶ Security issues become even more critical when one considers the possible use of Caribbean countries by terrorists as bases from which to attack the United States. An airliner hijacked after departure from an airport in the northern Caribbean or the Bahamas can be flying over South Florida in less than an hour. Terrorists can sabotage or seize control of a cruise ship after the vessel leaves a Caribbean port. Moreover, terrorists with vulnerable targets. Unfortunately, as experience has shown in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, false passports and visas issued in the Caribbean may be able to move easily through passport controls in Canada or the United States. (To help counter this possibility, some countries have suspended "economic citizenship" programs to ensure that known terrorists have not been inadvertently granted such citizenship.) Again, Caribbean countries are as vulnerable as anywhere else to the clandestine manufacture and deployment of biological weapons within national borders. Cartels in Mexico working with external terrorists short-circuits existing checks and makes attack likely Terence Rosenthal 13, political consultant and contributor at the Center for Security Policy, July 10, “Los Zetas and Hezbollah, a Deadly Alliance of Terror and Vice”, http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2013/07/10/los-zetas-and-hezbollah-a-deadly-allianceof-terror-and-vice/ When Americans think about the illegal drug trade and black markets in Mexico, it is probable that they do not associate them with terrorism However, there is proof that Hezbollah are functioning with cartels like Los Zetas The combination of power hungry cartels like Los Zetas, and terrorist organizations like Hezbollah should not remain unnoticed.¶ , or Islamic fundamentalism. One would think that drug cartels like Los Zetas, the most sophisticated and second most powerful drug cartel in Mexico would have enough allies and connections not to need the assistance of an organization like Hezbollah based half way across the world in Lebanon. , as well as elements of the Iranian Quds force , the most sophisticated drug cartel in Mexico. who want a presence in North America, in or near the United States inhibit U.S. companies from wanting to conduct business in Mexico, and The question is, how did this deadly alliance come into existence? For decades, immigrants, legal and illegal, have been arriving in Mexico from Lebanon. This population has been growing steadily, and has a certain level of favorability with Hezbollah. One of the creations of Hezbollah i n Mexico is that of wellconnected global drug dealers, like Ayman Joumaa. Joumaa, indicted in 2011 is of Lebanese heritage, and has been linked to Hezbollah, and Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel. With the help of the Los Zetas, and companies like The Lebanese Canadian Bank, Ayman Joumaa has laundered between $850 and $900 million.¶ Joumaa is known among Israeli intelligence as being in contact with Hezbollah elite forces, and was connected to senior operatives handling Hezbollah drug operations. He has received bulk payments of U.S. dollars in Mexico City after coordinating drug shipments from South America to the Los Zetas cartel, receiving a cut for laundering and camouflaging funds. Drug and contraband profits were disguised through the trading and selling of used cars through an exchange in Africa with the help of Beirut exchange houses. Eventually, similar fraud rings connected to Joumaa were discovered throughout North and South America, and the Middle East. Various methods of investment fraud are typically used by drug dealers to cover their tracks. Many fraud rings use creative investment tactics that can pass as legal activity if not scrutinized. One such operation involved the selling of thorough-bred horses to cover up the trade of millions of dollars in fraudulent drug money. ¶ Since 2005, Iran and Hezbollah have developed a presence in Latin America, opening 17 cultural centers, and forming relations with the Mexican drug cartels. 200,000 immigrants from Lebanon and Syria, many of whom are illegal residents, live in Mexico, and have established residence with the help of drug cartels like Los Zetas, the most technically advanced of Mexico’s drug cartels. Those who are sympathetic to Islamic extremist movements make perfect recruits for the drug trade because they understand how illegal activity in the Americas empowers whoever wishes to weaken the power of U.S. sovereignty. As shown by the increase of Islamic missionaries in Mexico, as well as the growing influence of Hezbollah and Iran, it is clear that Islamists are trying to win the hearts and minds of the Mexican people. However, beneath these seemingly peaceful developments lie the fact that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard and Quds forces are partnering with major Mexican drug cartels. They are learning Mexican culture, as well as Spanish, and are starting to Hezbollah has training bases and sleeper cells in Mexico and South America Hezbollah created tunnels on the American border that are extremely similar to those dividing Gaza and Egypt. These tunnels are perfect for the transport of illegal conventional and biological weapons to contacts in the U S ¶ an attack on U.S. personnel installations by Hezbollah is possible The relationship between Hezbollah and Los Zetas has almost touched down on American soil Why is the combination of well-connected drug dealers, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, and the Zetas such a dangerous combination? It is a money laundering operation that has the power to supersede local government, weaken communities, and make people subject to criminal tyranny. It is highly possible that this threat could become a reality in the United States. blend in with native-born Mexicans.¶ . They also assist drug cartels with skills in bomb-making and explosives. has also nited thousands of people in major U.S. cities. tates. Weaponry created by Hezbollah is capable of killing hundreds of Former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roger Noriega believes that . It is known that they have expanded from their operations in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, and are gaining ground in Central America and Mexico. . Los Zetas was to be paid to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington, and the Saudi and Israeli embassy in Argentina. In 2011, Iran’s Quds forces attempted an assassination against the Saudi Ambassador to the United States enlisting the use of the Los Zetas cartel. Luckily, this plot was thwarted by agents in the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).¶ The Los Zetas Cartel is a deadly crime machine that diversifies in illegal drugs, human trade, money laundering, and the exch ange of illegal weaponry. Many of its members were recruited from police and armed forces in Mexico. Techniques involving ambushes, defensive positions, and intelligence used by the military are now applied by Mexico’s criminal syndicates. Los Zetas is prominent in 6 Mexican states, and actively infringes on government solvency in northeastern Tamaulipas. Many view the Mexican state of Guerrero as one where the power of Los Zetas narco-criminals is equal to that of the local authorities. Los Zetas has even siphoned $1billion dollars in fuels from state-run oil producer, Pemex through their pipelines. In Tamaulipas, five people were killed as Los Zetas sought to take control of a Pemex well. Some of Los Zetas’ allies are among the most powerful cartels in the world, including Beltrán-Leyva, the Juarez and Tijuana cartels, Bolivian drug clans, and ’Ndrangheta. ¶ It is understandable why the Mexican government would be apprehensive about marginalizing the power of Mexican drug cartels. They h ave seen many of their people die as a result of the war against the cartels. The Mexican economy also benefits greatly from the high profit margins of illicit drugs and other forms of illegal contraband. Latin America is home to one of the largest undergroun d economies in the world. 600,000-800,000 people are smuggled through international borders every year, generating $16 billion each year The lure of criminal activity and the drug trade, coupled with the presence of Hezbollah and Iranian Quds forces in neighboring Mexico present the United States with a major threat at its borders Hezbollah’s ties to Latin American drug smugglers poses a “significant” threat for U.S. national security and having a militant organization like Hezbollah on our border does pose a threat in human trafficking and sexual exploitation. These staggering financial statistics have won over many law officers in Mexico who initially fought against the cartels.¶ . Dr. Matthew Levitt, senior fellow and director of terrorism studies at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, as reported in CNS News.com in 2010 stated that “In the event the nuclear confrontation with Iran gets worse rather than better, , and even within - it certainly ”. The obvious question is whether or not the United States is taking the necessary precautions to counter what is likely to become an even larger problem if left undeterred. Extinction Nathan Myhrvold 13, PhD in theoretical and mathematical physics from Princeton, and founded Intellectual Ventures after retiring as chief strategist and chief technology officer of Microsoft Corporation , July 2013, "Strategic Terrorism: A Call to Action," The Lawfare Research Paper Series No.2, http://www.lawfareblog.com/wpcontent/uploads/2013/07/Strategic-Terrorism-Myhrvold-7-3-2013.pdf A virus genetically engineered to infect its host quickly, to generate symptoms slowly—say, only after weeks or months—and to spread easily through the air or by casual contact would be vastly more devastating than HIV. It could silently penetrate the population to unleash its deadly effects suddenly. This type of epidemic would be almost impossible to combat because most of the infections would occur before the epidemic became obvious . A technologically sophisticated terrorist group could develop such a virus and kill a large part of humanity with it. Indeed, terrorists may not have to develop it themselves: some scientist may do so first and publish the details.¶ Given the rate at which biologists are making discoveries about viruses and the immune system, at some point in the near future, someone may create artificial pathogens that could drive the human race to extinction . Indeed, a ¶ detailed species-elimination plan of this nature was openly ¶ proposed in a scientific journal. ¶ The ostensible purpose of that particular research was ¶ to suggest a way to extirpate the malaria mosquito, but ¶ similar techniques could be directed toward humans.16 ¶ When I’ve talked to molecular biologists about this method, they are quick to point out that it is slow and easily ¶ detectable and could be fought with biotech remedies. If ¶ you challenge them to come up with improvements to the ¶ suggested attack plan, however, they have plenty of ideas.¶ Modern biotechnology will soon be capable, if it is not already, of bringing about the demise of the human race—¶ or at least of killing a sufficient number of people to end ¶ high-tech civilization and set humanity back 1,000 years or ¶ more. That terrorist groups could achieve this level of technological sophistication may seem far-fetched, but keep in mind that it takes only a handful of individuals to accomplish these tasks. Never has lethal power of this potency been accessible to so few, so easily. Even more dramatically ¶ than nuclear proliferation, modern biological science has ¶ frighteningly undermined the correlation between the lethality of a weapon and its cost, a fundamentally stabilizing ¶ mechanism throughout history. Access to extremely lethal agents—lethal enough to exterminate Homo sapiens —will be available to anybody with a solid background in biology, terrorists included.¶ The 9/11 attacks involved at least four pilots, each of ¶ whom had sufficient education to enroll in flight schools ¶ and complete several years of training. Bin laden had a degree in civil engineering. Mohammed Atta attended a A future set of terrorists could just as easily be students of molecular biology who enter their studies innocently enough but later put their skills to homicidal use. ¶ Hundreds of universities in Europe and Asia have curricula ¶ sufficient to train people in the skills necessary to make a ¶ sophisticated biological weapon, and hundreds more in the ¶ United States accept students from all over the world. ¶ Thus it seems likely that sometime in the near future a small band of terrorists, or even a single misanthropic individual, will overcome our best defenses and do something truly terrible, such as fashion a bioweapon that could kill ¶ millions or even billions of people. Indeed, the creation of such weapons within the next German university, where he earned a master’s degree in urban ¶ planning—not a field he likely chose for its relevance to ¶ terrorism. 20 years seems to be a virtual certainty . Drug violence destroys the Mexican economy---decreasing violence creates the conditions for growth Otto Raul Tielemans 14, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, “Authoritarianism on the Rise: The War on Drug’s Erosion of Mexican Democracy”, 6/16/14, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, http://www.coha.org/authoritarianism-on-the-rise-the-waron-drugs-erosion-of-mexican-democracy/ Edited for ableist language Violence and Poverty: Setting The Stage For Authoritarianism?¶ Mexico’s progressive shift towards authoritarianism is not simply the result of the executive and military actively pursuing greater power; it is also the net result of a crippling economic environment and violent social atmosphere.¶ Following a series of bank crises and global financial meltdowns, Mexico has been plagued with having to battle a series of economic catastrophes. Its economy has been estimated to have an annual GDP of $1.2 trillion USD, which is limited in its ability to expand due to the high cost of security that is needed for economic enterprises to operate within the country. According to some scholars, security expenditures add an additional 8 to 15 percent to business operations . And although the Mexican government has been on an aggressive campaign to attract foreign investors to the country’s burgeoning manufacturing sector, the fact of the matter is that the danger and high costs of business operations handicap [hurt] economic prosperity. This, in combination with an increased level of militarized warfare, is estimated to decrease economic growth by approximately 1% . The combination of these factors inhibits the government from creating jobs that would otherwise help employ some of the county’s 6 million unemployed citizens.¶ ¶ With more than 52 percent of the population living in extreme poverty, financial disparity makes the country’s impoverished persons prime bait for drug cartels . While dangerous, the hefty salary paid by organized crime ensures the loyalty and steady supply of countless workers. As it stands, drug cartels employ over half a million people in Mexico alone . Their growing network of well-paid criminals not only ensures a steady flow of narcotics to North America and Europe, but also guarantees the perpetuation of the War on Drugs by having citizens feed into the very system that the Mexican government is attempting to dismantle.¶ Due to the increasing scope of the conflict, the government is likely to restrict civil liberties and continue to endow the executive and military with relatively unchecked powers in order to resolve the issue at hand. This erosion of liberal democratic values, regardless of good intentions, will ensure the growth of authoritarianism in a country whose history is blotched with right- wing dictatorships and vast periods of oppression.¶ The War on Drugs is approaching a decade of violence with increasing evidence that the endless violence is setting the stage for antidemocratic governance to engulf the country. With reports citing an approximate 1.6 million people as having been displaced, momentum has grown within the public to equip the government with the power necessary to end the drug cartels’ reckless actions .¶ Polls from 2012 demonstrate that 80 percent of the Mexican population supports using the army to combat drug violence . Studies show that almost three in every four individuals (73 percent) viewed the military positively in 2012. Moreover, trust in national government leaped from 54 to 65 percent between 2011 and 2012 . With the average citizen demonstrating an increased sense of trust in their government and the armed forces, civil society has overwhelmingly rejected the notion of defending human rights and basic liberties. As a matter of fact, the argument could be made that the Mexican public has decided to trade basic liberties for security. Especially with one-third of the population being in favor of having the United States send troops to Mexico, sovereignty and civil liberties are viewed as insignificant by a considerable number of the Mexican populace when it comes to combating unmanageable levels of violence .¶ Finally, ambitious politicians and power-hungry military leaders are not the only catalyst in Mexico’s reactionary shift towards an illiberal democracy. The government’s failure to create an adequate number of jobs, in addition to prolonged warfare between government forces and criminal organizations, has driven desperate citizens into fostering a climate that favors the deterioration of democratic values in exchange for a perceived sense of security.¶ Prospects For A Better Tomorrow?¶ Mexico is cursed by its geography. Although blessed with vast oil reserves, the fact that the country is nestled between the United States (the world’s largest consumer of illegal drugs) and South America (a region of vast narcotic production) ensures that it is constantly battling with drugs trafficking across its borders . Needless to say, U.S. pressures to dismantle the operations of drug producers, in addition to social unrest, puts the Mexican government in a difficult position.¶ While everyone who loves Mexico wants to see it flourish as a developed country, the fact is until Mexico can attract investments, create a greater number of jobs, and restore social tranquility; it is inevitable that criminal organizations will continue to prey on impoverished and poorly educated persons. These shortcomings will only add to the conflict, resulting in continued violence and countless fatalities.¶ It is highly unlikely that Mexico’s War on Drugs will be resolved in the near future. If violence does subside, then the country will have a much easier task addressing issues of wealth disparity , lackluster education , and poor labor conditions . Sadly, the reality of the situation is that violence will continue and the government will actively attempt to grant itself with greater, unchecked powers to combat the problem. Doing so will inevitably dismantle what remains of the country’s democratic fabric and condemn the nation and its people to oppression by corrupt government officials. Current Mexican growth is insufficient---increasing rule of law and growth rates is necessary for long-term prosperity Duncan Wood 14, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, former professor and director of the international relations program at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de Méxcio (ITAM) in Mexico City, “Gauging Economic and Democratic Progress in Mexico”, 7/17/14, https://umshare.miami.edu/web/wda/hemisphericpolicy/Task_Force_Papers/Wood%20and% 20Putnam%20Paper.pdf Mexico’s economic transformation has deepened since then thanks to the extraordinarily successful legislative reform agenda of the Peña Nieto administration. Reforms of labor markets, education, telecommunications, finance and energy in 2013 carry the promise of moving Mexico’s economy ahead once more while providing an environment that should significantly raise both national productivity and foreign direct investment. The energy reform in particular is a game-changer, promising to create a parallel revolution in the hydrocarbons sector to that which occurred in the manufacturing sector after NAFTA.¶ The Mexican economic transformation, however, has not been without problems, and it unclear whether the recent reforms will be able to solve them . Per capita income has risen steadily in the country over the past 30 years, yet Mexico remains one of the most unequal economies in the world where, according to Mexican government statistics, over 45 percent of the population still lives in poverty. Almost 12 million people, 10 percent of the population, live in extreme poverty. This stands in stark contrast with the fact that Mexico has the highest concentration of billionaires per capita in the world, and the world’s second richest person, Carlos Slim. Mexico also suffers from the problem of an informal economy that employs more people than the formal sector. Owing in large part to the long-term impact of layoffs in the formal sector after the economic crises of the 1980s and 1990s and the subsequent liberalizing reforms, 60 percent of the Mexican labor force now works in the informal economy. These individuals neither pay income tax, which reduces government revenue, nor receive any form of benefits or social security, which harms productivity and creates heightened individual and family vulnerability. As such, a major challenge for the government of Mexico remains the incorporation of the informal sector into the formal economy, which was not addressed by the 2013 reforms.¶ Another lingering problem for Mexico, which first beset the PAN governments of Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón, and now the PRI government of Enrique Peña Nieto, has been the challenge of achieving high growth rates in the economy. Although there have been some periods of higher growth, the average GDP growth rate was 2.2 percent during the 2000-2006 Fox administration and 1.8 percent during the 2006-2012 Calderón government. The drop in growth in the Calderón era was due in part to the economic recession (which consisted of a contraction of 6 percent of GDP in 2009) caused by the United States’ financial turmoil in 2008-09, but was perceived by the Mexican electorate as a failure on the part of the PAN government to provide sufficient economic opportunities. Mexico’s key to the US economy---continued drug violence causes decline Stephanie Buck 12, Program Assistant in Latin America and the Caribbean @ Center for International Private Enterprise, “Why You Should Care About Mexico”, 6/20/12, http://www.cipe.org/blog/2012/06/20/why-you-should-care-about-mexico/#.VAoF2vldWSo Mexico today is one of the world’s most open economies, the thirteenth largest by GDP, and the United States’ third largest trading partner. While many Americans associate Mexico with words like “drugs,” “violence,” “immigrants,” or maybe “Cancun,” the truth is that the US economy is inextricably linked to Mexico’s, and vice versa: economic, civil, social, or political unrest on one country greatly affects the other , both directly and indirectly.¶ The aim of this three-part blog series is to look at the bigger picture: Mexico is far more important to the US, and the US to Mexico, than conventional wisdom suggests — and in many more ways.¶ A recent New York Times article discusses the importance of Mexico’s rapidly approaching presidential elections to the state of Texas. However, these elections will affect more than just the border states. The economies of more than a dozen other states, including Nebraska, Iowa, and Michigan depend heavily on exports to Mexico. Mexican companies are now the largest is also the second largest supplier of oil to the US, after Canada.