American-Dutch Drug War Relations

By elbow · Jul 21, 2005 · ·
  1. elbow
    On July 9, 1998, Barry R. McCaffrey, then the White
    House drug policy director, fired an opening salvo against the Dutch,
    declaring that drug-fighting policies in the Netherlands were "an
    unmitigated disaster."

    Eleven days later, after a maelstrom of criticism in the Netherlands,
    McCaffrey acknowledged he may have overstepped. On reflection, he said,
    the policy was a "mitigated disaster."

    But the flood gates had opened, and the Bush administration has been
    waging a public battle with Dutch authorities over their permissive
    approach to drugs, criticizing cannabis cafes that target foreigners
    and ecstasy factories supplying drugs to Americans.

    In 2000, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration called the
    Netherlands "perhaps the most important drug trafficking and transiting
    area in Europe," and last year McCaffrey's successor, John P. Walters,
    called the country's policies "fundamentally irrational."

    But last Thursday there was a limited rapprochement. Standing together
    at the National Press Club, Walters and Hans Hoogervorst, the
    Netherlands' health secretary, announced they had signed an agreement
    for reducing drug use. In an instant, seven years of acrimony was
    history amid handshakes, smiles and warm words.

    "What an entertaining pairing," said Peter Reuter, a drug policy expert
    at the University of Maryland, who said he was surprised by the move.
    Although there has been closer cooperation since 2003 with a bilateral
    program known as "Agreed Steps," President Bush said in his most recent
    annual report to Congress that the Netherlands remained a "dominant
    source country" for "club drugs."

    The reason for the sudden love-in? The administration drug chief and
    his new best friend had bonded over a new high-potency form of
    marijuana, known as THC, because of its psychoactive ingredient

    "The conventional, or cartoon, view of our two countries is that the
    United States is irresponsibly harsh and the Dutch are irresponsibly
    permissive and we are anti-poles of how you handle drugs," Walters said

    "But on a visit to Holland earlier this year, I was struck by how much
    commonality there was over the issue of marijuana THC and high-potency
    cannabis," he said. "Their research showed that 20 percent of homegrown
    marijuana was THC, and they were having significantly greater problems
    with this. Dutch government agencies have been saying this almost ought
    to be treated as a different drug."

    Having identified an area on which they could work together, Walters
    and Hoogervorst drew up a joint statement. The agreement paves the way
    for a summit this fall between U.S. and Dutch researchers, information
    sharing between drug addiction experts and the assignment of a Dutch
    researcher to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    "Does this represent any major change? The answer is no. What's
    significant is that both sides want to make peace," Reuter said. He
    also said that despite the accord on high-potency cannabis, there has
    been little action on the issues that so worried two successive U.S.
    administrations, even from the right-of-center Dutch government.

    "My understanding is that this government is more cautious than its
    predecessor but has made no major changes to the law," Reuter said. "It
    has slowed down the program to switch methadone to heroin and has been
    under pressure to curb the use of cannabis coffee shops by foreigners,
    but changes have been modest."

    Walters agreed. "The law hasn't changed dramatically, and we still have
    our differences. But I do think there's been both a change in
    circumstances and a change in officials," he said.

    Ivo H. Daalder, a senior analyst at the Brookings Institution,
    cautioned not to overstate the role of drugs in the relationship
    between the two countries.

    "Drugs have been an irritant in the relationship, but hardly the issue
    that defines it," Daalder said. "President Bush is more interested in
    whether they have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, which they had until
    March. There are several issues like drug policy -- euthanasia,
    abortion and gay marriage, for instance -- where the two sides
    disagree, but they quickly put them aside and get on with being good

    ---------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------

    U.S. and Netherlands Reach Accord on Cutting Drug Use</font>

    By Sam Coates, Washington Post Staff Writer

    Monday, July 18, 2005


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  1. sands of time
    John Walters and the DEA in general are just a bunch of thugs out to protect they're jobs. They see countries with a rational drug policy as a threat. No matter what, the DEA will always view the Dutch drug policy as irrational and dangerous.
  2. elbow
    I agree with you there, obviously, but the DEA/drug war system is not
    just about these people keeping their jobs: it is about them getting
    very very rich and controlling foreign political systems without having
    to deal with any democratic practices that may be in place in other
    countries. The drug war is a form of narco-terrorism and a way for the
    US to control other countries (Latin America is the best example of
    this paradigm). The DEA/CIA and the rest of the US government agencies
    are extremely good at manufacturing systems of oppression: displace the
    native Americans, build the countryt using slave labor, then divide
    society into haves and have-nots with racial segregation of various
    sorts and today drug users are the new underclass of America and the
    war on drugs constitutes the most viable way to foster the growth of
    the prison system, with all of the cheap labor that it provides as well
    as preventing poorer people and minority groups from voting (jailed
    people are currently not allowed to vote).

    Now that they are successfully using these tactics world-wide in a
    non-covert manner (not to mention all the ill tricks that go on behind
    the scenes) I really fear for this world.
  3. Nicaine
    Politicians are idiots.

