Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mexico's Border Drug Wars Threaten U.S. Security

A new serious problem has developed in Mexico recently as the powerful drug cartels have been able turn out demonstrations and support among the populations in the border towns near the U.S. border. With popular support among much of the border population who are loyal to these powerful drug cartels, weak police forces have faced significant opposition and even the government of Mexico has had significant difficulty combating the influence of these powerful drug cartels and their citizen supporters. This situation has now grown so serious that some foreign policy analysts actually believe that the government of Mexico could conceivably even collapse at some point, with powerful drug cartels taking control of the nation.

Part of this problem comes from the fact that since much of the population of Mexico is in such deep poverty, that the illegal drug trade has become one of Mexico's major important exports to the U.S., and unfortunately provides much employment and cash flow for Mexico. Another major problem is the enormous American appetite for illegal drugs. This supply and demand cycle only creates a dangerous environment in which crime flourishes on both sides of the border. The poverty in Mexico that fuels the drug trade as well as the American demand for drugs only continues to create major headaches for the governments of both Mexico and the U.S.

Part of the problem is also that American support for drug laws tends to be very weak in the U.S. This week for example, Rasmussen released a new poll inspired by the Michael Phelps story and found that only 43% of Americans support keeping marijuana illegal, while 40% supported legalization, and the remainder were undecided. It is very difficult for law enforcement to enforce drug laws if only a bare plurality of Americans even support such laws.

Some nations such as Holland long ago decriminalized drugs and were able to have few problems associated with legal drugs. However, this has not completely prevented some from becoming drug addicts or ruining their lives. And now with the rise of meth, which causes significant brain damage to the user and fuels outrageous and irrational crimes such as metal theft of bridge or traffic control parts or leads to bizarre violent crimes as well as serious damage to the users, the drug usage problem has only worsened in the U.S.

The fact of the matter is that the government of Mexico, it's police forces, and it's judges are being seriously threatened by violence orchestrated by supporters of the drug cartels. And since the failure of NAFTA to improve the economy of most in Mexico, where farm wages actually fell by a full third after American corporate farms dumped cheap corn and wheat on the Mexican market, many in Mexico either have attempted illegal entry into the U.S. as workers or others have become associated with the illegal drug trade.

The United States cannot allow the government of Mexico to collapse. The resulting anarchy would be a serious national security threat to the U.S. as well as not in the best interests of Mexico either.

The Obama Administration very well might face some very difficult policy positions in dealing with Mexico very soon. And there needs to be a serious national debate about all issues related to drug usage in the United States as well to decide what policy is best for the national interests as well. Meth causes significant damage to the users and promotes serious crime problems including the national epidemic of identity theft. It is no uncommon to find meth abusers looking in the garbage of homes waiting at curbside, looking for any paperwork they can find to steal someone's identity and ruin someone's life.

The public seemed very forgiving of the marijuana use of athlete Michael Phelps, and public support for marijuana laws is very weak in the U.S., however that doesn't address the fact that any sort of drug use is not healthy and still harmful to the user. Any sort of drug abuse has potentially serious health issues associated with it. And the flip side is that much of all drugs are now coming from Mexico and only helping to fuel the violent deaths of citizens, police and judges.

The poverty in Mexico that fuels this drug violence problem is a very serious issue. The United States cannot have a nation right on it's border collapse and only worsen the drug problem where a greater flow of meth and other drugs will impact the quality of life in the U.S. This is a very serious issue that deserves a very serious discussion.


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