¶ In addition to providing each other with important export markets, the Mexican and US economies are becoming increasingly integrated in ways that blur traditional understandings of trade. The regional supply chains of US companies criss-cross the US-Mexico border, meaning that Mexico and the US work together to manufacture goods that are eventually sold on the global market. For suppliers of cement, baked goods, and dairy products to the US market. Mexico example, cars built in North America may cross the border as many as eight times as they are being produced.¶ In other words, the US and Mexico are more than just neighbors. Economic interdependence, shared cultural heritage, and grim security issues that both countries must face together mean that what happens in Mexico affects the US in more ways than just immigration and drug trafficking. Mexico’s economic, political, institutional, social, and security challenges are all interconnected: whoever wins the Mexican presidential elections on July 1 will have to face a myriad of complex problems. He or she will help set policies that will both directly and indirectly affect everyone from US business leaders to migrant workers to white suburban teenagers.¶ A Mexico that is fully equipped with leaders who can help navigate the process to the reforms the country needs is an even more important economic and political ally that can help increase prosperity throughout the region.¶ This is not a zero-sum game. If Mexico flourishes, the US will also flourish . Economic crisis causes global nuclear war Cesare Merlini 11, nonresident senior fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Italian Institute for International Affairs, May 2011, “A Post-Secular World?”, Survival, Vol. 53, No. 2 Two neatly opposed scenarios for the future of the world order illustrate the range of possibilities, albeit at the risk of oversimplification. The first scenario entails the premature One or more of the acute tensions apparent today evolves into an open and traditional conflict between states, perhaps even involving the use of nuclear weapons. The crisis might be triggered by a collapse of the global economic and financial system, the vulnerability of which we have just experienced, and the prospect of a second Great Depression, with consequences for peace and democracy similar to those of the first. Whatever the trigger, the unlimited exercise of national sovereignty, exclusive self-interest and rejection of outside interference would self-interest and rejection of outside interference would likely be amplified, empty ing, perhaps entirely, the half-full glass of multilateralism , including the UN and the crumbling of the post-Westphalian system. European Union. Many of the more likely conflicts, such as between Israel and Iran or India and Pakistan, have potential religious dimensions. Short of war, tensions such as Familiar issues of creed and identity could be exacerbated. One way or secular rational approach would be sidestepped by a return to theocratic absolutes, competing or converging with secular absolutes such as unbridled nationalism . those related to immigration might become unbearable. another, the Economic decline leads to war Jedidiah Royal 10, Director of Cooperative Threat Reduction at the US Department of Defense, “Economic Integration, Economic Signalling and the Problem of Economic Crises”, chapter in Economics of War and Peace: Economic, Legal and Political Perspectives, ed. Goldsmith and Brauer, p. 213-215 First, on the systemic level, Pollins (2008) advances Modelski and Thompson’s (1996) work on leadership cycle theory, finding that rhythms in the global economy are associated with the rise and fall of a pre-eminent power and the often bloody transition from one pre-eminent leader to the next. As such, exogenous shocks such as economic crisis could usher in a redistribution of power (see also Gilpin, 1981) that leads to uncertainty about power balances, increasing the risk of miscalculation (Fearon, 1995). Alternatively, even a relatively certain redistribution of power could lead to a permissive environment for conflict as a rising power may seek to challenge a declining power (Werner 1999). Separately, Pollins (1996) also show that global economic cycles combined with parallel leadership cycles impact the likelihood of conflict among major, medium, and small powers, although he suggests that the causes and connections between global economic conditions and security conditions remain unknown.¶ Second, on a dyadic level. Copeland's (1996. 2000) theory of trade expectations suggests that 'future expectation of trade' is a significant variable in understanding economic conditions and security behaviour of states. He argues that interdependent states are likely to gain pacific benefits from trade so long as they have an optimistic view of future trade relations. However, if the expectations of future trade decline, particularly for difficult to replace items such as energy resources, the likelihood for conflict increases, as states will be inclined to use force to gain access to those resources. Crises could potentially be the trigger for decreased trade expectations either on its own or because it triggers protectionist moves by interdependent states.4 ¶ Third, others have considered the link between economic decline and external armed conflict at a national level. Blomberg and Hess (2002) find a strong correlation between internal conflict and external conflict, particularly during periods of economic downturn. They write, The linkages between internal and external conflict and prosperity are strong and mutually reinforcing. Economic conflict tends to spawn internal conflict, which in turn returns the favour. Moreover, the presence of a recession lends to amplify the extent to which international and external conflicts self-rein force each other. (Blomberg & Hess. 2002. p. 89) Economic decline has also been linked with an increase in the likelihood of terrorism (Blomberg. Hess. & Weerapana, 2004), which has the capacity to spill across borders and lead to external tensions. ¶ Furthermore, crises generally reduce the popularity of a sitting government. "Diversionary theory" suggests that, when facing unpopularity arising from economic decline, sitting governments have increased incentives to fabricate external military conflicts to create a 'rally around the flag' effect . Wang (1996), DeRouen (1995), and Blombcrg. Mess, and Thacker (2006) find supporting evidence showing that economic decline and use of force are at least indirectly correlated. Gelpi (1997), Miller (1999). and Kisangani and Pickering (2009) suggest that the tendency towards diversionary tactics are greater for democratic states than autocratic states, due to the fact that democratic leaders are generally more susceptible to being removed from office due to lack of domestic support. DeRouen (2000) has provided evidence showing that periods of weak economic performance in the United States, and thus weak Presidential popularity, are statistically linked to an increase in the use of force. Plan Text---1AC PLAN: The United States should legalize marihuana in the United States. Treaties Advantage---1AC CONTENTION 2 IS THE TREATY SYSTEM: The UN Drug Conventions will collapse now---a wave of defections due to marijuana legalization are inevitable absent UN reform Martin Jelsma 14, co-oordinated TNI's Drugs & Democracy Programme, w/ Tom Blickman, “The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition¶ the History of cannabis in the UN drug control system and options for reform: Treaty reform options,” http://www.tni.org/files/download/rise_and_decline_ch4.pdf Decades of doubts, soft defections, legal hypocrisy and policy experimentation have now reached the point where de jure legal regulation of the whole cannabis market is gaining political acceptability, even if it violates certain outdated elements of the UN conventions. Tensions between countries seeking more flexibility and the UN drug control system and its specialized agencies, as well as with countries strongly in favour of defending the status quo, are likely to further increase . This seems inevitable because the trend towards cannabis regulation appears irreversible and is rapidly gaining more support across the Americas, as well as among many local authorities in Europe that have to face the difficulties and consequences¶ of implementing current control mechanisms.¶ In the untidy conflict of procedural and political constraints on treaty reforms versus the movement towards a¶ modernized more flexible global drug control regime, the system will likely go through a period of legally dubious interpretations and questionable if not at times hypocritical justifications for national reforms. And the situation is unlikely to change until a tipping point is reached and a group of like-minded countries is ready to engage in the challenge to reconcile the multiple and increasing legal inconsistencies and disputes. The question appearing on the international policy agenda is now no longer whether or not there is a need to reassess and modernize the UN drug control system, but rather when and how . The question is if a mechanism can be found soon enough to deal with the growing tensions and to transform the current system in an orderly fashion into ¶ one more adaptable to local concerns and priorities, and ¶ one that is more compatible with basic scientific norms and UN standards of today. If not, a critical mass of dissenters will soon feel forced to opt out of the current system’s strictures, and, using any of the available reservation, modification or denunciation options, use or create a legal mechanism or interpretation to pursue the drug policy reforms they are convinced will most protect the health and safety of their people. The 2016 Special Session is critical to reform the UN drug system---now is the key time to shift international policy from one of militarized prohibition to healthbased harm reduction OSF 14, Open Society Foundation, EXPLAINERS: What Is UNGASS 2016?, March, http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/explainers/what-ungass-2016 Over the last few decades, the international war on drugs has led to public health crises, mass incarceration, corruption, and black market–fueled violence. Governments have begun calling for a new approach, and reforms in some countries have spurred unprecedented momentum for change . Pressed by drug war–fatigued Latin American leaders, the UN General Assembly plans to hold a review of the drug control system in 2016.¶ What is UNGASS?¶ The United Nations General Assembly Special Session, or UNGASS, is a meeting of UN member states to assess and debate global issues such as health, gender, or in this case, the world’s drug control priorities. The last time a special session on drugs was held, in 1998, its focus was the total elimination of drugs from the world. Today, political leaders and citizens are pushing to rethink that ineffective and dangerous approach.¶ Why does this summit matter?¶ International debates on drugs are rarely more than reaffirmations of the established system. But 2016 is different. Never before have so many governments voiced displeasure with the international drug control regime. Never before, to this degree, have citizens put drug law reform on the agenda and passed regulatory proposals via referenda or by popular campaigns. Never before have the health benefits of harm reduction approaches—which prevent overdose and transmission of diseases like HIV—been clearer. For the first time, there is significant dissent at the local, national, and international levels.¶ UNGASS 2016 is an unparalleled opportunity to put an end to the horrors of the drug war and instead prioritize health, human rights, and safety. ¶ But what does a UN meeting like this have to do with ordinary people’s lives?¶ The simple fact is that if your government wants to introduce drug policy reform, it may have to wrestle with the stewards of the drug control system in the UN.¶ For example, in the early 1990s, Switzerland faced a major drug problem. The country had open-air drug scenes and one of the highest rates of HIV in Western Europe. Rather than traditional, unsuccessful criminal justice approaches, the government pioneered health services such as heroin prescription, supervised consumption rooms, and community-based treatment. The Swiss people approved this policy through a series of referenda. ¶ The results were eye-opening.¶ The number of new heroin users declined from 850 in 1990 to 150 in 2002; drug-related deaths declined by more than 50 percent between 1991 and 2004; levels of new HIV infections dropped 87 percent in 10 years, and there was a 90 percent reduction of property crime committed by people who use drugs. ¶ However, rather than lauding these successes, the UN’s drug panel (the International Narcotics Control Board), accused the Swiss government of “aiding and/or abetting the commission of crimes involving illegal drug possession and use, as well as other criminal offences, including drug trafficking.” ¶ When Uruguay experimented with new cannabis policies, the International Narcotics Control Board’s president went even further, accusing Uruguay of demonstrating “pirate attitudes.” This kind of insult against a country is extremely rare for a body of its kind. ¶ In addition to criticism, some of these officials have a history of applauding some of the worst excesses in drug control. For example, after Bulgaria introduced a law that made possession of tiny amounts of drugs punishable with mandatory incarceration for as long as 15 years, the International Narcotics Control Board praised Bulgaria’s “political commitment and the will to deal with drug abuse.” ¶ While condemnation from these bodies may not deter powerful countries, it can discourage smaller nations from experimenting with alternative approaches.¶ If this event is slated for 2016, why are we talking about it now?¶ As with all UN summits, the preparatory work begins well in advance. The content, priorities, and strategies are determined months and years ahead of time. That’s why it’s time for people to speak out and tell their governments that the status quo is not acceptable. Change is possible, and the process is starting now. And, US marijuana prohibition is the key issue---reversing US policy is critical to reform success in 2016 Jeffrey Dhywood 12, author of World War D. The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization, also a European-born investigative writer, lecturer and public speaker, “What to expect from the 2016 special UN session on global drug policy?,” December 2, : http://www.world-war-d.com/2012/12/02/un-special-session-on-global-drug-policy2016/#sthash.6pIQKa8F.dpuf So, what does the prospect of a UN summit on drug policy means for the drug policy reform movement, and what can be expected from it? There have been after all quite a few similar events since the Adoption of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Will 2016 be the year when reality finally sinks in within the international community that drug prohibition has failed and that it is time to look for more sustainable alternatives? There are good reasons to believe so.¶ The 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances set lofty goals of complete eradication of drug use, toned down to a 50% reduction within 10 years in 1988, a goal reiterated in 1998, but abandoned altogether in 2008 amidst growing restlessness within the UN community. Furthermore, the “soft on drugs” label is rapidly losing its stickiness as the political risk of drug reformist positions is plummeting rapidly. Drug policy reform may even start turning into political asset in some circumscriptions, as was the case in Washington this November, when most of the Democrat political establishment lined up behind the legalization initiative.¶ As the consensus behind the War on Drugs starts crumbling, and as countries start breaking ranks and reject the dominant approach to drug policy altogether, the international community will see reduced opportunities for reprisals and sanctions. Uruguay’s intention to legalize marijuana under state control has been met with rather muted UN opposition so far. Sanctions against Uruguay will be hard to justify if similar sanctions are not imposed on Washington and Colorado, a prospect not even remotely likely, and may just galvanize regional rancor. Other Latin American countries might emulate the Uruguayan model, with neighboring Argentina a real potential candidate.¶ In the US, the number of medical marijuana states is likely to reach 20 in 2013 as proposals are set to be presented to several state legislatures, including New Hampshire, Illinois and New York. Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts, as well as Oregon and Montana may also try to adopt full marijuana legalization through their legislatures, while a legalization initiative is already on the drawing board in California. The battle has even been brought to the US Congress, with a bipartisan bill that would enable the states to make their own marijuana laws. The bill is probably still symbolic at this stage, and stands very little chances, but it may be a harbinger of things to come.¶ Embroiled in a deep economic and financial crisis, Europe is staying relatively on the sidelines on drug policy issues, even though (or maybe because), European drug policies are generally leaning on the liberal side and drug abuse is substantially lower there than in the US. ¶ Ultimately, the fate of the 2016 special session lies most likely in Washington DC . The US has been the initiator, main architect and chief sponsor of the prohibitionist approach for over a century, and has over the years imposed her prohibitionist policies to the rest of the world. All current international treaties on illicit drugs having been produced and backed by successive US administrations over the past 50 years, a complete U-turn seems unlikely. But with 18 states and the district of Colombia in oblique violation of the international treaties and Colorado and Washington now squarely confronting them, the “tough on drugs” stance is increasingly untenable. Unless it reverses its attitude and draws the lessons from a century of failed prohibitionist rule, the US will be increasingly stuck between a rock and a hard place and her prohibitionist-in-chief posture will become more and more indefensible.¶ I have argued for quite some time that drug policy reform will be achieved by cracking the US prohibitionist backbone through the combined internal pressure from the states and external pressure from the US allies, principally, in Latin America. In a truly historic year for drug policy reform, the pieces of the global drug policy reform puzzle appeared to be falling into place one by one in 2012, and the US resolve seems to be faltering. The Obama administration appears hesitant after the decisive victories for marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. By intensifying the crackdown on medical marijuana over the past few years, Obama brought the War on Drugs to the Caucasian community, which may have further galvanized support for legalization. Whether hidden agenda or law of unintended consequences, it clearly narrowed the administration’s margins of maneuver and crackdowns on the newly legalized marijuana states may backfire even more, further stiffening support for legalization. ¶ While the 2016 special session could easily be derailed , if drug policy reformists, especially in Latin American and within the US, use the next three years to keep resolutely pushing for reform, we may see the emergence of a global coalition and a new global consensus on drug policy . This is an opportunity that reform activists cannot afford to waste. Specifically, US prohibition undermines global implementation of AIDS harmreduction policies and broader disease prevention Joanne Csete 10, professor of Clinic Population and Family Health at Columbia University’s Mailman Public Health School, with Richard Parker and Nancy Worthington, Rethinking the War on Drugs: The Impact of US Drug Control Policy on Global Public Health, March, http://www.mailman.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/rethinking-the-war-on-drugs.pdf During the closing years of the 20th century, particularly with the emergence of the HIV epidemic and a growing awareness of the role of injection drug use and needle sharing in driving this epidemic in many countries outside sub--‐Saharan Africa public health experts highlighted the need for risk-reduction to take precedence over criminal approaches to the problem of drug dependency. A significant increase in social and behavioral research carried out in response to HIV and AIDS in the late 1980s and the early 1990s provided an unprecedented level of scientific evidence for the effectiveness of harm reduction services, such as medication--‐assisted drug dependence treatment, needle exchange, and safer injection facilities, in improving the health of drug users without increasing levels of drug use.4 As evidence for the effectiveness of such measures in preventing injection--‐driven HIV infection grew during the late 1990s and into the present decade, it seemed reasonable to assume that the harm reduction approaches grounded in public health principles would be adopted, and that the unprecedented scale--‐up of HIV services would, in turn, force a rethinking of the global war on drugs that impeded access to HIV services and pressed hundreds of thousands into institutions where no such services were available.¶ Yet any review of global policy debates over the course of the past decade would have to conclude that the results have been far more ambiguous than might have been expected. At best, the international community seems to have oscillated between reaffirmation of the drug war mentality and relatively timid steps in the direction of public health approaches. If we open the timeframe of our analysis to include the 1998 20th United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on illicit drugs, we find the UN General Assembly committing member states to achieving “a drug--‐free world.”5 The 1998 UNGASS Declaration outlined what it described as a comprehensive global strategy for simultaneously reducing both the supply of and demand for illicit drugs and developed a mandate for the UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) to “develop strategies with a view to eliminating or significantly reducing the illicit cultivation of the coca bush, the cannabis plant and the opium poppy by the year 2008.”6 Disappointing those who had hoped for meaningful drug policy reform, it basically reasserted the same goals that had driven the global war on drugs for decades. HIV was unmentioned.¶ Just a few years later, however, at the 2001 UNGASS on HIV and AIDS, an assembly of the same nations seemed to signal a possible shift of emphasis, including harm reduction efforts and access to sterile injecting equipment as part of the stated goals in its Declaration of Commitment.7 In 2003, at the mid--‐term review of the UNGASS on drugs, the focus seemed to have reverted back to prohibition, with UNODC arguing that important progress had been made on reaching the goals and targets that had been established in 1998 and citing long lists of drug control measures undertaken by member states in the five years that had passed.8 In June of 2005, the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB), which governs the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), pushed back in the opposite direction, approving a UNAIDS policy position paper, “Intensifying HIV Prevention,” that officially affirmed support for needle exchange programs as a key part of the global fight against the epidemic; both the paper and the PCB report approving it, however, explicitly noted that the USA (the largest donor to UNAIDS) could not support needle exchange because it contradicts its domestic drug policies .9 And in 2008, at the ten--‐year review point for the 1998 UNGASS, which was initiated at the 2008 meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, the debate seemed to veer back yet again, with the UNODC claiming major successes in the control of coca and opium production and reaffirming the need to place greater emphasis on demand reduction in resource--‐ rich consumer countries.