    I'm not sure there's much more to say on the topic, to me that really says it all. But I'll go ahead anyway. It's all about (A) Power (B) Money (C) Public standing (political version of 'fame'). Beyond the local levels, I don't think there's a politician in existence who cares about anything except those three.

    And just a note, IMO the Bush Administration will wage war on anything/anybody. If they can fight against it, they will. They're a continued embarrassment to the USA... I feel sick for my country and embarrassed to be a citizen. [​IMG] Edited by: Nicaine
  4. Nature Boy
    Fucking ridiculous. Holland is the most flawlessly functioning country I've ever visited and their policy of tolerance works which is clear for everyone to see who goes there. Even the extremely conservative get an eye-opener when they visit Holland, in fact, it's one of the few countries left in the world where the conservative and liberal can co-exist peacefully.

    The Americans, French and Germans never stop bitching about the Dutch. It's a pathetic attempt to blame someone for their failing "war" on drugs.
  5. Alfa
    This is a strangepropaganda: I have seen more and more news like this being published in non-dutch newspapers. It seems that the current Dutch government is saying contradicting things to other governments and to its population. Either way, we will soon be rid of this narrow minded Dutch government as more than two-third of the Dutch population has a strong distrust and dislike for the current right wing-christian government. Lucky enough, the media has the same dislike towards the current government and exposes them over and over again. [​IMG]

    Did you know that german, belgium and dutch local governments are having meetings to see how to regulate cannabis sales?
  6. Nature Boy
    I could see decriminalisation coming into Belgium and the opening of coffeeshops but the traditional hardline Germans are still a few years behind.

    Logically, coffeeshops should be appearing in Spain and the UK within the next few years barring some major catastrophy. I would be delighted to see coffeeshops in the UK because then my kiss-ass government would probably follow suit.

    It makes more sense to legalise cannabis in the UK and Ireland more than any other European country because the standard of hash (soapbar) is so bad, that it can cause some fairly serious health problems. Legalised clean hash would be a benefit to us rather than an excuse to go crazy.Edited by: nature_boy_liam
  7. elbow
    I recall seeing many re-examinations of British drug policy occuring in
    the British media (and also the gov't) in the past two years or so. One
    of the reasons for this could be the prevalence and accaptance of
    recreational drug use in Britain, as well as the admitted surfeit of
    problems that are caused by alcohol every night in town centers (which
    is probably also caused by the early pub closings that toss all the
    drunks out into the street at the same time). Did anyone else see that
    program that was on BBC last year about the war that the police have to
    constantly wage against rowdy, violent drunks? I don't remember what it
    was called, but it was a real eye-opener, the behavior of wasted people
    was truly shocking in its destructiveness...and it seemed to me that
    replacing alcohol with cannabis as Britains drug of choice would only
    be a good thing, if only to keep several dozen people's heads from
    being bashed in every weekend.

    Anyone else have any thoughts on this? I haven't been to Britain in a
    while, so I don't really know how the winds are blowing over there, but
    from the media it seems that quite a percentage of law enforcement
    officers realize that alcohol is more dangerous to the public order
    than cannabis.
  8. Nature Boy
    My fear is that all the progress made in recent years by the British in terms of their drug use tolerance policy will be stifled under the influence of Bush and his "with us or against us" attitude. These recent terror attacks on London are the perfect springboard for Bush to enforce his "war" on drugs to the extreme and draw the UK backwards just like the way the US is being drawn backwards. I hope, for all of our sakes, that Blair won't be Bush's bitch again and will continue to support these progressive tolerance movements whilst maintaining solid steps towards cutting out violence from both drunknen hooligans and terrorists.
  9. Sick Jack
    And there is differents points of views through the different Dutch level of governement.

    I read for example that the current Dutch government would, if it could, close the coffeeshop or at least forbid the access for tourists.

    At another level, for example, a recent poll showed that a majority of the mayors from the 40-50 biggest dutch cities are convinced about the validity of their system and would be favorable to a legalisation of weed production.

    Can anyone confirm this facts ???
  10. elbow
    I think that this is true, Sick Jack, there are different levels of
    government with somewhat complex relations between them. The cities
    have a "college van burgermeesters" that can say to the government what
    the cities are willing to do and not do, concerning the coffeeshops. I
    am not sure how far they can disagree with the Dutch government,
    though. Perhaps some of the Dutch folks will be kind enough to explain
    the relation between the college and the Balkenende gov't.

    May I ask you how the weed situation in Switzerland is right now? I
    know that the shops have been closed, but what is the availability like
    at the street level, do you have to already know people in town or are
    there neighborhoods with many dealers, etc? I am very curious about
  11. FrankenChrist
    In every single article they just have to say -or at least imply- that's it's "not just weed anymore, it's a whole other drug". They are referring to supposedly stronger marijuana that would be more "dangerous".
  12. sands of time
    Yea, this is what the DEA has been saying for awhile. It's a really stupid arguement too because this strong marijuana is sold at a higher price generally, and so one might be more inclined to SMOKE LESS! There has always been low grade, mid grade and potent weed though.
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