More drugs than ever are crossing the U.S. Mexican border along with related violence usually directed at Mexicans but now involving Americans. Four were recently kidnapped by drug cartels in Mexico just over the border and two were killed. U.S. politicians, generally indifferent to the carnage in Mexico, reacted strongly to this attack on their own citizens and called for some kind of military action. Some Republican senators said they would introduce legislation allowing the deployment of U.S. troops in Mexico. Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr spoke for many: “The cartels hold Mexico in a python-like stranglehold. Our leadership is needed to help Mexico break free from this. We cannot accept a failed narco state on our border, providing sanctuary to narco terrorists preying on the American people.”
The tactics contemplated seemed somewhat vague. The U.S. military is skittish about another invasion and full-scale war. The cartels are well organized, heavily armed and know their terrain. The thought of trying to occupy a portion of Mexico after the lessons of Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere gives pause. Former President Trump has urged firing missiles into fentanyl labs across the border, but the cartels can resort to others no doubt well hidden. U.S. intelligence on Mexico is sketch. The last U.S. incursion into Mexico serves as a kind of example. During the Mexican revolution of the early 1900’s, one of the violent participants, Pancho Villa, crossed the border to murder some Americans, cartel style. General John Pershing, subsequent victor of World War One, was sent into Mexico to catch Villa. While he eluded capture, Pershing destroyed most of his forces and then withdrew, making it clear that no more violence across the border would be tolerated until today’s invasion of drugs.
Mexican President Lopez Obrador blatantly denied his country has anything to do with Fentanyl and added that the drugs are an American problem. On this he has a point. If Americans were not consuming almost all their drugs, the cartels would not exist or at least be in very sorry shape. All the Americans would have to do is stop taking the drugs. But that seems unlikely considering the risk taking with even lethal Fentanyl. The alternative is closing the border which is now wide open. This can be done by using some forty thousand U.S. troops to seal the border. Unlike the present Border Patrol and National Guard they would not be limited in firing their weapons but could shoot first if necessary.
At present the cartels can quite freely cross the border and are becoming more adventurous in their activities. They may toss small children over the wall or they may be visibly directing drug traffic on the other side of the Rio-Grande border. In such cases, U.S. troops could take action and if necessary pursue the invaders into Mexico. But only so far. The message is clear – stay away. The aim is to stop the drugs and weaken the cartels, not demolish them. Leave that to the Mexican people who will take heart once they see the U.S acting decisively. Courage is not lacking in a people whose journalists are murdered in greater number than anywhere else on earth and yet continue to report on their oppressors. In time, stymied at the border and demoralized, the gangsters can be overthrown, and Mexico can once again become a normal country.
Purists will say the U.S. has no business carrying the fight to the cartels inside Mexico, a sovereign country. But that’s not what it is. As Bill Barr, among others, says, it’s a narco state, a criminal enterprise in the guise of a genuine country. This seems to baffle much of the media and the U.S. Government who have yet to provide a serious analysis of what’s really going on. We may finally get it as the U.S. military, properly deployed, achieves a victory over the current greatest threat to the U.S.