¶ While a range of complex factors have surely affected the development of these contradictory policy debates, probably nothing has been more important than the policy positions promoted and defended internationally by the US government . Indeed, no US has been at the center of most of the major decisions and activities driving international drug policy since its inception more than a century ago, and US policies related to drugs have largely determined drug control practices globally. Even in the wake of the global HIV and AIDS epidemic, US commitment to the war on drugs has been one of the central factors underlying resistance to the adoption of more scientifically-informed policies grounded in contemporary public health approaches to health promotion and disease prevention .¶ The history of US policy in relation to these matter which side of the debate one comes down on, for or against the war on drugs, all observers agree that the issues has also been marked by changes over time, as well as by conflicts and differences of opinion that have shifted policy emphasis both within and between different administrations. There can be no doubt, for example, that the policies pursued by the Bush administration, from 2001 to 2009, and the Bush administration’s commitment to promoting those policies globally, are among the most important factors that have shaped the development of international drug policy debates over the course of the past decade. Recognizing the importance that US policies have had in shaping responses to drug use globally, and the likelihood that this will continue to be the case in the future, this paper seeks to review the development of US policy on drugs over the course of the past decade, with a primary focus on its relevance for the politics of global public health more broadly. We are particularly interested in looking at the consequences of US policy during the eight years of the Bush administration, from 2001 to 2009, as well as the initial steps taken by the Obama administration, since its inauguration at the start of 2009, in order to assess the potential policy impact of both administrations in relation to the broader context of global public health in the early 21st century.¶ With these goals in mind, we begin with a discussion of the drug control policy positions (both global and domestic) under the Bush administration, as well as a Republican--‐led Congress, over the past decade to understand the recent history of drug policy issues. We highlight what has made it difficult, if not impossible, to advance more progressive directions in drug policy, including harm reduction, both domestically and internationally – recognizing that many of the barriers to harm reduction (especially needle exchange) preceded the Bush administration, but were then reinforced either through non--‐action, direct action, or as part of the administration’s broader political agenda. Following this review of drug control policies under the Bush administration, we then provide an overview and analysis of the ways that the Obama administration has or has not taken a new policy stance or paved the way for new policy directions during its first year in office. Threaded throughout the discussion of US drug policies under both Bush and Obama will be a look at not only the policies themselves but also how they have spun out internationally and what their impact appears to have been on global policy debates and programs. We conclude by identifying what we view as some of the key guiding principles that should be followed in advancing a more effective approach to drug policy and the ways in which such an approach could contribute to moving forward a broader agenda for global public health . HIV spread causes Russian collapse—demographic hollowing out threatens the Russian military, results in overreliance on nukes Jane Evans 10, Department of Military Strategic Studies- U.S. Air Force Academy, “Pandemics and National Security,” Global Security Studies, Spring 2010, Volume l, Issue 1, http://globalsecuritystudies.com/Evans%20PANDEMICS.pdf Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, AIDS, was first identified in the U.S. in 1981 ¶ (although retrospective immunology showed the virus was being transmitted epidemically by the ¶ late 1970’s); the causative agent, HIV-1 virus, was found to have occurred in the Democratic ¶ Republic of the Congo in 1959 (CDC/HIV). Today, there is no vaccine and antiretroviral ¶ treatments can at best delay the onset of death. While incidence rates of HIV/AIDS remain low ¶ in the U.S., several countries of strategic importance are experiencing an epidemic of AIDS that will soon threaten their stability and in turn cause global instability. A little known fact is that ¶ AIDS is spreading faster in Russia than in any other country in the world, including many of the ¶ African nations. It is aggravating Russia’s projected population decrease , will “significantly reduce worker output and decimate the working age population”, and if the AIDS trend continues, “Russia’s future GNP will remain stagnant through 2025” (Peterson 66). This will in turn lead to regional volatility and further exacerbate Eastern Europe’s economic difficulties. A ¶ worst case scenario for national security in the future, “ AIDS could further erode Russia’s ability to staff a conventional army and potentially lead Moscow to rely more on a deteriorating nuclear force to maintain its great power status” (Peterson 66). In an increasingly global economy and international dependence, the collapse of Russia could profoundly affect the rest of the world. A¶ similar situation in China would cause even more problems; however, China has the resources and the population to likely absorb and recover from the AIDS crisis. Nevertheless, the policymakers. spread of HIV/AIDS is and will remain a critical security issue to U.S. Makes nuclear miscalculation inevitable Nicholas Eberstadt 11, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute and a Senior Adviser at the National Bureau of Asian Research, “The Dying Bear: Russia's Demographic Disaster,” Nov/Dec, http://www.aei.org/files/2011/11/02/eberstadtthedyingbear_194331985869.pdf Throughout the Putin and Medvedev eras, the potential security risks to Russia from the ongoing demographic crisis have weighed heavily on the minds of the country’s leaders. In his first State of the¶ Nation address, in July 2000, Putin declared that “year by year, we,¶ the citizens of Russia, are getting fewer and fewer. . . . We face the¶ threat of becoming a senile nation.” In his 2006 address, he identified¶ demographics as “the most acute problem facing our country today.”¶ In Medvedev’s May 2009 National Security Strategy, the country’s¶ demographic situation was noted as one of the “new security challenges”¶ that Russia must confront in the years ahead. In other words, the¶ potential ramifications of Russia’s population trends are not entirely¶ lost on the Kremlin—and they are hardly just a domestic concern.¶ But how will Russia’s bunkered and undemocratic leaders cope with¶ the demographic pressures and unfavorable human resource trends¶ that are undermining their goals? For the international community,¶ this may be the single most disturbing aspect of Russia’s peacetime¶ population crisis: it is possible that Russia’s demographic decline could prompt Moscow to become a more unpredictable, even menacing,¶ actor on the world stage.¶ Most immediately and dramatically, the decline could lead Russia’s military leaders, aware of their deficiencies in both manpower and¶ advanced technology, to lower the threshold at which they might consider using nuclear weapons in moments of crisis. Indeed, such¶ thinking was first outlined in Putin’s 2000 National Security Concept¶ and was reaffrmed in Medvedev’s 2009 National Security Strategy.¶ The official Russian thinking is that nuclear weapons are Russia’s¶ trump card: the more threatening the international environment, the¶ more readily Moscow will resort to nuclear diplomacy. ¶ For the moment, the Kremlin evidently still believes that its ambitious long-term socioeconomic plans will not only remedy the country’s¶ demographic woes but also propel Russia into the select ranks of the¶ world’s economic superpowers. But if Russia’s demographic decline¶ and relative economic decline continue over the next few decades,¶ as they most likely will, Moscow’s leaders will be unable to sustain¶ that illusion.¶ Indeed, once the Kremlin finally confronts the true depths of the¶ country’s ugly demographic truths, Russia’s political leaders could very well become more alarmist, mercurial, and confrontational in their international posture. And in the process, Moscow might become more prone to miscalculation when it comes to relations with both allies and rivals. Meanwhile, Russia is surrounded by countries whose¶ stability and comity in the decades ahead are anything but given:¶ for example, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and the Cen-¶ tral Asian republics. If Russia's periphery becomes more unstable¶ and threatening at the same time that Russia's rulers realize their¶ relative power is waning, the Kremlin's behavior may well become¶ less confident—and more risky. Extinction Helfand and Pastore 9 [Ira Helfand, M.D., and John O. Pastore, M.D., are past presidents of Physicians for Social Responsibility. March 31, 2009, “U.S.-Russia nuclear war still a threat”, http://www.projo.com/opinion/contributors/content/CT_pastoreline_03-3109_EODSCAO_v15.bbdf23.html] President Obama and Russian President Dimitri Medvedev are scheduled to Wednesday in London during the G-20 summit. They must not let the current economic crisis keep them from focusing on one of the greatest threats confronting humanity: the danger of nuclear war. Since the end of the Cold War, many have acted as though the danger of nuclear war has ended. It has not. There remain in the world more than 20,000 nuclear weapons. Alarmingly, more than 2,000 of these weapons in the U.S. and Russian arsenals remain on ready-alert status, commonly known as hair-trigger alert. They can be fired within five minutes and reach targets in the other country 30 minutes later. Just one of these weapons can destroy a city. A war involving a substantial number would cause devastation on a scale unprecedented in human history. A study conducted by Physicians for Social Responsibility in 2002 showed that if only 500 of the Russian weapons on high alert exploded over our cities, 100 million Americans would die in the first 30 minutes. An attack of this magnitude also would destroy the entire economic, communications and transportation infrastructure on which we all depend. Those who survived the initial attack would inhabit a nightmare landscape with huge swaths of the country blanketed with radioactive fallout and epidemic diseases rampant. They would have no food, no fuel, no electricity, no medicine, and certainly no organized health care. In the following months it is likely the vast majority of the U.S. population would die. Recent studies by the eminent climatologists Toon and Robock have shown that such a war would have a huge and immediate impact on climate world wide. If all of the warheads in the U.S. and Russian strategic arsenals were drawn into the conflict, the firestorms they caused would loft 180 million tons of soot and debris into the upper atmosphere — blotting out the sun. Temperatures across the globe would fall an average of 18 degrees Fahrenheit to levels not seen on earth since the depth of the last ice age, 18,000 years ago. Agriculture would stop, eco-systems would collapse, and many species, including perhaps our own, would become extinct. It is common to discuss nuclear war as a low-probabillity event. But is this true? We know of five occcasions during the last 30 years when either the U.S. or Russia believed it was under attack and prepared a counter-attack. The most recent of these near misses occurred after the end of the Cold War on Jan. 25, 1995, when the Russians mistook a U.S. weather rocket launched from Norway for a possible attack. Jan. 25, 1995, was an ordinary day with no major crisis involving the U.S. and Russia. But, unknown to almost every inhabitant on the planet, a misunderstanding led to the potential for a nuclear war. The ready alert status of nuclear weapons that existed in 1995 remains in place today. Diseases cause extinction Arturo Casadevall 12, Prof @ Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Division of Infectious Diseases of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, “The future of biological warfare,” Microbial Biotechnology, p. 584-5 In considering the importance of biological warfare as a subject for concern it is worthwhile to review the known existential threats. At this time this writer can identify at three major existential threats to humanity: (i) large-scale thermonuclear war followed by a nuclear winter, (ii) a planet killing asteroid impact and (iii) infectious disease. To this trio might be added climate change making the planet uninhabitable. Of the three existential threats the first is deduced from the inferred cataclysmic effects of nuclear war. For the second there is geological evidence for the association of asteroid impacts with massive extinction (Alvarez, 1987). As to an existential threat from microbes recent decades have provided unequivocal evidence for the ability of certain pathogens to cause the extinction of entire species. Although infectious disease has traditionally not been single chytrid fungus was responsible for the extinction of numerous amphibian species (Daszak et al., 1999; Mendelson et al., 2006). Previously, the view that infectious diseases were not a cause of extinction was predicated on the notion that many pathogens required their hosts and that some proportion of the host population was naturally resistant. However, that calculation does not apply to microbes that are acquired directly from the environment and have no need for a host, such as the majority of fungal pathogens. For those types of host–microbe interactions it is possible for the pathogen to kill off every last member of a species associated with extinction this view has changed by the finding that a without harm to itself, since it would return to its natural habitat upon killing its last host. Hence, from the viewpoint of existential threats environmental microbes could potentially pose a much greater threat to humanity than the known pathogenic microbes, which number somewhere near 1500 species (Cleaveland et al., 2001; Tayloret al., 2001), especially if some of these species acquired the capacity for pathogenicity as a consequence of natural evolution or bioengineering. The plan solves---the US has to exit the system to get holdouts on board for reform--spills up to general reform of the drug conventions Martin Jelsma 14, coordinator of the TNI's Drugs & Democracy Programme, w/ Tom Blickman, “The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition¶ the History of cannabis in the UN drug control system and options for reform: Treaty reform options,” http://www.tni.org/sites/www.tni.org/files/download/rise_and_decline_web.pdf All that said, the instrument of denunciation, or perhaps ¶ the threat of using it, could serve as a trigger for treaty revision. By merely initiating an exit from the confines of the regime, a like-minded group of countries might be able to generate a critical mass sufficient to compel states favouring the status quo to engage with the process. States and parts of the UN apparatus resistant to change might be more open to treaty modification or amendment if it was felt that such a concession would prevent the collapse of the control system . Heifers an agreement (or threatening to withdraw) can give a denouncing state additional voice [...] by increasing its leverage to reshape the treaty [...] or by establishing a rival¶ legal norm analysis is: "[Withdrawing from or institution together with other like-minded¶ states."" Under such circumstances, subsequent changes¶ may be an acceptable cost to nations favouring the basic¶ architecture of the existing regime, but not willing to¶ risk that its immutability could lead to its demise when¶ countries would actually start to withdraw.40¶ From cracks to breaches and beyond¶ A coordinated initiative for treaty reform by a group of like-minded countries to enable legal regulation of the¶ cannabis market, would need to assess the feasibility of the¶ different legal routes available and agree on a road map and¶ timetable for implementation of the best possible scenario.¶ That could lead to an ambitious plan to design a new Single Convention that would eventually replace the existing¶ three drug control treaties. This would be a goal far surpassing the issue of cannabis regulation, aiming to address other difficulties encountered with the implementation of the current treaty system, revisiting the logic behind it and its inherent inconsistencies. Another important criterion¶ for a new treaty is UN system-wide coherence and full¶ compatibility with other UN treaty obligations in the area¶ of human rights, including economic, social and cultural¶ rights, the right to health, and rights of indigenous peoples.¶ Overlap between the 1988 Trafficking Convention and the¶ two related UN conventions adopted thereafter addressing¶ organised crime and corruption issues" would also need¶ to be considered. The plan doesn’t abandon the treaty---marijuana legalization results in reaccession and sends a huge signal towards harm reduction reform Jessie Bullock 13, Stanford University M.A. who’s research focuses on Latin American policy, drug policy, and agricultural policy, “To Make Marijuana Legalization a Reality, This Should Be Obama's Next Step,” Sept 3, http://mic.com/articles/61953/to-make-marijuana-legalization-areality-this-should-be-obama-s-next-step As the U.S. moves closer to federal legalization and regulation of marijuana markets, their practices will drift farther and farther away from the current guidelines in the convention. However, there is an option that the Obama administration should explore that a) would allow the United States to move towards having a legalized and regulated marijuana market, and b) would not conflict with the international controls set by the convention.¶ Firstly, the U.S. should withdraw from the convention. Withdrawing from the convention is an action recognized by international law, and means that the country no longer wishes to abide by the international guidelines set forth, such as criminalizing the sale or production of marijuana.¶ Has this ever been done before? Yes! Actually, Bolivia withdrew from the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 2012 to do something similar. They withdrew from the convention entirely, and re-acceded in January 2013. The difference between their previous status and their current status is two short sentences: legalization of the cultivation of coca leaf and consumption (chewing) of coca leaf, a practice traditional to many Bolivian indigenous people. While I typically wouldn’t recommend that the U.S. follow in Bolivia’s footsteps, this action is an exception.¶ Secondly, the United States should select which clauses they wish to opt out of. A forward-thinking president, knowing that legalization of marijuana is imminent, might consider opting out of not only the clauses that prohibit the production, sale, and consumption of marijuana, but also opting out of the clauses that require marijuana possession to be punished. Opting out of all clauses that require marijuana possession to be punished means that the United States wouldn’t have to substitute a criminal penalty (i.e. time in jail, on a criminal record) for a civil penalty (i.e. a ticket or civil fine, which is what most individuals receive when caught using marijuana in states that have decriminalized weed). Other countries such as Brazil, Mexico, and the Czech Republic have decriminalized marijuana but, in order to comply with the UN convention, have replaced criminal punishment with the punishment of civil fines. By opting out of any clauses that require some sort of punishment for marijuana possession, the U.S. could leave open the option for a future with no civil fines for marijuana possession and no international repercussions.¶ Thirdly, the United States should re-accede to the convention, with their specific reservations. To block the U.S. from re-acceding, one third of states party to the convention (about 61 states) must object to their re-accession. This seems unlikely to occur. When Bolivia applied for re-accession, only 15 states objected, many of which are close allies of the U.S. While this process of withdrawing and re-acceding would be controversial, it would set a precedent for the global prohibitory state of marijuana. Instead of being known for our high drug-related incarceration rate, we could be known for transforming the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs into harm reduction over criminalization. a convention that prioritizes 2AC Case AT: Fragmentation Doesn’t cause them to lashout—weakens them Chad Murray 11, M.A. student in the Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program @ George Washington, supervised and sponsored by the OAS and Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, “Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations and Marijuana: The Potential Effects of U.S. Legalization”, 4/26/11, https://elliott.gwu.edu/sites/elliott.gwu.edu/files/downloads/acad/lahs/mexico-marijuana071111.pdf The Sinaloa cartel and Tijuana cartel could survive, but in a weaker form . The authorities have much to gain from this third scenario as the groups will not be as strong financially , and thus not as well armed. This may affect their ability to carry out bold attacks but it will on the military and police, not cause them to implode in a violent and chaotic fashion either . If the Sinaloa cartel and the Tijuana cartel have fewer financial resources, this would make it much harder for them (especially the Sinaloa cartel) to keep up its huge network of police and government informants. This network is vital, because its absence would make them, and especially their leadership , much more vulnerable to raids by the authorities.127 Mexican cartel fragmentation now---captured leaders Tim Johnson 14, McClatchy Foreign Staff, 2-24, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/02/24/219208_will-mexican-cartels-go-theway.html?rh=1 Almost as soon as Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, reputedly the head of one of the world’s largest crime syndicates, was captured after a 13-year manhunt, young drug dealers began campaigns to take his place – a sign that the group, responsible for 25 percent of all illegal drugs smuggled into the United States, might not be headless for long. But even as the internal jockeying intensified, experts predicted that the arrest of the legendary crime boss over the weekend would prove to be a watershed event likely to usher in the breakup of Mexico’s huge crime syndicates. “The fragmentation we’ve seen here in Colombia will be replicated in Mexico,” said Jeremy McDermott, a former British army officer based in Medellin, Colombia, who’s a co-director of InSightCrime, a research group. “The capture of Chapo will accelerate that process in Mexico of criminal fragmentation. The days of big cartels are gone.” Considered the world’s No. 1 crime lord, Guzman was snared in a messy bedroom in an oceanfront condo in Mazatlan early Saturday. Mexican and U.S. counter-drug agents had tracked him over several weeks, tracing him to safe houses in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, and then staying on his trail to Mazatlan when he disappeared through a series of tunnels and drainage pipes. Guzman, whose Spanish nickname means “Shorty,” built the Sinaloa Cartel into one of the world’s biggest narcotics-trafficking groups, with a reach deep into Latin America, across the Atlantic to Africa and Europe, and into major U.S. cities. He operated the