Is Mexico the Next Afghanistan?

As that country devolves into lawlessness, with drug killings all along the border, some people think so.  Rick Perry, governor of Texas, does:

“I think we have to use every aspect of law enforcement that we have, including the military,” Perry said. “Any means that we can [use] to run these people off our border and to save Americans’ lives, we need to be engaged in.”

Perry has been a vocal proponent of deploying more military forces to the U.S.-Mexico border, hand-delivering a request to President Barack Obama in August. 

And when you think about it, all of the signs point a certain way:  Spiraling violence, a breakdown of political leadership, a corrupt police force, refugee camps — if you didn’t know what country we were talking about, you’d assume we were talking about someplace in Africa.  

Redstate does the thought experiment:

In 2013 and beyond, though, all bets are off. If the Mexican government cannot contain the violence in that country, or more bloodshed occurs on the U.S. side of the border, either the Mexican government may request humanitarian aide, or the U.S. would be justified in acting unilaterally to go into Mexico to end the drug cartels’ brutal terrorism (it’s not like it hasn’t happened before). In fact, if the violence on the U.S. side of the border does not cease, or escalates further, whomever is sitting in the oval office will be hard pressed not to go into Mexico.

None of this sounds like a good news.  

  1. Mel Foil

    If we ever went to war with Mexico, we’d be both Mexico’s military “enemy” and the place where its “war refugees” would flee to. That would be something new.

  2. Jules

    Rob Rob, you have it all wrong. The magical dust that is sprinkled on everyone crossing the mexico-US border ensures that violence on one side of the border translates to law-abiding behavior on the other.

  3. anon_academic

    lawlessness on the border inspires American military intervention? great pitch, but we’d have to get the rights to the original.

  4. Rick O

     Have been living and working here for 7 years, have family and run companies on both sides of the border.   The border needs to be sealed, use whatever means possible, lives will be saved.

    Separately, I would have joined sooner but I the Starbucks Latte cost thing bothered the heck out of me.   The few times I’ve been to Starbucks I ordered a “medium regular coffee”, it’s as if I was speaking a different language.   If Ricochet had said, same price as a couple of pint cans of Budweiser, now that would have represented a worthwhile sacrifice and I would have signed up quite a while back.

  5. James Lileks
    C

    Welcome, Steve! But I have to ask: Bud, not Shiner? 

  6. Rick O

    Shiner will do, but I haven’t seen it in pint cans around here.  

  7. Foxman

     All of this can be stopped by the same means we used to stop the violence related to alcohol prohibition.  Admit that we have lost the drug war and legalize.  How many more innocents must die before we do this?

  8. Foxman
    Steve in Texas (on the border): Shiner will do, but I haven’t seen it in pint cans around here.   · Dec 13 at 9:32am

    Shiner Bock

  9. Paladin

    Secure the border! Secure the border! Build a wall (not a fence, a WALL) and ground sensors to pick up tunneling efforts. Mexico exports something like 70% of the narcotics used in the US and law enforcement interdicts something like 5% of that trade. Securing the border would be a great start in cutting down the cashflow for these gangs. You cut down the cashflow, the business becomes less lucrative, the business becomes less lucrative, there won’t be as many cartels fighting and killing for control over that business. Mexico should be the biggest supporter of sealing the border – we get drugs, they get huge amounts of cash and guns in the hands of their very worst elements.

  10. Rick O

     I agree with the two previous posts.  #9 Secure the border.  #8 Shiner Bock (didn’t want to change the subject but there it is).   Back to securing the border.   Probably won’t surprise anyone but I have spoken to people on the Mexican side of the border that used to cross regularly in the Brownsville sector and now say they can’t because of the fence/wall.

  11. Jimmy Carter

    With the number of illegals invading Our Nation causing crime and damage and altering Our culture, they are already at war with Us. When will We act accordingly? 

  12. Sisyphus

    Obama invades Mexico? He’ll sooner buy the addict/libertarian fusion legalization position, and since mom and dad America are not interested in watching their children hollow and die in a nationwide drug binge, he’ll do nothing with that same prim superciliousness he brings to all of his indefensible positions. And dance.

  13. AtheistConservative

    As an American living in Mexico with my Mexican wife, I really have to object to the tone of some of this conversation.

    I don’t downplay the violence on the border. We strongly support such things as Arizona’s immigration status legislation and strong border enforcement. Once you see how brutally Mexico enforces its immigration laws against countries like Guatemala, it really helps put American law in perspective.

    However, Mexico is not a failed state, nor is it close. Away from the border and a few tourist hotspots (aka drug zones) it is very peaceful. Many foreign businesses have large investments here, and they work with the local governments to keep police and military vigilant. 

    Since the border state issues involve the US, the US will probably have to eventually assist. But if the US entered, it would not be against Mexico, it would be to assist their government. That’s an important distinction.

    It’s a bit weak to slam Calderon for this war and not consider the alternative. As Calderon said, without this war the next president of Mexico would have been a narcotraficante. 

