The United States government spends billions of dollars every year to combat the trafficking and consumption of illegal narcotics, yet continues to face mixed acceptance of its policy from other countries involved in the drug industry. Through this Independent Study, I sought to determine why these host countries accept or reject United States Drug Policy. Specifically, I determined the impact of both the amount of pressure that the United States applies, and of the host country's domestic bases of political support. Based upon a review of the literature, I developed the argument that international pressure does play a role on acceptance of U.S. Drug Policy, but conditional to the host country's domestic bases of political support. I tested my hypothesis using a most similar systems comparative case study design. Taking into account all controlled variables, I selected Costa Rica, Panama, and Guatemala in the 1980s as my cases. I concluded that the variables do indeed interact as my hypothesis suggested: the governments of host countries accept or reject U.S. policy conditional to domestic bases of political support, and only then will international pressure play a major role in policy adoption. My Independent Study provides a more complete understanding of the conditions in which host countries will accept United States Drug Policy.


Krain, Matthew


International Relations


united states, drug policy, costa rica, panama, guatemala, 1980s, international pressure, domestic support

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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