The Republic of International Community as seen from satellite
CNN and FNC -- America's two national cable TV all-news channels -- have been too busy during the past week reporting on the murder trial of Casey Anthony and the antics of New York Rep. Anthony Weiner to squeeze in reporting on Mexico (actually they're always too busy to do more than glance at Mexico) so in the manner of a public service I present links to the following recent reports on Mexico. All the reports are important but I think the Reuters one is the 'must read' and biggest shocker.
June 1 - Reuters, Special Report: If Monterrey falls, Mexico falls.
June 2 - The Los Angeles Times, How many have died in Mexico's drug war?
June 5 - Christian Science Monitor, Mexico peace tour: How the drug war changed once-calm Cuernavaca
June 7 - Christian Science Monitor, Mexican drug traffickers' latest weapon: 'monster' narco-tanks
June 8 - Wall Street Journal, Mexico Tourism Feels Chill of Ongoing Drug Violence
A companion read is Zenpundit Mark Safranski's April 5 review of Narcos Over the Border: Gangs, Cartels and Mercenaries, a series of monographs edited by Dr. Robert J. Bunker. Before I quote Mark's summary of the book, in which he mentions the need for better U.S. policy on Mexico, an aside:
I hate to be the one to break this news to Mark but there can no longer be an American policy on Mexico because there is no longer a United States of America. He doesn't know this because he doesn't watch much television news, but a few weeks of watching CNN will clue him that the USA is no more. In its place is a country called The Whole World (aka RIC - Republic of International Community), which for reasons known only to the rascals who run CNN excludes every world region where CNN is not in hot competition with al Jazeera.
I myself speak of the "country" of the USA, which I think is what seems to be a box of cookies or a milk carton in the foreground of the above satellite photo of the RIC, only as a matter of convention.
As for FNC (Fox News Channel): currently too busy taking pot-shots at other TV news outlets for initially covering up the Weiner story and otherwise too busy trying to find a Republican who can win the White House to notice that a U.S. government is a memory.
(Memo to FNC: The other TV media were initially quiet about Weiner's texting problem not because he's a Leftist but because his wife is Hillary Clinton's closest aide and they didn't want to have to tell the American public that the person closest to the U.S. Secretary of State is an American Muslim of Indian-Pakistani heritage who was raised in Saudi Arabia, you nitwits.)
So before we try to upgrade U.S. policy on the hollowed-out state of Mexico, as the Narcos book terms it, I say let's examine how the U.S. got hollowed out.
One more point before I cede the floor to Mark: His summary doesn't indicate whether the book addresses racism and apartheid in Mexico. I know that Mark is aware of the subject so I think he would have mentioned it, if any of the monographs dealt specifically with racism; frankly I'd be surprised if any did because the topics of Mexican racism and apartheid are taboo in both the USA and Mexico.
Later this week or the next I'll try to rip myself away from the Afghan War long enough to return to those issues, which I touched on in an earlier post. For now, I'll just say that I think Mexico's type of racism is the true "virus" that Dr Bunker talks about.
Now to Mark's summary (see the article at Zenpundit for links to topics and sources):
[...] Narcos Over the Border. ... is one of the more disturbing academic works recently published in the national security field, not excluding even those monographs dealing with Islamist terrorism and Pakistan. If the authors of this granular examination of Mexico’s immense problems with warring narco-cartels, mercenary assassins, systemic corruption, 3rd generation gangs and emerging “Narcocultas”of Santa Muerte are correct - and I suspect they are - Mexico’s creeping path toward state failure reprsents a threat to American national security of the first order.
Some impressions I gained from reading Narcos Over the Border include:
> The Narco-Cartels and the Zetas, which fight each other as well as Mexico’s military (Mexican police generally are infiltrated, intimidated, outgunned and seriously outclassed by the Cartel gunmen, Zetas and Guatemalan Kaibiles) are better armed and better trained than are the Taliban. The deadly and efficient Zetas and Kaibiles are superior to regular Mexican military forces and have established safe haven training camps in Central America.
> Narco-cartels are properly speaking, no longer narco-cartels but transnational criminal syndicates involved in a wider array of revenue generating activities, but with professional intelligence and military capabilities, and increasingly, political, social and religious agendas that are functionally reminiscient of Hezbollah and HAMAS.
> The Mexican state is severely hampered in its response to the threat presented by the cartels by its own strategic use of corruption as a cost-saving measure and a tool for sustaining elite control of Mexican politics, as well as a method of personal enrichment by members of Mexico’s ruling class.
> The eschewing of the extreme violence by the cartels North of the border appears to be more of a sign of a strategic policy by cartel and Zeta bosses than a lack of capacity or evidence of a lack of infiltration into American society. To the contrary, Mexican cartel links to acutely dangerous American prison and street gangs such as the Mexican Mafia and MS-13 are significant and well documented.
> The cartels are global, not regional or local operators.
> The culture of the Narco-cartels, which draws on some romantic Mexican social and religious underground traditions, particularly the hybrid cartel La Familia, is morphing into a very dangerous “Narcocultas”, a neo-pagan, folk religion featuring ritualistic violence, beheadings and torture-murders carried out for reasons other than economic competition.
[See also Zenpundit's summary , Skulls and Human Sacrifice: Bunker and Sullivan on Societal Warfare at Small Wars Journal]
> Mexico has departed the realm of having a serious law enforcement problem and has graduated to a significant counterinsurgency war against the cartels in which the Mexican state is treading water or making progress against some cartels (possibly displacing their activities to weaker states in Central America).
The authors do not assume the worst-case scenario for Mexico; i.e., state collapse, but rather an insidious “hollowing out” of the state by the cartels and a mutation of Mexico’s native culture to host a 4GW nightmare. As Robert Bunker writes:What is proposed here is that Mexico is not on its way to becoming a “rotting corpse” but potentially something far worse - akin to a body infected by a malicious virus.While meticulous, Narcos Over the Border is not all-encompassing in scope. A fundamentally Mexico-centric collection of scholarly articles, it does not deal extensively with American policymakers involved in Mexico’s narco-insurgency, the intricacies of cartel financial operations or undertake case studies of narco activities in Mexican-American communities, though the authors do track narco-cartel and gang presence in cyberspace.
Already, wide swaths of Mexico have been lost to the corrupting forces and violence generated by local gangs, cartels and mercenaries. Such narco-corruption faced few bariers given the fertile ground already existing in Mexico derived from endemic governmental corruption at all levels of society and in some ways, it even further aided the ‘virus’ spreading through Mexican society from this new infection. Among its other symptoms, it spreads values at variance with traditional society, including those:
... conceivably derived from norms based on slaveholding, illicit drug use, sexual activity with minors and their exploitation in prostitution, torture and beheadings, the farming of humans for body parts, the killing of innocents for political gain and personal gratification and the desecration of the dead.
Narcos Over the Border represents a starting point for deeper investigation of narco-insurgency and for a national security community that has thus far treated Mexico as a third-tier problem, a policy call to arms. Strongly recommended.