When is a wall not a wall? When it’s a fence. A semantic confusion. We’re not sure what is being built along the U.S.-Mexican border, but politically speaking, the word “wall” packs a punch for both sides, for and against, useful for rallying supporters, fanning the flames, winning some votes. Never mind reality.
Unless it’s properly manned, no barrier of any kind will stop intruders. At best, it will only partially slow down the inventive drug cartels who will continue to supply the U.S. with their product by land and sea, as long as there is such a demand for it. The cartels in turn create the violence driving people to seek asylum in the U.S.
How to cut the drug trafficking? Abstinence seems out of the question in self-indulgent America. Aside from medical use, marijuana, like alcohol, can be injurious. But among the drugs flowing from Mexico, it’s the least harmful. Its legalization in the U.S. would hurt, maybe cripple the cartels since marijuana is their chief product. It would also free U.S. authorities to concentrate on the more poisonous drugs responsible for the current opiate epidemic.
Then there’s corruption of many billions of dollars of drug money. Most is laundered back to Mexico, but much remains to be distributed to helpful hands in the U.S., some no doubt in the highest circles. More important than the wall would be the investigation and prosecution of those who abet the poisoners of America and destroyers of Mexico. Curious how little coverage there is of the drug cartels which largely control immigration as well as Mexico itself.
The uproar over the wall also distracts from other global concerns to which the Trump Administration has fitfully responded. Now that the cloud of Russian collusion has lifted, the President could attend to some of his campaign promises, such as withdrawing from meaningless wars. His efforts in North Korea and Afghanistan point in one direction, his threats against Iran and Venezuela in the opposite. His appointments of neoconservatives to top positions don’t help: Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, John Bolton as National Security Adviser. The neoconservatives who gave us the calamitous Iraq war and subsequent disasters should be retired.
They could be replaced by astute foreign policy analysts outside the Washington fold who are currently not allowed in, partly because they’ve been critical of Israel. That doesn’t seem to be sufficient grounds for rejecting strategists who could serve at a time that some compare to 1914. Inept leaders stumbled into World War One without quite realizing it or being able to stop it. Today with the added threat of nuclear weapons, we need the best minds on foreign policy to avoid a repetition. That’s the kind of wall to be built … a real wall.