Electric Politics
 
Donate to Electric Politics
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank
Green Party USA
Blank
Socialist Worker
Blank
CoffeeGeek.com
Blank
Grist
Blank
Whole Foods
Blank
Whole Foods
Blank
Ben & Jerry's
Blank
Al Jazeera English
Blank
911Truth.org
Blank
Sierra Trading Post
Blank
Black Commentator
Blank
Black Commentator
Blank
Pluto Press
Blank
In These Times
Blank
USNI
Blank
In These Times
Blank
CASMII
Blank
CounterPunch
Blank
CounterPunch
Blank
News For Real
Blank
News For Real
Blank
If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger
Blank
News For Real
Blank
The Agonist
Blank
The Anomalist
Blank
Duluth Trading
Blank
Digital Photography Review
Blank
New Egg
Blank
Free Link

EP PODCASTSXML

November 12, 2010

Our Unsecure Border

Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State coverThere's big trouble brewing along our southern border. It's not just the millions of illegal aliens pouring into the U.S., and it's not just the tens of millions of their Mexican brothers and sisters who'd like to join them, but a question of how to cope with a neighboring, semi-failed narco-state that also exports barbaric violence and total corruption. To get an overview I turned to my Tocayo, a leading U.S. expert on Mexico, Dr. George W. Grayson, who tells an edifying though discouraging story. Total runtime fifty five minutes. Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.

Listen

« A Postcard From Paris | Main | American Presidential Dictatorship »



Comments


Bottom line: no customers no business. The US is an enormously lucrative cocaine market. That says a lot about the level of the culture here. Everyone uses it: rock stars and movie stars romanticized it. And it really is ubiquitous. What the US can best do to "solve" the drug problem is to get a handle on its habit of sticking its nose everywhere but in its own business. This country is going downhill giggling, but it worries about Mexico or Afghanistan! We have a very large population that is psychologically unfit — hence the billion-dollar consumption of drugs.

Very interesting interview. I was especially fascinated by Dr. Grayson's discussion of how the decline of the old one party-state apparatus in Mexico, combined with external factors such as the rerouting of drug routes from the Caribbean to overland Mexican routes came together to bring about the ascension of the cartels.

I have three questions:

1. How does the relationship between the US and Mexican militaries compare to that between the US military and those of those Latin American countries? Are the most elite Mexican military units trained in the US? What about most of the officer corps? Traditionally, it seemed that military-military ties seemed to a key vehicle through which the US exercised influence over much of Latin America. Is Mexico different?

2. American policymakers seem to be driven to histrionics over the oil policies of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Yet Mexico's state-dominated oil policies do not seem to elicit much protest in Washington. Why is that? A quick scan of the US business press gives one the impression that many Americans expect Mexico to allow in foreign investment eventually because of its declining oil production.

3. There is a hypothesis that the drug war in Mexico is actually one group of cartels (centered in Sinaloa) against other cartels (mostly from the Gulf area), and that the federal forces deployed to violence-wracked areas are favoring the former over the latter. Apparently, some cartels have had their top leaders targeted while others only lose lower-ranking members to the military and the police. This theory postulates that there is an emerging tacit consensus at the highest levels of the Mexican state that the solution to the violence is for the state to ally itself with one cartel faction against the other and then to come to some gentleman's agreement with that faction. What does Dr. Grayson think of this theory?

Thanks!

[Excellent questions, Jonathan — I've forwarded them on to George. g.]

1. Mexico's Army, which is radioactively nationalistic, welcomes equipment from the Pentagon, but avoids close involvement with its U.S. counterparts. The Navy is more amenable to cooperating in the fight against organized crime. Gone are the days when Latin American generals danced to the tune played by the Pentagon. Some Mexican soldiers go through specialized training in the U.S.; as is the case with SEAL units around the world, Mexico's version of the SEALs train at Coronado Island, California.

2.

"American policymakers seem to be driven to histrionics over the oil policies of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Yet Mexico's state-dominated oil policies do not seem to elicit much protest in Washington. Why is that?"

The U.S. knows that — like the NRA's affection for a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment — Mexico has its own dogmas, one of which is that "El Petroleo Es El Nuestro!" American leaders would be wasting their breath, even as they precipitated an outcry about the "Gringos are after our oil."

"A quick scan of the US business press gives one the impression that many Americans expect Mexico to allow in foreign investment eventually because of its declining oil production."

The sticking point is "risk contracts." Mexico needs them or it will cease exporting oil in a few years. Once again, however, dogma raises its shaggy head.

3. Doubtful. The eight or so major cartels undergo kaleidoscopic changes in leadership and alliances. It's not like the '70s and the '80s when the government could cut deals with a handful of capos and use the shadowy Federal Judicial Police (PJF) and/or the dangerous Federal Directorate of Security (DFS) to enforce these informal rules of the game.

Here's a post (perhaps a bit early since it's 2007) by Jeff Vail at the Oil Drum that complements Dr. Grayson's comments.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2752

Leave a comment