    And what’s with repeating the ‘US assault weapon’ gun myth, unaddressed?

  14. Foxman
     You cut down the cashflow, the business becomes less lucrative, the business becomes less lucrative, there won’t be as many cartels fighting and killing for control over that business.

    There is too much money involved.  If you shut down one path, they will find another.  It is like wack-a mole.  If somebody dies from drug use, it is that person’s fault.  Innocents are dying for our misguided policies.

  15. Sisyphus

     

    AtheistConservative

    Sisyphus: He’ll sooner buy the addict/libertarian fusion legalization position, and since mom and dad America are not interested in watching their children hollow and die in a nationwide drug binge

    Do you honestly believe, contrary to all evidence, that drugs are HARD to obtain because they’re illegal? 

    · Dec 13 at 11:30am

    Of course not, they are amazingly cheap. And easily available in suburban junior high schools since the mid-seventies.  The prohibition draws a clear line of where delinquency begins. You don’t seriously think that blurring or removing that line is without consequences? Do you think parents are impressed with 40 years of federal incompetence in pursuing the drug war? Or that the good guys pursuing that war are heartened to hear calls for surrender that may affect their own families? Or that Hollywood is the creepiest abuser?

    The hardcore kid is going to find a way to kill himself, the straight arrow is going to stay clean. This fight is about the kids in the margins, and giving them a shot at some kind of a life. We do not need a return to the 19th Century opium din mindset. 

  16. Paladin
    Foxman

     You cut down the cashflow, the business becomes less lucrative, the business becomes less lucrative, there won’t be as many cartels fighting and killing for control over that business.

    There is too much money involved.  If you shut down one path, they will find another.  It is like wack-a mole.  If somebody dies from drug use, it is that person’s fault.  Innocents are dying for our misguided policies. · Dec 13 at 1:12pm

    The other paths are likely to be less harmful. I’ll use another prohibition example: removing the ban on alcohol did not destroy the mafia, but it did reduce their cashflow, forcing them to diversify into other areas and there was significantly less violence in their new lines of business. Would you rather deal with the South Side Gang in the height of prohibition or the racketeering, union-dominating mafia of the post war years?

  17. Foxman
    Robert McKay

    Foxman

     You cut down the cashflow, the business becomes less lucrative, the business becomes less lucrative, there won’t be as many cartels fighting and killing for control over that business.

    There is too much money involved.  If you shut down one path, they will find another.  It is like wack-a mole.  If somebody dies from drug use, it is that person’s fault.  Innocents are dying for our misguided policies. · Dec 13 at 1:12pm

    The other paths are likely to be less harmful. I’ll use another prohibition example: removing the ban on alcohol did not destroy the mafia, but it did reduce their cashflow, forcing them to diversify into other areas and there was significantly less violence in their new lines of business. Would you rather deal with the South Side Gang in the height of prohibition or the racketeering, union-dominating mafia of the post war years? · Dec 13 at 2:05pm

    Edited on Dec 13 at 02:07 pm

    Reread what you just wrote.  You appear to be conceding my position.  Are you?

  18. AtheistConservative
    Sisyphus:  

    This fight is about the kids in the margins, and giving them a shot at some kind of a life. We do not need a return to the 19th Century opium din mindset.

    I’m sorry, but that’s nonsense. It’s generally a sign of a weak position for someone to appeal ‘to the children’, but this is particularly galling – you really think a failed war, one that made drugs cheaper and more readily available, is helping kids ‘in the margins’? 

    The argument about the ‘good guys’ pursuing the war is another classic red herring. If a war is unwinnable, it doesn’t matter how great the intentions are. There’s a reason we’re not invading NK right now – we would lose. You don’t keep fighting a losing war just to make the people who are in it feel good.

    What we really don’t need is a continuance of prohibition mentality. You will never, ever get rid of drugs. But there is no reason to believe that making them illegal or fighting a war against them has a net positive effect (just like with alcohol and gun control). 

  19. Rick O

    Re: Comment #18.  From a stricly selfish point of view that would be great if they could move the problem somewhere else, not so close to my family and business.  The other aspect of securing the border obviously would be to stem the tide of illegal immigration, and all the related abuse etc.   It’s a two-fer, and the good thing about it the US pulls all the strings on their own side of the border so it conceivable could get done.   Amazing that it doesn’t get done though.  My guess is that the vast majority of mexicans living on the border would favor having the US seal off the border – except for the border checkpoints of course.   Sealing the border would enable the northern Mexican towns to get their crime under control.   While we’re at it, I don’t know why Calderon doesn’t flood the zone with another 100,000 troops – and if he doesn’t have them all maybe he could ask the US for some assistance.   Significant military involvement on both sides of the border, among other things, is likely the only hope.

  20. Stuart Creque

     If Mexico is to be the next Afghanistan, who is their Pakistan?  Is there an outside power whose meddling in Mexico’s affairs we tolerate, or is Mexico’s situation all home-grown?

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