Geography favors America and has made it safe. There’s the protection of two oceans east and west, a benign neighbor to the north, Canada, and until recently, a compliant one to the south, Mexico. No longer. Crime has overtaken geography. Hard drugs are pouring across the Mexican border, accompanied by violence and billions of dollars in corruption. The murder rate has spiked in both the US and Mexico and is largely attributed to the battle over the heroin trade, the drug that has reached epidemic proportions in many parts of the US.
Yet government and media almost inexplicably ignore the threat on their doorsteps and instead focus – one could say obsessively – on far smaller threats half a globe away in the Middle East and North Africa. In his provocative, probing book, “The Accidental Super Power,” Peter Zeihan writes that if Americans continue to let the border fester, they “face the dawn of the most horrible conflict they have ever fought. More than China, more than Russia, more than Iran, it is the expansion of the Mexican drug war to all of North America that is emerging as the single greatest geopolitical threat to the American way of life.”
No atrocity in the much-publicized Middle East is any worse than those committed in Mexico by the drug cartels. Talk about beheadings. A few videos lure us into war with Syria. Videos of the same atrocity in Mexico are a dime a dozen. Are they somehow less barbaric in Mexico? As many as 100 thousand Mexicans have been murdered by the cartels in the last several years – no one knows for sure since accurate records aren’t kept and it’s dangerous to do so. More journalists have been murdered in Mexico than just about any place on the planet.
Other walks of life fare no better. In less than four years, fifteen Roman Catholic priests have been murdered for the sin of caring too much for their parishioners. Says Father Valdemar of Mexico City’s archdiocese: “Statistically, we are considered the most dangerous country in the world to work for the ministry, even more than countries facing the Islamic State and religious persecution against Christians.”
The cartels are also branching out into other crimes such as sex slavery. Thousands of women are seized and put to work in squalid brothels for years on end. They are forced to serve several clients a day, an activity that is videotaped for any sign of disobedience. If they try to escape, they are tortured and killed. One imprisoned woman told Business Insider that she was ordered to shoot a little boy she had befriended in the brothel. She refused and later learned that this was a test to see if she could quality as a sicario – a hit man. She failed the promotion and was returned to the brothel. The boy, of course, was killed by someone else.
The US is hardly immune. “There’s a tremendous amount of spillover into the United States,” says Fred Burton, vice president of Stratfor Global Intelligence, which provides analysis of world affairs. “The cartels can order a hit from Mexico, a home invasion, a kidnapping. This is not just a border issue. This is an issue that affects our entire country.” A majority of smugglers arrested on the border are US citizens or legal residents recruited by the cartels because they arouse less suspicion. Increasingly, the drug lords themselves are crossing the border to find comfortable homes where they can direct their traffic. Their victims – most of the illegal immigrants to the US – are fleeing the violence they have created in Mexico and Central America.
Fundamental to the drug trade is money laundering of profits. Many banks have been found to be implicated, and there’s no evidence they’re not still at it. In this regard, it’s noted that FBI Director James Comey, under fire for his controversial decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton, was on the executive board of HSBC bank when it was busy laundering cartel drug money. El Paso Times reporter Diana Valdez writes of two FBI contractors, a former deputy sheriff and a former state livestock investigator, who were tasked with tracing drug money to various recipients. When they disclosed it was going to such upper levels of society as bankers, judges and prominent politicians, they both lost their jobs and one was threatened with death – a knife at his throat. This happened in the US, not Mexico.
Can anything be done? It certainly can. Under the watchful eye of esteemed sheriff Tony Estrada, Nogales, Arizona, has become the safest place on the border. It has a fence, a partial help. It has a committed Hispanic population on both sides of the border determined to keep their bustling communities flourishing. Above all, it has sufficient law enforcement, some 1,000 US Border Patrol agents, the highest ratio of law enforcement personnel to residents in the US.
That doesn’t keep the drug smugglers from trying, says the sheriff. While I was in his office, he got a call about a shooting on the border. Some like to cover up these incidents, he notes. “I don’t.” There’s also the problem of legitimate border crossings that have seriously slowed. Jonathan Clark, editor of the Nogales International newspaper, says it sometimes takes him two hours to return to the US. This is stifling business, largely dependent on Mexican customers.
The solution? Take some of the US troops engaged in endless, futile wars overseas and put them on the border both to stop the drugs and facilitate legitimate crossings. Manpower, women power are the answer as long as America, five per cent of the world’s population, consumes fifty percent of illegal drugs. But that’s another story.