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President Bush has made the war against drugs the number one issue on the contemporary American political agenda. In this revised edition of his classic book, available for the first time in paperback, Edward Jay Epstein argues that the president has adopted the strategy of his forebear, Richard Nixon, in using the drugs war to blame foreigners for the crisis in America’s cities, and to provide a smokescreen for unrelated political activity designed to bolster executive power.
The drugs crackdown has seen an almost hundredfold increase in the federal budget for narco-politics in the fifteen years since Agency of Fear was first published, while statistics on drug-running have been massaged. Epstein points out that, despite the massive budgets and public relations brouhaha, drug importation, as measured against wholesale price, has in fact grown.