President Richard Nixon announced the start of the drug war in the summer of 1969. About the same time, politically based terrorism emerged to challenge Western perceptions of warfare, "Vietnamization" was being implemented to disengage the United States from what had become an unpopular and divisive conflict, and the Cold War was raging full force.
Today, three decades later, ethnic and religious terrorism is at the forefront, U.S. forces are heavily involved in peacekeeping and peace-enforcement operations in the Balkans, and the Cold War has been replaced by a chaotic, politically fragmented world situation.
During this period the character and nature of the drug war has changed and evolved, but the struggle itself continues with no end in sight. Numerous victories and defeats have been chronicled. The Medellin and Cali (Colombia) cartels have been dismantled and the initial smuggling war at sea has been won, but Mexican cartels have emerged to destabilize our southern neighbor and to threaten U.S. sovereignty with the establishment of a network of methamphetamine laboratories in our southern border states.