Brain Damage: Possibility of Treatment for an Untreatable Injury

Brain injury affects millions of people around the world. According to research, “head injury is the leading cause of death and disability in people under the age of 45”, (Compos-Pires, et al., 2014). The majority of these head injuries happen as a result of accidents where trauma occurs to the brain through blunt forced injury. While some die, others suffer from the long term side effects. However, most upsetting is there is no recommended treatment for brain injury. Once significant trauma occurs in the brain, it is unable to recover lost neurons. By examining research conducted by the Imperial College in London, scientist may have discovered a new treatment to reduce brain damage after an injury using xenon gas.

Head injury can occur for various reasons. While some individuals observe head injury as a result of a car accident, others observe head injury as a result of violence. This is what occurred in the case of my favorite cousin, James Owens Jr. Over 10 years ago James was brutally attacked on his way home. He was the victim of a hate crime, attacked and discriminated for being gay. During the attack, James was kicked, stomped, and hit about his head resulting in brain injury.  Although he appeared healthy on the outside, on the inside he was badly injured. Not only did James suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress, he also suffered from consistent and sporadic seizures which significantly reduced his quality of life. Recently, James died as a result of his injury when he suffered from a seizure while alone and suffocated on his own fluids.  It is important not only to make people aware of the negative effects of closed-head injury, but also to make individuals aware of a problem that plagues American society.

In an 2014 article produced by researchers at the Imperial College London, scientists have discovered that “treatment with xenon gas after a head injury reduces the extent of brain damage, according to a study on mice”, (Compos, Pires et al., 2014). This research provides a possibility of affective treatment for individuals with head injury. As of yet, there are no current drug treatments that reduce the effects of brain injury or restore the brain back to normal functioning. When injury occurs there is little that doctors can do. With the results of this research, scientists have the potential to transform medicine and the lives of individuals and their families.

According to Pinel, closed-head injury is one of the six causes of brain damage. The skull does not have to be penetrated for damage to occur. Instead, “any blow to the head should be treated with extreme caution, particularly when contusion, sensorimotor disturbances, or loss of consciousness ensues”, (Pinel, 2014, p. 237). When injury to the brain happens in this manner, damage may include hemorrhaging and hematoma. This damages brain cells. Once the brain cell is damaged it is likely to commit suicide and the cell cannot be recovered or restored. Seizures, then, are more likely to occur as a result. Not all seizures are the same and are varied. However, epilepsy is the most common as it is “applied to only those patients whose seizures are repeatedly generated by their own brain dysfunction”, (Pinel, 2014, pg. 240).

The research conducted by scientist in London applied xenon gas to mice suffering from head trauma. The mice were provided with xenon either hours or days after the injury. In both instances, researchers found that xenon gas “limits brain damage and improves neurological outcomes in mice both in the short term and long term”, (Compos- Pires et al., 2014). Xenon gas may sound like an absurd form of treatment. However, the potential of xenon gas in medicine has been studied since the 1950’s. When applied to mice with brain damage, it improved neurological functioning including movement and balance, (Compos-Pires et al., 2014). Although this research is limited to studies on mice, scientists feel enthusiastic about starting clinical trials on human subjects.

Many things can be taken away from this research. It provides hope to individuals suffering from injury. It may not be able to help those with long term brain injury which occurred years or decades ago. Yet it has the potential to help those who acquired a brain injury last week, yesterday, and today. This study provides a possible method of treatment to an injury considered untreatable by many experts. Although much can be done to control the swelling of the brain, nothing can be done to reduce the effects of hemorrhaging, bruising, or dead brain cells. The study has shown that xenon gas can improve brain injury of mice. The next time is to observe if this can be beneficial to humans. In addition to studies conducted on mice, the research proves to be valid. However, its reliability cannot be achieved without additional research on different subjects, environments, and situations of brain injury. Either way, this research has future implications for people with closed-head injury including treatment for a once untreatable wound.



  1. Imperial College London. (2014, September 9). Xenon gas protects brain after head injury, research shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 27, 2014 from
  2. Pinel, J. (2014). Biopsychology (9th ed). Pearson Education Inc. Upper Saddle River N.J.


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The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall

During 1989, there was a lot of media attention given to the Berlin Wall. Many people around the world watch from their TV as Germans cried and rejoiced, taking apart the wall with their hands and hammers piece by piece. It is an awe defining moment in German history that changed how the outside world viewed the war divided country. Most are unfamiliar with the consequences Germany faced after the genocide of the Jews and the failed attempt at world domination. The country was affected by mass migrations out of East Germany, a communist government, and a territorial separation. As a result, the Berlin Wall represents a time in European history marked by War, turmoil, and division of a country. By understanding the after effects of World War II and the dangers of the Cold War, one can better insight of the Berlin Wall and negative consequences of the physical divide that tormented the country.

East and West Germany

In 1945 Germany lost their fight for world leadership which marked the end of World War II. After ceding to the war, the winning powers France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union divided war torn Germany into two parts. This is better known as “a joint occupation of the German state”, (US Dept of State, 2009). As a result, each part of the country would be under the control and watchful eye of the winning authority. Berlin remained at the center of this division. It is the capital of Germany and the heart of the country. The divide of the country began in Berlin, and each side dominated that side of the city and country. In this way the country was divided into, “ the Deutsche Demokratische Republic (East Germany) and the Soviet Union’s zone of occupation”, (Carmichael, 2011, p. 1).  West Germany was controlled and occupied by the Western powers. East Germany was controlled and occupied by the Soviet Union, where citizens lived a life much different to those observed in the West. Like any war loosing country, Germany was weak, dependent, and under control of foreign governments. However, citizens of East Germany lived a life stripped away from the modern conveniences required to rebuild a nation and improve the state of society. For almost 15 years, East and West Germany lived separate lives as one side began to redevelop the country and encourage economic independence while the other side did the opposite. During the rise of Soviet communist leadership the country attempted to “garner partial payment for wartime remittances”, (US Dept of State, 2009). This further crippled a weak state which devastated an already marginalized economy. It left East German citizens fragile and frustrated by poverty. These differences continued to create a large divide between the occupied powers as well as the livelihood of German citizens.

Towards the end of the 1950’s the divide between East and West Germany became a chasm. Frustrated by the occupation of West Berlin by the allied powers, the Soviet Union’s Premier Khruschev attempted to push France, Britain, and the U.S out of the city. Khruschev felt that the Western powers had broken their treaty regarding the use of military force and monopolizing industries signed in the Potsdam Agreement. The leader sent threats to the leaders of the Western powers as he no longer wanted to cooperate and communicate with the West. Although the leaders of the German occupation were able to meet and discuss the matter, the pressing issues were never resolved, (Major, 2006). After shooting down an American plane and multiple failed attempts at negotiations regarding the state of Berlin, the relationship between the Western Powers and the Soviet Union waned. “In the end, the United States, United Kingdom, and France replied to the ultimatums by firmly asserting their determination to remain in, and to maintain their legal right of free access to the entirety of Berlin”, (Carmichael, 2011, p. 2). As a result, the Soviet Union continued to flex their power on East Germany and Berlin. From 1949 until 1961, millions of East Germans feld the Soviet occupied country to seek refuge in the neighboring territory. Many left seeking economic opportunity for themselves and their families and independence from the Soviet nation. To end migration, have better control of the city, and with little attempt from the Western powers to negotiate a new peace treaty, East Germany built a fence separating the land from West Germany.

The Berlin Wall

Scholars state that, “the East German population’s massive exodus westwards through the open boarder… was the prime cause of the crisis, and it was the boarder’s closure which effectively ended it”, (Major, 2006). On August 12 1961, a fence was built separating East and West Germany. It ensured that East Germans could not escape to West Germany through key access points. These points were along the East-West boarder as well as surrounding the western territory and cutting through the City of Berlin. In two nights the fence was built. Over the course of several years, the fence was fortified with concrete and barbed wire to keep East Germans inside and from fleeing to allied territory. “The fences and barricades completely surrounded the 97 miles around the three western sectors and 27 miles that cut through the heart of the city”, (Carmichael, 2011, p. 4). Despite the erection of the Berlin Wall or Berliner Mauer, East Germans continued to make an effort to leave, (Major, 2006). As a result, hundreds of East Germans died in the attempted to flee from Soviet occupation. The wall was secured and monitored by East German military and police. Troops were armed symbolizing the division of a city and the escalating threats of the Cold War. Individuals attempting to scale the wall were either apprehended or shot. This could be seen as military manned check points and surrounded the wall in shifts.

