One of America’s few wise men tells us about Mexico
Summary: This is a brief report about Mexico, seen as a problem for the USA. Analysis of the problem and our government’s idiotic response, plus a possible solution.
- “La Rubia y La Droga – Notes From an Unknown Planet“, Fred Reed, Fred on Everything, 30 March 2009
- U.S. military outreach to Mexico likely to upset … Mexicans, McClatchy Newspapers, 15 March 2009 – Any situation can be made worse by stupidity; our rulers are on the job.
- “A User’s Guide to Thoroughly Stupid Foreign Policy“, Fred on Everything, 19 April 2009
- “Afghanistan south“, Patrick Buchanan, MSNBC, 6 March 2009 — A solution
(1) About Mexico, the US, and drugs
To find wisdom when crossing the vast intellectual desert of the Internet, go to the website of Fred Reed. Here he tells us about Mexico, so much in the news lately. As in this excerpt from “La Rubia y La Droga – Notes From an Unknown Planet“, Fred Reed, Fred on Everything, 30 March 2009:
I read with horror that Hillary Clinton, posing as the Secretary of State, has been in Mexico talking with Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s president, about “the problem of drugs.” Horror is the reasonable response whenever an American official is allowed to pass beyond the beltway. Or stay within it. They never know what they are doing. Oh god.
In fairness, I have to concede that Ms. Clinton is well qualified to talk to Calderon, since he speaks — English. Further, I concede that she does have a grasp of things Latin American, engendered by many years in — Arkansas. Aaagh.
May I suggest that the former First Basilisk had no idea where she was or what she was doing? Oh god, oh god. Oh god.
To show that utter futility can, if not be fun, at least serve to pass an idle hour, let me express the common Mexican and indeed South American view of the, oh god, War on Drugs. It goes thusly:
Latin America does not have a drug problem. It has a United States problem. The problem is that Americans want drugs. The US is a huge, voracious, insatiable market for drugs. Americans very much want their brain candy. They will pay whatever they need to pay to get it. All the world knows this.
Why, Mexicans wonder, is America’s drug habit Mexico’s problem? If Americans don’t want drugs, they can stop buying them. Nobody forces anyone to use the stuff.
Ah, the rub is that Washington doesn’t want Americans to have drugs. All right, say Mexicans, that is a problem between the American government and the American people. Let America solve it.
Why, Mexican’s ask-read this sentence carefully-should Mexico tear itself in pieces, lose thousands of dead annyally, and turn into a war zone to solve a problem that America refuses to solve?
Think. Why doesn’t the American government run sting operations at, say, Berkeley and Stanford, and Rice and George Washington U., and put those students caught using drugs in the slam for two years per? How about a sting at your daughter’s high school, with a year in some nasty reformatory, which is to say any reformatory, for those caught? It could be a family sort of thing. You could visit her and hear what fascinating things she had learned about compulsory Lesbian sex.
The reason of course is that any effort to punish large classes of politically influential people would result in a revolution. You can’t jail Harvard. So Washington doesn’t. Instead it expects Mexico to do something about drugs.
… In short, the WOD is a fraud. In America the drug racket is a mildly disreputable business, tightly integrated into the economy, running smoothly, employing countless federal cops, prison guards, ineffectual rehab centers and equally ineffectual psychotherapists, and providing bribes to officials and huge deposits of laundered money to banks. Narcos in the US do not engage in pitched battles with the army because they have no reason to. The government barely inconveniences them.
So why should Mexico fight this war for Washington?
(2) Any situation can be made worse by stupidity, and our rulers are on the job
U.S. military outreach to Mexico likely to upset … Mexicans, McClatchy Newspapers, 15 March 2009 — Excerpt:
As the Pentagon eyes a bigger role in Mexico’s drug war, the military’s efforts to open the door to a new relationship with its southern neighbor risk alienating the Mexican military, which has long had a strained relationship with its counterpart, experts said.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called for improved relations with the Mexican military in response to escalating drug violence along the Mexican border and in Mexico. On “Meet the Press” earlier this month, the secretary said: “I think we are beginning to be in a position to help the Mexicans more than we have in the past. Some of the old biases against cooperation between our militaries and so on, I think, are being set aside.”
(3) Comment by Fred Reed about the above story
“A User’s Guide to Thoroughly Stupid Foreign Policy“, Fred on Everything, 19 April 2009 — Excerpt:
Book me a ticket to Mars. The Pentagon is eyeing something, a sure recipe for disaster. Previously it has eyed Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and made a horrendous mess of each. Now the Five-Sided Sand Box is eyeing Mexico. Oh good. Let’s get involved in another third-world catastrophe by meddling in what we don’t understand.
