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McCormick Comments on the Use of Military Force Against Mexican Drug Cartels in Dallas Morning News

March 14, 2023

The Dallas Morning News

Gladys McCormick

Gladys McCormick

The recent kidnapping of four Americans—and killing of two of them—along with the fentanyl crisis, have intensified calls from some Texas Republicans to approve the use of military force against drug cartels with the same legal approach used to hunt down terrorists after the 9/11 attacks.

Gladys McCormick, associate professor of history and Jay and Debe Moskowitz Endowed Chair in Mexico-U.S. Relations, says rhetorical saber rattling typically follows high-profile tragedies, but Mexico already has a significant police and military presence on its side of the border and efforts to confront the cartels militarily have not solved the problem.

“It’s been tried and it has failed colossally,” McCormick says. “So the idea to sort of try it again to me sounds utterly irresponsible.”

Even the word “cartel” feels outdated, she says, given how the organizations have spread across many different countries and diversified into semi-legal areas, from water rights to gray market oil sales.

She suggests focusing instead on addressing the humanitarian crisis at the border that feeds into the violence and improving the capacity of woefully under-resourced law enforcement in Mexico.

Designating cartels as terrorist organizations could help go after their financing, she says. “But it isn’t about a military strike,” McCormick says. “It’s about tracking down the money trail.”

Read more in the Dallas Morning News article, Deadly kidnapping, fentanyl crisis spark calls for U.S. military action against cartels.”

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