The Berlin wall represented, “the heart of the Cold War”, (JFK Presidential Library, 2015). It also represented the separation of a country and the division of government separating the Western democracy from Eastern communism. There were no passes between territories and no ability for separated loved ones to see one another. In addition to this, the wall created further division between the Western powers and the Soviet Union. This can be seen in several stand-offs that occurred between the two territories. The powers argued over who monitored and patrolled the wall as well as who was able to cross between boarders, (US Dept of State, 2015). Although each side authorized entry into the segregated territories both sides were equally distrustful of the other. This caused for heightened security measures against threats. When American troops began to use tanks to escort diplomats, military, and politicians across the border, the Soviet Union met with equal force. This willingness to bear arms and flex military muscle resembled two nations preparing for war. “The showdown of tanks at the wall became a visual emblem of the dangerous situation these world powers were locked into”, (Carmichael, 2011, p. 5).

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

While country leaders continued to fight and but heads with one another, the citizens of East and West Germany suffered the most. For almost 30 years citizens of East and West Germany played the role of pawn in the political game of power.  They were daily separated from their family and the rest of the world as well as the consequences of occupational disunion. Citizens of East Germany were gaining in frustration and strength as they began a social and political movement demanding change. Multiple protest and demonstrations occurred throughout the 1980’s against the Berlin Wall and isolation from the West. Supporters came from all of Germany as they rallied, creating a shift in the political climate and the weakened leverage of Cold War. Most of this spawned from the changing leadership of communist government. The shift of power would fall from Khruschev and be handed over to Gorbachev. Protest, rallies, and demonstrations were observed both in West Germany as well as East Germany. Many times these protests found in different territories, “did not feed only off each other; they also drew energy from that had become a region-wide revolt”, (Engler, 2014). The cry and disruption from citizens forced political leaders to begin negotiations and come to an agreement in order to resolve the issue of foreign occupation and a divided region.

In 1985 Mickhail Gorbachev took office becoming the general secretary of the Communist Party and eventually became president of the Soviet Union in 1990, (US Dept of State, 2015). Immediately after taking his post, Gorbachev let it be known to occupied powers that he was will to negotiate and implement change in Berlin. This includes the damaged relationship between the Soviet Union and the Western powers. Progress to open the boarders was slow. At first Eastern Germany allowed citizens to cross the border legally however only for the intent of work, (Engler, 2014). This was followed by other territories such as Hungary and Austria who also opened their boarders to East Germany. This caused a title wave or action as Germans took advantage for their ability to leave and travel throughout Eastern Europe without harassment. On November 9th 1989 it was broadcasted over the media that the boarders were open for Germans to cross without a work pass. This opened the separated territories to allow individuals to flow between the boarders. At this announcement, East and German citizens alike attacked the cemented wall, ripping it down, piece by piece. Although breaking apart the wall was not the intent of the government, the citizens went into action making their own statement. “Mass numbers of people flocked to the wall, overwhelming the border guards. Soon, along with allies from the West, the crowds began dismantling the hated barrier for good”, (Engler, 2014).


The Berlin Wall is deep with historical significance. It symbolized the consequences of World War II, the height of the Cold War, as well as the political power of common civilians. Although the occupied countries had positive intent with Germany, their inability to cooperate and negotiate with one another became the downfall of the former allied force. Despite this, the Berlin Wall created a significant point in history as it demonstrated the unity of a people and the willingness to take a stand against the national divide. “Although the fall of the Wall was an iconic moment, it is just one of the highlights in a flurry of activity… a series of uprisings that would become known as the revolutions of 1989”, (Engler, 2014). The coming together of the German people indicates the power of the movement and the moment. It is the mass mobilization of a people demanding change. In this way, the Berlin Wall represents many more things including, hope, resilience, and an improved relationship between Eastern Europe and the Western powers.



  1. Carmichael, N. (2011). A brief history of the Berlin crisis of 1961. National Records and Archives Administration. National Declassification Center. Retrieved from:


  1. Engler, M. (2014, November 11). History didn’t bring down the Berlin wall- Activist did. The Nation. Retrieved from:


  1. Major, P. (2006). The Berlin wall crisis: The view from below. Journal of Historical Resources 4(10). Retrieved from:


  1. John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. (2015). The cold war in Berlin. Boston, MA. Retrieved from:


  1. US Department of State. (2015). The Berlin wall falls and USSR dissolves. Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affiars. Washington DC. Retrieved from:
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The Prince: Machiavelli’s Republican Government

Machiavelli’s literature continues to be taught, admired, and studied over the centuries. This is especially seen in his book called, The Prince, which gives unique insight of power and politics.  He provides a different understanding of legislature and republican government that is defined and described in historical context. This includes different forms of politics such as styles of government, warfare, historical politics, characteristics of leaders, and state humiliation. Living in 16th century Italy Machiavelli was influenced by the political movements of Florence and ancient Rome. In this environment, he developed a distinct theory of government in his use of lessons, analysis, and satire. Through his writing and experience, Machiavelli’s theory for republican states gives assistance in creating a more healthy and balanced government.

Machiavelli used the, The Prince, as a platform to analyze the “moralist view of authority” (Nederman). In 16th century Europe there was little structure to provide a leader a compass of moral judgment. Weather this is a president, dictator, or king, rulers must always have the best interest of the state and the people at heart. Traditionally, leaders gather their information and advice from counselors and administrators. It was a common practice of ancient Rome and modern Florence. However, most leaders have the authority to do as they want with their own political agenda in mind. Machiavelli understands the political tangle between individual desires, the desire of constituents, and the wants and needs of the state. Morality, “reflects the self-conscious political realism of an author who is fully aware… that goodness and right are not sufficient to win and maintain political office” (Nederman). In this way, Machiavelli attempts to instruct leaders how to be fair and just rulers. This is how a leader must effectively and appropriately use his power and apply it to maintain the security of both the citizens and the state. .


Machiavelli was born in the late 1400’s and lived unto the mid 1500’s. During this time his state of Florence Italy was a republican government. It was the government in place during his life that, “affected his thoughts and intentions” (Najemy 144). Machiavelli was well educated and worked as a government clerk. As a diplomat, he was in contact with different government styles and political leaders such as the Pope Julius II and King Louis XII (Nederman). It gave him firsthand experience and knowledge on politics and leadership.   This includes insight into what it means to have an effective government and what this should look like. Yet, at the turn of the century Florence had lost its political power and the republic was at an end. In this political environment he wrote his most famous piece, The Prince, while the government was under the strain of political warfare. It encouraged Machiavelli’s desire to create stronger, new, and reformed republic that represented a government united. In his work he applied similar political concepts of the Roman Republic which is known as a true Republican state (Nederman). Despite the intentions his work did not gain popularity in his life time, instead he created controversy. Other works continued to captivate the image of republican government such as Dell’arte della Guerra (The Art of War) where he emphasizes Republican ideals. Through his literature on politics and government, Machiavelli provides “a fundamental principle of international law and good governance” (Harris 1138).

Machiavelli lived before government styles familiar today such as democracy, socialism, or communism. As a result, Machiavelli was most influenced by politics and government observed both before and during his time. Most of his theories derive from ancient Rome and the Roman republic. Thus, “Machiavelli followed the legacy of republican Rome and of the medieval and Renaissance city-republics of Italy in developing his republican concept” (Vujadinovic 40). The republican government observed by Machiavelli is much different from how it is understood today. Republican politics was of little use throughout early history as most states ruled by monarchy, where leaders are born and not made. The republican government is often identified by the lack of a monarchy. Leaders are created through wisdom, experience, and accolades, versus by heritage or linage. Instead, the republic or res republica is translated to mean the “common wealth”. This has “came to be used in English as denoting kingless government” (Najemy 144).

The state of Italy lost its republican government due to internal conflicts. These occurred between major city-states like Florence, Naples, Milan, and Venice. Each city wanted control of the government and other territories such as the Holy land. It is assumed that the title, The Prince has a double meaning. It not only illustrates the title of leadership and how a leader should rule over his government, but also suggest the book was written for the standing Price, Lorenzo de’Medici. It was Medici who was eventually over thrown by the Spanish army who “brought a collapse of Medici government in Florence” (Klosko, 10). This not only demonstrates the lack of leadership in Medici but also the weak Republican government in Italy. This stuck a nerve in Machiavelli who thrived in his political work. It allowed him the space to develop ideas and theories on government he observed in his experience. “Throughout the Middle ages, European politics was heavily influenced by two great supra-national institutions, the Church and the Holy Roman Empire, which impinged upon other political bodies”, (Klosko 10). The religious influence gave Machiavelli a new understanding the republic. He realized that independence from the Church’s influence was necessary to establish and maintain a just republic. .


