Spring 5-2-2018

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Barr, Robert

Second Advisor

Cooperman, Rosalyn

Department Chair or Program Director

Kramer, John

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major or Concentration

Political Science

Department or Program

Political Science and International Affairs


Over the course of the multi-decade War on Drugs in Latin America, the United States has continued to implement a supply-side focused strategy that has failed in nearly all facets. Neither the production, supply, or transit of illegal drugs has been reduced, nor has domestic demand decreased. However, majority of federal counterdrug funding is dedicated to the continuation of the same policies. Costly supply-side policies that do not achieve goals present a conundrum that begs resolution. Why has the United States continued to pursue a counterdrug strategy in Latin America that has been largely futile? This paper tests for the explanatory power of three possible answers to the question: bureaucratic inertia, domestic politics, and hegemonic status.