The United States can expect only limited cooperation from foreign countries in the war against drugs, because most drug-supplying countries have weak or hostile governments, according to Senate testimony.
Where the countries have strong central governments and are allies of the United States - such as France and Turkey - the cooperation is much easier to obtain, said Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan, D-N.Y., who submitted a written statement to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.Moynihan recalled his trip to those countries in 1968 when their heroin exports were a major problem and he was an assistant to President Nixon.
"Both Turkey and France had strong central governments capable, if they chose, of doing what we asked them to do," he said in a statement Wednesday. "Further, each was a military ally of the United States, which is to say we were all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization."
He said Turkey was able to stop farmers from selling opium to traffickers and France curbed the conversion into heroin. But he added that success there had was counteracted by failure with governments that have a weak grip on their countries.
"Peru, Burma and Afghanistan face violent civil war," he said. "Laos, Afghanistan and Iran are openly hostile to the United States. Brazil has uncounted square miles where government authority is limited."
Moynihan argued that money is better spent on treating addicts at home.
"A 10 percent success rate in treatment is meaningful in a way that a 10 percent success rate in eradication (of crops) is not," he said.
Moynihan's reference to Turkey was supported by Robert S. Dillon, a former U.S. ambassador there. Dillon attributed success in Turkey to U.S. financing of a factory to process the raw opium for medical use and the ability of the Turkish government to control the trade.
Diego Asencio, former U.S. ambassador to Colombia, emphasized that U.S. spending to fight drugs abroad is low compared with sums expended at home. He pointed to the $70 million that William J. Bennett, in charge of federal drug programs, wants to use in Washington alone.
"Spending $14 or $15 million in Mexico is a joke," he said. "It's not indicative of a serious program."