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The Mexican Cartel Debate: As Viewed Through Five Divergent Fields of Security Studies

February 12, 2011

Small Wars Journal, 11 Feb 2011: The Mexican cartel debate is becoming increasingly more important to U.S. national security, however, it is also becoming ever more confused, heated, and at times downright nasty, with little agreement about what is taking place in Mexico or in other regions of the Americas, such as Guatemala, Honduras, and even this side of the U.S. border. To shed some light on this critical debate—a debate we need to have now and not later— it is the contention of this author that, since the Mexican cartel phenomena is being looked at by scholars from divergent fields of security studies and since each field of study brings with it its own key assumptions and concerns, preferred responses, terminology, works, and authors, those analyzing the problem are often talking at cross-purposes which is unproductive. Additionally, dissention among those within each individual field of study about the threat the cartels represent—the divergences among those who study insurgencies as but one important example— adds another layer of confusion to this debate…

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