US Massacre In Mexico Requires Washington To Act, Here's What Could Happen Next 

On Tuesday, nine Americans - a large family of what appear to be associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - were killed during a highway ambush by drug cartel members. 

The story sent shockwaves across the American press, President Trump, in a series of tweets, offered US assistance in bringing the criminals to justice. "If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively."

The slaughter of innocent Americans this week is a clear understanding that cartel wars in Mexico are evolving into a dangerous phase where foreigners, women, and children won't be spared by cartels. 

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has so far been more than willing to work with the Trump administration on border security but might have to readjust his approach in fighting cartels after the deaths of the Americans. 

AMLO's strategy in creating work programs and opportunities for Mexican youth isn't working as cartel wars devastate many parts of the country. 

Former anti-drug prosecutor Samuel Gonzalez told AP that "sooner or later, the government is going to have to adjust its strategy."

Perhaps, the deaths of Americans this week is a serious wake-up call for AMLO and his administration to change the script or face tremendous backlash from the Trump administration. 

"It is not that the government would have to declare war on the drug cartels, it is rather that the drug traffickers have declared war on the government," Gonzalez said, "and in that situation the government has to respond in legitimate self-defense and with proportional force."

Jacob Hornberger, the president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, said Washington officials have been contemplating three strategies over how to respond to the massacre in Mexico: 

  • Option 1: Have the Mexican military crackdown even more fiercely than it already has during the past 10 years of fierce military drug warfare.
  • Option 2: Send in the US military and the CIA into Mexico.
  • Option 3. Capture the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, extradite him to the United States, and jail him for the rest of his life.

Hornberger finds it hard to believe that Option 1, 2, and 3 would solve the crisis, instead, he says there's a straightforward solution that could end all of this madness: end the war on drugs. 

"As we have been saying here at The Future of Freedom Foundation for 30 years, there is one — and only one — way to get rid of drug cartels, drug gangs, and drug lords. That way is through drug legalization, complete drug legalization. Not just marijuana. All drugs, including cocaine, heroin, meth, and opioids. Ditch them all.

With drug legalization, the drug cartels, drug gangs, and drug lords are out out business overnight. Gone. Isn't that what drug-war proponents say they would like to see? Well, that's the only way to see it.

That's what happened, of course, when statists decided to re-legalize booze. They finally realized that they were never going to put the booze cartels, booze gangs, and booze lords out of business by cracking down on them ever more fiercely. They finally realized that the only way to achieve that goal was through legalization. And sure enough, the re-legalization of booze put them all out of business," Hornberger wrote. 

And the probability of the US government ending the war on drugs is very low. So it's likely that AMLO and Washington will start increasing joint military operations against cartels in the not too distant future.