cartel with the help of at least two other reputed crime chieftains, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and Juan Jose “El Azul” Esparragoza, both in their 60s and allegedly with decades of experience in smuggling narcotics to the United States. Guzman has worked with Zambada since an earlier drug gang, the Guadalajara Cartel, was divided up in the late 1980s, and shared management with Esparragoza of the Sinaloa Cartel, which sometimes is called a federation because of its loose organization. Potential rivals are watching closely to see whether they might make a move on Sinaloa Cartel turf or on its leadership, said Sylvia Longmire, a security consultant who’s the author of the 2011 book “Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico’s Drug War.” “There will be a lot of wait-and-see going on by a lot of groups: rivals like Los Zetas, smaller trafficking groups that are members of the federation who are weighing their options, and cocaine suppliers who want to make sure the federation is a stable client,” Longmire said. “El Mayo and El Azul need to work fast to exude confidence and power to friends and foes alike,” she added. If the two aging leaders don’t move fast, the criminal underworld that the Sinaloa Cartel controlled may begin to crumble. “When there’s no control, what was organized crime becomes disorganized crime,” said Los Zetas, fractured after the killing in October 2012 of its undisputed leader, Heriberto Lazcano, and the arrest last July of his successor, Miguel Trevino Morales. McDermott. The cartel’s biggest rival in Mexico, AT: PEMEX Cartels collapsing Pemex now Felix Sullivan 9/25, Staff Engineer, Production at PEMEX “Drug Cartels Seriously Imperil Mexican Energy Reform”, 2014, http://oilpro.com/post/7309/drug-cartels-seriously-imperilmexican-energy-reform Mexico's drug cartels are stealing billions of dollars' worth of oil from pipelines, threatening the country's ability to profit from the recently-enacted energy reform. Pemex data released last week indicate that gangs are becoming more numerous and active. So far this year, thieves across Mexico have drilled 2,481 illegal taps into state-run pipelines, up more than one-third from the same period last year. Pemex estimates it has lost about 7.5 million barrels of oil valued at $1.15 billion. Emilio Lozoya, Pemex's CEO, called this trend "worrisome, " the AP reported Thursday. enter image description here Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya More than a fifth of the illegal taps occurred in Tamaulipas, the Gulf state neighboring Texas that is a centerpiece of Mexico's future oil plans. Including the Mexican region of the Eagle Ford play, the area contains Mexico's largest fields of recoverable shale gas. Overall, the EIA estimates that Mexico holds the world's sixth largest reserves of shale gas- equivalent to 60 billion barrels of crude oil. That's in excess of twice the total amount of oil that Mexico has produced via conventional means over the last century, AP reports. attract $10 billion to $15 billion in The recently passed overhauling energy reform hopes to private investment each year. However, the attractiveness of the sector to foreign and private companies may depend on the degree to which Tamaulipas is brought under control . Senator David Penchyna, who heads Mexico's Senate Energy Commission, said, "The energy reform won't be viable if we aren't successful...in solving the problem of crime and impunity ...The biggest challenge we Mexicans have, and I say it without shame, is Tamaulipas ." The Zetas and the Gulf cartel are the two rival gangs that have long used Tamaulipas as a route to transport drugs and migrants to the US. In recent years, they have diversified their activities: stealing gas and oil and selling it to Texas refineries or to gas stations on both the Texas and Mexico side of the border. At least twice daily, AP reports, the gangs pull up to one of the hundreds of pipelines that traverse the state. Workers rapidly dig down a couple of yards to uncover a pipeline and then siphon their stolen oil into a stolen tanker truck, army Col. Juan Carlos Guzman, whose troops have raided a number of these illegal taps, told the AP. The knowledge required in order to tap into the pressurized pipelines leads authorities to suspect the gangs have infiltrated Pemex or influenced company employees, AP reported. Energy independence now Jaffe and Morse 10/16 – Amy Myers Jaffe is the executive director for energy and sustainability at University of California, Davis. Ed Morse is global head of commodities research at Citigroup. (“The End of OPEC”, October 16, 2013, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/10/16/the_end_of_opec_america_energy_oil) Growth in renewable energy has also been significant in recent years in the United States and beyond, and rising fossil fuel costs and strong government intervention have created new market opportunities. World biofuels production has doubled to over 1.2 m b/d since 2006, but wind power has grown in oil-equivalent terms from 1 m b/d to 2 m b/d since 2008 (and is accelerating at about a 20 percent annualized clip). Solar power, meanwhile, grew from 20,000 b/d of oil-equivalent energy in 2008 to 400,000 b/d last year. But the impact of all this change in the energy world will go far beyond just replacing continuing Arab Spring outages. Unconventional oil and gas and the clean-tech booms are spawning a host of new, smaller oil and gas exploration companies committed to innovation and willing to take on risk. They have no stake in the multibillion-dollar megaproject world of the international majors and national oil companies, and as such, they have fewer concerns about sustaining high profits from giant assets found decades ago. They are enabling the United States the opportunity to take a lead in changing the way energy is bought and sold -- not just in the United States, but globally. Energy innovation is taking many forms in the United States, creating major export opportunities and giving Washington the tools it needs to ensure that the conditions of a 1973style oil embargo will not repeat themselves. The oil embargo was so devastating because strong economic growth throughout the 1960s had taken up the margin of spare oil-productive capacity in the United States and across the world, leaving the Middle East's oil producers with undue monopoly power. Similar razor-thin extra productive capacity left markets highly vulnerable in 2006 and 2007, when OPEC made contraseasonal cuts in output to increase prices, instead of considering the risks to global economic growth. But as oil and gas production from U.S. and Canadian shale formations rises, the ability of oil producers like Russia to use an "energy weapon" to gain extra benefits from consuming countries is diminishing. U.S.-led innovation in alternative fuels (including natural gas-vehicle fueling technology and electric vehicles), energy-efficiency technologies, battery storage, and smart-grid solutions, working together with and complementing the supply surge in unconventional oil and gas, should also change the face of demand, giving consumers around the world more freedom of choice. And as the United States becomes an energy exporter -- at competitive prices -- that should seal the deal. By providing ready alternatives to politicized energy supplies, the United States can use its influence to democratize global energy markets , much the way smartphone and social media technologies have ended the lock on information and communications by repressive governments and large multinational or state-run corporations. Abundant U.S. natural gas is just the first step. Booming domestic natural gas supplies have already displaced and defanged Russia's and Iran's grip on natural gas buyers. By significantly reducing American domestic requirements for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), rising U.S. shale gas production has had the knock-on effect of increasing alternative LNG supplies to Europe, breaking down fixed pricing from entrenched monopolies. But this is just the beginning: Over the coming decade, the United States looks likely to overtake Russia and rival Qatar as a leading supplier of natural gas Marked to international markets. The geopolitical role of U.S. natural gas surpluses in constraining Russia's ability to use its energy as a wedge between the United States and its European and Asian allies should strengthen over time, to the extent that Barack Obama's administration stays the course with approving the construction of LNG export terminals. American unconventional oil and gas plays from Texas to Pennsylvania are also generating new surpluses of natural gas liquids, which are increasingly exported as transportation fuel or petrochemical feedstock to Europe, Asia, and elsewhere -- reducing demand growth for oil from the Middle East. And U.S. crude oil exports might also be possible some day, strengthening America's lead in market-related pricing for kingpin crude oil, much the way rising North Sea production did in the 1980s. As an increasing number of companies and investors flock to North America to develop prolific unconventional resources, Middle East heavyweights like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran are losing their lock on remaining exploitable reserves, reducing their ability to band together and create artificial shortages. Already, Mexico and Argentina are reading the tea leaves and reversing protectionist resource nationalism policies, instead pushing through reforms to attract capital investment to their doorsteps. Abundant U.S. natural gas is also spawning new American-designed engine and modular fueling station technologies to readily use natural gas as a fuel in trucks, trains, and ships, ending oil's monopoly in transport. Some 40 m b/d of the global 85 m b/d oil market is open for competition from natural gas -- in the form of compressed natural gas for cars and buses, and LNG for heavy-duty vehicles and marine transportation. We conservatively expect at least 2 m b/d of currently projected oil demand to cede to natural gas by 2020, further weakening perspectives on future global oil-demand growth and once again chipping away at Middle Eastern influence. American innovation and exports of energy supply and technology will open global energy markets to competitive investments and consumer choice. But Washington needs to embrace this choice by resisting the call to continue to ban energy exports to protect vested business interests or for resource nationalistic reasons. Indeed, we need to reverse the mindset of the oil embargo years -- a mindset of supply shortages and husbanding of resources -- and move back to a more traditional promotion of free markets. The energy sector has done this in the trade of petroleum products, where the United States is simultaneously the world's largest importer and exporter. The United States is heading in this same direction for trade in natural gas, whether by pipeline to Mexico and eastern Canada or the export of LNG. And it should move in the same direction with crude oil exports as pressures mount from growing surpluses midcontinent and on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The expanding wind and solar businesses in California and Texas are encouraging new complementary battery-storage options and smarter networks, laying the groundwork for greater consumer choice and control. The move to distributed energy, right now focused mainly on affluent customers who can afford private backup generation, may spread to broader applications. Some day soon, it will enable increased remote energy solutions for villages in subSaharan Africa or Southeast Asia. The U.S. government needs to support the reform of the electricity utilities to enable this transition, which will entail more-efficient technologies, locally produced and distributed generation, time-of-day pricing and peak-demand shaving. Such reforms are critical to the integration of renewable energy whose output varies widely over the course of a day. By leading the charge to these new energy technologies, the United States can fashion a global energy world more to its liking, where petropowers can no longer hold car owners hostage or turn off the heat and lights to millions of consumers to further geopolitical ends. Just as it was difficult to predict the impact of Apple computers on future global social trends, it may now seem hard to depict the exact time and place that America's unconventional resources and smart-grid innovation will democratize energy markets. But Apple did reset the way we think about computing and changed the world. Similarly, the dislocations currently unfolding in the energy sector are pointing to markets taking back pride of place over government control and consumer choice winning over supplier monopolies. The pace of change may be slow in coming at first, but eventually it will be no less stunning than Oct. 16, 1973, a day that sent shock waves into the global economy, the ripples of which are still visible today. AT: Other demand Other markets aren’t sufficient to keep cartels in business Chad Murray 11, M.A. student in the Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program @ George Washington, supervised and sponsored by the OAS and Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, “Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations and Marijuana: The Potential Effects of U.S. Legalization”, 4/26/11, https://elliott.gwu.edu/sites/elliott.gwu.edu/files/downloads/acad/lahs/mexico-marijuana071111.pdf There is also the possibility that Mexican DTOs could turn to other international markets for their marijuana. The likelihood of Mexican DTOs trafficking cannabis to the European market is possible but unlikely , due to the low weight to value ratio of marijuana and the transportation costs of overseas trafficking. It is possible that DTOs would unleash Mexican marijuana supplies on other Latin American countries. South American marijuana use has been steadily increasing, with the largest percentage of users in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay.115 However, Paraguay, Columbia, and Brazil already produce the cannabis consumed in this region. Therefore, Mexican marijuana would have to compete with these already established bargain-priced suppliers.116 Even if they succeeded in controlling this market, it would take time. What is certain is that at least in the short-term, the Sinaloa cartel and Tijuana cartel would lose nearly all current revenues from marijuana if U.S. states legalized that product under a muted federal response. AT: Treaty turn Politics shapes process, the plan rides a wave of anti-prohibition sentiment—there is no one to fight against the US anymore John Collins 14, coordinator of the London School of Economic’s IDEAS International Drug Policy Project, coordinator of the Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy, “International drug reform is happening – just not as we expected,” May 30, https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/matters-of-substance/International-drug-reform-ishappening The international drug control system, begun over a century ago, has seen major periods of upheaval before with a crude pattern discernable. Periods of stability have lasted roughly a decade on average before being broken by frenetic bursts of activity and change (often resulting in new conventions), before reaching a new period of stability.¶ However, this time appears different in terms of both the scale and direction of reform. States in Latin America have, for the first time in the system’s history, openly revolted against continuing the current trajectory of control. Meanwhile, the US, long the system’s key bilateral enforcer, has relinquished its leadership role and is instead focusing on deescalating its domestic drug war.¶ Uncertainty over whether Russia would assume the US’s mantle has been answered by the post-Crimea diplomatic freeze, while China shows no appetite for subsuming its overarching foreign policy principle of non-intervention to drug policy. Lacking a hegemonic champion , the U nited N ations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has had to rapidly recalibrate to a new international paradigm where, instead of reflecting and enforcing a prohibitionist framework, it merely provides a forum for discussion, disagreement and/or cooperation.¶ For the last century, the goal of the system was to end the ‘abuse’ of and trade in non-medical and non-scientific ‘dangerous drugs’. States worked to overcome powerful economic interests and political obstacles to reform the trade and create a globally regulated licit market.¶ In some ways, as historian David Courtwright has pointed out, it represented a rational effort to decommercialise and decommodify a burgeoning global narcotics industry. In others, it represented a drastic regulatory overreach, one based on deeply flawed assumptions and a singular belief in prohibitionist policies as a panacea. Failure of outcomes was viewed as a failure of political will, not of strategy or assumptions.¶ Early indicators, clearly discernable by the 1930s, that the illicit market and addiction would not be so easy to quell were ignored in favour of a belief in entrenched enforcement and control measures. Thus began an almost century-long trajectory towards the current drug war quagmires. States continually sought to double down and strengthen the existing strategy rather than engage in a reevaluation of strategic assumptions.¶ Current debates now focus on what components of the current strategy are mandated by the drug conventions and what components are driven by precedent and interpretation. I would argue not much in terms of the former and quite a lot in terms of the latter.¶ Further, Uruguay, the US, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – and now a growing chorus of states at the CND – seem to echo this viewpoint. In other words, there is a growing consensus around recognising the plasticity or ‘flexibility’ of the conventions. This has tremendous implications for efforts to reform global drug policy.¶ For decades, the idea of reforming the international system remained in the realm of academic speculation. Given that member states used the conventions to justify strict prohibitionist policies, it was assumed deescalation of these policies could only follow convention reform. Hence the rush to claim Uruguay was in ‘breach’ of its international commitments by legally regulating cannabis.¶ Most member states still accept this ‘breach’ narrative, which was why it was so interesting to hear US Ambassador William Brownfield cogently elaborate on why the US was not in ‘breach’ of its international commitments, despite allowing localities to pursue regulated cannabis markets.¶ The point seems that interpretation and implementation of international agreements and laws is always and everywhere a function of political realities . Interpretation follows politics, not vice versa. This is not to say that treaty ‘flexibility’ is always desirable – in the case of human rights law, clearly it is not. Nevertheless, the result when applied to the field of drug control is that the conventions are undergoing a fundamental reform without the immediate need for a messy treaty rewriting process.¶ This is not to say convention reform isn’t necessary. As the political landscape of the international system shifts, so too will the need to alter the legal framework underpinning it. However, this will be reactive to policy changes, not proactive in facilitating them.¶ The question over whether states have the right to pursue varying national regulatory frameworks, as long as they don’t have a significant negative impact on other states, has, through the US and Uruguay’s actions, been answered. This is diplomacy at work, and this is reform under way. It has just not happened as we expected. ¶ Few things do. K Neolib K---2AC Permutation do the plan and open up spaces for social movements---that solves--understands markets as useful tools but checks the worst excesses of capitalism Sheri Berman 14, professor of political science at Barnard College and the author, most recently, of The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe’s Twentieth Century, “A Middle Ground for the European Left”, Dissent, Volume 61, Number 3, Summer 2014, Project Muse Often overshadowed by both the neoliberal right and the anti-capitalist left is a middle-ground position that rejects the primacy of economics that is at the foundation of both of these positions—the belief that capitalism necessarily dictates the form and dynamics of politics and society—and is instead built upon an appreciation of both the costs and benefits of capitalism . Colin Crouch’s new book, Making Capitalism Fit for Society, is an attempt to explain the flaws of neoliberalism and anti-capitalism and reinvigorate the middle-ground position. Crouch, an eminent social scientist who has written numerous books and articles on capitalism, democracy, and European political economy, is well positioned to make this case.¶ Crouch begins by pointing out that despite all the talk of ours being a “new” or “global” era, capitalism has certain persistent characteristics that should guide our thinking about it. Twenty-first-century capitalism of course differs from its predecessors in important ways, but many of the basic challenges confronting Europe and the West today—ensuring social stability, limiting the encroachment of markets, coping with economic volatility—are nothing new. Alongside recognizing capitalism’s downsides, Crouch insists on recognizing its upsides. Capitalism, according to Crouch, has proven to be flexible and adaptable , as well as compatible with many different types of societies. It is, moreover, the most effective engine for producing the economic growth and material resources that are the prerequisites for many other social and political goals. For Crouch, the greatest hindrance to progress today is not capitalism itself but rather the pernicious and erroneous views of it that dominate contemporary debate:¶ [N]egative developments are not produced [End Page 96] by ineluctable forces beyond human control, but are the results of political choices. True, certain more or less unavoidable factors in the global economy do not make it easy to avoid increasing inequality; but that makes it even more remarkable that so many political decisions gratuitously intensify rather than counter such trends. … There are alternatives, not in the sense of utopian possibilities, but in real existing examples we can see around us. However, these examples are … being threatened by the onward march of anti-egalitarian orthodoxy.¶ Debunking mistaken views of capitalism and the contemporary crisis is thus a main focus of Making Capitalism Fit for Society. And while Crouch has little patience for anti-capitalist, globalization-phobes on the left, he is primarily focused on fighting back the neoliberal right, which is clearly the more powerful force today. In particular, he identifies two forms of neoliberalism that distort thinking about politics and economics. The first—the pure neoliberals—“believe that society is at its best when the conditions of perfect markets can be achieved in all areas of life.” This libertarian position is certainly misguided and even dangerous but not, in Crouch’s view, the most consequential form of neoliberalism today. Instead, another type of neoliberalism—what Crouch calls “actually existing neoliberalism”—is more pernicious and influential. According to Crouch, this doctrine shares some of the market glorification of pure neoliberalism but is really devoted to directing market benefits toward narrow corporate or elite groups. This type of neoliberalism produces, in his words, a “politicized economy very remote from what economists understand by a liberal market economy and a polity so unbalanced by plutocratic power that it seriously compromises the idea of liberal democracy.”