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.  

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Members have made 51 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Mel Foil Inactive

    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.

    • #1
    • December 13, 2010 at 10:03 am
  2. Profile photo of Jules Inactive

    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.

    • #2
    • December 13, 2010 at 10:06 am
  3. Profile photo of anon_academic Inactive

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

    • #3
    • December 13, 2010 at 10:06 am
  4. Profile photo of Rick O'Shea in Texas Member

     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.

    • #4
    • December 13, 2010 at 10:10 am
  5. Profile photo of James Lileks Contributor

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

    • #5
    • December 13, 2010 at 10:24 am
  6. Profile photo of Rick O'Shea in Texas Member

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

    • #6
    • December 13, 2010 at 10:32 am
  7. Profile photo of Foxman Inactive

     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?

    • #7
    • December 13, 2010 at 10:44 am
  8. Profile photo of Foxman Inactive
    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

    • #8
    • December 13, 2010 at 10:46 am
  9. Profile photo of Paladin Inactive

    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.

    • #9
    • December 13, 2010 at 10:56 am
  10. Profile photo of Rick O'Shea in Texas Member

     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.

    • #10
    • December 13, 2010 at 11:19 am
  11. Profile photo of Jimmy Carter Member

    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? 

    • #11
    • December 13, 2010 at 11:29 am
  12. Profile photo of Sisyphus Member

    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.

    • #12
    • December 13, 2010 at 11:39 am
  13. Profile photo of AtheistConservative Inactive

    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?

    • #13
    • December 13, 2010 at 11:51 am
  14. Profile photo of Foxman Inactive
     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.

    • #14
    • December 14, 2010 at 2:12 am
  15. Profile photo of Sisyphus Member

     

    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. 

    • #15
    • December 14, 2010 at 2:39 am
  16. Profile photo of Paladin Inactive
    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?

    • #16
    • December 14, 2010 at 3:05 am
  17. Profile photo of Foxman Inactive
    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?

    • #17
    • December 14, 2010 at 3:30 am
  18. Profile photo of AtheistConservative Inactive
    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). 

    • #18
    • December 14, 2010 at 3:45 am
  19. Profile photo of Rick O'Shea in Texas Member

    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.

    • #19
    • December 14, 2010 at 3:47 am
  20. Profile photo of Stuart Creque Member

     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?

    • #20
    • December 14, 2010 at 3:47 am
  21. Profile photo of AtheistConservative Inactive
    Foxman

    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

    If you remove a source of income, isn’t it logical that less money is involved? And while it’s true that crime will always exist, cutting off venues is the best way to fight it. You can’t stop crime in one step, and you can’t ignore the positive benefits of society resulting from intelligent steps that help fight crime. As Mr. McKay says, we slowly squeezed the mafia out by getting rid of an idiotic law they were exploiting, but also by concurrent social improvement (which cannot proceed apace with criminal control, but does result from free enterprise) making the mafia’s positive draw obsolete. 

    I can’t guarantee that legalization would fix the problem, but we’ve tried the alternative and it made everything worse. So what is there to lose? Should we just keep digging the hole forever?

    • #21
    • December 14, 2010 at 3:49 am
  22. Profile photo of AtheistConservative Inactive

    WC is killing me … also want to point out that the only success we had with the drug war was in moving production, since production is easy to spot and destroy. That was one of the bigger contributors to the situation in Latin America. They became the producers and then helped kill the mafia by becoming the new crime gangs. And all we can do is arrest low-level dealers and revolve them back into the street.

    If production and distribution were legal within the US, you would see a homegrown market brought into an already (mostly) lawful society. This is somewhat evident in states that allow medicinal marijuana. 

    It can’t be stated with absolute certainty that this would work, but it seems to require willful ignorance or refusal to accept fundamental laws of economics and human nature to doubt it would be an improvement on the current situation. I’m sure the fans of Prohibition were equally adamant as to the righteousness of their cause, protecting the kids, saving us from ourselves, etc. They were just as wrong.

    • #22
    • December 14, 2010 at 3:59 am
  23. Profile photo of Foxman Inactive
    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.  · Dec 13 at 1:39pm

    Edited on Dec 13 at 01:41 pm

    This fight is about the kids who are not involved, but who are being gunned down in the street.  The fact these are mostly Mexican kids changes nothing.

