Sunday, April 04, 2010

Border Wars

Frontiers are difficult places. They are the dividing line between Them and Us. Frontiers often test the limits of any authority attempting to control what passes across that line. The US-Mexico border is a frontier where US authority faces its severest tests.

Culturally, the southwest never fully surrendered its Mexican history and heritage which has re-asserted itself in many parts of the US that were carved out of northern Mexico in 1848. Latino demographics indicate that Hispanic culture and ideas will shape the American southwest in decades to come. Nothing the anti-immigrant, US nativists can do will change that. The numbers are there.

A cultural resurgence will be a hollow achievement,though, if the US and Mexico cannot control the violence along their shared border. Weak public institutions and endemic corruption in Mexico combined with a strong US demand for intoxicating drugs and US prohibition of same has spawned waves of violence along the border. Cuidad Jaurez has long been known for its high murder rate; more recently the city has endured a wave of violence associated with the drug trade. El Paso, Texas gets the collateral damage, as do the occasional others.

If he United States is truly concerned about weak, corrupt governments that allow organizations to flourish who are likely to perpetrate violence against American citizens, then a good place to begin would be Mexico rather than Afghanistan and Iraq. Not military occupation, to be sure, but rather working with Mexican government and NGO’s to identify indigenous solutions that strengthen public institutions and provide alternatives to violence.

Of course, the job is not limited to the other side of the border. The US drug war is yet another war that merely exacerbates the problem it is supposed to eliminate. Drug prohibition, like its 1920’s antecedent, simply forces the trade outside of the law, where corruption and violence flourish. Ending drug prohibition would remove one major source of income and power from criminal gangs that know how to seize the advantage in that environment.

Pigs will fly before this nation rethinks the drug war. Depending on how you count, the Drug War is in its 26th or 39th year. The former dates back to Nancy Reagan in 1984, the latter to Richard Nixon in 1971. The Drug War’s history reaches back to the 1930’s. At 26 year, the Drug War is still America's longest, a failure that lumbers on.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the hook; Get Americans to realize that keeping drugs illegal just sends our money straight to Mexico and beyond. They would hate that.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Night Monkey said...

Why oh why are we so stupid? Is it because there are too many of us? [no need to answer...I'm just sayin'].

10:15 AM  
Blogger marry said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
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