¶ Opposed to these two types of neoliberalism is a third position that, while also accepting “the value and priority of markets in the economy,” differs from other forms of neoliberalism in also being aware of markets’ “limitations and deficiencies.” During the postwar period, this position was filled by social democracy, but according to Crouch this is no longer the case. The lack of a powerful ideology and a movement capable of defending and reining in the market is, in Crouch’s view, the major problem facing Europe and the West today, and one that Making Capitalism Fit for Society aims to remedy. Rather than champion some entirely new ideology or movement, Crouch insists that social democracy remains the most logical alternative to pure and corporate versions of liberalism. But in order to fulfill its role, social democracy will have to undergo some dramatic changes.¶ Crouch argues that social democracy has become defensive, associated with a rearguard attempt to protect a sclerotic, inefficient old order rather than the drive to create a dynamic and just new one. Parts of the social democratic movement also adopted too uncritical a view of capitalism during this period (such as the English “Third Way” or the German Neue Mitte), alienating those who suffered from the destabilizing consequences of capitalism while at the same time losing ground to more committed and unadulterated champions of neoliberalism. Much of Making Capitalism Fit for Society is devoted to outlining what a new and attractive social democracy should be. For Crouch, it is absolutely crucial that social democracy avoid the tendency so prevalent on parts of the left of fighting rather than embracing change. Capitalism has always brought with it constant change, so clinging to the institutions and policies of the past is a recipe for economic decline and social frustration. Instead, social democrats must figure out ways to shape capitalism , to prove [End Page 97] to European citizens that it “is the force most capable of bringing … innovation to society at large.”¶ As was the case during the postwar period, social democracy’s policies must remain grounded in a recognition that markets should be used where “possible and useful ” as well as a “willingness to check, regulate and offset their effects where they threaten to destroy some widely shared goals and values.” (Crouch, like many other social democrats, recognizes Karl Polanyi as an intellectual godfather here, drawing on his recognition of the deeply political nature of capitalism.) The precise ways in which this “balancing act” will manifest itself will vary, but Crouch offers some guidelines for action. For example, alongside efficiency, social democrats must retain a concern for distribution, particularly of essential goods like health care and education, and must be willing to intervene to ensure that such things are allocated in a manner that provides equal life chances for all. Indeed, social democrats should take an activist approach in areas where markets alone produce suboptimal outcomes or generate high social costs (such as situations characterized by imperfect competition, inadequate information, public goods, and externalities).¶ This does not mean that social democrats should always be looking for areas in which to intervene, but they “should always be open to persuasion that in particular cases improving markets may well be the best solution to a problem.” This includes breaking down monopolies; improving transparency so both consumers and businesses can make better decisions; providing equal access to schooling, retraining, and health care, so all citizens are better able to participate in an evolving marketplace; and strengthening environmental regulation to deal with the diffuse costs of pollution. Social democrats should also view their primary postwar accomplishment, the welfare state, through this lens—as a mechanism that protects individuals from the harsh and destabilizing consequences of economic change but also helps them adjust to it. And so as capitalism has changed, so must the welfare state. Here Crouch praises the contributions of a group of mainly European scholars who advocate a “social investment welfare state”—one that provides not merely “a passive defense … against the vagaries of the market, but which uses social policy to strengthen competitiveness.” It accepts competitiveness and market performance as “indicators of success” while also “seeing value in policies that amend and seek to structure how markets operate ” and prepare “workers for participation in changing, innovative economic activities. It is therefore part of an assertive policy, and secures protection from uncertainty by equipping people to embrace change.”¶ Crouch correctly notes that welfare states that most closely approximate this model, particularly those in Nordic countries, have created societies that are both highly competitive and egalitarian. Indeed, those countries that more closely approximate the assertive social democratic model have weathered the crisis better than those that do not. So why then has this “revivified” social democracy been so rare, even losing support in many of its Nordic strongholds in recent years? The status quo links harder to their inequality arguments and the plan solves Neill Franklin 14, Executive Director of Law, Enforcement Against Prohibition, "3 Reasons Marijuana Legalization in Colorado Is Good for People for Color", 1/23, www.huffingtonpost.com/neill-franklin/marijuana-legalization-race-racismminorities_b_4651456.html For the first time, President Obama acknowledged this week that the prohibition of marijuana is unfairly enforced against AfricanAmericans and Latinos, and for that reason, he says, legalization in Colorado and Washington should go forward. Without explicitly endorsing the laws, he told the New Yorker, "it's important for [them] to go forward because it's important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished."¶ ¶ As the president acknowledged, marijuana prohibition targets black and brown people (even though marijuana users are equally or more likely to be white). Ending prohibition through passing legalization laws , as Colorado and Washington have, will reduce this racial disparity .¶ The war on drugs, as we all know, has led to mass criminalization and incarceration for people of color. The legalization of marijuana , which took effect for the first time in the country in Colorado on January 1, is one step toward ending that war. While the new law won't eradicate systemic racism in our criminal justice system completely, it is one of the most effective thing s we can do to address it . Here are three concrete ways that Colorado's law is good for people of color.¶ 1. The new law means there will be no more arrests for marijuana possession in Colorado.¶ Under Colorado's new law, residents 21 or older can produce, possess, use and sell up to an ounce of marijuana at a time. This change will have a real and measurable impact on people of color in Colorado, where the racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests have been reprehensible. In the last ten years, Colorado police arrested blacks for marijuana possession at more than three times the rate they arrested whites, even though whites used marijuana at higher rates. As noted by the NAACP in its endorsement of the legalization law, it's particularly bad in Denver, where almost one-third of the people arrested These arrests can have devastating and longlasting consequences. An arrest record can affect the ability to get a job, housing, student loans and public benefits. As law professor Michelle Alexander describes, people (largely black and brown) who acquire a criminal record simply for being caught with marijuana are relegated to a permanent second-class status. When we make marijuana legal, we stop those arrests from happening.¶ 2. Unlike under decriminalization , the new law means there will be no more arrests for mere marijuana possession in Colorado, period.¶ In the Jan. 6 article "#Breaking Black: Why Colorado's weed laws may backfire for black Americans," Goldie Taylor mistakenly suggests that Colorado's new legalization law may "further tip the scales in favor of a privileged class already largely safe from criminalization." Much of the for private adult possession marijuana are black, though they make up only 11% of the population.¶ stubborn "this-changes-nothing" belief about the new law stems from confusion between decriminalization and legalization . There is a profound difference between the hodgepodge of laws known collectively as "decriminalization" passed in several states over the past 30 years, and Colorado's unprecedented legalization law. Decriminalization usually refers to a change in the law which removes criminal but not civil penalties for marijuana possession, allowing police to issue civil fines (similar to speeding tickets), or require drug education or expensive treatment programs in lieu of being arrested.¶ Because of the ambiguity in some states with decriminalization, cops still arrest users with small amounts of marijuana due to technicalities, such as having illegal paraphernalia, or for having marijuana in "public view" after asking them to empty their pockets. One only need look as far as the infamous stop-and-frisk law in New York, where marijuana is decriminalized, to see how these ambiguities might be abused to the detriment of people of color.¶ In Colorado, however, the marijuana industry is now legal and above-ground. People therefore have a right to possess and use marijuana products, although as with alcohol, there are restrictions relating to things like age, driving, and public use. Police won't be able to racially profile by claiming they smelled marijuana or saw it in plain view.¶ 3. We will reduce real problems associated with the illicit market.¶ As marijuana users shift to making purchases at regulated stores, we'll start to see improvement in problems that were blamed on marijuana but are in fact consequences of its prohibition. The violence related to the street-corner drug trade will begin to fall as the illicit market is slowly replaced by well-guarded stores with cameras and security systems. And consumers will now know what they're getting; instead of buying whatever's in a baggie, they have the benefit of choosing from a wide variety of marijuana products at the price level and potency they desire.¶ Goldie Taylor made the dubious claim that since marijuana prices were initially high in Colorado's new stores, the creation of a legal market won't affect the existing illicit market. But despite sensational headlines, prices for marijuana are just like anything else. They respond to levels of supply and demand. In the first couple weeks, prices were high because only a small fraction of marijuana businesses in Colorado opened, and what looked like every user in the state was in line to make a purchase on the day the historic law took effect. As the noveltyfueled demand levels off and the rest of the stores across the state begin to open, increasing supply, prices will drop. For their money, purchasers can conveniently buy a product they know is tested and unadulterated. And for those who don't want to buy at a store, Colorado residents over 21 are permitted to grow up to six marijuana plants at home. The aff’s regs are anti-neoliberal and prevent their “big weed” impact Christopher Ingraham 8/8, The Washington Post, "Why marijuana won't become another Big Tobacco", 2014, www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/08/08/why-marijuanawont-become-another-big-tobacco/ I wrote earlier this week about the sophisticated ad campaigns recently launched by supporters and opponents of marijuana legalization. The two camps agree that marijuana is going mainstream but part company on whether this is an ominous development or cause for celebration.¶ The argument put forth by the anti-legalization Grass Is Not Greener coalition is a novel one, and worth digging into. "If we’re not careful, the marijuana industry could quickly become the next Big Tobacco," its Web site warns.¶ "I think most Americans would be surprised to learn how quickly this industry has matured," Kevin Sabet, cofounder of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) and an outspoken legalization critic, told me. "Big Tobacco ignored major scientific findings about cigarettes, deceived the public, funded their own research, and devoted every ounce of their energy to one thing: increasing use for profit." He says the marijuana industry is doing the same today.¶ Even if there is some truth to this, legalization opponents are on shaky ground when it comes to ignoring scientific findings and misleading the public. After all, the federal case for marijuana prohibition continues to be built on half-truths and the occasional deception. Grass Is Not Greener's Web site repeats many of these same talking points in a breakdown of "Facts" and "Myths" that takes considerable liberties with the definition of both.¶ On the other hand, there's no doubt that the marijuana industry is becoming more sophisticated. There is a trade organization, the National Cannabis Industry Association, that promotes "the growth of a It seems inevitable that marijuana will continue to get bigger, but a comparison point with Big Tobacco doesn't responsible and legitimate cannabis industry." There are at least two full-time pro-marijuana lobbyists working on Capitol Hill.¶ work . For starters, marijuana is simply less harmful than tobacco. Marijuana's addictive potential is less than a third of tobacco's. THC, the active compound in marijuana, is considerably less toxic than nicotine, which until this year was used as an industrial insecticide in the U.S.¶ Currently the evidence is mixed on the prevalence of cancers associated with marijuana use, although it seems reasonable to conclude that inhaling flaming plant material into your lungs on a regular Kleiman, a UCLA professor who studies drug abuse and drug policy, says that compared to tobacco, marijuana will be "a smaller industry and therefore less powerful. But I basis could produce negative health consequences down the road.¶ Mark don’t think it will be less insidious." He thinks the alcohol industry is a better comparison, because the usage breakdown of alcohol is similar to marijuana's.¶ Most of the alcohol industry's revenue comes from the top 10 percent of drinkers, who consume half of the drinks, Kleiman says. This tracks with the marijuana sales figures currently coming out of Colorado, which show that the top 20 percent of marijuana users account for 67 percent of the overall demand so far.¶ The distribution of tobacco users, on the other hand, is different. The average smoker consumes about 15 cigarettes per day, or three-fourths of a pack. The tobacco industry is "appealing to the median smoker, and the median smoker has a drug problem," Kleiman says. Tobacco revenues are more evenly distributed across the user base, but marijuana revenues are likely to come largely from a smaller share of heavy users.¶ While there's plenty of room for debate about whether it's preferable for marijuana to tread the path of alcohol or tobacco, there's no doubt that the stakes are considerably smaller . "The dangers of really bad cannabis policy simply aren't as great as the dangers of really bad alcohol policy," Kleiman says.¶ A privatized marijuana industry's profit-making motives are almost certain to conflict with various public health interests. But conflicting interests don't constitute grounds for outright prohibition and criminalization - if that were the case we would have outlawed fast food, congressional lobbying, and much of the financial industry a long time ago.¶ They do, on the other hand, make a compelling case for smart, cautious regulation . A recent Brookings institution report concluded that, from a governance perspective, the rollout of legal marijuana in Colorado has largely been a success (the report is agnostic over whether the actual policy of legalization is a good one). You can be sure that other states will be watching closely as they consider similar legalization measures in the coming years. The alt fails---rejection can’t build a new political project James Ferguson 14, Susan S. and William H. Hindle Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Professor in the Department of Anthropology @ Stanford, “From Antipolitics to Post-Neoliberalism: A Conversation With James Ferguson”, interview between Ferguson and Humanity co-editors Nils Gilman and Miriam Ticktin, Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 2014, Project Muse It is important to recognize that this thing we call neoliberalism is an intellectually complex field , and that there is not a single politics that we can neatly and unproblematically attach to the style of reasoning that we identify as neoliberal. This is a point that Stephen Collier has recently made well. He identifies a series of what he calls “minor traditions” within neoliberalism that are actually attached to a very different kind of politics than we are usually used to associating with the word.8 So it is partly a matter of careful intellectual history and scholarship.¶ But there is also a political issue. I think it is important for us to acknowledge that Hayek and company were importantly right about something. I sometimes remind my students that one of the biggest fans of The Road to Serfdom was Keynes, who spoke very effusively in praise of the book. The reason is that it was not principally an attack on the welfare state; it was an attack on central planning, on Soviet-style centrally planned economies. And Hayek got that mostly right. Now, that Hayekian critique contains an important point of agreement with what anthropologists have always said, which is that ordinary people actually know a lot about their own lives. They are often better positioned than experts from on high to make decisions that affect their own lives. The point is: where does the information lie? Who has enough information to actually know what social good is? Anthropologists very easily assimilate these arguments: we have been saying the same thing for a long time.¶ The problem is that this observation can degenerate into a simplistic antistatism, [End Page 250] which it does in the rightist politics of many neoliberals. In a similar way, in anthropology, it can also degenerate into a simplistic antistatism, which takes the form of a romanticism that suggests that the grassroots are virtuous and that if only the state were not there then everyone would be egalitarian and nature-loving. So those dangers are undeniably there: of taking a modality of thinking critically about state power and turning it into a simplistic antistatist politics. But I would rather think of this as one route into a discussion of the problem of government. That is the spirit in which Foucault talks about neoliberalism, which is quite different from most of our discussions of neoliberalism, which tend to be ideological and based on a “for or against” model. Foucault looks at discussions within neoliberalism in the same way that he looks at other discussions of the problem of government. Which is to say that it is a mode of reasoning that takes place within the context of a set of problems. He is both sympathetic with and critical of the problem of governing. He does not think we want to live in a world in which there is no government. But he knows that government always involves the exercise of power, it always involves possibilities for abuse and exploitation.¶ But his solution is not to say that therefore we should be against power. For him that is silly: you cannot be against power; power is an integral problem of the social world. The question is: how do we want to be governed? That is a very important discussion and I do not think you get anywhere by saying, simply, “We’re against neoliberalism.”¶ H: Your new work describes in depth how neoliberalism forms a complex field. When you wrote The Anti- Politics Machine, was neoliberalism already in your head? Was it something that somehow haunted you then that you have felt a need to revisit? In other words, how has your thinking on neoliberalism evolved in the two decades since?¶ JF: I had never heard the word “neoliberalism” when I wrote The Anti-Politics Machine! In that book I was writing about a prestructural adjustment world. I was writing it just as structural adjustment was beginning to kick in all across Africa. That is when we first started hearing about neoliberalism—in the context of structural adjustment in Africa. And like everyone else, I thought it was terrible, and I was against it. It was a necessary ideological moment, of saying these are actually disastrous policies, being justified on the basis of spurious arguments, and that nobody has really thought what the long-term costs are going to be.¶ But that work was done, that critique was made. We reached a point where it did not seem like it was accomplishing much to say, yet again, to an audience full of people who already believe it, “Aha! Look: structural adjustment is bad for the poor!” You got to the point where even the World Bank itself was saying it. So who the hell cares whether I condemn neoliberalism: it is an empty political act! It is not that I disagree with those critiques—I agree with them absolutely—but simply reiterating them does not get us any further at this point.¶ I have become more interested in thinking not so much about what we are against as about what we’re for, thinking about positive political goals and strategies, which to me leads to the question of government. To see what I mean by that, let me give [End Page 251] an example of a different kind of question. There’s a program in Zambia to take care of AIDS orphans. Zambia has a massive number of AIDS orphans, and the state recognizes that there is a public responsibility to take care of these orphans. Most of these orphans have been taken in by older women, and the state acknowledges that this is a valuable thing and has committed to supporting it. The program that has been in place involves providing these households with food. Once a month a truck comes through and they have a list of names of all the households where AIDS orphans are being minded, and they give each of these old women a bag full of maize meal, which is the local staple.¶ Now, the new thinking comes in, and says, “You know, it’s good that you’re supporting these women, but this isn’t the right way to do it. Instead of giving them a bag of maize meal once a month, why don’t you give them an amount of money that would enable them to go to the local shop and buy the equivalent amount of maize meal if that’s what they want, but that would also give them the choice to do other things with the money, things you might not know they need. The old woman may realize that what she needs this month, for example, is to use the money for bus fare so that she can go get that lingering infection treated. She knows her own problems, she knows her own circumstances, she knows her own resources to solve those problems much better than some planner in Lusaka does. So give her the ability to make her own choices about how those resources should be allocated.”¶ Now, what are we to make of this? On the one hand, we can say this is classic neoliberalism: using markets to deliver social services—getting government out of the way of delivering those services, and letting the market provide them instead. But on the other hand, you can also say that this is trusting rural women to understand and address their own needs in ways that planners cannot. A lot of anthropologists find that a very attractive idea.¶ I do not think it is very helpful to insert this into a left-versus- right ideological frame. It is a different question—about the how of government, about governmental technique. I want to linger over those questions. I do not want to have a deductive politics where we say, “Ah, so this is neoliberalism, so now we know we’re against it!” I want to stop and say, “Hm. Well, what do I think about that? Let us think this through. What social services can be delivered through markets? What role can cash transfers play in redistributive social programs?” We should allow the political judgments to emerge out of the investigation rather than being the thing that drives it.