Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown

January 26th, 2017

Large-scale illicit economies and intense organized crime have received intense attention from governments and international organizations since the end of the Cold War. The end of the Cold War brought a permissive strategic environment that allowed many states to focus on a broader menu of interests in their foreign policy agendas, such as the fight against drug trafficking and production. The post-Cold War reduction of international aid to countries formerly in the midst of the Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union exposed the great fragility and institutional underdevelopment of many of these states, a deficiency perhaps exacerbated by globalization. At the same time, the international community spotlighted criminal and belligerent actors of significant power, who were previously hidden in the shadows of Cold War politics, especially when their activities were associated with the emergence of new areas of intensely violent organized crime or trafficking-related corruption.

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