Updating Data Banks Regarding Mexico
OK, the post about alien invaders in UFOs is going to have to wait. Today I’m going to write about a far more down to earth problem. Alien invaders from south of the border. For those whose only knowledge of the rest of the world comes from watching Survivor, there’s some very serious problems in Mexico right now. Mexico has always been a really corrupt state, with corruption extending from the top to the bottom, but for the most part it was a functioning state. Not so any more, drug gangs have grown so powerful that they are in open conflict with the state. Even high government officials have come under military style attacks as they travelled the country, and smaller government agencies and the police are routinely attacked. While not a failed state yet, there’s no doubt the situation in Mexico has gotten much worse in recent decades.
What the hell should be do about this? Conservatives say one thing, liberals another. Both, frankly, are full of it. The politicization of every aspect of American life has led to a situation where all of our policies are based on political games. This is how we got into an absurd war on the other side of the planet about imaginary WMDs, but I digress. Stated in another way, American’s views of the world have been so deliberately warped by politicians/media pandering to their voters/audience that most people have little clue what’s going on and less clue what should be done about it.
I’ll start with the liberals first, and please note I’m talking in pretty broad strokes here, I know that many of my readers are indeed capable of nuanced analysis. In the liberal view, Mexicans are just poor people looking for a better life, and that we should have open borders, maybe a bracero program, and just generally have liberal immigration and amnesty polices. Moreover, a lot of liberals believe that anything else is simply racist and unacceptable. And honestly, until a few years ago, I would have essentially agreed. That was then, this is now. Things have changed in Mexico, and pretending that liberal policies will stop people flowing into the country, and will keep Mexico’s ever expanding civil instability from spilling over the border are wishful thinking. Yes, most Mexicans are pretty decent people, and yes, much of the anti-immigrant rhetoric in the USA is thinly disguised pandering to racist voters, that doesn’t actually change the fact that Mexico is destabilizing in a truly ugly way. Daily it’s becoming more accurate to say that what is coming across the southern border is refugees and criminals.
Conservatives on the other hand simply talk about sealing the border and sending them all the illegals home. There’s many problems with this: The border can’t be sealed without enormous expense, rounding the illegals up and sending them home would be even more expensive, and neither addresses the causes of the problem. Liberals say one thing, conservatives say another, and as a result of this constant polarization between the liberals and conservatives, essentially nothing gets done. We’ve done some window dressing solutions, but for the most part as in so many of America’s policies, short term band-aid solutions have just made the problem worse in the long run. IE strengthening the border fence in key areas has made the problem worse, since now the illegals cross in remote difficult to patrol areas … and are far less likely to go home when they do make it across.
The main point I am getting at here is that this is not a simple problem that can be solved by attacking the symptoms of the problem. IE this problem didn’t just spring out of nowhere. Like so many problems in the world, America’s policies have played a huge role in Mexico’s current travails. For one thing, these drug gangs are almost entirely funded by America’s spending on illicit drugs. For another, the guns and weapons these gangs use are again, virtually all coming from America. Lastly, NAFTA has made the economic disparity between the USA and Mexico even worse, providing ever more incentive for poor Mexicans to flee northward. There’s a lot of ways any of these issues can be addressed, but pretending they aren’t part of the equation is not going to yield workable solutions.
The other point that I’m dancing around here is the observation that most of our world views are hopelessly outdated. And an outdated world view is an inaccurate world view. And frankly, when it comes to Mexico and the problems just south of the border in particular, the liberal view is pretty outdated at this point. And while many conservatives may now gloat that they were “right” about Mexico and Mexicans, the fact that they almost universally fail to acknowledge the huge role US policy played in creating this mess, pretty much makes solutions they propose irrelevant. Hell, it’s so confusing that prominent liberals are espousing calling in the army and sealing the border, how’s that for turnabout? And here just for the record is a liberal response to Mr Raimondo.
And what wonderful solution do I propose? Avoid Mexican border cities is as much as I’ve got. This is a situation that’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. The “War on Drugs” industry and lobby is very powerful, it’s unlikely we will see any real movement on ending prohibition anytime soon, even for marijuana. And the people who crafted NAFTA didn’t give a hoot about poor people in Mexico to begin with, so not holding my breath for the end of the neo-colonial era anytime soon. My best guess is that sooner or later there will be some truly ghastly incident, and it will serve as a pretext to militarize the border with Mexico. All else aside, militarized borders are the norm in the world, now and historically. It’s not a good thing, in fact it would be a very bad sign, but it won’t be the end of life as we know it.
Times are changing before our eyes, see?
(The above image of the aftermath of the Battle of Columbus is public domain under US copyright law. In 1916 Pancho Villa’s Mexican soldiers raided the border town of Columbus, NM, for reasons which are still not clear today. They killed or wounded about two dozen Americans, and burnt down some buildings, but were driven out of town by American Army machine gun fire with heavy losses. Stuff happens. Sometimes it happens again. That’s history for ya.)