¶ H: This question of politics connects to the key thesis of The Anti-Politics Machine, concerning the depoliticizing effect of development. The idea of depoliticization has become the lodestone of much current historiography of development. Now, twenty years on from the initial publication of the book, does the success of this thesis surprise you? Specifically, Nicolas Guilhot has discussed in these pages how the idea of depoliticization has taken on a life of its own, to become a common theme not just in critiques of development but also in critiques of other fields rooted supposedly in sympathy for the oppressed, such as humanitarianism.9 What do you make of this broadening of the “depoliticization” narrative? [End Page 252]¶ JF: It remains an important move, to be able to take procedures that are described as purely technical and to demonstrate how and where they involve things that are more than just technical, how and where they may involve a politics that requires digging in order to bring it into visibility. I have no problem with that kind of work, but I am increasingly dissatisfied with work that treats such critique as the end of the project , as if to say that now we have done our job: “We’ve exposed this as political, we’ve revealed that there are relations of power and inequality behind it all, and we’ve denounced it. Now we know we’re in the right and they’re in the wrong. Gotcha!” But a lot of times, this simply demonstrates what everyone knows already. Any sophisticated observer is already well aware of the politics that are going on. I do not see that as a very powerful end point. What is more interesting is if you treat that as a beginning. OK, so there is a politics going on here, but where is that going? What are our possible points of alliance and engagement with that politics? In other words, we need a substantive analysis: given that it is a politics, what do we think of that? What do we do about that? That seems a more substantial discussion than the denunciatory one. It leads into the question of government. Impact Every measure of well-being is up, thanks to capitalism Allister Heath 13, deputy editor at The Telegraph, leading business coverage across both print and digital, citing Bjorn Lomborg, “The world has never had it so good - thanks partly to capitalism”, 10/29/13, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10412499/The-worldhas-never-had-it-so-good-thanks-partly-to-capitalism.html Contrary to what environmentalists, anti-globalisation campaigners and other economic curmudgeons like to think, the world is not going to hell in a handbasket.¶ Immense problems remain, of course, from Europe’s youth unemployment crisis to atrocious cases of extreme child poverty around the globe, and it is the duty of all of us to highlight and address them.¶ But humanity as a whole is doing better than it ever has: the world is becoming more prosperous, cleaner, increasingly peaceful and healthier. We are living longer, better lives. Virtually all of our existing problems are less bad than at any previous time in history.¶ In How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World, Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg documents how on almost all important metrics , the human condition is improving at a dramatic rate; his thesis is backed up by oodles of other data and research.¶ Take war, the worst possible affliction that can befall a society. It is often wrongly argued that armed conflicts are the handmaiden of capitalism; in reality, they are the worst thing that can happen to a liberal economy, destroying lives, families and capital and triggering state control, militarism and deglobalisation.¶ Tragically, there are still far too many conflicts costing far too many lives but overall we live in extraordinarily peaceful times by historical standards.¶ Genghis Khan’s mad conquests in the 13th century killed 11pc of the global population at the time, making it the worst conflict the world has ever had the misfortune of enduring; the Second World War, which cost more lives than any other, was the sixth worst on that measure, killing 2.6pc of the world’s population.¶ There has been immense progress since then, especially following the end of the Cold War.¶ The Peace Research Institute Oslo calculates that there were fewer battle deaths (including of civilians) in the first decade of the 21st century than at any time since the Second World War.¶ Uppsala University’s Conflict Data Program found 32 active armed conflicts in 2012, a reduction of five compared with the previous year.¶ The bad news is that the number of deaths shot up again last year as a result of the horrendously bloody Syrian conflict. But that outbreak of barbarism shouldn’t detract from the otherwise dramatically improving trend, which is perhaps the single most important fact about the world today.¶ Instead of fighting, we now trade, communicate, travel and invest; while there is still a long way to go in tearing down protectionist barriers, international economic integration is the great driving force of progress .¶ We are also far less likely to die from the side-effects of economic development and the burning of cooking and heating fuels. In 1900, one person in 550 globally would die from air pollution every year, an annual risk of dying of 0.18pc. Today, that risk has fallen to 0.04 pc, or one in 2,500; by 2050, it is expected to have collapsed to 0.02pc, or one in 5,000. Many other kinds of pollution are also in decline, of course, but this shift is the most powerful.¶ In fact, we are living healthier and longer lives all round, thanks primarily to the remarkable progress made by medicine.¶ Average life expectancy at birth in Africa has jumped from 50 years in 2000 to 56 in 2011; for the world as a whole, it has increased from 64 to 70, according to the World Health Organisation.¶ While people in rich countries can now expect to reach 80, the gap is narrowing and emerging economies are catching up; in India, for example, life expectancy has been increasing by 4.5 years per decade since the 1960s.¶ Medical advances have improved life measurably for any given stage of economic development. Childhood mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa remains far too high, but in 2008 it had fallen to just a third of that in Liverpool in 1870, even though real per capita incomes in that part of the world remain just over half that of Liverpudlians in the 19th century.¶ The probability of a newborn dying before their fifth birthday has dropped from a world average of 23pc in the 1950s to 6pc in the current decade. That’s still nothing to be happy about, of course, but the progress has been remarkable. Child mortality is set to fall from 7.7pc in 2000 to 3.1pc in 2050.¶ One reason is better nutrition. The best proxy for that is height: Latin Americans have been growing taller for years, and since the late 20th century so have young people in Asia, with increased prosperity allowing parents to feed their children more and better food.¶ Better sanitation is also helping: deaths caused by a lack of access to clean water have tumbled from 1.5 per 1,000 people in developing countries in 1950 to 0.4 today and are due to halve again by 2050.¶ Education is another area which has seen huge improvement globally. The UK is a scandalous outlier here, with a recent OECD analysis showing that we are the only rich country in which 55 to 65-year-olds are more proficient in literacy and numeracy than 16 to 24-year-olds, a catastrophic regression.¶ But our educational suicide is unique, and emerging markets have seen revolutionary improvements in recent decades, enhancing educational opportunities for hundreds of millions of young people. Progress has been especially strong from around 1970.¶ While 23.6pc of the world’s population remains illiterate, that is down from 70pc in 1900 and is the lowest it has ever been. The costs of illiteracy have fallen steadily from 12.3pc of global GDP at the start of last century and are set to be just 3.8pc by 2050.¶ Gender equality is also improving. In 1900, women made up only 15pc of the global workforce. By 2012, it reached around 40pc and is expected to hit 45pc by mid-century. \\ AT: Movements Anti-neolib movements fail---they’re divided and have no practical agenda Barbara Epstein 14, author, former Professor Emerita in the Humanities Division @ UC Santa Cruz, “Prospects for a Resurgence of the U.S. Left”, Tikkun, Volume 29, Number 2, Spring 2014, Project Muse The United States has no coherent, effective Left . Over the last four decades, since the movements of the sixties and seventies went into decline, the problem of the degradation of the environment has reached a level that threatens the existence of humans and other species on the planet. The neoliberal form of capitalism that has taken hold globally has caused the gap between the wealth and power of those at the top and the rest of us to widen dramatically, undermining the quality of life of the majority and threatening the public arena itself. Despite the depth of the economic crisis of 2008, there is no substantial movement for the abandonment of neoliberalism , the regulation of industry, or the creation of a more egalitarian economy. The environmental movement has grown, but not to the point of having the capacity to reverse environmental degradation. There are undoubtedly more people and projects devoted to economic and social justice—and to environmental sustainability—than there were in the sixties and seventies. The problem has to do with collective impact. No movements of the Left have emerged capable of making a real difference in the conditions that we face. Why is this? And what can be done about it?¶ A Fatalistic Approach to Gradual Crises¶ The weakness of the Left is partly due to the fact that these problems have come upon us gradually, allowing us to accommodate ourselves to them. The widening of the gap in wealth and power has been for the most part incremental; it is only in retrospect that one can see how dramatic the effect has been. The same is true of the working day, which has been lengthened, for most people, bit by bit, but at no point by enough to lead to a widespread revolt. Something similar could be said about the environment. Environmental crises for the most part take place somewhere other than where one lives. Such crises are increasingly severe and increasingly common, and there is widespread awareness that at some point in the future we are all likely to be directly affected. But a future crisis does not have the mobilizing capacity of a crisis that confronts one in the present. Most people, including those who are aware of the depths of these problems, go about their business, doing what they—we—have always done, though with increasing apprehension about the future.¶ “The environmental movement has grown, but not to the point of having the capacity to reverse environmental degradation,” Epstein writes. Environmental activists march in Detroit to protest its air-polluting incinerator.¶ “The environmental movement has grown, but not to the point of having the capacity to reverse environmental degradation,” Epstein writes. Environmental activists march in Detroit to protest its air-polluting incinerator.¶ A widespread sense that nothing can be done is probably an even more significant obstacle to effective, collective action than the gradual character of these changes. Mobilization against a system, an institution, or a ruling elite is most likely to take place when it seems not only oppressive but also outmoded, on the way out, or at least on the defensive. The Civil Rights Movement had existed since World War II but gained momentum in the late fifties and early sixties, when the international aspirations of the United States made racism at home a serious embarrassment. Feminism likewise took hold on a mass basis when the entry of women into the labor force on a large scale placed patriarchal authority in question and gave women the leverage to demand equality. Movements for change are most likely to take hold when change seems possible, when there are levers that can be grasped, as when oppressive institutions seem ready to collapse or are widely seen as illegitimate. It helps when some of those in positions of power agree that the existing system is not working and support change. The depression of the 1930s affected the corporate class as well as the rest of society, though not nearly as badly; fear of a continuing downward economic spiral led some among the elite to agree that changes of some sort were necessary. In the wake of 2008, while most people have suffered economic reverses, corporate profits have more than recovered. Neoliberal capitalism is thriving, at least if measured by corporate profits.¶ The Left is weakened by its deep generational divide and by the fact that “white leftists tend to know little about movements of the Left among people of color,” Epstein writes. Here, members of a Latina immigrant organization participate in a May Day rally in San Francisco.¶ Click for larger view¶ The Left is weakened by its deep generational divide and by the fact that “white leftists tend to know little about movements of the Left among people of color,” Epstein writes. Here, members of a Latina immigrant organization participate in a May Day rally in San Francisco.¶ This is not to argue that movements of the Left take shape and grow only when conditions are propitious. Left-led resistance movements formed in the major ghettos of Germanoccupied Central and Eastern Europe, despite the fact that the deaths of those involved seemed the most likely outcome. Slave revolts took place in the West Indies and the American South under similar circumstances. But when circumstances are difficult, oppositional movements are most likely to take hold when there are stable organizations that provide a sustained, reliable framework for action, and when such movements have compelling goals and a clear conception of how to achieve these goals—that is, a strategic perspective. The current U.S. Left has none of these.¶ Fragmentation and Generational Divides¶ The major organizations of the Left that once provided the framework for ongoing collective action and strategic discussion either no longer exist or have atrophied. There are large numbers of progressive nonprofits but few organizations that those who want to make a difference, but lack special skills or expertise, can join and work with. Among young people, leftist activist projects thrive, but they tend to come and go. The most stable and influential institutions of the Left are its media outlets: published and online journals, radio stations, a few left-wing presses, and books with a left-wing perspective published by mainstream presses. The central role of media leads to a Left that is defined more by what people read and what opinions they hold than by their associations or their practical activity.¶ We have a fragmented Left held together by a vague commitment to a more just, egalitarian, and sustainable world, but in practical terms lacking a common focus or basis for coordinated action. The fragmented and fluid character of the Left reflects the fragmentation and fluidity of contemporary society: there is probably no going back to the structured and stable organizations of the past (the Socialist Party, the Communist Party, or even the Students for a Democratic Society) consisting of members who were likely to remain active and engaged for many years. But a Left based on individuals with leftist views and a plethora of frequently ephemeral projects has little ability to consider its collective direction and less influence than its numbers would warrant.¶ The Left is weakened especially by the deep divide between the older generation, veterans of the movements of the sixties and seventies, now in their sixties or older, and the younger generation, in their early forties or younger. The outlook and vocabulary of the older generation, shaped for the most part by perspectives ranging from Marxism to social democracy, tends to clash with the outlook of the younger generation, among whom anarchism has been a major influence. The result is little contact and less cooperation between activists of the two generations. In addition, white leftists tend to know little about (and have little contact with) movements of the Left among people of color. And the sector of the Left that consists largely of professionals and intellectuals has little contact with the labor Left.¶ The most promising sector of the U.S. Left is the arena of youth activism that tilts toward anarchism and that was at the center of the Occupy movement. Activists in this arena share an opposition to all forms of oppression (racism, sexism, homophobia, and others), a dislike of hierarchy and a deep suspicion of the state, a vision of an egalitarian, cooperative, and decentralized society, and a desire to model that society in their political practice. Many would include an explicit opposition to capitalism.¶ The Occupy movement was shaped by the idealism, energy, and commitment of a politics influenced by what some call anarchism and others call anti-authoritarianism. Occupy’s protest against the consolidation of wealth and power among the few plus the utopian quality of Occupy communities led to explosive growth of the movement and massive public support. But when police closed the encampments, the movement, as a mass movement, soon collapsed. Valuable organizing projects spun off, but these are quite different from Occupy. One may criticize Occupy activists for not having given much thought to what form the movement would take after the inevitable police closures. But the episodic, fleeting character of Occupy is shared by movements around the world: an incident sets off protest over long-standing grievances, protest mushrooms into a mass movement, the protest is repressed, and the movement collapses, having altered public discourse but leaving no organization or institution capable of bringing about social change. This is the weakness of the ascendant form of leftist or protest politics that emphasizes spontaneity and avoids organizational forms able to last. CP States/Treaties CP---2AC Doesn’t solve treaties Keith Humphreys 13, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Mental Health Policy, Stanford University, 11/25/13, “Can the United Nations Block U.S. Marijuana Legalization?,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/keith-humphreys/can-the-united-nations-bl_b_3977683.html 1. Is the U.S. currently in violation of the UN treaties it signed agreeing to make marijuana illegal? No. The U.S. federal government is a signatory to the treaty, but the States of Washington and Colorado are not. Countries with federated systems of government like the U.S. and Germany can only make international commitments regarding their national-level policies. Constitutionally, U.S. states are simply not required to make marijuana illegal as it is in federal law. Hence, the U.S. made no such commitment on behalf of the 50 states in signing the UN drug control treaties. Some UN officials believe that the spirit of the international treaties requires the U.S. federal government to attempt to override state-level marijuana legalization. But in terms of the letter of the treaties, Attorney General Holder's refusal to challenge Washington and Colorado's marijuana policies is within bounds. Won’t reach consensus, takes forever---changing national drug policy first is key David R. Bewley-Taylor, 12, Professor of International Relations and Public Policy at Swansea University Wales, and founding Director of the Global Drug Policy Observatory, International Drug Control, Consensus Fractured, p 321 Such a situation has the potential to cause complications in not only¶ the initial creation of a coalition of states working against or without the¶ cooperation of the USA as the hegemonic state, what Duncan Snidal¶ has termed a k-group,1,>0 but also crucially its subsequent mainten-¶ ance during what, bearing in mind the diverging perspectives on the¶ issue within the international community, would no doubt be a lengthy¶ period of activity. The creation of any effective LMG is dependent on the willingness of a sufficient number of national administrations to expend diplomatic energy in the pursuit of the desired outcome within the international arena. Within the field of UN drug policy reform, achieving a critical mass of nations will be entirely dependent on the state of national drug policy among potential group members. In other words, the construction of a group of like-minded nations will only take place when an adequate collection of states have all reached a point where decision makers feel that the only way to better address the drug issue within their own borders is to alter aspects of the international drug control treaties. Reaching a necessary commonality of position and hence of interest across a group of nations is likely to be both prolonged and unpredictable. [FYI-“LMG” in the card = like-minded group] DA GOP Good---2AC Dems win---fundraising---that’s key Alex Roarty 9/25/14, politics writer for National Journal, “Republicans See Money Drying Up in Final Weeks,” National Journal, http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/republicans-seemoney-drying-up-in-final-weeks-20140925 A restless electorate and a target-rich map have the GOP on the cusp of winning the Senate majority. But with fewer than 40 days until November, Republican campaigns are suddenly confronting a problem that undermines high hopes of victory: a sudden and serious lack of cash .¶ GOP campaigns, political committees, and—above all—the party's outside groups are scrambling to raise money, worried that Democrats and their allied groups are poised to heavily outspend them on TV ads in the final weeks before Election Day. Concerns run deepest about October, when Democratic groups are on track to pour millions of dollars into a handful of races that will determine which party controls the Senate. In some of those same races, Republicans have reserved little or no airtime.¶ The disparity has led to mounting frustration among political operatives running Republican campaigns. And they are issuing a blunt warning: In a year with a half-dozen tight Senate contests, the party could easily squander most of them.¶ "I am worried about it for the first time in a long time," said Rob Jesmer, who ran the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2012 and 2010 and continues to work on behalf of Senate campaigns now. "I think in some of these places, it could be the determining factor ."¶ The party, Jesmer says, still has a good chance of taking the Senate from Democrats. "But if we don't, the story is going to be that outside money saved these guys."¶ Republican complaints about a lack of late-cycle funding are being met with guffaws from Democrats, who point out—rightly—that the GOP benefitted from an unprecedented early spending blitz from the conservative group Americans for Prosperity. The Koch brothers-backed organization spent upwards of $40 million on a handful of important Senate races, and that likely means Republicans have already spent far more in most battlegrounds.¶ Yet still, the early deluge of pro- GOP spending has now been matched and, in some places, exceeded by Democrats, leaving Republicans struggling to keep up.¶ Why outside groups are turning off the spigot now is a mystery to GOP strategists. Some say donors were unhappy with the performance of outside groups in 2012, have viewed the NRSC skeptically for back-to-back cycles, or are afraid of receiving the same treatment that befell Charles and David Koch at the hands of Majority Leader Harry Reid, who relentlessly and publicly maligned the brothers this year.¶ Indeed, the political empire founded by the duo, for all of its early spending, has not been the source of infinite cash that some GOP operatives had once hoped. They appear content instead to build a small army of paid staffers and volunteers in swing states such as North Carolina.