Usually, when I see a reference to drug wars, the word failure appears in the narrative. That would imply that the idea of the war on drugs is to stop the production and useage of illegal drugs.
Not so, says this man.
LS: You are arguing in your book that the war on drugs is no failure at all, but a success. How do you come to that conclusion?
OV: I come to that conclusion because what do we know so far about the war on drugs? Well, the US has spent about US$1 trillion throughout the globe. Can we simply say it has failed? Has it failed the drug money-laundering banks? No. Has it failed the key Western financial centers? No. Has it failed the narco-bourgeoisie in Colombia - or in Afghanistan, where we can see similar patterns emerging? No. Is it a success in maintaining that political economy? Absolutely.
So I have to say when we are looking at it from that political economy / class basis approach with this emphasis on imperialism and the state rather than simply crime, it has been a success because what it is actually doing is allowing that political economy to thrive.