South of the Border Down Mexico Way more important than Afghanistan or Iraq…

One of the biggest threats to the security of the United States is not in Afghanistan or Iraq; It’s on the southern border of the U.S. itself.

Mexico is essentially a failed state. No one is safe from the violence of the drug cartels.

I’m surprised American tourists even go there anymore. Tourists have been caught in the crossfire and killed and injured.

In the latest incident, two American consulate employees and a spouse were gunned down, apparently by drug gang gunmen.

One couple had their seven-month-old child in the backseat. The incident happened in broad daylight in the border town of Juarez, just accross the border from El Paso, Texas. The mother was an employee at the consulate and her husband worked at the jail in El Paso. They were shot dead in sight of the bridge over the Rio Grande that separates the two nations at that point. The woman was said to be pregnant. In another incident just previous to that the body of a consulate employee was found in a car, his body riddled with bullets of the same type of automatic weapon used in other drug murders.

In the ongoing drug war thousands of people, many of them no more than innocent bystanders, have been killed and maimed and tortured.

Some of this violence extends into the United States. And the reach of the Mexican drug cartels extends way beyond the border and well into interior of the U.S.

In Mexico police of the various law enforcement agencies there have been killed, from the lowest level to the highest level, and high government officials have been victims too.

To add to the problem, Mexican law enforcement and the government itself is riddled with corruption. Of course this has been the case throughout the history of Mexico. But it has gotten to a point where it is no longer a nagging problem or even a joke, but instead a crisis that not only threatens the existence of Mexico but the security of the U.S.

From all reports, Mexico’s current president, El Senor Felipe Calderon, is doing his best to clean up the problem. And that may be exactly what is behind the major escalation in the ongoing drug war. The cartels are fighting back — and at present they seem to have the upper hand, intimidating the citizenry and government officials and law enforcement.

Some 2,500 people died in Juarez alone last year in the violence attributed to the drug war.

For my part, I believe the U.S. would do better to pay more attention to what is happening on its own border rather than expending so much blood and treasure in the sands of the Middle East.

We need oil out of the Middle East. But oil, as valuable as it is, is worth nothing unless it can be sold. As long as the U.S. can buy oil there I don’t see why it should be of particular concern who runs the governments there. I realize that there are forces — Al Qaeda — that could (and have to some extent) take control there and make things rough for the U.S., but that is the way of the world and that problem can be dealt with when need be. You really don’t want to mess around too much with a super power (the U.S.).

But the violence in Mexico is too close to home and is already spilling over into the U.S.

Providing that President Calderon is sincere in his efforts, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, the U.S. should help him in any way feasible.

And the U.S. military should be on the alert to the threat from this nation’s immediate south.

Now with all this danger in mind, I have to note that in the past week or so I was down at the border myself and felt as safe as I would anywhere. As a truck driver I delivered a load for transshipment into Mexico at the border town of Nogales, Az.

I even slept over night in my truck there in a darkened warehouse district and things were as peaceful as could be. The people there, primarily Hispanic, were as friendly and hospitable as can be. It is not Hispanics that are the problem. It is the drug cartels — they threaten all law abiding folks.

However, I will also say that from my reading and observation, the culture south of the border, the paternalistic society, with its custom of using bribes in every facet of business and daily life, and the lack of a large middle class (although it is growing) is a large part of the problem.

I think maybe that after all these years in a society where it has been so hard to rise above poverty and where the wealth has been so tightly concentrated, some elements are striking back, making millions or billions of dollars in the illicit drug trade. That of course is not an excuse, just an observation.

As we all know, illegal guns are shipped from the U.S. into Mexico and the drugs flow north — that is the drug trade.

More emphasis needs to be put on stopping the flow of those weapons, although, then again, as long as there is a market for drugs north of the border, I‘m sure they could get weapons from somewhere.

(And in any ongoing violent struggle or insurrection, whether it be in Mexico or Afghanistan, don’t you always wonder where all that firepower comes from? )

I would not advocate fighting another Mexican-American war — the U.S. doesn’t need another nation to take over and try to re-make in its own image.

But foreign policy should concentrate more on matters closer to home.

P.s.

The Mexican people are our friends. Many of our citizens came from there and have relatives there. And Mexico is vital to our economy. It is our largest trading partner. Heck, much of my income depends upon that trade. I’m a lot more concerned about Mexico than Afghanistan or Iraq.

P.s. P.s.

And I wish I did not repeat myself so much. I think I posted a blog quite similar to this months ago. But things don’t really change, except for getting worse, it seems.

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