When reading the ideas and themes found in The Prince, it is important to note the tone and context. It is difficult to understand the difference between political science and political satire seen throughout the book (Mattingly). Written in prose and full of images, symbols, and overtones, this makes the text compelling to both philosophers and political leaders. However, it is difficult to decide the context of this words and statements. An example can be seen in the Prince, he is a ruler, a person of authority and power. Although the Prince holds an important title and responsibility, the qualities and characteristics of the Prince are not signs of good leadership. This can be seen when the Prince is, “excused from violence and deception” (Machiavelli 11). Violence and deception must only be used in acts or war and circumstances of national security. Machivelli’s Prince does not represent honesty and bravery. It goes against the many assumptions that people hold against leaders causing some readers to question the context.

The first line of The Prince states, “all states, all powers, that have held and hold rule over men have been and are either republics or principalities… I will leave out the discussion on republics” (Machiavelli 15-16). This statement can be taken in two different ways. If taken as satire or sarcasm, it shows the high regard Machiavelli has for the republican government. It can also mean that principalities can be the downfall of a state. Regardless of how the statement is perceived, Machiavelli encourages others to measure the quality of the state by the context of its government and politics.

Machiavellian Relationship between Government and Religion. Due to the failed political government observed throughout Italy, Machiavelli disagreed with the relationship between the church and the state (Klosko 11).  In many ways, he observed the church as a nuisance to the state and held little trust for counselors and advisors to the King. “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him” (Machiavelli 24). Advisors can give the wrong advice, putting their own interests, wills, and wants first. This allows the King to be easily manipulated and influenced through the misuse and abuse of counsel. This can lead the King down a periless agenda that goes against the needs of citizens. Machiavelli recognized human nature and motivations, putting little trust in absolute power. “No advisor is antecedently trustworthy. Advisors, as do all human beings, will be inclined to pursue their own interest” (Belliotti 90). The government Machiavelli envisioned was much different from the government of the state. A great and long lasting government does not require a large military force, wealth, territory, or power. Machiavelli theorized that when states fought for more things such as land or wealthy, this fight eventually ends in defeat. In his mind, these desires created a government that was weak to their desires. “Machiavelli’s measure of success is the grandeur of a relatively enduring expansionist government, best illustrated in the Roman Republic” (Belliotti 89).

“Within a nation, we were told, conventional morality should be upheld, but not among nations where the law of the jungle prevails” (Hulliung 18). Morality and religion are significant themes found in The Prince. This can be seen in the historical context of the piece and the special relationship religion plays in government. This is even true today. Many of the laws in place can also be found in religious text. These include laws like murder, rape, and theft. In addition, justice is also found in both religion and in politics. For this reason, laws do not only address issues of morality but also address “political goals that were religious in nature” (Klosko 14). As such, Machiavelli encouraged the separation between church and state. This removed from the government the religious agenda of a leader. It also ensures that a ruler does not go against his religion or the religion of the government. Keeping these separate the leader can only focus on what is important. This is to maintain the safety and continuity of the state. To put religion in the forefront is to undermine the needs and wants of the government. Focusing on being a good model for Christ, this may include forgiving others, providing pardons, and putting the interest of others before the interest of the government. “Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch… everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion” (Machiavelli 7).

Machiavelli and Civil Liberties. Machiavelli begins his book by citing that, “when states are acquired in a country differing in language, customs, or laws, there are difficulties and good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them” (Machiavelli 18). Here, the author emphasizes the hard work and determinations that is required in order to gain and maintain a government. Weather this is a new territory or an old one, much time and consideration should be applied. Machiavelli offers different forms of advice to address this issue. He not only encourages rulers to live in their new states, but also encourages officials to make friends and create a following among citizens. Of course, Machiavelli uses the Roman Empire as an example. It can be seen in the Roman conquest as they sent generals and other officials. These people did not rape or pillage the land. Instead they, “sent colonies and maintained friendly relations with the minor powers without increasing their strength; they keep down the greater, and did not allow any strong foreign powers to gain authority” (Machiavelli 20). Furthermore, Roman leaders did not demand citizens to change or alter their culture or customs. Instead, the Roman Republic accepted different religions and allowed them to practice their cultures freely. As a result, new citizens and acquired territory came to respect their new authority allowing the Romans to remain in power with little conflict.

Freedom and civil liberties for citizens provided insight for Machiavelli and his theory on the Republican government. It is the responsibility of the government to both protect and serve the citizens. “The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves” (Machiavelli 24). Using this analogy, Machiavelli encourages citizens and government to work together in maintaining the continuity of the state. This is the saying that, there are no leaders without followers and there are no followers without a leader. The give-and-take relationship between the government and its citizens is what creates the state and a united front. It requires the leader to play a game of check and balance. Machiavelli understood that the “republican government and the free and civil way of life it facilitates” must rationalize “the difficulty and emphasized the necessity of keeping prominent citizens from overstepping their bounds” (McCormick 386). Weather these citizens include senators, politicians, or religious leaders and organizations they must stay out of the hands of government politics to maintain a healthy state. No matter one’s title, weather prince, nobleman, or pauper, everyone must be bound to the same rules, laws, and obligations. Allowing citizens or other members of the state free access to government rule and authority can be problematic. Thus, everyone within the state both civilians and non-civilians must do their part, and play a role to ensure that the government is working, functioning, and just for all people. It provides the protection that government needs to have a check and balance and protect the establishment.

Machiavelli envisioned a state that was fair, just, and healthy. “A healthy state has strong arms, sound laws, and a rigorous education” (Belliotti 17). This requires the full participation and commitment of both the people and the ruler. A leader cannot work with for his own self-interest. Instead he must be selfless, that is to ignore that needs and wants of himself to work for the greater good of others. When a King acts in this way, it tells a lot about his success as a ruler. The well-being of the citizens is an indication of success. This can be observed when Machiavelli states, “it is much safer to be feared than to be loved” (17). This statement is not to be taken literally however to be taken as sarcasm. When the people must live in fear, under restraint and restrictions, they are more likely to grow disdainful and throw a revolt. However, when a ruler is admired and loved, the people will do everything they can to support the king because to support the king is to support one’s self. A leader must act on the mercy of the people and under the mercy of the government. In this way, “the well-being of citizens is part of the definition of personal glory, rather than merely a means of attaining it” (Belliotti 17).

“Machiavelli’s republic is a classical mixed republic. It is not a democracy… but is characterized by social equality, popular liberty, and political participation” (Doyle 1154). To have a republican government means to have a nation that is healthy, longstanding, and free. It requires for segments of the government to stand undivided and to stand in union with the wants and needs of the people. There are checks and balances, they have a justice that is fair, and a leader that practices selflessness to ensure the safety and security of the nation. The republican government represents the will of the people and the will of the union. The leader works to provide a compromise between the people and the government. Leaders are not only the manager of the government but also the manager of the people. He is a representation of the combinations of minds and characteristics that are each different from one another. However, by following the advice provided by Machiavelli rulers are not rulers. Rulers become leaders of great importance who are remembered for their sacrifice and the liberties granted to the people. “A prudent man should always follow the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it” (Machiavelli 12).


Works Cited

  1. Belliotti, Raymond. Niccolo Machiavelli: The Laughing Lion and the Strutting Fox. Plymouth United Kingdom: Lexington Books, 2009. eBook. < and government during during machiavelli’s lifetime&source=bl&ots=qfrl_fcFdu&sig=VTYwff3RUeNMTXeMeb7mMjRQxSo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFMQ6AEwCTgKahUKEwiBq-if6NjGAhUDLIgKHYOtBVs


  1. Doyle, Michael. “Liberalism and World Politics.”American Political Science Review. 80.4 (1986): 1151-69. Print.


  1. Harris, Phil. “Machiavelli, political marketing and reinventing government.” European Journal of Marketing. 35.9 (2000): 1136-54. Print.


