Step Up the Support or Start Running North
In the past few years, U.S. leaders ignored the growing grumble of drug related violence in Mexico because they were too focused on the stability of Middle Eastern states.? Foreign policy goals must be prioritized logically, in order of which states have the closest regional proximity and strongest economic ties.? The U.S. – Mexican border expands nearly 2,000 miles and the economic relationship between the two states is beyond vital; Mexico is the United States third largest trading partner.? Prioritization of Middle Eastern oil resources has left the United States vulnerable to serious problems festering over the border.? Mexican problems become American problems when cartels are operating out of our cities, spreading violence to small towns and large metropolis areas alike.? I outlined this clearly in an August?op-ed in The Washington Times, which apparently fell on deaf ears.? Now what do we do?
The working relationship is difficult to approach because the U.S. and Mexico have a long standing and productive alliance, one that has warranted their country to be considered part of NORTHCOM instead of SOUTHCOM in the eyes of the U.S. military.? This distinction gives Mexico a visual superiority over Latin American states because of the mutually beneficial diplomatic relationship which must be maintained at all costs.? Some have raised the notion of mobilizing the National Guard to the border, something that many of the border-state Governors support (not surprisingly, because it is a huge increase in their power).? While adding the National Guard to the border could help in the event of a very serious emergency, militarizing the Mexican border has serious diplomatic side effects that make it a very unattractive option.
Illegal immigration and narco-trafficking is a law enforcement issue and must be dealt with by CBP and ICE, both of which are doing an increasingly effective job at it over the past 7 years.? We can quell the problem by continually supporting both of those agencies while acknowledging the American end of the problem: demand for drugs and the supplying of weapons.? The shared responsibility that Hillary Clinton recently acknowledged has been missing in the past and is necessary for progress in the U.S.-Mexican relationship.? Addressing the problem on our end will be more effective in the long run than pretending to have the capability of securing such an expansive border completely and crushing the supply of drugs from Mexico.
We must support the Mexican government so that they can fight it on their end.? The challenge in combating the cartels with the legitimate Mexican government is that cartel members have infiltrated most levels of the very forces which exist to fight them.? Simply throwing money at the problem with the Merida Initiative will not fix it.? We must support trusted and dedicated leaders to rebuild Mexico and its leadership strategically, while showing their citizens and loyal sovereign leaders the respect they deserve.