Mexico's Drug War
Few wars are as disappointing as those meant to nail the drug trade. It will not go away, though, upon occasion, it will change its face, place, and the rules of the game. Profits are too large, as one can imagine. And despite being illegal, immoral, and dangerous, the money to be made and what it can buy will always be more the determining factor than anything else. The old adage, if you can't fight 'em, join 'em, is probably applicable. Let governments get involved in the drug trade and it is almost guaranteed that before long the individual entrepreneur, whether Harry Milquetoast or the Devil's Hammer, will soon want to do something else. For the time being, indications are that President Nieto will not scuttle President Calderon's fight. He will instead make adjustments. Good. Because the news from drug-related Mexico is not nice. And the war, if it is to be won, has a ways to go.
This is the news from Mexico: decapitations, mass graves, torture, and rampant executions. America might, at times, be considered God-crazy. But when it comes to Mexico, a neighbor, it denies any interest in scripture. Love thy neighbor, sure, but not this one. For quite some time, up here, Mexico's problems have been Mexico's problems. There could be a price to pay somewhere down the road, but it will be dealt with then, not now. But just think, America has no immunity to the kind of civil unrest that is commonplace across the border. Another adage has it that silence is complicity. Actually, the wanton abuse and punishment of Mexicans by Mexicans is not new, but its frequency, intensity, and regularity indicates that, in time, it will be the cartels, not the government, whom citizens at risk will beseech. Cartels would make good demagogues. Some day, they could win the hearts and minds of all Mexico. Governments cannot get a handle on any of this. The requisite levers and pulleys are not being utilized. Once cartels achieve legitimate political power, they can then, possibly to fulfill a campaign promise, stop the bleeding. Hopefully, however, nothing of the sort will actually come to pass.
Calderon's war is important. Unlike other wars raging round the world, this one makes perfect sense. Its strategies, however, have not brought about the desired result. The excuses are lame: poor education, lack of funding, second-rate equipment, little pay, and no motivation. To be honest, the Zetas know exactly what they are doing and the Mexican police and their auxiliaries know this as well. Naturally, the cartels fight back. They have a lot to fight for. Nevertheless, it is absurd to think that the government cannot at least influence the drug trade in its own favor. Mexico is a genuine country, not just a facade with a token flag. It cannot eradicate drugs; no country can do this, including the United States, equally held hostage to the cartels. But if Mexico cannot defeat the drug trade, it can at least force its operators to negotiate. How about no heroin sales in playgrounds with school in session? Sound reasonable? If cartels cannot agree to this, then let them have it -- full scale. This is purely hypothetical, but the point is obvious. Dialogue is somewhat humiliating, true enough, to have to sit down at a table with career lawbreakers, but it would amount to a giant step forward. As of now, no leverage exists whereby the civilian sector can effectively complain about bodies dangling from bridges while school buses pass by underneath on the way to school.
What President Nieto needs are people on the inside. The war is not being fought by those who are against drugs versus those who are for them. Drugs are a stumbling block. Some users live happily to a hundred, while some of the sober are more miserable than can be imagined. It is a mixed up world. Drug-related businessmen and women have taken up permanent residence. The next step is not to eliminate them. It cannot be done without hideous retaliations. To seek control is what is called for. To negotiate. As a goal, it is well within the confines of reality. With U.S. help, Mexico can succeed, posting one victory after another. Her enemies have AK-47s and AR-15s, helicopters and planes. They are highly trained. They are rich. They have friends in both high and low places. But they must not be allowed to get this one thing: America. They think it is already theirs. They are wrong.