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This article by Robert Kaplan just swam up on my Twitter feed: With the Focus on Syria, Mexico Burns:
While the foreign policy elite in Washington focuses on the 8,000 deaths in a conflict in Syria — half a world away from the United States — more than 47,000 people have died in drug-related violence since 2006 in Mexico. A deeply troubled state as well as a demographic and economic giant on the United States’ southern border, Mexico will affect America’s destiny in coming decades more than any state or combination of states in the Middle East. Indeed, Mexico may constitute the world’s seventh-largest economy in the near future.
Well, you know, I’d heartily agree with the whole article, except that I see no evidence that anyone is focusing on Syria in the first place. According to Google news, US edition, these are the top stories today:
- Tiger Woods
- Mitt Romney
- Mobile and Wireless
- Carroll Shelby
- Arlen Specter
- Dennis Rodman
- Tzipi Livni
- Newt Gingrich
- Cleveland Browns
(I’m glad that at least Mali’s on the list.)
Syria matters and matters momentously to U.S. interests, but Mexico ultimately matters more, so one would think that there would be at least some degree of parity in the amount written on these subjects. I am not demanding a switch in news coverage from one country to the other, just a bit more balance.
Looks about equal to me: Nearly zero news coverage of either.
The next line made me laugh, in a dark way:
Of course, it is easy for pundits to have a fervently interventionist view on Syria precisely because it is so far away, whereas miscalculation in Mexico on America’s part would carry far greater consequences. For example, what if the Mexican drug cartels took revenge on San Diego? Thus, one might even argue that the very noise in the media about Syria, coupled with the relative silence about Mexico, is proof that it is the latter issue that actually is too sensitive for loose talk.
Yes, well, to the extent that anyone talks about Syria, the punditry usually offers some off-handed comment about what the countries bordering Syria could do or should do. Let me offer those pundits a hint: It should not surprise you if these countries behave as if Syria were very close to them. It should not surprise you that they worry miscalculation might have grave consequences. Same kind of situation, you see?
Need any more insight into the Middle East, give me a ring.Published in