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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let the Games Begin

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the Senate Homeland Security Committee, under Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CN), will hold hearings on the violence in Mexico and how the US should respond.

Why is the Homeland Security Committee doing this and not Senator John Kerry's Foreign Relations Committee?  I checked the Foreign Relations Committee schedule just now.  Nothing.  A lot on Iran and some on Global Warming, but nothing on Mexico.

But, back to where the action is, Senator Lieberman said:
The southern border has always been on our radar screen as an entry point for narcotics and human smugglers, and others who might threaten our homeland security.  But the recent escalation of violence along the southern border demands our immediate attention.
I actually feel good about Senator Lieberman sticking his oar in this water.

Hearing are set for 25 March in Washington and for some time in April in Arizona.

Presidential Spokesman Robert Gibbs had this to say:
There's no doubt that the situation is of interest to the president. Strong interest.  It's something that the national security team and the president are watching closely.
What I would like to hear is that President Obama has appointed an Ambassador to Mexico--the position is now vacant.  The Ambassador needs to be someone who is a strong presence, but is sensitive to Mexican sensitivities. This is not a payoff position this time around.

The fact that there is a problem seems pretty obvious.  The solution is a little more complicated.

One of the key questions to be answered is if we focus on actions to knock down the narco-insurgency in Mexico or if we focus on supporting human rights in that nation.  From my point of view, getting the narco-insurgency under control is supporting human rights.

To focus on the consequences of Mexico as a failed state for a moment, we could see:
  • A flood of refugees coming across our Southern border.
  • Disruption of the flow of oil from one of our major suppliers.
  • Illegal drugs moving across the US southern border more easily and in greater amounts.
  • A mostly corrupt regime as our partner to the immediate South (this would not be like Cuba, separated by a serious stretch of water).
  • Increased violence within our border states as drug cartels protect their supply lines.
  • The movement of drug cartels deep into the US, corrupting our own law enforcement.
What is worse than a Recession?  A Recession coupled with a lot of violence as groups compete for control of the illegal drug trade and control of the streets upon which those illegal drugs are sold.

Good luck to you Joe Lieberman and God's Speed.

Regards  --  Cliff

1 comment:

ncrossland said...

The issue of Mexico falls clearly into the netherworld of Congressional gray when it comes to "oversight" responsibility. Arguably, Foreign Relations should have some sort of interest in the goings on south of our border, but the current dysfunctions there are much more a security threat that falls clearly in the realm of defensive and/or police type actions. The sorts of activities that are giving rise to the current threat from Mexico lie well outside of the diplomatic environs.

Considering the monetary value of the drug trade between Mexican cartels and their PRIMARY customer base in the US, probably nothing short of a philosophical capitulation to the American notion of illegal drugs will be sufficient to stem the trouble. It the size of the "business" is as large as DEA estimates it to be, then the population that supports it is not minor or inconsequential. If America simply legitimized the drug trade, the monetary flow would shift to our own Federal structure and national business scene.

That this has not already happened is much more the end game of special interest influence than a clear and constant occupation of the moral high ground.

One hears pontifications about ruined lives as a result of drugs, but alcohol is legal as a result of overwhelming public pressure (and, no doubt, a certain predeliction on the part of Congressional members for the nectars of nature) and the society has not gone to hell in a handbag, unless of course, you just happen to be a puritanical toad. There are many, many, many ways that Americans can destroy their lives, and consumption of drugs is but a small methodology.

If we legitimized the spectrum of drugs and insisted that they be dispensed by "authority," the phenomenal expense of Border Patrol, Customs, and DEA would be eliminated, and the revenue generated by tax alone would likely be more than the costs currently incurred to stop something that is in fact, unstopped.