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Mexico's Border Drug Wars Threaten U.S. Security

A new serious problem has developed in Mexico recently as the powerful drug cartels have been able turn out demonstrations and support among the populations in the border towns near the U.S. border. With popular support among much of the border population who are loyal to these powerful drug cartels, weak police forces have faced significant opposition and even the government of Mexico has had significant difficulty combating the influence of these powerful drug cartels and their citizen supporters. This situation has now grown so serious that some foreign policy analysts actually believe that the government of Mexico could conceivably even collapse at some point, with powerful drug cartels taking control of the nation. mexican drug cartel.jpg

Part of this problem comes from the fact that since much of the population of Mexico is in such deep poverty, that the illegal drug trade has become one of Mexico's major important exports to the U.S., and unfortunately provides much employment and cash flow for Mexico. Another major problem is the enormous American appetite for illegal drugs. This supply and demand cycle only creates a dangerous environment in which crime flourishes on both sides of the border. The poverty in Mexico that fuels the drug trade as well as the American demand for drugs only continues to create major headaches for the governments of both Mexico and the U.S.

Part of the problem is also that American support for drug laws tends to be very weak in the U.S. This week for example, Rasmussen released a new poll inspired by the Michael Phelps story and found that only 43% of Americans support keeping marijuana illegal, while 40% supported legalization, and the remainder were undecided. It is very difficult for law enforcement to enforce drug laws if only a bare plurality of Americans even support such laws. mexican-army-1.jpg

Some nations such as Holland long ago decriminalized drugs and were able to have few problems associated with legal drugs. However, this has not completely prevented some from becoming drug addicts or ruining their lives. And now with the rise of meth, which causes significant brain damage to the user and fuels outrageous and irrational crimes such as metal theft of bridge or traffic control parts or leads to bizarre violent crimes as well as serious damage to the users, the drug usage problem has only worsened in the U.S.

The fact of the matter is that the government of Mexico, it's police forces, and it's judges are being seriously threatened by violence orchestrated by supporters of the drug cartels. And since the failure of NAFTA to improve the economy of most in Mexico, where farm wages actually fell by a full third after American corporate farms dumped cheap corn and wheat on the Mexican market, many in Mexico either have attempted illegal entry into the U.S. as workers or others have become associated with the illegal drug trade.mexicans4.jpg

The United States cannot allow the government of Mexico to collapse. The resulting anarchy would be a serious national security threat to the U.S. as well as not in the best interests of Mexico either.

The Obama Administration very well might face some very difficult policy positions in dealing with Mexico very soon. And there needs to be a serious national debate about all issues related to drug usage in the United States as well to decide what policy is best for the national interests as well. Meth causes significant damage to the users and promotes serious crime problems including the national epidemic of identity theft. It is no uncommon to find meth abusers looking in the garbage of homes waiting at curbside, looking for any paperwork they can find to steal someone's identity and ruin someone's life.

The public seemed very forgiving of the marijuana use of athlete Michael Phelps, and public support for marijuana laws is very weak in the U.S., however that doesn't address the fact that any sort of drug use is not healthy and still harmful to the user. Any sort of drug abuse has potentially serious health issues associated with it. And the flip side is that much of all drugs are now coming from Mexico and only helping to fuel the violent deaths of citizens, police and judges.

The poverty in Mexico that fuels this drug violence problem is a very serious issue. The United States cannot have a nation right on it's border collapse and only worsen the drug problem where a greater flow of meth and other drugs will impact the quality of life in the U.S. This is a very serious issue that deserves a very serious discussion.


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Comments (6)

Chad:

Mexico has the capacity to become another Somalia, only worse. What do we do if the government falls, and chaos reigns? Do we use our military to enforce order and to restore a democracy, or do we let the Mexican people work it out for themselves? This is not half a world away, it's right freaking next door. Do we wait for the UN to set things right? I'd really like your take on the answers to those questions Paul.

Chad, thanks for your thoughtful questions here. Indeed, if the Mexican government would fold or collapse, it would be an obligation for the U.S., UN or some major body to be involved in restoring order. This could be extremely messy and even result in a significant loss of life for UN or U.S. forces as many in Mexico would no doubt doubt a foreign presence on their soil. Mexicans may be poor, but likely nationalistic sentiments could prove troublesome for American or UN peacekeepers seeking to halt anarchy and restore order.

Your example of Somalia is an excellent example. With no real government and only bands of fighters ruled by warlords, drug cartels with loyal or paid fighters could prove very troubling as well as difficult for international peacekeepers to control.

I think the biggest problem is that despite the intense poverty in Mexico, right leaning parties always seem to win that never really address the poverty and other social issues and only help to fuel the drug trade by allowing poverty to continue. A slightly more liberal government would reform many things and could help to weaken these drug cartels by undermining their public support through significant social reforms.

Chad:

I hate to say it Paul, but your comment about "right leaning" governments not trying to reform things in Mexico is terribly incorrect. The biggest problem in all of Latin/South America has come from the days of communist adventurism there. This brought about the rise of the drug cartels, as the drugs were produced to finance communist/socialist groups. Most of the groups that were formed by the KGB in order to change the social order of their countries morphed into drug cartels, and brought with them a lack of any moral behavior. One of the other very large problems for this area is the proscription on birth control placed on society by the catholic church. For the record, I am not in any way condoning abortion. Once that child is conceived they are a human life, and should be protected like any other. I'm saying that the over population caused by the lack of family planning (done before conception contrary to planned parenthoods beliefs) would change the balance of resources to fit the population. The "right leaning" governments are the only ones to have fought against the drug cartels, and this is the only way they can ever rid their society of the cartels. Yes, there is abject poverty, and yes, that's a horrible thing, but until you restore the rule of law, and then build an infrastructure, there is no change in sight. The cartels kill/kidnap anyone else that has money, so as to make the population frightened and subservient. Until that changes, there can be no "change" in Mexico.

Paul Hooson:

Chad, I certainly agree with you how the Communist leaning organizations have been troublesome in South America or have used drug money for buying arms or other revolutionary mischief. But while right leaning politicians have an established records combating the drug cartels, they have often failed to address social reform issues because they often only serve the interests of the wealthy property classes in South America. South America is a very troublesome problem the U.S. for many of these reasons.

Chad:

Here's where the split occurs. You say we need to fight the social issues, but how can you fight the social issues and not fight the groups that are enslaving people and taking their liberties? The cartels destroy any way to improve the living conditions. Throwing money into those programs without eliminating the threat to the welfare of the citizens does not help those that will be killed to keep the programs from working.

art gonzalez:

I lived and worked in Mexico for 6 years and have never seen the level of violence that there is today. The problem in part is due to the Mexican culture of corruption. From the lowest traffic cop to the President, corruption is pervasive. It starts with a allowing the corrution to exist. Soon it is out of control and we can see the results today.

The only way for this to end is for the mexican people to take it upon thmeselves and fight the good fight. Law enforcement officials do not have the stomach or the money to do it. Most officials are in collusion anyway.

Let the common man take back his country.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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