by SWJ Editors
Mexico's Struggle with 'Drugs and Thugs'
SWJ Book Review
by John P. Sullivan
Mexico is in the thralls of bloody drug wars. Last year these battles for profit and power cost an estimated 6,290 lives. So far this year, over 1,000 people have died as the cartels and their criminal soldiers seek dominance in the lucrative global narco-markets. These narco-conflicts are waged by cartels, gangs, paramilitary militias. The cartels fight at three levels: within their own enterprise for dominance; against other cartel alliances for market control; and against the security forces of the state (police and military) to fend off interference. Collectively this amounts to a virtual civil war fought by criminal netwarriors.
These netwars challenge Mexico and the cross-border region that embraces the frontier between Mexico and the United States with a series of interlocking, networked criminal insurgencies. Communities cower with fear against cartel reprisals and public debate is hampered by a lack of detailed understanding of the conflict and its players. This monograph, Mexico's Struggle with 'Drugs and Thugs', helps fill the knowledge void.
George W. Grayson is the Class of 1938 Professor of Government at the College of William and Mary, is a respected area specialist on Mexico. In addition to his long-standing academic focus, he is a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Grayson brings over a quarter century of experience to bear in this lean, yet rich account of the social and political dynamics underlying the current cartel conflict.