Lessons from Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle: Using Kant's "Perpetual Peace" to Correct the Historical Incompatibilities between American National Security and Supply-Side Drug Control Policies
Goodwin, James Alexander
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The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the historically incompatible foreign policy objectives of national security and supply-side narcotics control can be reconciled through the utilization of a viable policy alternative that achieves both effectively without subordinating one to the other. Specifically, I will present a case study on the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia to show how America's past national security policy of containment during the early Cold War (roughly 1950 through 1970) effectively transformed this region in two very negative ways: 1) as a direct result of containment strategy the Golden Triangle became not only the world's single largest producer of opium and heroin, but also the leading supplier of these illegal narcotics to America's black market by the end of the Cold War, and 2) as a direct result of this transformation into a major source of illegal narcotics much of the region has become so embroiled in political and civil instability as to make the countries of the Golden Triangle-Burma, Laos, and to a lesser extent, Thailand-a potentially major threat to future American national security interests, thereby undermining the whole point of containment theory in the first place.