  1. Hulliung, Mark. Citizen Maciavelli. 2nd. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, eBook. < rome republic&ots=teLCf61Gzy&sig=ouT9S15OsUUZtr0ZCToOJc4SRBQ


  1. Klasko, G. History of Political Theory: An introduction volume ii . 2nd. Oxford United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2013. eBook. < and government during during machiavelli’s lifetime&source=bl&ots=HjXzB17TAR&sig=zsefe5ImbUfr4PNf0Abc6hGiFuY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCQQ6AEwATgKahUKEwiBq-if6NjGAhUDLIgKHYOtBVs


  1. Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince,translated by N.H. Thomson. Vol. XXXVI, Part 1. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14;, 2001.


  1. Mattingly, Garrett. “Maciavelli’s Pince: Political Science of Political Satire.” American Scholar. 27. (1958): 482-91. Web. <;.


  1. McCormick, John. “Machiavelli’s Political trials and “The Free Way of Life”.” Political Theory. 35.4 (2007): 385-411. Web. <’s Political Trials and ‘The Free Way of Life’.pdf>.


  1. Nederman, Cary. “Niccolo Maciavelli.” Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Palo Alto, CA: 2014.


  1. Najemy, John. The Cambridge Companion to Machiavelli. Cambridge United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2010. eBook. < republican government&ots=CuoyXxMbtg&sig=AyGmk_b2IBsOszyQ3GTC_Belt0o


  1. Vujadinovic, Dragica. “Maciavelli’s Republican Political Theory.” Philosophy Social Criticism. 40.1 (2014): 43-68. Web. 13 Jul. 2015. < html>.
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Narco-Democracy: Mexican Drug Cartels and United States Foreign Policy

Drugs continue to be a hot topic in American politics. Examples range from the opioid epidemic to the legalization of marijuana. In addition to street drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and ecstasy, drugs continue to be a growing problem in American society. The rise of drug use attributes to smuggling and trafficking of drugs from foreign nations throughout the Americas. Most significant is the trafficking of narcotics through the U.S-Mexican border, driven by drug cartels throughout Mexico. To reduce the drug epidemic and incidents of trafficking across borders, the United States has taken measures to improve the international political environment. This includes implementing initiatives against drug trafficking into U.S foreign policy. Drug trafficking is attributed to organized crime organizations that play a leading role in the availability of illegal drugs. The border between the two countries is wide, sharing nearly two-thousand miles that stretch across several states. The shared space provides an easy path to penetrate for trafficking. Cartels, like the Juarez cartel, participate in violence and corruption. The cartel’s control and power over trafficking routes, has dramatically changed the social, economic, and political atmosphere in border communities.   To reduce crime and addiction in both the U.S and Mexico, both countries have worked together to create strategies to deter smuggling. It underscores the significant role drug cartels have in US foreign policy. Although the Mexican and United States’ government continue to combat the strong influence of the Juarez Cartel, the prevalence of illegal drug trafficking to the United States have defeated such efforts.

United States Drug Epidemic

Illegal and illicit drugs continue to be a growing problem within American society. It comes in a variety of forms from soft drugs like marijuana to hard drugs such as heroin and crystal meth which is known to be highly addictive. Drugs attribute to the death of millions of Americans annually. In addition, it has disrupted American families and households as individuals continue to struggle with misuse, abuse, and addiction. Drug dependency features a host of negative consequences and outcomes, such as crime, poverty, incarceration, homelessness, just to name a few, (Nevid, Rathus, & Greene, 2011). Illicit drugs have run rapid within American society for decades. Drugs such as cocaine and heroin became a recognized problem in the 1960’s. These drugs have affects that are harmful to the body which can have long lasting effects that include addiction, dependence, and death.

Mexico has become the leading source of illegal substances found within the United States boarder. Mexico is the sources of America’s most popular and highly addictive drugs including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and methamphetamines, (Sullivan & Elkus, 2008). Not only do they supply the United States with drugs, they also produce and process drugs for market. Researchers suggest 90% of cocaine sold in the U.S is either produced or passes through Mexico before reaching the States, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010; Sullivan & Elkus, 2008). Mexican drug cartels have continued to smuggle drugs across the border despite the increasing number of border security and immigration control officers. “Mexican-based traffickers smuggle an estimated 500 to 700 metric tons of cocaine into the United States each year, the top foreign source of marijuana… accounting for 50 to 60% of profits”, (Walser, 2010).

The White House and political leaders recognize this growing problem. Although it is easy to point the finger at Mexico and Spanish cartels, politicians recognize that the American drug epidemic is a significant factor to drug trafficking. Consequently, the demand for these drugs strongly attribute to the drug trade; America’s need for illicit drugs and Mexican drug cartels’ ability to supply them. Due to the special relationship of supply and demand, both governments have developed policies and strategies to help curve the problem. The countries do this both together and separately. While drugs continue to cause deaths and break apart families in the United States, the power of drug cartels have stimulated violence and corruption throughout Mexico. Many politicians on Capitol Hill fear that this violence will spill over into America. Since this special relationship was realized, presidents from both countries have come together on several occasions to generate strategies that can benefit both America and Mexico. This was first observed throughout the 1990’s. “U.S.-Mexican cooperation began to improve and U.S. assistance to Mexico increased after the two countries signed a Binational Drug Control Strategy in 1998”, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010). Later, the Bush Administration established the South-West Border Security Initiative to better shield the border. Since then, both countries have continued to modify and change their strategies to better serve and protect their citizens. As a superpower, American politicians feel they can significantly reduce drug trafficking with cooperation such as increased border protection and improved foreign relations.

The Rise of Mexican Cartels

In the late twentieth-century, Mexican drug cartels began to organize and flourish. In his book, “Mexico and the United States: Managing the Relationship”, Roett explains that the United States’ effort to deter illicit drug smuggling in countries such as Columbia, caused drug smugglers to relocate to Mexico. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) focused heavily on drug trafficking from South America. Cargo carrying drugs were shipped to ports throughout Florida and California. With increased attention diverted to South America, who were notorious drug producers and suppliers, they found alternate ways to traffic illicit drugs to the U.S. The implications of the United States’ original efforts to control international drug smuggling encouraged smugglers to use alternative routes closer to the border. It allowed criminal organizations to flourish and develop strong Mexican alliances. This allegiance between Columbia and Mexico resulted in greater amounts of drugs entering the U.S. “The Colombian and Mexican trafficking groups established a new deal allowing the Mexicans to receive a percentage of the cocaine in each shipment as payment for their transportation services…enabled Mexican organizations to become involved in the wholesale distribution”, (Kellner & Pipitone, 2010).

With Mexico serving as a direct route, they have become the largest supplier of illegal drugs entering the U.S, (Dell, 2012). As a result, the Mexican the drug market amassed over twenty-five billion dollars. The large flow of cash into criminal organizations and the black market has stimulated violence. It has caused a rise in criminal activity and murder rates to dramatically rise since 2007, (Dell, 2012). With crime skyrocketing, national and international efforts to combat drug-trafficking has also increased. Yet, Mexican drug policy has done little to curb the drug trade. In many ways it has generate a black market that is not limited to drugs. It includes human smuggling and kidnapping, prostitution, money laundering, weapons trading, and the theft of oil and fuel. It suggests that Mexico’s national drug policies influence drug cartels criminal activity, through the political access of organized crime, lack of policy enforcement, and national governance. An example can be seen in the initiation of the Secretary of Public Security. It established a plan to provide police reform and improve policing strategies. The reform gave standards in police training, hierarchy, responsibilities, and duties of law enforcement agents and organizations. This includes, “rigorous new standards for testing new police hires and screening officers already in the force”, (Kellner & Pipitone, 2010). Although these were great strategies to reduce trafficking, it did little to help the problem when not enforced or fully implimented.

When Columbian drug lords and kingpins such as Pablo Escabar were killed and their organization dismantled in the 1990’s, Mexican drug cartels such as the Juarez Cartel was able to take over. They began to “dominate the landscape and control trafficking routes into the US”, (Beittel, 2011). Domination of the drug market meant more income. With this growing independence cartels began to generate millions and billions of dollars in revenue. The U.S National Drug Intelligence Center estimated that Mexican cartels received an estimated $17 billion to $38 billion annually, (Kellner & Pipitone, 2010). As such, the revenue encouraged an increased need for control and power. Crime organizations began to established themselves in the market, killing for more routes and territories for trafficking. The fight for control created violence in the streets and local corruption. Large amounts of undocumented money allowed for a black market to take a stronghold on the local economy. With a “massive criminal infrastructure to support it… complex network of sub-contracted specialists handle virtually every task necessary to ensure that the clandestine goods reach their destination”, (Sullivan & Elkus, 2008). Drug cartels began to make the rules, controlling various regions throughout Mexico including security and aspects of society.

