I was hopeful when George Bush was elected President that he work on our relationship with Mexico, working in cooperation with President Vicente Fox of Mexico to deal with problems of mutual interest.
With 9/11, al Qaeda changed the focus of the Bush Administration toward the "Global War on Terrorism." The result has been that while we having been active in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Philippines, the situation in Mexico has deteriorated. I recognize that this is Mexico's problem, but we have contributed to it, both by being the destination for illegal drugs and by being a source of illegal arms for those delivering those drugs. To quote one source:
"Already this year, nearly 4,000 people have been killed in Mexico as warring drug cartels intensify their battle for control of drug markets and transportation routes, according to the newspaper Reforma."
Now we have an OpEd in the LA Times where a USC Senior Lecturer, Pamela Starr, talks about the situation in Mexico. Titled Mexico's spreading drug violence," this article talks about the violence in Mexico and recommends actions we should be taking. Quoting Professor Starr: "Mexico matters to the United States not merely as our third-largest trading partner and our third-largest source of imported oil. Geography makes Mexico pivotal to U.S. national security."
We have found ourselves dragged into Mexican internal problems before. Just before we entered World War I, General John J Pershing took his Brigade into Mexico in pursuit of Francisco "Pancho" Villa. It didn't turn out well. In the end, the Pancho Villa depredations petered out by 1920. I don't think we would wish for a repeat of the 1916/17 experience and I expect Mexican citizens would feel the same. However, today we have snipping and other cross-border aggression by smugglers from Mexico into US territory.
While dealing with terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines and other places remains important to us, Mexico is right next door and must not be ignored. I remember few speeches I have heard, but I do remember Leo Carrillo telling my Junior High School, back in 1957, that we needed to stop pouring millions into Europe and Asia and to begin focusing on Latin America, right in our back yard. He could give the same speech today.
Regards -- Cliff
1 year ago