¶ Regardless, the problem for Republicans in races that could still go either way is about to become more pronounced as the final month of the campaign season begins.¶ Democratic and Republican sources tracking ad buys in Senate races describe a landscape that, for now, shows big gaps in Republican spending. In Colorado, for instance, Crossroads GPS, the nonprofit arm of the Karl Rove-aligned American Crossroads, has spent or is slated to spend millions of dollars in on-air spots from mid-September to mid-October. But it hasn't reserved so much as a dime in airtime during the race's final two weeks.¶ Two other groups—Freedom Partners, another organization affiliated with the Koch brothers, and the NRSC—each have modest buys worth less than $1 million declared for the back half of October. And their combined totals barely match what the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is scheduled to spend in a single week.¶ In fact, the DSCC and the Senate Majority PAC, a group staffed by close allies of Reid, have reserved more than $4.5 million combined in the season's final weeks.¶ The gaps extend to other battlegrounds. One official at the NRSC who tracks media buys said Democrats and their allies have spent or already reserved $23 million more in TV ads between Sept. 1 and Election Day in seven Senate races—Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Virginia. (Virginia and Minnesota are both considered fringe opportunities for the GOP.)¶ Exacerbating the problem for the GOP is that in most races, an incumbent-heavy field of Democrats with vast fundraising networks has raised significantly more cash than GOP hopefuls, some of whom had to invest heavily in a primary before even reaching the general election.¶ American Crossroads, the NRSC, and others can still reserve additional airtime, and in some states, it's almost certain they will. But buying TV ads so close to Election Day is costly, inefficient, and can make it hard to coordinate spending with other groups. It's why Democrats, led by the Senate Majority PAC and DSCC, reserved airtime months ago.¶ It's impossible to determine how much extra a group like Crossroads, which as an independent group already pays a higher rate than party committees or candidates, will pay for buying late, said Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president of Kantar Media Ad Intelligence. But the difference can be significant.¶ "Placing a late buy can cost exponentially more than an advocacy group who placed a buy early," she said.¶ Republicans have been vocal about their money problems of late. Rove wrote a column in The Wall Street Journal last week sounding the alarm and issued a similar worry during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. The NRSC, in a daily email to reporters, highlighted a section of the Wall Street Journal editorial that declared that the "untold story of this campaign is that Democrats are trouncing Republicans on fundraising."¶ The protestations are in part a transparent effort to rally the donor base. But at some level, they're also an early attempt from Republican strategists to assign blame in case the GOP doesn't gain the six seats necessary in November to take the Senate. In fact, it's why both parties are arguing over which side is spending more than the other in Senate races.¶ But for whatever posturing the GOP is making, most strategists insist the concern is real . And, they could easily make the difference between winning and losing .¶ "Late advertising is going to matter," said Brad Todd, a GOP strategist working on a handful of important Senate races. "I think there is concern among a lot of Republicans that our donors have not quite realized the opportunity out in front of them." argue, it Plan wrecks the dems James, 14 (1/21/2014, Frank, “Obama's Marijuana Remarks Light Up Legalization Debate,” http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2014/01/21/264551314/obamas-marijuana-remarkslight-up-legalization-debate) That President Obama could openly speculate about marijuana being less dangerous than alcohol — and embrace the state-level legalization of the drug — is a measure of just how far the nation has moved since the 1980s.¶ Back then, the Reagan administration's approach was absolute: "Just Say No." It's more complicated today.¶ Obama's interview with the New Yorker's David Remnick gave a measure of validation to friends of legalization and served as a buzz kill to its foes. But even supporters of decriminalizing marijuana were careful not to claim that Obama's statement had altered the overall dynamics of the debate.¶ For one thing, Obama was characteristically cautious in how he framed the issue, to the point of ambivalence. While he said that marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol — an assertion in dispute — he also said he told his daughters that it was "a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy."¶ He seemed most concerned about the disproportionate impact marijuana arrests and convictions were having on minority young people. And he also worried about where to draw the line with other more dangerous drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine.¶ Obama, as a politician and leader of the Democratic Party, is also wary of intentionally putting his party at a political disadvantage, especially as the 2014 midterm and 2016 presidential elections come into view .¶ So while Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, the best-known marijuana legalization advocacy group, welcomed the president's comments, he wasn't expecting a burst of federal legislative activity or executive directives from the president's pen.¶ "Let's get politically pragmatic here. His approval ratings right now are not that high," St. Pierre said. "So the idea of coming out full bore for marijuana legalization is probably not a strategy to raise his overall ratings . Second, he's a Democrat who would like to hand off his eight-year presidency to another Democrat.¶ "And so it's very likely that he and his aides are very conscious of the idea marijuana is a political hot potato ," he said. While libertarian conservatives tend to to be pro-legalization, many other Republicans aren't.¶ "And so do they want to hand such a massive triangulation to Republicans who would cast Mr. Obama and other Democrats as a bunch of legalizing dopers?" St. Pierre asks rhetorically. Not likely to happen, says NORML's leader, who has lobbied in Washington for legalization for decades.¶ Obama was already a target for such attacks from conservatives because of his acknowledgement that he smoked pot and tried other drugs as a teenager and young man, even leading the self-styled Choom Gang of young marijuana aficionados.¶ And it's not just non-libertarian-oriented Republicans who would oppose the president if he decided to push for federal decriminalization. Patrick Kennedy, the former congressman and son of Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has experienced his own battle with substance abuse, took Obama to task for saying that marijuana was benign relative to alcohol. In a statement Kennedy, chairman of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said:¶ "We take issue with the President's comparisons between marijuana and alcohol, and we strongly encourage him — a president who has, on many occasions, championed rigorous science — to work closely with his senior drug policy advisors and scientists, who fully acknowledge the growing world body of science showing the harms of marijuana use to individuals and communities. Today's marijuana is far more potent than the marijuana the President has acknowledged using during his teens and early adulthood."¶ Obama's comments, cautious as they were, could still fuel momentum for legalization at the state level, especially since he endorsed that approach. Only two states, Washington and Colorado, have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Beyond them, 20 states and the District of Columbia have more or less legalized the drug for medical purposes. Plan hurts the Dems—unpopular among LIKELIST voters New Republic 13, 10/24, “Marijuana is America's Next Political Wedge Issue” http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115334/marijuana-americas-next-great-political-wedgeissue To date, Democrats haven’t had many incentives to take a risk on the issue. Democrats are already winning the winnable culture war skirmishes , at least from a national electoral perspective, and they have a winning demographic hand. And let’s get perspective: Marijuana legalization may be increasingly popular, but it’s not clearly an electoral bonanza . Support for legalization isn’t very far above 50 percent, if it is in fact, and there are potential downsides. National surveys show that a third of Democrats still oppose marijuana legalization . Seniors, who turnout in high numbers in off year elections, are also opposed. Altogether, it’s very conceivable that there are more votes to be lost than won by supporting marijuana . After all, marijuana legalization underperformed President Obama in Washington State. AT: Pivot No pivot after the election—weakened leadership causes ineffective negotiations, republicans won’t be on board (great card) Keith B. Richburg 8/15, author and international correspondant of the Washington Post in Asia, MA in International Relations from the London School of Economics, 8/15/14, Electile Dysfunction and Asia, http://www.keithrichburg.com/blogs/keith-b-richburg/electiledysfunction-and-asia Once admired as a global model for its democratic values and practices, the U.S. today seems like the world’s poster child for political dysfunction, and an abject lesson in how not to run a modern, advanced country.¶ ¶ America’s allure as a model was fading before, thanks to the 2008 financial crisis that exposed deep flaws in the financial system and called into question the ability of the U.S. to manage the global economy. Then came the self-inflicted wounds — the showdown over the debt ceiling and the Tea Party-engineered 16-day government shutdown of 2013.¶ ¶ No wonder President Barack Obama expressed such exasperation in his revealing August 8 interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. “Societies don’t work if political factions take maximalist positions,” Obama said.¶ ¶ Now here’s the really depressing news – it’s only likely to get worse.¶ ¶ When Obama travels to Asia in November for talks that will include the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Beijing and the East Asia Summit in Myanmar, it will be just one week after American midterm elections that are widely expected to hand Obama’s Democratic Party a brutal drubbing at the polls, and could, if the current prognoses hold, deliver the Senate to his Republican opponents.¶ ¶ So Obama will likely arrive in Asia a severely weakened leader, a veritable lame duck with no chance of enacting anything meaningful for the remaining two years and two months of his term. And his Republican critics will feel emboldened enough to launch endless corruption investigations, stymie any new presidential initiatives and appointments, and perhaps even turn the impeachment fantasy of the rightwing base into reality.¶ ¶ This was much the same situation former President Bill Clinton found himself in when he traveled to Asia in November 1994, after Democrats suffered a similar midterm election shellacking that left Republicans in charge of Congress. And the same was true for former President George W. Bush, who had to make the sojourn to the APEC summit in Vietnam after his party suffered bruising losses in the 2006 midterms and who saw his presidency ever-after diminished. Clinton had time to recover - but still became embroiled in a bitter impeachment fight. Obama, like Bush, will be in the twilight of his tenure.¶ ¶ This is all bad news for America’s partners in Asia.¶ ¶ Southeast Asia in general prefers a strong American leader who can make decisions and push through his commitments. A weakened Obama will be unlikely to deliver much of anything — so forget about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the free trade agreement that was supposed to be the cornerstone of the administration’s new Asia-focused policy. Obama said he hoped to have a TPP framework agreement in place by the time of his November summit. But the likelihood of Congress passing anything after this year is between zero and zilch.¶ ¶ On foreign policy, it matters. The Southeast Asian countries facing off against China over the disputed South China Sea islands would like to see a strong America act as a counterweight to Beijing’s rising power and ambition. But because of its political paralysis, Washington has become the butt of Chinese humour — as when Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu of China’s National Defense University joked at a conference in June that the U.S. was suffering from “erectile dysfunction.”¶ ¶ America’s current paralyzed political system couldn’t manage to pass an infrastructure bill to start repairing the nation’s outdated and crumbling highways, bridges and rail lines. China, meanwhile, is forging ahead with plans for a high-speed rail line that will eventually link Bangkok to Kunming, reshaping Southeast Asia to Beijing’s liking.¶ ¶ A dysfunctional America is also not in a very strong position to lecture others on the virtues of democracy and the necessity for political enemies to find common ground. How can the U.S. engage Thailand’s ruling generals on the need to speed up the transition to democracy when the compelling counterargument is that an excess of party politics brought only chaos? Can the U.S. really still preach to the Vietnamese or Laotian Communists about the virtues of multiparty democracy?¶ ¶ Is there any good news here? Only that there’s another U.S. presidential election coming in November 2016, with a new president set to take office in January 2017. She, or he, should have a brief honeymoon period of a few months to get something done. Republican senate locks in gridlock Mara Liasson 9/9, NPR, “In An Era Of Gridlock, Does Controlling The Senate Really Matter?”, http://www.npr.org/2014/09/09/347144865/in-an-era-of-gridlock-does-controlling-thesenate-really-matter Republicans are increasingly confident that when this year's midterm elections are over, they will control both houses of Congress. But in this period of polarization and gridlock, what difference would it make? This midterm election doesn't seem to be about anything in particular other than whether you like President Obama or not. There's no overarching issue, no clashing national agendas. Instead, it's just a series of very expensive, brutally negative races for Congress. "I'm not so sure it's going to be a referendum on anything, but what it is all about, I would respectfully suggest, is who controls the Senate for the next two years," says former Democratic Senate aide Jim Manley. And that's about it. It's all about who controls the Senate. The House is not expected to change hands. But, since nothing much happens in the Senate now under a narrow Democratic majority, why would anything be different under a narrow Republican majority? Sunday's Meet the Press. He said infrastructure funding — President Obama the fate of his agenda tried to answer that question on — on issues like the minimum wage, equal pay and hangs in the balance if he doesn't have at least one chamber of Congress making his arguments . "I know that given the gridlock that we've seen over the last couple years, it's easy to say that these midterms don't matter. But the fact of the matter is that on every issue that's important to middle-class Americans, overwhelmingly we're seeing a majority prefer the Democratic option," Obama said. From the Republican point of view, stopping that Democratic agenda would be a positive outcome. Scott Reed, senior political strategist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says a lot would change with a Republican Senate. "I wouldn't go as far as to call it a mandate, but I'd call it a step in the right direction, and I think the press will be forced to cover it as ... a repudiation of the president's leadership style, and thus it will be a new day," Reed says. "The president and the White House team will be focused on legacy, legacy, legacy, and there will be an opportunity to try to get some things done that are good for the country." Those things might include compromises on immigration or energy, for example. But so far, the Republican leadership hasn't laid out a governing agenda. Last week, the Wall Street Journal editorial page implored the GOP to run a campaign that is about more than attacking Obama. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has begun talking about what he'd do as majority leader in the Senate. In remarks at a private meeting with the Koch brothers that were reportedly leaked to a liberal-leaning YouTube channel called the Undercurrent, McConnell laid out an aggressive agenda. He said, "We're going to go after them" on health care, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board. He goes on to say he will place riders on spending bills that only need 50 votes to pass . That strategy would set up a series of confrontations with the president . "There will be an opportunity to pass some bills ... and send them to the president, where he will have the opportunity to either veto them or not," Reed says. In addition to veto fights, there would be other changes. Republicans would get more oversight of the Obama administration, the White House would get more subpoenas. "Just imagine all the subpoenas that former Secretary Clinton would have to deal with over the next two years under such a scenario," former aide Manley says. "For me, it's nothing short of a nightmare." If Republicans overreach and let the Tea Party call the shots, Obama might be able to do what other presidents have done when they lost control of Congress: turn the tables. Former Obama White House aide Stephanie Cutter doesn't exactly see a silver lining for Democrats if they lose the Senate. But, she says, "If Republicans win control of the Senate, there is opportunity. ... Hopefully if they come to table we could get something done." She adds, "If they decide not to do that, then the opportunity is to really show the difference in agenda and vision for this country between Democrats and Republicans." So if the Senate changes hands, one thing won't change: gridlock . Perhaps more dramatic and clarifying than the gridlock we have today, but gridlock all the same. And it will set the table for the 2016 presidential elections No Asia war Nick Bisley 14, Professor of IR @ La Trobe University (Australia) and Executive Director of La Trobe Asia, “It’s not 1914 all over again: Asia is preparing to avoid war”, 3/10, http://theconversation.com/its-not-1914-all-over-again-asia-is-preparing-to-avoid-war-22875 Asia is cast as a region as complacent about the risks of war as Europe was in its belle époque. Analogies are an understandable way of trying to make sense of unfamiliar circumstances. In this case, however, the historical parallel is deeply misleading. Asia is experiencing a period of uncertainty and strategic risk unseen since the US and China reconciled their differences in the mid-1970s. Tensions among key powers are at very high levels: Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe recently invoked the 1914 analogy. But there are very good reasons , notwithstanding these issues, why Asia is not about to tumble into a great power war. China is America’s second most important trading partner . Conversely, the US is by far the most important country with which China trades. Trade and investment’s “golden straitjacket” is a basic reason to be optimistic. Why should this be seen as being more effective than the high levels of interdependence between Britain and Germany before World War One? Because Beijing and Washington are not content to rely on markets alone to keep the peace. They are acutely aware of how much they have at stake . Diplomatic infrastructure for peace The two powers have established a wide range of institutional links to manage their relations . These are designed to improve the level and quality of their communication, to lower the risks of misunderstanding spiralling out of control and to manage the relationship . Every year, around 1000 officials from all ministries led by the top political figures in each country meet has demonstrably improved US-China relations across the policy spectrum, leading to collaboration in a wide range of areas . trajectory of their under the auspices of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. The dialogue These range from disaster relief to humanitarian aid exercises, from joint training of Afghan diplomats to marine conservation efforts, in which Chinese law enforcement officials are hosted on US Coast Guard vessels to enforce maritime legal regimes. Unlike diplomatic engagement by Germany and Britain in the lead-up to 1914, today’s the near total absence of § Marked 15:26 § two would-be combatants have a deep level of interaction and practical cooperation. Just as the extensive array of common interests has led Beijing and Washington to do a lot of bilateral work, Asian states have been busy the past 15 years . These nations have created a broad range of multilateral institutions and mechanisms intended to improve trust, generate a sense of common cause and promote regional prosperity. Some organisations, like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), have a high profile with its annual leaders’ meeting involving, as it often does, the common embarrassment of heads of government dressing up in national garb. Others like the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus Process are less in the public eye. But there are more than 15 separate multilateral bodies that have a focus on regional security concerns. organisations are trying to build what might be described as region . While these mechanisms action, they All these an infrastructure for peace in the are not flawless, and many have rightly been criticised for being long on dialogue and short on have been crucial in managing specific crises and allowing countries to clearly state their commitments and priorities . 