… How stupid can you get? (The question is rhetorical. Pentagonal stupidity does not converge, but increases without limit.) To improve relations with the Mexican army, we rub its nose in having defeated them. “Haha, Pedro, you got a few of our guys, but we kicked your hindparts good, didn’t we?” The unspoken subtext to any Mexican being, “And we can do it again.”
Let me explain something. To Mexicans, the US is not a friendly nation. The reasons are countless, some valid and some not, but Mexicans do not see America as benign. They fear the US military, which they regard as out of control, invading country after country in pursuit of oil.
Mexico has oil. America lost control of it in 1938 when Lazaro Cardenas nationalized it. Mexicans believe, in dead seriousness, that the US would love a pretext for invading to get it back. A pretext such as coming in to help Mexico fight drugs, and just not leaving. Iraq comes instantly to their minds.
And so the good admiral and the SecDef come to pay homage to the American soldiers who conquered Mexico. What diplomatic genius. While they are at it, why not lay a wreath in Hiroshima to the brave American airmen who died over Japan? Or maybe erect a statue to Sherman in Atlanta? What if the Mexican army chief went to New York to commemorate the courageous freedom fighters who took down the towers?
(4) A solution, if we but had the will and wit to try it
From “Afghanistan south“, Patrick Buchanan, MSNBC, 6 March 2009 — Excerpt:
How does one win a drug war when millions of Americans who use recreational drugs are financing the cartels bribing, murdering and beheading to win the war and keep self-indulgent Americans supplied with drugs?
There are two sure ways to end this war swiftly: Milton’s way and Mao’s way. Mao Zedong’s communists killed users and suppliers alike, as social parasites. Milton Friedman’s way is to decriminalize drugs and call off the war.
When Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs in 1972, Milton, writing in Newsweek, objected on ethical grounds:
“On ethical grounds, do we have the right to use the machinery of government to prevent an individual from becoming an alcoholic or a drug addict? For children, almost everyone would answer at least a qualified yes. But for responsible adults, I, for one, would answer no. Reason with the potential addict, yes. Tell him the consequences, yes. Pray for and with him, yes. But I believe that we have no right to use force, directly or indirectly, to prevent a fellow man from committing suicide, let alone from drinking alcohol or taking drugs.”
“Am I my brother’s keeper?’” asked Milton, answering, “No.”
Americans are never going to adopt the Maoist solution. For the users of drugs are all too often classmates, colleagues, friends, even family. Indeed, our last three presidents did not deny using drugs. Once, a Christian America outlawed and punished homosexuality, abortion, alcohol, loan-sharking and gambling, all as criminal vice. Now, homosexuality and abortion are constitutional rights. Gambling and booze are a rich source of government revenue. And loan-sharking is done by credit-card companies, and not just the Corleones.
Will we raise the white flag in the drug war, as well? Which is the greater evil? Legalized narcotics for America’s young or a failed state of 110,000 million on our southern border? Some choice. Some country we’ve become.
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Other reports about Mexico
- “Mexico: On the Road to a Failed State?“, George Friedman, Stratfor, 13 May 2008
- “Mexico: Examining Cartel War Violence Through a Protective Intelligence Lens“, Stratfor, 14 May 2008
- “Crime and Punishment in Mexico: The big picture beyond drug cartel violence“, posted at Grits for Breakfast, 18 May 2008
- “State of Siege: Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency“, John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus, Small Wars Journal, 19 August 2008
- “After Action Report – Vistit Mexico“, General Barry R McCaffrey USA (Ret), 29 December 2008
- “Mexico Security Memo – Year-end Wrap-up“, Stratfor, 5 January 2009
- “The Long Arm of the Lawless“, Fred Burton and Scott Stewart, Stratfor, 25 February 2009
For more information from the FM site
Posts about Mexico:
- Is Mexico unraveling?, 28 April 2008 — summary of Stratfor’s warnings about Mexico.
- “High Stakes South of the Border”, 13 May 2008
- Stratfor: the Mexican cartels stike at Phoenix, AZ, 6 July 2008
- “Drug cartels ‘threaten’ Mexican democracy”, 24 July 2008
- Stratfor reports on Mexico, news ignored by our mainstream media, 19 August 2008
- Nonsense from StrategyPage: Iraq is safer than Mexico, 17 December 2008
- New reports about Mexico, the failing state on our border, 9 January 2009
- Stratfor writes about “the third war” in Mexico, 15 April 2009
- Stratfor: “When the Mexican Drug Trade Hits the Border”, 20 April 2009