From the Editor

The World Today
Published 1 August 2012 Updated 7 December 2018 1 minute READ

‘It’s all aircraft carriers, none of it moves on a dime’. So spoke a White House official, lamenting the painfully slow pace of change in drugs policy. In the decades since Richard Nixon declared a ‘war on drugs’, a few battles have been won but most of the indicators point to defeat.

Now a consensus is growing in favour of a radical re-think. President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia tells us that the burden of fighting the drugs trade has fallen too heavily on producer countries, like his own, or transit countries, such as Mexico. It is time for the consuming nations to get their houses in order.

In our cover story, Claire Yorke and Benoît Gomis argue that the guiding principle for policy-makers has to be a rigorous assessment of the balance of harm: does law enforcement cause more damage than the drugs themselves? Professor Mark Kleiman, one of the America’s most experienced drug policy analysts, predicts that cannabis will be legal in the US within 15 years.

Over the page Sir Christopher Meyer, former British ambassador in Washington, writes about the world’s super cities and the global elite who flit from one to the other. Increasingly they want to send their children to British boarding schools which now cost £30,000 a year.

Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College, sounds a warning that these schools will lose their moral purpose if they cater only to the global super-rich. By way of contrast, our Postcard comes from St Augustine’s school in Isoke, South Sudan, where the fees are £35 a term, and the history teacher has to write out her textbooks by hand, and largely from memory.