Drug cartels had special interest in routes that allowed them to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into America. The lucrative sums of money that drug smuggling generated gave the cartel increased power. So much so, they were able to maintain routes with the help of local citizens, government officials, and even officers of the law. This power of corruption changed the local economy but also the greater society. A person unwilling to work for the cartel, was considered an enemy. These people were often used as a symbol to create community fear. Through the use of violence, the cartel was able to forced people to do their bidding. In this way, “Mexico’s drug trade can be categorized as “black globalization,” a shadow economy that squashes legitimate enterprise, corrupts civil society, and fatally undermines the rule of law”, (Sullivan & Elkus, 2008). Within a matter a decade, cartels gained unprecedented influence and power. Some suggest that a weak Mexican government is to blame. However, working with a small government budget, the country was unable to provide officers with the training, salary, and materials required to fight the stronghold of organized crimes. It gave way for “drug cartels to control the most significant drug distribution operations along the Southwest border… representing the greatest organized crime threat to the United States today”, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010).

Juarez Cartel

The Juarez drug cartel represents one of the largest and violent Mexican drug organizations, (Sullivan & Elkus, 2008; Beittel, 2011). They have developed a stronghold on Mexican communities and a reputation of violence that precedes them. Researchers call the Juarez Cartel “a pioneer in forging the Colombian connection”, (Greyson, 2007). For this reason, they are not only the largest but they are also one of the oldest drug organizations in Mexico. They have a strong presence along the U.S-Mexico border where they dominate control and power. They have access to routes as far East as Texas and into the Western region of the boarder towards Arizona. On the Mexico side they control Chihuahua and into Durango.

The Juarez cartel was organized by Fuentes sometime in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. When he died, in 1997 his brother took over the organization. Since then, the Juarez cartel has dominated the drug trade. They fought hard against other drug organizations such as the Sinola in order to gain control of regions good for trafficking. These battles created violence for control over Chiudad, Mexico, neighbor to El Paso, Texas. Their battle with the Sinola continued after the turn of the century. This inner war stimulated great terror in which thousands of Mexicans died. As a result, Chihuahua is recognized as the deadliest city in Mexico.  It is estimated that, “resurgent Juarez cartels has killed over 4,000 Mexicans”, (Sullivan & Elkus, 2008). Over the years, the total amount of deaths by the Juarez cartel has increased. Some suggest that as many as 1 in 3 murders in Mexico were carried out by individuals of the drug organization.

Not only does the cartel dominate the access of drugs to American citizens, they also maintain control of drug distribution throughout Mexico. This growing power and insurgency turned Ciudad, Mexico into a major port for drug trafficking but also the largest drug abuse problem in the country, (Beittel, 2011). Although Mexico, too suffers from drug abuse and dependence, the drug epidemic is not a significant problem in Mexican society. The United States problems with substance abuse are much worse in comparison. In a research article by Harrison (1997), one specific issue is addressed from the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, titled Drug Use in the United States-Mexico Border Area: Is There an Epidemic Waiting to Happen? The research examines the prevalence of drug and alcohol usage as reported in areas surrounding and encompassed in the United States and Mexican border. Through the analysis of reports compiled by The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), the rates of illicit drug use by Mexicans is lower than that of the United States. This suggests that the United States’ illicit drug market is a major contributor to the continued existence illegal drug cartels. Research indicates that cultural identity, acculturation, language, and other social factors, is related to the countries correlation with drug prevalence and abuse. Harrison determines that the more cultural norms an individual has, which are deemed native to the United States, the more prone he or she is to engage in illicit drug use. This further substantiates the relationship between Mexico and the United States as the differences in drug use and abuse is observed. In this way, the interwoven relationship between drug cartels and drug abusers is apparent. With domination and control of this region they created additional roads and routes into the United States including various modes of transportation to carry and distribute drugs.


Violence is an immense problem in Mexico due to cartel control. Throughout the years incidents of crime and corruption has caused violence at unprecedented levels. All of this is due to the struggle for control between drug organizations and the government. Evidence indicates that, “drug trafficking-related violence resulted in more than 5,100 lives lost in 2008 and 6,500 deaths in 2009… in drug trafficking-related violence in Mexico, an 89% increase over the same period last year, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010). Other estimates suggest that the death rate is much larger ranging around 9,000 deaths in 2009, (Walser, 2010). No matter the death tool, this demonstrates that violence that has proliferated Mexican society. The murders that take place are not the standard hit-in-run or gang related shootout. News reports place these murders as not only brutal but dramatic. This includes beheadings, mass burials, and executions, (Grayson, 2007).

Deaths are condensed around the U.S Mexico border, which happens to be the territory controlled by the Juarez cartel. As indicated earlier the city of Ciudad, which lies next to El Paso, has the largest amount of deaths.  Despite this large scale of violence, the majority of deaths and murders are individuals with participation in drug organizations. In addition, these are areas in which these organizations dominate. “The violence is concentrated in a few cities and towns with 80% of the deaths concentrated in 7% of Mexican municipalities”, (Beittel, 2011). As such, those with ties to drug organizations are more likely to succumb to violence and murder than ordinary citizens. Law abiding Mexican citizens are not subject to this growing murder rate with the exception to innocent bystanders in the cross fire. Another portion of murders occur among officers and government officials unwilling to fall to corruption. To establish power and control over law enforcement, cartels employ fear through violence. For instance, if an official refuses to take bribes or help cartels maintain power, officials maybe in or around their home. As many as 7% of cartel murder victims are individuals of the Mexico police force or military, (Beittel, 2011). This not only creates an element of surprise but ensures that officials are unable to fight back against their attackers. In this way, many officials are forced into corruption rather than join by free will.

“Rising influx of illegal substances accompanied by deaths and kidnappings prompted alerts from the U.S. embassy in Mexico City”, (Grayson, 2007). These reports were of growing concern for U.S politicians and officials. Many felt that U.S cities and citizens bordering Mexico were at significant risk of danger. In addition, U.S officials were also at an increased risk including DEA agents, Boarder Patrol, and the Department of Homeland Security. The Mexican president at the time, Vicente Fox did little to nothing to curve the rise of violence throughout the region. He, “had taken a relatively soft approach to combating the violence but all of that changed when President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006”, (Kellner & Pipitone, 2010).

Mexico’s Domestic War

Juarez cartel and other drug organization were becoming a rising threat to national security and the integrity of the country. President Felipe Caledron intended to do something about it, (Sullivan & Elkus, 2008). Once taking office he immediately began to take initiative to reduce and the rising threat at an attempt to dismantle drug cartels. There were various factors which demonstrated warning signs towards corruption and the loss of confidence from Mexican citizens. This included the lack of law enforcement involvement in crime prevention in addition to the weakened ability of the state due to government corruption. Corruption continued to be a deep-rooted problem among law enforcement, government officials, and politicians. Scholars began to label drug cartels as “a parallel government”, (Walser, 2010). This is because the Juarez cartel was able to disrupt state government by creating a monopoly among elected officials.

To reduce corruption and regain the integrity and power of the government, President Caledron applied military force and fired corrupted officials. He began to heavily crackdown against drug organizations by taking various measures to reduce Juarez cartel power and manipulation. In 2006, President Caledron “mobilized 25,000 troops and federal police across the country”, (Sullivan & Elkus, 2008). In addition, he gave law enforcement and officials extended power and authority. This includes road blockades and increased police activity in highly violent areas to intervene against the rising threat. Thousands of additional police enforcement hit the streets. These officers were newly hired and fed up with the growing violence. Able to remove corruption from the police force, law enforcement was able to give the power back to the government. In this way, President Caledron proved himself to be a president committed to reestablishing control during a time when the Juarez cartel was at its height of manipulation and power. Although Caledron was optimistic and committed to his initiative, the Juarez cartel had its own strategies to combat military and officer insurgency.

