The Wrong Message

Alex Wood

The British bank HSBC will only have to pay about $1.9 billion to the federal government after it was revealed that it had laundered billions of dollars for terrorist organizations and drug cartels.  The organizations that the U.S. spends billions of dollars trying to keep out.  While the company claims to have replaced all those involved, the government will most likely not be prosecuting any HSBC personnel.  The federal government is wasting a wonderful opportunity to show its zero tolerance for terrorism and illicit drugs.

The slap on the wrist that the U.S. Government has given HSBC is neither sufficient enough, nor congruent with other messages sent about drugs and terrorism.  The $1.9 billion fine placed upon HSBC is about as much as the company makes in five weeks.  This is nothing when compared to money spent on the “war on drugs”.  In 2010, over $15 billion was spent to keep drugs out of the country.  Yet a bank found to have laundered money for drug cartels only has to pay a miniscule fraction of that cost?  If the United States is really as opposed to drugs as it says it is, why not use this moment to stamp out drug trade and show that the U.S. is as resilient as ever

Terrorism has been the cause for many American deaths in the current century.  Having launched a War on Terror, the United States Government should be very firm and hand out strong punishments when it’s revealed that HSBC has been helping terrorist organizations.  Yet, the punishments and penance do not fit the crime.  The government has spent over one trillion dollars on wars in the Middle East since 2001, but only asks for such a small sum from a bank found to have been involved with groups it has been fighting for more than a decade.

After helping fuel the strength of drug cartels and terrorist groups, HSBC is only forced to play small reparations.  This does not agree with the messages that the United States has sent out during the 21st century.  Instead of exercising its power and punishing those at fault, the government has shown very little backbone and allowed the guilty parties to walk away relatively free.  The United States Government  is sending the wrong message to the world.