Monday, February 23, 2009

Mexico a Potential "Failed State"?

Way off topic: I am stunned by this article in the Wall Street Journal about the decline of the civil order in Mexico. I had seen No Country for Old Men, and various segments about Mexico, and the kidnappings in Phoenix, Arizona on Fox News, but I thought it was sensationalizing the problem. I do value the Wall Street Journal as a news source and this article, The Perilous State of Mexico, says that many fear the drug cartels have grown too powerful for the Mexican government to control and the the U.S. military has recently singled out Mexico and Pakistan as "the two countries where there is a risk the government could suffer a swift and catastrophic collapse, becoming a failed state."

Pakistan is the greater worry because the risk of collapse is higher and because it has nuclear weapons. But Mexico is also scary: It has 100 million people on the southern doorstep of the U.S., meaning any serious instability would flood the U.S. with refugees. Mexico is also the U.S.'s second biggest trading partner.

Mexico's cartels already have tentacles that stretch across the border. The U.S. Justice Department said recently that Mexican gangs are the "biggest organized crime threat to the United States," operating in at least 230 cities and towns. Crimes connected to Mexican cartels are spreading across the Southwest. Phoenix had more than 370 kidnapping cases last year, turning it into the kidnapping capital of the U.S. Most of the victims were illegal aliens or linked to the drugs trade.

Former U.S. antidrug czar Barry McCaffrey said Mexico risks becoming a "narco-state" within five years if things don't improve. Outgoing CIA director Michael Hayden listed Mexico alongside Iran as a possible top challenge for President Obama. Other analysts say the risk is not that the Mexican state collapses, but rather becomes like Russia, a state heavily influenced by mafias.

Is this scaremongering or another real threat?

7 comments:

Ontario Emperor said...

I don't know if Mexico is truly about to disintegrate, but there are undeniably problems there. One of my co-workers has relatives in Baja California, and I asked her whether the stories were exaggerated, or if I had anything to worry about if I wanted to go to Mexico. She told me that since I do not look Mexican, it would be best for me to stay away. In addition, we had a murder in my hometown of Ontario, California about a year ago which appears to have connections south of the border.

Perpetua said...

Hi Ontario Emperor,
Thank you for sharing your personal knowledge about this.

Dr.D said...

Cuidad Juarez which is right across the border from El Paso, TX, is apparently a war zone, and the war spills over into El Paso from time to time. There were reports not long ago of mexican thugs coming to a hospital in El Paso to finish off a man who had been taken there after a battle in Juarez.

This is one of the reasons why it is so absolutely imperative that we tighten up our southern border and stop this from spilling over into America. The trend toward erasing the border means that whatever goes wrong in mexico will just move northward just like fire ants and grasshoppers. We are under siege, whether we acknowledge it or not.

now said...

I wonder if our government is wrapped up in the Mexican macias similar to how we support militia training for militaries and family-run Centeal American governments. I've been to the School of the Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, GA (special base where we train militia from other countries). As long as we train their militaries, we protect and keep the powers that be in those countries in power, and the benefit to us is that we can continue to get cheap goods. Is something similar happening with and the Mexican mafia?

KJC402 said...

Mexico, like other countries in Latin America, have never been "stable" and has spilled-over before into US territory.

The major difference is that if and when Mexico tanks, it will cause a human stampede across the border and the refugees could be a crippling burden on the Southwest states.

Where is Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela and their Latin Revolutionary ideals to save the day? I'll tell you where, at home laughing, They want the narco's in Mexico to run loose and cause problems in an attempt to destabilize the area and potentially embarrass the U.S.

now said...

KJC402,
I like your writing style, comments and voice.
You seem to know a bit about Latin America. How'd you learn?

now said...

Perpetua,
This news story seems related:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090301/ts_nm/us_usa_mexico_drugs