[ ...] the drug cartels of Mexico are hobbled neither by antiquated Marxist ideology nor old-time, rustic, crime family traditions. They are adaptive, professional, transnational in outlook and far better equipped than state police forces on either side of the border.[...]Read the rest here.
Readers who do war-gaming for a living, and those who are simply good at doing addition fast in their head (which applies to most Pundita readers), will not need to be told why I'm tying Mark's post to Misha Glenny's McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld.
If you weren't lucky enough to catch John Batchelor's interview with Glenny, this New York Times book review conveys the importance of Glenny's report.
(Aside to Mark Steyn readers: note Glenny's comment, "The European Union has a labor shortage and an aging population that is not being replenished because of low birthrates." So what was once criticized as 'Steyn fiction' is now accepted as self-evident fact.)
7:15 PM ET Update
Also, I think the Glenny interview was aired on KFI 640-AM on 4/20. Here is the link to the archive podcast; I am pretty sure the interview started 1:40 minutes into broadcast. When you hear the interview, you'll realize the NYT reviewer took Glenny's remarks about Snakeheads somewhat out of context. From my hastily typed notes during the broadcast:
"Snakehead chinese gang leaders who organize transfer of chinese workers.
whole villages form a club pay to get one person into brooklyn or LA
we're getting illegal migrations in the millions this way.
villagers go 10s of thousands of debt for person, if their person killed their families still have to pay off debt. meanwhile chinese illegal working in indentured servitude to pay off debt.
yet villagers in china the snakeheads are heros, because it is so bad in villages."
So while the snakeheads are seen by the villagers as performing a useful function, the system is an indictment of conditions in China's rural areas.
Also, while I'm on the subject of Batchelor's interview, here are my scribbles about Glenny's mention of Canada:
and whole of western canada british columbia home to largest numbger of criminal syndicates in world. vietnamese produce cannabis large amount comes south. they make about 80K yr frm transshipment into US."
So it's not just a southern border security situation the US must deal with 'yesterday.' What's wrong with smoking a little pot? The problem is that it's not a little; the millions in hard currency that Vietnamese crooks send home or direct to additional criminal enterprises help prop up crooks and worse in Vietnam and in places such as Burma. That's so for the entire global network of McMafia enterprises; it leaps borders and is more efficient than the governments fighting it.
So drink a beer instead.
And no -- legalizing pot won't help; in fact it will make the situation much worse because it will just increase the amount of remittances that those Vietnamese pot growers send home and increase the protection rackets.
All this does is the same thing it's done in Mexico: allow the elite that controls government spending to keep putting off critically needed programs.
Not to mention setting up millions of the poorest for starvation when a sharp economic downtown in the rich country cancels the gardener, the cook, and the pot parties, which means remittances dry up.
I warned about this in 2005 but only a couple bloggers picked up on my point and nobody in Washington's development community wanted to listen.
Yet the vast majority of Mexicans who have become dependent on remittances are using the money to buy the most basic necessities, such as food. What the hell happens, then, when the remittances abruptly stop?
Yes, the worst is already happening in Mexico, although to my knowledge only one news report has surfaced about it. The Mexican and US governments -- not to mention the World Bank and the British and China governments, which pushed institutionalizing remittances at the government level -- don't want to talk about this little glitch.
Drink beer, okay? Or grow the stuff yourself.
As for the NYT reviewer's statement that, "... restrictive immigration policies remain in force. The result? An open invitation to far-reaching criminal enterprises."
I have not yet read McMafia, and Batchelor's interview with Glenny focused on the history of the globalized crime phenomenon and a region-by-region rundown, rather than Glenny's conclusions. So I don't know what Glenny has concluded from his investigations, and I am unwilling to take the word of a NYT reviewer.
But if Glenny is indeed pitching unrestricted immigration, there is the little problem of assimilation to deal with, if rich countries don't want to be a magnet for Fifth Columns overseen by gangsters who prey on the poorest immigrants.
Or should I say, they don't want to be any more of a magnet than they are today.