“The cartels have launched a war of attrition against the government. The goal of this criminal insurgency is to roll back government power, preserve cartel assets, and teach Calderon and his successors a lesson: the cartel is king”, (Sullivan & Elkus, 2008). To do this, the Juarez cartel continued to do what they do best, evoke fear and stimulate corruption. The cartel began to target law enforcement officers. These were typically low and middle ranked policemen with little influence and more likely to fall prey. They established a tactic to assassinate police officers. Officers were killed when they were out of uniform and in public areas in order to create a sense of ambush and surprise. This created a psychological effect of fear among the police community and politicians. The strategy eventually worked, giving the police force limited options, to either quit, surrendered to corruption, or desertion, (Sulivan & Elkus, 2008). Most officers were encouraged to become gunman themselves and asked to kill peers and co-workers. This created terror for servicemen who continued to engage in domestic war with the cartel. Consequently, “the more the Mexican military involves itself in the drug war, the greater the chance that cartels will subvert and corrupt it”, (Sullivan & Elkus, 2008). President Calderon struggled throughout to regain control over the country. In desperation and in need of outside assistance, President Calderon allied with the neighboring U.S President G.W Bush to fight the Juarez cartel by establishing the Merida Initiative.

The Merida Initiative

“U.S.-Mexican security cooperation has increased significantly, largely as a result of the development and implementation of the Mérida Initiative, a counterdrug and anticrime assistance package for Mexico and Central America that was first proposed in October 2007”, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010). The Initiative was developed in partnership of G.W Bush and Calderon to reestablish control in a joint effort to combat drug trafficking. The U.S maintained an interest to reduce cartel control for different reasons. It posed a threat to national security for Border Patrol and Homeland Security. If the Juarez cartel could traffic tons of cocaine across the border every year, they could also traffic weapons of mass destruction, terrorist, and other threats seeking to do harm. Most importantly, the Juarez cartel is linked to the rise of illegal drug use. Drug use and abuse is the result of crime and death throughout the U.S. In an effort to improve different social problems and the safety and security of the U.S, the Bush administration sought to provide Mexico with the means and resources needed to win the domestic war against the cartel. Together, the Mexican and the American presidents made a pledge to address this rising problem that stimulated chaos and violence throughout North America.

In 2007, President Calderon and President G.W Bush shifted the paradigm of control away from the Juarez cartel. They collaborated and cooperated together to solve a problem that was becoming a rising concern and pandemic that negatively affected both countries. This stimulated a new partnership and relationship between the two countries. The original Merida Initiative maintained several objectives. “(1) break the power and impunity of criminal organizations; (2) strengthen border, air, and maritime controls; (3) improve the capacity of justice systems in the region; and (4) curtail gang activity and diminish local drug demand”, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010). However, the primary role of the Merida Initiative was to strengthen to governments attack against drug cartels. To do this, the U.S government promised to provide the Mexican government with training and resources. The primary resources provided to Mexico included money, gun power, and technology.

“U.S. assistance to Mexico, which totaled some $397 million from FY2000-FY2006, supported programs aimed at interdicting cocaine; combating production and trafficking of marijuana, opium poppy, and methamphetamine; strengthening the rule of law; and countering money-laundering”, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010). Through the use of foreign policy, the United States took initiative to help Mexico regain power and control of their country. Not only did the U.S provide money to Mexico, they also provided goods and resources to help fight the Juarez and other crime organizations. The U.S donated military guns and ammunition to improve their fight power. In addition, the U.S provided Mexico with helicopters, armored vehicles, vans, and airplanes, (Walser, 2010). These resources came with high tech gear that includes radar ability, x-ray vision, scanners, and other equipment that can help officers find and obtain drugs, weapons of mass destruction, and fire power. These objects were provided by the dozens adding up to millions of dollars in technology and equipment.

The money provided to Mexico by the U.S government is stipulated to comprise of training and reform efforts. The U.S encouraged Mexico to reform its judicial department and criminal justice system. With this includes improved prison systems so inmates have little access to the outside world, limiting their control and power from behind bars. In this way, Mexico was given the means to revamp institutions so members of the Juarez cartel were given their due process and justice rendered. Funding stipends was provided to better train, equip, and hire the necessary staff and law enforcement lost during the drug wars. Additional reforms included anti-gang programs, drug awareness, and education about the harmful effects of these. This entails drug treatment centers and resources to help those suffering from addiction. As a result, “Congress has dedicated the vast majority of the funds—roughly $1.5 billion—to support programs in Mexico…  in counterdrug efforts”, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010).

When President Obama took office a couple years later in 2008, he maintained the Merida Initiative and revamped it to better serve Mexico and the American boarders. This new strategy “focuses on (1) disrupting organized criminal groups; (2) institutionalizing the rule of law; (3) building a 21st century border; and (4) building strong and resilient communities”, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010). It included a 3 year program that would continue to provide assistance to Mexico with money and resources. Scholars label this updated Merida Initiative, “the largest and most comprehensive package of assistance”, (Walser, 2010). It not only recognizes the multidimensional problem of drug trafficking and drug cartels, it establishes equal responsibility for this problem between the allied countries. Through the policy of this initiative, Mexico and the United States are forced to maintain a relationship and communication between government agencies. This includes sharing intelligence information and allowing the U.S judicial system to obtain and apprehend suspects to ensure these individuals get the retribution they deserve.

The result of the Merida Initiative has provided Mexico with the vital tools required to combat the issue of the Juarez drug cartel. However, most importantly, it has reestablished the relationship and communication between Mexico and the United States. “The U.S-Mexico border to cabinet-level officials meeting regularly to discuss bilateral security efforts”, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010). Officials continue to maintain meaning relationships and communication between agencies and law enforcement. The Drug Enforcement Administration continues to help by providing training to Mexican military and law enforcement. They help them use new and high tech equipment. In addition they provide strategies that help officials stay one step ahead of the cartel to reduce  efforts of government corruption. Consequently, “cooperation between MX and the US has markedly increased under the Merida Initiative over the last 3 years”, (Beittel, 2011)

Current State

While the Merida Initiative has positive attributes that help Mexico minimize and deter power and control of drug organizations, it also has its downfall. Many researchers and scholars question the attributes of the initiative citing it as more harmful than helpful. As the Merida Imitative draws to an end, Congress is forced to assess the initiative and Mexico’s effort to curve the Juarez drug cartel. Many of these drug cartels have not been fully dismantled and violence within Mexican boarders maintains as well as an establish drug trafficking ring. This occurred despite the money and resources fed into the Mexican government. Over the course of several years, the State Department admits to providing more than $100 million dollars’ worth of equipment and training to Mexican officials, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010). Although it is clear that America has continued to provide Mexico with assistance, there remains limited proof to demonstrate that resources are being allocated for the cause. “Rather than tracking obligations and expenditures, State Department officials have preferred to report on progress in Mérida implementation by the amount of funds that are being used to support programs in Mexico and the value of equipment deliveries that have been made”, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010). More information should be provided including a ledger and receipt of expenditures to better substantiate that funds and resources are used accordingly. It can be assumed that Mexico has a true desire to fight organized crime. However they may require further tutoring to establish that means and resources are used appropriated with care.

On a global scale, the relationship between Mexico and the United States remains competitive when considering the socio-economic competition of the black market. This includes the ways in which drugs and weapons enter North America through the Mexico-U.S border. It demonstrates the overlapping problems that occur when crime syndicates infiltrate society and the adverse impact it has on Mexico’s progress. These insights provide incidents of the several thousand deaths attributed to what is deemed as, “narco-violence”, (Neil, ). It helps to better understand Mexico’s economic environment and the country’s political features that go beyond the illicit drug market. This only illustrates the different ways that narcotics trade and Mexico’s social, political, and economic systems whether formal or informal, are inter-weaved.

“President Obama and his Cabinet … placing the blame for Mexico’s drug mayhem on U.S. gun laws and American drug use, and many existing policies have yielded modest results at best”, (Walser, 2010). While the Obama administration points fingers to Mexico and the lack of improvement, the United States should also look to its own defaults. Politicians and officials have continued to take inappropriate actions to curve the appetite for illicit drugs. This appetite has fueled the fire of drug trafficking which has continued to grow as more Americans face addiction. Furthermore, many in the Obama administration may lack the experience and expertise required to combat the war on drugs and drug trafficking. Walser argues that the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Boarder Affairs are ill trained and inadequate for the position. Many refer to him as “the tsar” of providing boarder security against traffickers. Despite this, according to his experience and background he may be better suited for a different title and position. Before taking this role, Assistant Secretary Alan Bersin was a former country superintendent for the San Diego school district and U.S Attorney, (Walser, 2010). With these skills and experience it suggests that he may be an inadequate person for the position.

