NAFTA-Land Security: The Mérida Initiative, Transnational Threats, and U.S. Security Projection in Mexico

Ashby, Paul (2015) NAFTA-Land Security: The Mérida Initiative, Transnational Threats, and U.S. Security Projection in Mexico. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Full text available)

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Abstract

This thesis explores recent U.S. bilateral aid to Mexico through the Mérida Initiative (MI), a $2.3 billion assistance commitment on the part of the United States (U.S.) officially justified as helping Mexico build its capacity to take on violent drug cartels and thereby improve security in both countries. There has been a good amount of engaging work on the MI. However this extant literature has not undertaken detailed policy analysis of the aid programme, leading to conclusions that it is a fresh approach to the Mexican counternarcotics (CN) challenge, or that CN is a ‘fig leaf’ for the U.S. to pursue other ‘real’ goals. This is a core gap in the literature this project seeks to fill. Through policy analysis, I make an empirically supported argument that Mérida is a component of a far more ambitious policy agenda to regionalise security with Mexico more generally. This involves stabilising Mexico itself, not least in response to serious drug-related violence. However the U.S. also aims to improve its own security by giving greater ‘depth’ to its borders, and seeks protect the political economy of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) from variegated security threats. In this way, recent U.S. policy in Mexico is both derivative of its wider grand strategic traditions in stabilising key political economies in line with its interests, and representative of some distinct developments stemming from the deeply integrated U.S.-Mexican economy as part of NAFTA. To assure U.S. interests accrued to it through the increasingly holistic North American economy, the U.S. has used the MI as the main vehicle in the construction of a nascent ‘NAFTA-land Security’ framework.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: United States; Mexico; North America; regional security; NAFTA; Homeland Security; political economy; drug war; foreign assistance; Mérida Initiative
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 11 May 2015 13:00 UTC
Last Modified: 12 May 2015 10:53 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48367 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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