Thursday, April 6, 2017


News From the Border

The links provided above give us a glimpse of the border today.  First, as Laura Tyson notes, Mexicans are making their own calculations about what to do, now that they know they have an Ugly American in the White House who used Mexico as a convenient scapegoat during the presidential campaign--the wall, the rapists, the trade deals taking away Bubba's job.  She raises the scary possibility that it may become politically useful for politicians in Mexico to mirror the right-wing hate-filled ranting of Trump, destabilizing the subtle understandings that have developed between Mexicans and Estadounidenses over the past quarter century and that have led to an exceptionally powerful partnership between the two countries.  As long as Trump is President, a trusting relationship is highly unlikely.

Ever since the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, there has been remarkable agreement among US security strategists that the major security threat from Mexico is not the Mexican government, but political instability in Mexico.  It was instability in Mexico that led to problems during the Revolution along the lower Rio Grande in Texas, and the assault by Pancho Villa on Columbus, ending with a massive mobilization by General Pershing on the US-Mexico border just prior to World War I.  If you can imagine a black-haired, blow-dried president of Mexico flinging insults at the US to reawaken deep-seated resentments from the past for political purposes, think through some of the mischievous possibilities that might arise from such a scenario.  It is a scary proposition indeed, and one that all Americans should be concerned about, regardless of their views on NAFTA.

The war on drugs is not over in Mexico.  Violence is rising in certain areas of the country, including Chihuahua state, putting pressure on elected officials to do something about it, and underscoring the kind of instability that occurs when rival law enforcement institutions are corrupted by the money flowing from the drug trade.  The mayor of Cuauhtemoc, a city of over 150,000, is convinced the new Governor, Javier Corral, in bringing in his state police, will simply upset the delicate equilibrium that has kept the peace in his city.  After all, local police know their own territory much better than state police.

Finally, the most popular politician in El Paso, Beto O'Rourke, has announced he is running in the Democratic primary next year, hoping to secure the nomination to run against Ted Cruz.  O'Rourke speaks perfect Spanish.  He has spoken out strongly in favor of rethinking the Drug War and opening up an honest discussion about the role of government within it.  He is an adult, in spite of being only 44.  While the odds are against him, should he win the nomination he may well become a game-changer against Ted Cruz.  He has a knack for telling truths we are not allowed by political correctness to say, and with a down-to-earth common sense that disarms even the most ardent opponents:  Ted Cruz's bombastic, know-it-all style would be severely challenged.

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