Tag Archives: mexico

Update about Mexico, the failing state on our border

Mexico continues to fall apart in slow-mo.  There seems to be little we can do to help, so our government pretends all is fine — rather than take defensive measures.


  1. Mexico Security Memo, Stratfor, 9 November 2009 — A typical week in Mexico, reported by one of the few agencies covering this important story.
  2. The Fall of Mexcio“, Philip Caputo, The Atlantic, December 2009
  3. FM recommendations about Mexico
  4. Other articles about Mexico
  5. For more information and an Afterword


(1)  Mexico Security Memo, Stratfor, 9 November 2009 — A typical week in Mexico.  Excerpt:

Gunmen posing as police officers entered the Amadeus strip club in Juarez, Chihuahua state and methodically executed six people in the early morning hours of Nov. 4, including U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Booher Montanez.

The Secretary of Public Security for the city of Garcia, Nuevo Leon state, retired Brig. Gen. Juan Arturo Esparza, was killed along with four of his bodyguards in a firefight that took place outside of the Garcia mayor’s home in the afternoon of Nov. 4. The mayor of Garcia, Jaime Rodriguez, exited his home to find a group of eight trucks with armed men outside. Rodriguez then issued a call for help; Esparza and his four bodyguards were the only ones to respond. The governor of the state of Nuevo Leon, Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz, promptly relieved the remaining 70 officers of their duties and ordered the Nuevo Leon state Investigative Agency to investigate their inaction. … The inaction by the rest of the Garcia police department underscores the remaining corruption issues that continue to plague the Mexican security apparatus.

(2)  The Fall of Mexcio“, Philip Caputo, The Atlantic, December 2009 — This is very much worth reading in full.  Excerpt:

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American fiddles in Asia while Mexico burns on our very border

While we squander our resources on the other side of the world, our neighbor to the South deteriorates — desperately needing aid.  In Mexico we see the decline of the State accellerating into what might soon become an advanced state of decay.  As Martin van Creveld said over a decade ago, Mexico might turn out to be the greatest threat to America’s sovereignty that we have even encountered.


  1. Desertion, Low Morale, and Readiness: Assessing the Mexican Army’s Involvement in the War Against the Cartels and its Impact on Capabilities for Traditional Responses“, Alejandro Schtulmann, RGE Monitor, 29 September 2009
  2. Mexico: Emergence of an Unexpected Threat“, Scott Stewart, Stratfor, 30 September 2009
  3. FM recommendations about Mexico
  4. Other useful articles about Mexico
  5. Afterword and other posts about Mexico

(1)  A rare in-depth look at the military of another nation

Desertion, Low Morale, and Readiness: Assessing the Mexican Army’s Involvement in the War Against the Cartels and its Impact on Capabilities for Traditional Responses“, Alejandro Schtulmann, RGE Monitor, 29 September 2009 — Excerpt:

The Mexican army’s increasing role in the war against drug cartels has prompted concerns about a potential overstretching of its deployed troops and the impact this could have on morale as well as the army’s capabilities for traditional responses, including natural disaster relief and stationary deployments for guarding strategic facilities and infrastructure such as oil pipelines.

During the Calderon era, the number of soldiers assigned to antinarcotics operations has almost doubled from 23,000 to 45,000. At the same time, the number of soldiers deserting the army has increased to unprecedented levels, without the Federal Government taking meaningful steps toward reversing this trend or making the army more efficient.

The army’s reputation as a professional, well-disciplined force is being eroded as respected watchdog groups, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, document escalating allegations of human rights abuses by the Mexican military.


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Let’s blow the fog away and see what General McChrystal really said

Summary:  the McChrystal’s Assesment consists of layers of absurdity, piled high.  Future generations will study it as a prime example of early 21st century madness, when such a thing was taken seriously.

Essentials of the McChrystal’s Initial Commander’s Assessment of the Af-Pak War, released 30 August 2009.

  1. Amnesia is the essential requirement
  2. The key strategic element is that we have no strategy.
  3. Hope is the plan, cost is no object.
  4. Nation-building in Afghanistan today.  Mexico next?
  5. For more information from the FM site, and the Afterword

(1)  Amnesia is the essential requirement

Amnesia is the essential requirement to be an American geopolitical guru — or Amerian journalist covering geopolitics.  As described in How many troops would it take to win in Afghanistan? (15 September 2009), we are closely following the military’s playbook for escalating a small war — perfected in Vietnam.  This remains invisible to many experts, as in this excerpt from Stratfor’s “McChrystal and the Search for a Strategy in Afghanistan“, 22 September 2009:

This is a statement by an officer of the modern U.S. Army, an institution with a broad disdain for the legacy of Gen. William Westmoreland. As first commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam (1964-1968) and then Army chief of staff (1968-72), Westmoreland’s legacy has come to be seen as that of having asked for more and more American troops without a winning strategy. In other words, he continued to commit more American soldiers to a conflict without a strategy that had any real chance for success. While one can debate the history, many in the U.S. Army’s officer corps today consider Westmoreland an officer who did the ultimate disservice to his country — and perhaps more importantly, to his men — by allowing a failed political and military strategy to continue to consume American lives. … With this report, McChrystal has clearly differentiated himself from this path.