With these setbacks, both the United States and Mexico have taken additional measures to help reduce the problem of violence and trafficking from the Juarez cartel and other drug organizations. In Mexico two private citizens have taken the law in their own hands acting as private investigators and law enforcement. They work with Mexican intelligence officers to determine trafficking routes and report violence and crime observed in Juarez territory, (Walser, 2010). This effort has demonstrated the desire for citizens to reclaim their cities and streets against organized crime. On the U.S side of the boarder organizations are also doing what they can. The Office of National Drug Policy continues to work with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to create the National South-West Bonternarcotics Strategy. This strategy is designed to decrease the flow of illicit drugs along the border. With the help of intelligent information, software, and technology the strategy combats drug routes by air, ground, and sea. With these increased efforts, the alliance and strong relationship between Mexico and America demonstrate the strategies and roles both countries are making. “Perhaps most importantly for Mexico, as part of the Mérida Initiative, both countries accepted a shared responsibility to tackle domestic problems contributing to drug trafficking and crime in the region, including U.S. drug demand”, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010).


“The White House… declared efforts aimed at reducing supply through eradication, interdiction, and police action a historic failure and promised a new mix of more rational and effective strategies”, (Walser, 2010). Recognizing this initiative is a failure is simple. The difficulty lay in creating strategies that produce positive results. This includes dismantling drug cartels and trafficking routes. The DEA reports that as little of 2% to 7% of illegal narcotics is seized, while the remainder maintains its route across the U.S boarder, (Seelke & Finklea, 2010). This suggests that the Merida Initiative has produced limited results. Many scholars have made suggests for change. While some blame Mexico for the lack of government control, others blame the United States for not taking a stronger stand to crack down on the demand. “The administration and congress must play a bolder, more aggressive leadership role…(like)a comprehensive, well-articulated anti-narcotics strategy for the Americas; an adequately funded multi-year program that includes sustained support for MX; enhanced law enforcement and military to military cooperation; an informed national strategy for public diplomacy”, (Walser, 2010). The U.S and Mexico maintain partnership to establish this goal, but quality of each strategy is limited. However, with a strong committed relationship and shared goals, both countries can use this as a foundation to dismantle the dark market moving across borders.



  1. Beittel, J. (2011). Mexicos drug trafficking organizations: Source and scope of the rising violence. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from cartel and US foreign policy&ots=RP3COoJc2g&sig=ik0gHTu4H4rzlM3ZfL5F5kEM9Ic
  2. Dell, M. (n.d.). Trafficking Networks and the Mexican Drug Cartel. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from
  3. Grayson, G. (2007). Mexico and the drug cartels. Foriegn Policy Research Institute, Retrieved from
  4. Harrison, L. D., & Kennedy, N. J. (1994). Drug Use in the United States-Mexico Border Area: Is There an Epidemic Waiting to Happen?. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 16(3), 281-295.
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  7. Neil, S. K. (2013). Two nations indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the road  ahead. New York: Oxford University Press.
  8. Nevid, J., Rathus, S., & Greene, B. (2011). Abnormal Psychology in a changing world. Pearson ed. Newark, NJ. Retrieved from:
  9. Roett, R. (1988). Mexico and the United States: managing the relationship. Boulder: Westview Press.
  10. Seelke, C., & Finklea, K. Domestic Security, (2010). s-mexican security cooperation: the merida initiative and beyond. Retrieved from Congressional Research Service website:
  11. Sullivan, J., & Elkus, A. (2008). State of siege: Mexicos criminal insurgency. Small Wars  Journal,
  12. Walser, R. (2010). U.s strategy against mexican drug cartels: Flawed and uncertain. Backgrounder, (2407), Retrieved from


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Organizations Against Sex Trafficking: Harmful or Helpful?

Nearly 200 countries worldwide are affected by human sex trafficking. From the United States to Thailand and South Africa, women and children are transported and exploited for sexual purposes. The phenomena of sex trafficking is an outcome of globalization, migration, and economic disparities. As a result, many victims are often poor and the most negatively affected. It devastates both individuals and families. It not only takes lives but unleashes a mental and emotional toll through the act of disempowerment. People have human rights and sex trafficking violates these rights. The scale of the industry and its global impact has inspired a number of civil societies to rise in action. To confront the problem organizations take different and unique strategies to eradicate the problem. These organizations include government, religious, private, public, for profit, non-profit, and non-government agencies. Organizations play an important part in fighting the issues of sexual exploitation by challenging business and polices traffickers associate with. This includes changing and understanding laws, funding, research, and resources that act as contributing factors. Their fight against human sex trafficking provides insight into the problems and the challenges faced to successfully eliminate it. Although organizations address the problem in different ways, what they are doing and how they are doing it is important. Understanding organizational strategies and outcomes can help agencies develop a positive model of success to rid society of human sex trafficking.


Organizations Opposed to Sex Trafficking

“Organization” means different things to different people.  Many recognize non-profits and non- governmental organizations (NGO). Examples of NGO’s include the United Nations and the Boy Scouts of America. These are groups of people that come together with shared interest to represent one body. It is also defined as “the state of being organized: a system or society”, (Webster, 1966). American Heritage dictionary defines organization as an act, process, condition or manner of being organized; to “function as a whole” or “united by a common interest or goal”, (1989). This definition includes government bodies. Governmental organizations and NGO’s have a large impact on the state and the future of sex trafficking. Governments implement and apply laws that people must follow. NGO’s often have the power to encourage law and policy through lobbying and social awareness. In return, government organizations enforce laws and fund NGO’s to conduct research and provide social services to people directly affected. An example of this can be seen in American government and NGOs.

The United Nations was the first to establish policy against sex trafficking. It is also the “largest global regulating institution to declare global sex trafficking a violation of women’s human rights”, (Soderlund, 2005). The United Nations is an international governmental organization that represents more than 100 nations. As active participants in the UN, the United States took interest in tackling the problem. A protocol was put in place in the 1990’s but it wasn’t until the year 2000 when a strong shift occurred. In 2000 the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) was established and the United States passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Also, “up until 2000, the crusade against sex trafficking within the larger women’s human rights movement had largely been spearheaded by a collection of feminist organizations, most notably the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women”, (Sonderlund, 2005). The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) is just one of many non-governmental organizations which some researchers call “the crusaders”.

The Crusaders are a group of organizations that worked together to bring sex trafficking to the political forefront. This was done throughout the late 1990’s. The Crusaders include right wing feminist and religious groups. The organizations found common ground in their stance against sex trafficking because of their opposition against prostitution and pornography. “The crusaders include Focus on the Family, National Association of Evangelicals, Catholic Bishops Conference, Traditional Values Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Salvation Army, International Justice Mission, Shared Hope International, and Religious Freedom Coalition”, (Weitzer, 2007). The list of the organizations that make up the crusaders go on. Crusaders are also known for being anti-abortionist, promoting abstinence and procreation.

Other organizations opposed to sex trafficking include human rights activist, women’s rights groups, and organizations supporting rights for sex workers. The Network of Sex Work Project makes up more than 40 different organizations that provide outreach and services to people in the sex industry. Such organizations include, Sex Workers Outreach Project, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW), and the Sex Workers Project of New York. These organizations are against sex trafficking and view the phenomena as a violation of human rights, women’s rights, and worker’s rights. They always put people first. Human rights, feminist, governmental, and religious organizations are all opposed to sex trafficking. They work to apply laws, services, and resources to eradicate sex trafficking worldwide.


Organizational Tactics to Fight Sex Trafficking

Organizations confront sex trafficking in different ways. The way they confront the phenomena directly affects future outcomes. The United Nations is a leader in this. They work with other governments to remain informed on the climate of human trafficking and what other countries and organizations are doing about it. The UN created an initiative calling nations to Prevent, Prosecute, and Protect against sex trafficking. They have implemented and enforce these policies themselves and encourage participating countries to do so as well. Through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the United States follows these policies. The United States government defines sex trafficking by severity;

“Sex trafficking in which commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion… or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the labor or service through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt-bondage, or slavery”, (Chapkis, 2003).

