It’s an absolutely extraordinary episode even by the grim and bizarre annals of what we mistakenly call the post-2006 Mexican Drug War. The Battle of Culiacán stands on a level above, say, the Ayotzinapa massacre, or the Zetas’ expulsion of the entire population of Ciudad Mier. Killing scores of innocents and brutalizing small towns is one thing: seizing regional capital cities and crushing the national armed forces in open fighting in broad daylight is something else.It is worth your time to go read the whole thing. Would be nice if we had some real security between us and how much nastier this will get.
“Drug War” is a misnomer for reasons the Culiacán battle lays bare. This is not a mafia-type problem, nor one comprehensible within the framework of law enforcement and crime. This is something very much like an insurgency now—think of the eruption of armed resistance in Culiacán in 2019 as something like that in Sadr City in 2004—and also something completely like state collapse. The cartels may be the proximate drivers but they are symptoms. Underlying them is a miasma of official corruption, popular alienation, and localist resentments—and underlying all that is a low-trust civil society stripped of the mediating mechanisms that make peaceable democracy both feasible and attractive.
Sunday, October 27, 2019
The Failed State Right Next Door
A really good look at some very under-reported major news.