Trump and other prominent GOP members want a military solution to the fentanyl overdose problem
US Republicans are increasingly supportive of the idea of waging war on Mexico’s powerful drug cartels, according to Politico, who spoke to several party lawmakers about the controversial idea.
Former President Donald Trump is eager to send “special forces” south of the border to root out cartels, according to Rolling Stone, whose sources claimed the 2024 Republican frontrunner was asking “battle plans” to engage traffickers. Trump, they said, complained about “The missed opportunities of his first term” and is surrounded by people “who want fewer missed opportunities in a second Trump presidency.”
But the ex-president is far from alone in his party. Republican Congressmen Dan Crenshaw and Mike Waltz are proposing legislation that would seek an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) targeting cartels, accusing them of “turning Mexico into a failed narco-state.”
The bill would be “to go to war against the cartels”, Crenshaw boasted in a press release, insisting “We need to start treating them like ISIS – because that’s what they are.”
Waltz agreed it was “It’s time to attack” against traffickers, echoing his colleague’s comparison to the banned terror group. “We need to start thinking of these groups more like ISIS than we do the mafia,” he told Politico on Monday.
A group of 20 Republican congressmen led by Texas Rep. Chip Roy introduced a bill last month that would designate the Gulf Cartel, Cartel del Noreste, Cartel de Sinaloa and Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion as “Foreign Terrorist Organizations”.
Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John Kennedy unveiled a similar bill last month calling for a dedicated task force on drug cartels and traffickers and naming nine such organizations to be designated as terrorists.
The push to invade the United States’ southern neighbor has unlikely detractors, including John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser. Bolton suggested going to war against the cartels “will not solve the problem” fentanyl overdoses.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, a Republican from the border state of Texas, is “still under evaluation” the AUMF proposal and “is concerned about the implications for immigration and bilateral relations with Mexico”, a staffer told Politico.
More than 70,000 Americans died in 2021 from overdoses of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids widely produced in Mexico, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Mexico has denied responsibility, citing American social decay as the main factor in the overdose crisis. Despite pressure from state attorneys general, the Biden administration has ruled out designating the cartels as terrorists.