The United States is able to limit who is considered a victim. This definition decides who can receive services and aid from the US government. The policy also allows the US to fund NGOs and other organizations that work to fight against prostitution and sex trafficking. These principles coincide with the views of many NGOs working with and within the United States. For example, Christian Coalitions and right wing feminist groups first fought against prostitution before tackling sex trafficking. Because of the relationship between the Crusaders and the United States government, faith-based organizations have taken on the same tactics that law enforcement uses to protect people directly affected. Many of these NGOs are international organizations. Faith-based organizations often “attempt to rehabilitate fallen women, pity and assistance extend only to those sex workers who are repentant and can be held accountable for their sins”, (Sonderlund, 2005). Working with these organizations the government is able to intervene in the prostitution regime.

Human Rights activist and other NGO’s fight sex trafficking in a different way. Organizations such as the GAATW work to confront human trafficking by encouraging change on how people affected by trafficking are perceived, supported, and intervention strategies. They work to change the politics surrounding sex trafficking. This includes the economic significance, enacting justice, and social ramifications surrounding the industry. Thus, these organizations take a human rights approach to address trafficking. They support sharing information with other agencies and collect credible data. By working independently they ensure that human rights are being met without the interception of religious affiliation, political stance, or commercial industries. Going along with the policies and standards established by the United Nations, these organizations best meet UN objectives. The United Nations testified in the Human Rights Counsel stating, “it’s essential that trafficking is understood as happening in a context of migration and states must ensure coherence in the policies on migration and trafficking and that they are gender sensitive and human rights based”, (Weitzer, 2007).

The Fight Against Sex Trafficking

NGOs and governments are doing many things to fight against sex trafficking. The UN made a protocol and took a stand against the problem through policies and initiatives that partner nations should follow. “They shall not adversely affect the human rights and dignity of persons in particular the rights of those who have been trafficked and of migrants, internally displaced persons, refugees, and asylum seekers”, (Doltridge, 2007). This stance and other initiatives are seen in the United Nations Trafficking Protocol (Palermo Protocol), The Protocol to Prevent Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children. The UN also established the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. This was a treaty signed by UN participants to ensure cooperation against sex trafficking worldwide.  The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is the “guardian” of the UN’s protocol against sex trafficking. They help nations implement and apply laws and strategies. This includes all the elements that make sex trafficking a lucrative industry. Interventions such as this help give special assistance to 2nd and 3rd world countries to create laws and provide resources help these nations requiring assistance.

Liberalist and human rights organizations agree with this stand point. Because of this, they work behind the United Nations. Organizations like GAATW reviews the content, material, and interventions used by the UN to confront sex trafficking. For example, the UN trains law enforcement officers throughout the world and include service to the public for prevention. The GAATW will then “evaluate whether or how the content in pre-departure trainings prevents trafficking and exploitation”, (GAATW, 2012). Consequently, GAATW and similar organizations (including the UN) hold governments and other agencies accountable for their intervention strategies. They do this by reviewing the impact outside organizations has on the sex trafficking industry. NGOs not affiliated with discriminate organizations such as the GAATW specifically work to disassociate sex trafficking with prostitution. Also, they want to disassociate trafficking with other terms such as human smuggling and migration. They are opposed to criminalizing those effected by sex trafficking and deportation putting women’s rights and victim right’s first. The GAATW also call for a definite definition of sex trafficking and encourage other organizations to recognize their negative intervention strategies and approaches to confront the problem. Organizations like GAATW and others conduct valid and creditable research that is continuously on going to develop strategies and interventions to help those directly affected.

Many of the NGOs affiliated with the United States government conduct raids and other intervention strategies to persecute and incriminate sex traffickers. This is also a strategy to protect people directly affected by trafficking. One study indicated that the International Justice Mission regularly raids brothels and prostitution rings. This activity occurs predominately throughout Asian countries such as Thailand. These organizations conduct research in addition to rehabilitation, protection strategies, and general resources. When finding information on specifically “what” these NGOs are doing now to confront the issue, very little evidence was found to support this.

Negative Consequences of Organizational Impact

Different organizations around the world are opposed to sex trafficking and work to end it. These organizations have good intentions but some strategies they use have negative effects on helping those directly affected. It also has negative consequences on the attempt to stop sex trafficking. To put an end to the problem, the United Nations provide funding to, “donating governments include Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and the United States”, (UNIAP, 2013). However, the UN financing governments can compromise their position. These affiliates might do something that is unlawful, inappropriate, or questions the intentions to enforce human rights. If this happens the UN will be held responsible. To protect themselves and their intentions, funding programs should not be done. This is the same for the United States. The country should not be affiliated with NGOs and other governments when it comes to eradicating sex trafficking. NGO’s have different agendas, circumstances, and reasons for confronting the phenomena. Through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the United States has limited who they will provide protection services to. For instance, the US puts limits on the definition of sex trafficking by excluding people who entered the industry intentionally or face inhuman treatment because of this. Tactics taken by the government and their NGO affiliates “prescribed remedies to trafficked persons and migrant women and imposed them with a rigor that allows no space for intervention, disagreement, or alternative”, (GAATW, 2007). An example of this is the International Justice Mission who raided a sex trafficking ring in Thailand. The outcome of their intervention strategy was to rehabilitate the women affected. However, many of the women ran away. They felt disenfranchised by the rehabilitation strategies that involved interrogation and coercion by “rescuers”.

The NGOs known as the Crusaders lobbied politicians to gear legislature towards their agendas. This involves associating prostitution and sex trafficking together. These organizations encouraged policy makers to enact this. It opposes legal prostitution. Along with this it determines which NGO’s are allowed to receive government funding and which are not. The guidelines require organizations to take a stance against the sex trade. “Today, to be eligible for funding, any foreign NGO working on the trafficking front must declare its opposition to legal prostitution”, (Weitzer, 2007). Many organizations are unable to do this. This includes different human rights groups, all sex workers rights groups, and others.  Organizations that provide resources and services to sex workers are excluded from government funding. Giving sex workers information on safe sex or other resources would keep an NGO from government support. Many NGOs are against this. They have rallied together and petitioned the pledge because “they believe the policy interferes with promising interventions that require building trust with sex workers”, (Weitzer, 2007). It requires organizations to provide rights for sex workers, protection against STIs, or condom distribution. Working with law makers, the Crusaders were able to get policies in place that oppose sex trafficking and prostitution. This can be harmful when attempting to confront sex trafficking worldwide.

Organizational Strategies for the Future

“Migrants, internally-displaced persons, refugees, and asylum-seekers have suffered unacceptably negative consequences and that anti-trafficking measures have been counterproductive”, (Doltridge, 207). Many organizations here in the United States and across the world are doing what they can to confront sex trafficking. Each organization is doing different things to fix the problem. They all have different aims, objectives, and agendas. The different approaches and ways they attempt to eradicate the phenomena has harmful effects. Innocent people who are affected by trafficking feel incriminated and discriminated. Rehabilitation services include limiting access to society and the outside world. Religious organizations encourage victims to commit to their faith. People affected feel imprisoned instead of liberated. The United Nations Office of Drug and Crime conducted a global report on trafficking. In this report the UN cited that, “only an approach that entails respect for human rights and non-discrimination was seen as having the potential to succeed”, (2012). With different organizations trying to eradicate sex trafficking in a global context they must be on one accord. Organizational and governmental research should be screened for validity and accuracy. They should also implement a strategy that can promise positive results for protecting, prosecuting, and preventing sex trafficking. To encourage organizations to approach sex trafficking as a human rights issue, the UN must establish a policy requiring governments and organizations to do this. It would ensure that people directly affected are receiving the aid they need to lead productive lives. Consequently, “translating the Protocol into reality remains problematic; very few criminals are convicted and most victims are probably never identified or assisted”, (UNODC, 2013).


Not one thing can rid the world of sex trafficking. It is not only up to organizations. The public, the media, law makers, law enforcement, and greater society should all work together to confront this. Organizations play a large role eradicating sex trafficking. They work with agencies, politicians, the government, and others. Also organizations provide resources to those directly affected, including rehabilitation, information, education, and social services. Other organizations monitor, document, and research information about this topic to be used in the future. As a global phenomenon, sex trafficking should be attacked globally. To confront sex trafficking, organizations and governments cannot have dual agendas. They cannot take on prostitution, the sex trade, and sex trafficking all at once. Instead it should be direct and with force to push traffickers out of the industry. Traffickers should be found, prosecuted, and regimes broken. Without coming together to attack the issue, it will continue to be an uphill battle between government, politics, and fundamental human rights.




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