    • #23
    • December 14, 2010 at 4:23 am
  24. Profile photo of flownover Inactive

    I just watched Jennifer Griffin on Fox show how porous the Mexico ?Guatemala border is and the boats that are bringing in the coke from Colombia.

    People continue to think that Mexico will be cooperative on this issue.I imagine that they are trying to figure out what to do in the reality of a sealed border due to two issues: the number one and two sources of cash for the Mexican economy. Yup, the #1 and #2 sources of cash for that country are wire transfers from the workers  in el norte and the money that the drug lords launder, reinvest, and distribute.

    With that in mind, I don’t think there will be a rush to judgement on the Mexican side, and since we work in unison with their officials, they will obfuscate as long as possible.

    • #24
    • December 14, 2010 at 4:37 am
  25. Profile photo of Paladin Inactive
    Foxman
    Robert McKay
    Foxman
     

    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?

    You appear to be conceding my position.  Are you?

    I’m a little unclear now – your position seems to be that there is nothing we can do to shut the cartels down since they will “find another path.” I’m saying that if we force them into another path that is still a net gain for us, whereas it seems like you are saying that even if we did strangle the drug trade they’d just find another and the problem would go on unabated.

    • #25
    • December 14, 2010 at 5:44 am
  26. Profile photo of Jim Wilkins Inactive

    I also live in Mexico – but for five or six months of each year.  The country is a very peaceful place.  The exceptions, as they have always been, have been the border towns.  Anyone who grew up in the U.S. has heard about the lawlessness of the border towns.  They are destinations for the bad guys and have been for a long time.  Now they are being contested by drug cartels and the Mexican government.

    I don’t want to minimize the possibility of getting involved with a drug war but I must say that nearly all of the victims have been involved in the trade.  Stay away from that.  It is more likely that you will be part of violence in any U.S. city.  Or almost any other country.  Check the stats.

     

    • #26
    • December 14, 2010 at 5:56 am
  27. Profile photo of ManBearPig Inactive
    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

    Tecate or Modelo is great out of a can!

    • #27
    • December 14, 2010 at 6:02 am
  28. Profile photo of ManBearPig Inactive

    I hope the problem is solved… I am attending a wedding in Playa del Carmen in May.

    • #28
    • December 14, 2010 at 6:06 am
  29. Profile photo of Stuart Creque Member
    AtheistConservative: If production and distribution were legal within the US, you would see a homegrown market brought into an already (mostly) lawful society. This is somewhat evident in states that allow medicinal marijuana.  · Dec 13 at 2:59pm

    Try taking a walk through a state or national forest in California.  You’ll stumble on marijuana fields tended and guarded by illegal immigrants with some very nasty firearms, working for the illegal growers serving the medical marijuana market.  You see, nobody enforces the regulations in California that mandate that medical marijuana outlets sell only product raised by members of their cooperatives.  So there remains a huge demand for illegally-grown pot, and a huge and deadly web of illegal growing operations.

    • #29
    • December 14, 2010 at 6:44 am
  30. Profile photo of Rick O'Shea in Texas Member
    John Marzan
    Steve in Texas (on the border):

    What if Calderon lost in the next election &was replaced by a candidate that was sponsored by Narco money, will we see more peace and order? · Dec 13 at 8:57pm

    Don’t know.  A few nights ago some narcos forced a busload of my employees off the bus and interrogated them, thank God they eventually let them back on the bus no issues, but our night time busses are regularly followed by unsavory characters.  A couple of months back the narcos/zetas assasinated 72 latin american immigrants about an hour south of here.   Those types of things would not be happening if the border were sealed, yes, the problem would likely move somewhere else.   I have to admit I like seeing the bad guys getting shot up, kind of reminds me of stories I heard about US strategy in Iraq, attract all the bad guys to one place and pick them off, that is the “opportunity” but Calderon doesn’t have anywhere near enough fire power here and even if he did they could always escape to the US for a breather.

    • #30
    • December 14, 2010 at 7:15 am
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