Boz has a great point about the fresh funding headed to Central America:
I think a lesson is that there is no amount of money that the US could put on the table and no amount of attention the US could give that would guarantee Central America’s success in fighting organized crime.
The US is not alone in its monetary commitment. The US pledge of $300 million is less than the $1 billion promised by the World Bank and the $500 million from the Inter-American Development Bank that came out of Guatemala City earlier this week. Aside from the fact that this money does not compare to the up to $39 billion per year that goes to Mexico alone from drug trafficking each year, the problem that Boz points out is that the money needs to be spent better.
Less attention should be spent on how much, and more on how spent. For example, nuts and bolts ideas those proposed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to set up an anti money laundering unit and to train special forces in Colombia with veterans who have seen similar insurgencies are what will lead to improvements.
The dialogue needs to change to focus on these specific ideas, and more broadly, how, when, and why they should be implemented. In an ideal world, we could give the problem carte blanche with a theoretical limitless amount of cash, and shift the focus not so much on securing money, but on stimulating ideas on how to improve security. Obviously this idea would never happen in reality, but it is one I put forward to suggest that the center of attention change from money to ideas.
Lead with good ideas, and the money will follow. Fund all (or most) ideas. Scrap the bad ones, and invest more in the good ones. Revise, tweak, and remain as nimble and creative as the enemy, which is very much both of those things. The simple promise of more money creates the illusion, and the expectation, that the problem will be solved.