Our biggest trading partner and neighbor to the south may be collapsing. In it’s place will be a lawless narco-state. If you think terrorism is a threat, try this on for size: millions of refugees flooding across the border and criminal gangs killing police and journalists in the states. It’s already beginning to happen.
The #2 city in the world for kidnappings right now is Phoenix, Az. This is mostly the work of Mexican drug cartels.
The crisis consists in nothing less than an effort by the major drug cartels to tame and suborn the Mexican state, and not just in the strip along the US border, though the epicentre of the crisis is there. Obviously, the cartels’ leaders do not have designs on Mexico’s presidential palace. But, through a policy of terror extending from Oaxaca in the south, through Acapulco on the Pacific coast, and up to the great border cities of Tijuana and Juarez (Mexico’s sixth and seventh most populous cities, respectively), they have made it abundantly clear that they are trying to achieve impunity.
The only recent parallel in Latin America was a similar effort 15 years ago by the Colombian drug cartels. That disguised coup failed – barely – and there is no guarantee that the result will be similar this time around in Mexico.
Journalists with long experience of war zones report being more worried about their safety in Mexico border than when they were in Bosnia, Afghanistan, or Iraq, though much of the violence is internecine. Of the thousands who have been killed, often after being horribly tortured, many, if not most, have been members of the drug cartels and their families.
We should be putting troops on the border. We may have to invade Mexico if the government there fails. The question is, will old liver lips be up to the task?
UPDATE: Now they’re talking about this on NPR