1AR Cartels Violence UQ Violence is increasing and threatens state collapse Alan Dowd 14, senior fellow with the Sagamore Institute, also holds senior fellow posts with the American Security Council Foundation and Fraser Institute. In addition, he serves as an adjunct professor at Butler University, “Bordering on Chaos”, March 2, http://www.american.com/archive/2014/february/steering-mexico-away-from-failed-statestatus To optimists, the recent arrest in Mexico of the world's most wanted drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, and Mexico’s bloody drug war generally, are proof that the Mexican government is standing up to the cartels. But pessimists look at Mexico and see a failing state on America’s border. More than 80,000 people have been killed in Mexico’s brutal conflict, with the victims beheaded, shot, tortured and worse. Civil authorities regularly quit or join the warlords, and entire towns have been depopulated as government forces and drug cartels vie for control. In 2008, the U.S. military issued a report challenging policymakers to prepare for a worst-case scenario involving the “rapid and sudden collapse” of Mexico, adding, “an unstable Mexico could represent a homeland security problem of immense proportions to the United States.” The situation may have improved slightly since then. But the Failed States Index (FSI), where Mexico ranks 97th, has described Mexico’s narco- insurgency as “extremely serious” — and understandably so. As with several countries at the top of the FSI (which is really the bottom), warlords have taken over significant chunks of the country — perhaps as much as 12 percent of Mexico’s territory — and the central government’s writ is severely circumscribed. Predictably, vigilante groups — autodefensas — have sprung up in response to the security vacuum. The central government’s reaction to vigilante security forces in the state of Michoacán has served only to underscore its weakness, as it has alternated from promises to help the local militias, to empty threats that they disarm, to open clashes with the militias. In a positive development, federal forces and local militias are partnering on security operations in the Michoacán city of Apatzingán. However, “The government has proposed eventually incorporating some of the vigilantes into a rural police force,” Reuters reports. That’s not a sign of strength or stability. Police forces in Phoenix, Tucson, Brownsville, and El Paso link a growing number of violent crimes — shootings, homicides, even bombings — to cartel foot-soldiers. To put Mexico’s gruesome drug-war death toll in perspective, consider this: The Iraqi government has estimated that 85,694 Iraqi civilians were killed between 2004 and 2008. That’s 17,139 per year. Mexico’s annual total is around 11,000. But some experts place the drug-war death toll closer to 130,000, translating into 18,571 violent deaths per year — considerably higher than the annual toll during Iraq’s insurgency. Whether we accept the official government tally or that of independent researchers, the overall death toll in Mexico is far higher than that which prompted NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999 or in Libya in 2011. Corruption remains a serious problem in Mexico. According to Transparency International’s measure of corruption, Mexico ranks 106th out of 177 nations. So deep and wide is drug-cartel infiltration at the municipal level that President Enrique Peña Nieto was recently forced to replace hundreds of local police and customs officials with federal troops. Mexico’s across the border. chaos often spills For instance, in 2011, the Zetas drug gang slaughtered 27 Guatemalan farmers. Mexican cartels are also operating in Honduras and El Salvador — and the United States. American law enforcement agencies report that the tentacles of Mexico’s cartels reach into scores of U.S. cities . Police forces in Phoenix, Tucson, Brownsville, and El Paso link a growing number of violent crimes — shootings, homicides, even bombings — to cartel foot-soldiers. Mexico’s cartels are well-armed, well-organized, highly motivated military adversaries. They deploy fighting forces nearly as large as the Mexican army, and they use many of the same armaments: mortars, RPGs, bazookas, land mines, and armored assault vehicles. As Guatemalan government officials observed after their troops engaged a Mexican cartel inside Guatemala, “The weapons seized … are more than those of some army brigades.” PEMEX UQ Theft extremely high now Tony Payan 14, Ph.D., Director, Mexico Center, Rice University’s Baker Institute, with Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Government Department, University of Texas at Brownsville, “Energy Reform and Security in Northeastern Mexico,” https://bakerinstitute.org/media/files/files/21e1a8c8/BI-Brief-050614Mexico_EnergySecurity.pdf The impact of organized crime on ¶ the energy sector in the NEC is difficult ¶ to quantify, but it is a real threat to the ¶ intended effects of Mexico’s energy reforms. ¶ SENER and PEMEX recognize that the theft ¶ and illegal sale of gas condensate as well ¶ as the theft of oil and its byproducts are ¶ a serious concern in the region.10 There is ¶ now a complex criminal network through ¶ which millions of liters of oil products are ¶ stolen and smuggled north. According to ¶ some investigators, criminal groups steal ¶ up to 40 percent of natural gas condensate ¶ extracted from Mexico’s northern border ¶ region and sell it in the U.S. black market.11¶ In some areas, “crime groups have virtually ¶ taken over PEMEX’s pipeline system, stealing ¶ growing amounts of fuel and gaining an ¶ important source of revenue as they fight ¶ other gangs and Mexico's government.”12¶ Like PEMEX, private companies operating in ¶ the region can also become victims of this ¶ kind of theft. Politics UQ Michelle Obama changes the game Darlene Superville 10/3/14, writer for Associated Press, "First Lady Hitting Campaign Trail for Midterms," ABC News, abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/month-lady-ramps-fallcampaigning-25936724?singlePage=true A month before critical midterm elections, Michelle Obama is putting her popularity and influence to the test, trying to help elect Democratic candidates and give her husband a fighting chance to complete his agenda.¶ So busy is the first couple a month from the midterm elections that they were both on the road Friday on their 22nd wedding anniversary.¶ "I might not even see him today," Mrs. Obama said Friday in Boston during a rally for state Attorney General Martha Coakley, who's running for governor. Later, she headed to Maine to support Rep. Mike Michaud's gubernatorial bid.¶ Mrs. Obama follows up with a pair of Midwest stops on Tuesday: an appearance with Mary Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor in Wisconsin, and a plug in Chicago for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. President Barack Obama helped raise money for Quinn this week at a Chicago fundraiser. ¶ The first lady also plans appearances this month in Iowa, where Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst are locked in one of the year's most competitive Senate races, as well as in Michigan for Senate candidate Gary Peters and gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer.¶ "She knows the stakes are high and that's why she is dedicating a good part of her schedule to making sure Democrats are out there voting in the midterms," said Tina Tchen, the first lady's top aide.¶ The first lady made her 2014 campaign trail debut last month with stops in Georgia with Michelle Nunn, who hopes to pick up a key Senate seat for Democrats on Nov. 4, and in Wisconsin with Burke, who is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a potential presidential candidate.¶ Mrs. Obama's office declined to release her complete campaign schedule, but she is again setting aside her well-known dislike of politics and juggling her multiple roles as wife, mother of two teenage daughters and first lady to spend at least two days a week on the road boosting Democratic candidates and urging supporters to vote.¶ Voters will decide on Nov. 4 which party controls the Senate during Obama's remaining two years in office, along with determining control of more than 30 governor's offices.¶ Republicans are expected to keep control of the House. They hope to pick up the six seats the party needs to claim the Senate majority and, with it, control of both houses of Congress. Such an outcome would leave the president with scant hope of enacting any major legislation before leaving office.¶ Enter the first lady , who thought her husband's re-election effort two years ago, when she barnstormed key states on his behalf, was the end of their years-long involvement in political campaigns.¶ That was until Obama broke the news that he needed her help once again.¶ "I told Michelle in 2012 this was my last campaign. She said, 'Hallelujah!'" the president said earlier this year. "And then I had to go back to her about six months ago and say, 'Actually, honey, let me amend that. We've got one more campaign.'"¶ Democrats are clamoring for her to campaign with them even as they avoid appearing with the president, whose job approval rating has sunk to the low 40s.¶ Obama, for example, has not campaigned for Nunn in Georgia, where he lost in 2008 and 2012. So far this election season, he has campaigned only with Democratic candidates from his home state of Illinois. A planned joint appearance in Denver in July with Sen. Mark Udall quickly became a solo Obama stop when Udall decided at the last minute to stay behind in Washington.¶ Mrs. Obama also is viewed more positively than Obama by the public, 62 percent to 50 percent, according to the most recent Pew Research Center survey.¶ Republican Party spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said it wasn't surprising that Democratic candidates prefer campaigning with Mrs. Obama over a president who is sagging in the polls. "But she still represents the same failed Obama policies that are wildly unpopular and dragging Democrats down across the board," Kukowski said.¶ Mrs. Obama's appearance in Wisconsin earlier this week drew a crowd of 2,500, the biggest turnout yet for a Burke event, said communications director Joe Zepecki.¶ "That speaks to sort of the enthusiasm that she brings and the opportunity that she helps us get to reach people and get them engaged for the final weeks of this race," he said.¶ At her campaign stops, Mrs. Obama encourages turnout among base voters whom both she and the president have chided for tuning out politics in election years when there is no presidential race. She tells them that staying home would be a disservice to the work the president they voted into office is trying to complete.¶ "Frankly, if we lose these midterm elections, it's going to be a whole lot harder to finish what we've started," Mrs. Obama said at a Democratic Party event last month. AT: Econ Key Not the key issue--other issues overshadow Julie Pace 10/1, AP Reporter, 10/1/14, Obama Hopes New Economy Pitch Will Boost Midterm Prospects, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/01/obama-economymidterms_n_5912814.html WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's escalating military campaign in Iraq and Syria has drowned out the economic pitch he hoped would help salvage a midterm election that has been favoring Republicans. But the airstrikes against Islamic State extremists have also introduced a new complicating factor into the fall campaign, forcing both sides to reassess their closing political messages.¶ Obama is drawing new attention to the nation's recovery from the Great Recession with a speech Thursday at Northwestern University, linking U.S. stature abroad to economic strength at home. It is a delicate argument for a president whose handling of pocketbook issues remains unpopular and who acknowledges many have not benefited from the upturn.¶ Senior administration officials insist that unlike George W. Bush in 2002, Obama does not plan to make national security and the threat of Middle East extremism the centerpiece of his message for the homestretch of the fall campaign. Yet they acknowledge the matter will be impossible for Obama and Democrats to ignore.¶ "You'd like to be able to be talking about the economy in September, but this is a really important piece of business for the president of the United States to do," said Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director. "I don't think it's time lost."¶ Republicans, too, have had to confront the new dynamic posed by the airstrikes.¶ Wes Anderson, a Republican pollster advising several candidates in close contests, said Obama's job approval ratings appear to have improved after his military campaign against the Islamic State group. But he said voters still disapprove of his job combating terrorism.¶ "So they are telling us they like the fact that he's doing something they think he should be doing," Anderson said. "But they don't trust him on the issue."¶ One of Anderson's Senate candidates, North Carolina state Rep. Thom Tillis, has a new ad accusing incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Obama of keeping quiet while the Islamic State threat grew. "The price for their failure is danger. To change direction, we have to change our senator," the narrator says.¶ Political strategists are trying to determine how long military action will remain prominent in the public's mind.¶ "At a minimum it is occupying a fair amount of bandwidth right now," Anderson said.¶ Competing strategies have also made it hard to break through on the economy.¶ "The Republicans, broadly speaking, have tried to nationalize the election on Obama," said Mike Podhorzer, the political director at the AFL-CIO. "The Democrats have in a lot of cases really focused on what they think are the particular issues that are important in their states. That has made it harder to have a powerful economic theme in their messaging." Plan Wrecks Dems---1AR Opposition outweighs support Galston and Dionne ‘13 William A. Galston, holds the Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies at Brookings, where he is a senior fellow and E.J. Dionne Jr., a senior fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings, a Washington Post columnist, and Professor at Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute, May 2013, “The New Politics of Marijuana Legalization: Why Opinion is Changing” http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2013/05/29%20politics%20mariju ana%20legalization%20galston%20dionne/dionne%20galston_newpoliticsofmjleg_final.pdf Support for legalization, though growing markedly, is not as intense as opposition , and is likely to remain relatively shallow so long as marijuana itself is not seen as a positive good. Whether opinion swings toward more robust support for legalization will depend heavily on the perceived success of the state legalization experiments now under way—which will hinge in part on the federal response to those experiments. Unpopular in iowa --- more than any other state Renter, 14 (4/5, Columnist-Natural Society, Poll: Iowans Support Medical Marijuana, Not Recreational Pot) http://naturalsociety.com/poll-iowans-support-medical-marijuana-recreational-pot/ When it comes to marijuana laws and the attitudes towards them, it’s a mixed bag that’s constantly being shook up. In Colorado, for instance, you can walk into a store and legally buy a bag of marijuana, but in other states, you can go to jail for smoking a joint. Though a poll last year found the majority of Americans to support marijuana legalization, that feeling doesn’t seem to extend to Iowa—where most people oppose it. Still, that same survey found growing support for medical marijuana in Iowa, a glimmer of hope that even attitudes there could be changing. The latest Iowa poll comes from Quinnipiac University. It found an overwhelming 81 percent of voters there support medical marijuana. A mere 17 percent were opposed. What’s more, opinions didn’t vary too much from one political affiliation to the next—68 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of Independents, and 89 percent of Democrats indicated their support. This marks the highest rate of approval for medical marijuana that Iowa has seen thus far. But, the changing attitudes haven’t yet extended to all-out legalization. The majority (55 percent) of Iowans oppose legalizing marijuana for recreational use, with only 41 percent supporting it. Just over half of Democrats (54 percent) support legalization while over three-fourths of Republicans (76 percent) oppose it. “Iowans overwhelmingly think marijuana should be legal for medical purposes, but most voters oppose legalizing personal recreational use,” said Peter Brown, of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Opposition to personal marijuana is higher in Iowa than in any state we’ve surveyed so far on this subject. Support for medical marijuana is comparable to other states.” PTX---No Pivot Republican senate locks in gridlock Mara Liasson 9/9, NPR, “In An Era Of Gridlock, Does Controlling The Senate Really Matter?”, http://www.npr.org/2014/09/09/347144865/in-an-era-of-gridlock-does-controlling-thesenate-really-matter Republicans are increasingly confident that when this year's midterm elections are over, they will control both houses of Congress. But in this period of polarization and gridlock, what difference would it make? This midterm election doesn't seem to be about anything in particular other than whether you like President Obama or not. There's no overarching issue, no clashing national agendas. Instead, it's just a series of very expensive, brutally negative races for Congress. "I'm not so sure it's going to be a referendum on anything, but what it is all about, I would respectfully suggest, is who controls the Senate for the next two years," says former Democratic Senate aide Jim Manley. And that's about it. It's all about who controls the Senate. The House is not expected to change hands. But, since nothing much happens in the Senate now under a narrow Democratic majority, why would anything be different under a narrow Republican majority? Sunday's Meet the Press. He said infrastructure funding — President Obama the fate of his agenda tried to answer that question on — on issues like the minimum wage, equal pay and hangs in the balance if he doesn't have at least one chamber of Congress making his arguments . "I know that given the gridlock that we've seen over the last couple years, it's easy to say that these midterms don't matter. But the fact of the matter is that on every issue that's important to middle-class Americans, overwhelmingly we're seeing a majority prefer the Democratic option," Obama said. From the Republican point of view, stopping that Democratic agenda would be a positive outcome. Scott Reed, senior political strategist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says a lot would change with a Republican Senate. "I wouldn't go as far as to call it a mandate, but I'd call it a step in the right direction, and I think the press will be forced to cover it as ... a repudiation of the president's leadership style, and thus it will be a new day," Reed says. "The president and the White House team will be focused on legacy, legacy, legacy, and there will be an opportunity to try to get some things done that are good for the country." Those things might include compromises on immigration or energy, for example. But so far, the Republican leadership hasn't laid out a governing agenda. Last week, the Wall Street Journal editorial page implored the GOP to run a campaign that is about more than attacking Obama. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has begun talking about what he'd do as majority leader in the Senate. In remarks at a private meeting with the Koch brothers that were reportedly leaked to a liberal-leaning YouTube channel called the Undercurrent, McConnell laid out an aggressive agenda. He said, "We're going to go after them" on health care, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board. He goes on to say he will place riders on spending bills that only need 50 votes to pass . That strategy would set up a series of confrontations with the president . "There will be an opportunity to pass some bills ... and send them to the president, where he will have the opportunity to either veto them or not," Reed says. In addition to veto fights, there would be other changes. Republicans would get more oversight of the Obama administration, the White House would get more subpoenas. "Just imagine all the subpoenas that former Secretary Clinton would have to deal with over the next two years under such a scenario," former aide Manley says. "For me, it's nothing short of a nightmare." If Republicans overreach and let the Tea Party call the shots, Obama might be able to do what other presidents have done when they lost control of Congress: turn the tables. Former Obama White House aide Stephanie Cutter doesn't exactly see a silver lining for Democrats if they lose the Senate. But, she says, "If Republicans win control of the Senate, there is opportunity. ... Hopefully if they come to table we could get something done." She adds, "If they decide not to do that, then the opportunity is to really show the difference in agenda and vision for this country between Democrats and Republicans." So if the Senate changes hands, one thing won't change: gridlock . Perhaps more dramatic and clarifying than the gridlock we have today, but gridlock all the same. And it will set the table for the 2016 presidential elections No Impact No Asia war --- china and America are too closely tied in economics to go to war --that’s Bisley --- finishing it here: today’s two would-be combatants have a deep level of interaction and practical cooperation. Just as the extensive array of common interests has led Beijing and Washington to do a lot of bilateral work, Asian states have been busy the past 15 years . These nations have created a broad range of multilateral institutions and mechanisms intended to improve trust, generate a sense of common cause and promote regional prosperity. Some organisations, like the Asia-Pacific a high profile with its annual leaders’ meeting involving, as it often does, the common embarrassment of heads of government dressing up in national garb. Others like the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus Process are less in the public eye. But there are more than 15 separate Economic Cooperation (APEC), have multilateral bodies that have a focus on regional security concerns. organisations are trying to build what might be described as region . While these mechanisms action, they All these an infrastructure for peace in the are not flawless, and many have rightly been criticised for being long on dialogue and short on have been crucial in managing specific crises and allowing countries to clearly state their commitments and priorities . Multiple factors prove no war Vannarith 10—Executive Director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace. PhD in Asia Pacific Studies, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific U (Chheang, Asia Pacific Security Issues: Challenges and Adaptive Mechanism, http://www.cicp.org.kh/download/CICP%20Policy%20brief/CICP%20Policy%20brief%20No%203.pdf) Some people look to China for economic and strategic interests while others still stick to the US. Since, as a human nature, change is not widely acceptable due to the high level of in the Asia Pacific uncertainty. It is therefore logical to say that most of the regional leaders prefer to see the status quo of security architecture Region in which US is the hub of security provision. But it is impossible to preserve the status quo since China needs to strategically outreach to the wider region in order to get necessary resources especially energy and raw materials to maintain her economic growth in the home country. It is understandable that China needs to have stable high economic growth of about 8 percent GDP growth per year for her own economic and political survival. Widening development gap and employment are the two main issues facing China. Without China, the world will not enjoy peace, stability, and development. China is the locomotive of global and regional economic development and contributes to global and regional peace and stability. It is understandable that China is struggling to break the so-called containment strategy imposed by the US since the post Cold War. Whether this tendency can lead to the greater strategic division is still unknown. Nevertheless, many observers agree that whatever changes may take place, a multi-polar world and multilateralism prevail. The reasons or logics supporting multilateralism are mainly based on the fact that no one country can really address the security issues embedded with international dimension, no one country has the capacity to adapt and adopt to Large scale interstate war or armed conflict is unthinkable in the region due to the high level of interdependency and democratization. It is believed that economic interdependency can reduce conflicts and prevent war. Democracy can lead to more transparency, accountability, and participation that can reduce collective fears and create more confidence and trust among the people in the region. In addition, globalism and regionalism are taking the center stage of national and foreign policy of many governments in the region except North Korea. The combination of those elements of peace is necessary for peace and stability in the region and those elements are present and being improved in this region. new changes alone, and it needs cooperation and coordination among the nation states and relevant stakeholders including the private sector and civil societies.