Absurd.   For example, the report’s language on page 2-20 could come from DoD report about Vietnam written up to the very end:

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Stratfor reports about “The Role of the Mexican Military in the Cartel War”

Mexico offers perhaps the greatest foreign policy challenge to the United States.  Few nations’ internal problems have greater potential to hurt America; over few nations do we have so little ability to influence their developments (as our shared history makes them allergic to our assistance).

The Role of  the Mexican Military in the Cartel War“, Stephen Meiners and Fred Burton, Stratfor, 29 July 2009 — Posted in full with the permission of Stratfor.

U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske is in the middle of a four-day visit this week to Mexico, where he is meeting with Mexican government officials to discuss the two countries’ joint approach to Mexico’s ongoing cartel war. In prepared remarks at a July 27 press conference with Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora, Kerlikowske said Washington is focused on reducing drug use in the United States, supporting domestic law enforcement efforts against drug traffickers and working with other countries that serve as production areas or transshipment points for U.S.-bound drugs.

Absent from his remarks was any mention of the U.S. position on the role of the Mexican military in the country’s battle against the drug cartels. Kerlikowske’s visit comes amid a growing debate in Mexico over the role that the country’s armed forces should play in the cartel war. The debate has intensified in recent weeks, as human rights organizations in Mexico and the United States have expressed concern over civil rights abuses by Mexican troopsassigned to counternarcotics missions in various parts of the country.

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The sky darkens over Mexico

The news from our southern neighbor grows worse.  At the end are links to previous posts warning about Mexico.

  1. Mexico remittances plunge in worst drop on record“, BusinessWeek, 1 July 2009
  2. Analysts More Pessimistic About Mexican Economy“, Latin America Herald Tribune, 2 July 2009
  3. Opposition Wins Majority in Mexican Vote“, New York Times, 5 July 2009

Here is one expert’s view on Mexico’s overall situation, comparing the current crisis with past events:  “The Coming Tequila Crisis“, By John R. Taylor, Jr. (Chief Investment Officer), FX Concepts, 9 July 2009 — Excerpt”

The recent elections in Mexico are the final nail in the coffin for the Mexican economy and the peso, and could lead to the unraveling of the country’s social fabric. The victory of the PRI over President Calderon’s PAN party in the mid-term elections has put the lower house in the opposition’s hands. We feel this will effectively paralyze the government, tying its fiscal hands, as the economic and social situation in Mexico continues to deteriorate. Although the commentaries we have seen even after the election have tended toward the positive and even the Pollyanna, our experience with Mexico over the past 36 years tells us that we all should fear for the worst.

Mexico is economically bound to the United States and, in the past, when the US came down with a mild cold, a year or two later Mexico’s cold became a bad case of pneumonia. Now, the United States has pneumonia and we wonder what Mexico will get.

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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.


  1. La Rubia y La Droga – Notes From an Unknown Planet“, Fred Reed, Fred on Everything, 30 March 2009
  2. 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. 
  3. A User’s Guide to Thoroughly Stupid Foreign Policy“, Fred on Everything, 19 April 2009
  4. 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.

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Stratfor: “When the Mexican Drug Trade Hits the Border”

Here is another insightful article from Stratfor about one of the most important geopolitical dangers to America. 

Summary of previous analysis about Mexico on the FM site (see the links at the end for more information):

(1)  In 2005 the cartels began killing police chiefs (example here), showing that the cartels were growing beyond the government’s control.  In 2007 they began killing Army officers.  Now they torture and kill generals, and the violence has crossed the border into America (see this). 

(2)  The global depression will make things worse, esp later this year when their forward sales of oil expire — and they must live on declining production of $40 oil.  However bad things are in Mexico, the future looks far more grim.  For a snapshot, see “Mexico economy: Sinking deeper“, Economist Intelligence Unit, 31 Mexico 2009.

(3)  As Martin van Creveld said over a decade ago, Mexico might turn out to be the greatest threat to America’s sovereignty that we have even encountered.

When the Mexican Drug Trade Hits the Border“, Fred Burton and Ben West, Stratfor, 15 April 2009 — Posted with permission.

For several years now, STRATFOR has been closely monitoring the growing violence in Mexico and its links to the drug trade. In December, our cartel report assessed the situation in Mexico, and two weeks ago we looked closely at the networks that control the flow of drugs through Central America. This week, we turn our attention to the border to see the dynamics at work there and how U.S. gangs are involved in the action.

The nature of narcotics trafficking changes as shipments near the border. As in any supply chain, shipments become smaller as they reach the retail level, requiring more people to be involved in the operation. While Mexican cartels do have representatives in cities across the United States to oversee networks there, local gangs get involved in the actual distribution of the narcotics.

While there are still many gaps in the understanding of how U.S. gangs interface with Mexican cartels to move drugs around the United States and finally sell them on the retail market, we do know some of the details of gang involvement.

Trafficking vs. Distribution

Though the drug trade as a whole is highly complex, the underlying concept is as simple as getting narcotics from South America to the consuming markets — chief among them the United States, which is the world’s largest drug market. Traffickers use Central America and Mexico as a pipeline to move their goods north. The objective of the Latin American smuggler is to get as much tonnage as possible from Colombia, Peru and Bolivia to the lucrative American market and avoid interdictions by authorities along the way.

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