Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Failed State Right Next Door

A really good look at some very under-reported major news.

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. 
“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.
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.


  1. Obviously this is written for the larger segment of the U.S. population. Yet, even the appellation of Mexico as a failed state, - most obvious state of affairs - is probably breaking news to most U.S. citizens. To this end, this article is a warning.

    The article means a 'century of relative peace'. Having lived in California, south, north, and central, for nigh 50 years I ask, relative to what? For most of that time, there have been many events and altercations which are thought of as south-of-the-border antics yet happening in the south western states, notably CA.

    It is not that we're unaware, it's that no one, i.e. the government, has taken it seriously. Small wonder when there is money to be made in chaos. Why should our elected reps care when the town's people get shot up when they line their own pockets or make sweet heart deals. And them that do take it seriously, those who seek to establish law, themselves become the target of court injunction, demotion, and official reprisal.

    This is to say that the graft we commonly associate with government of Mexico is here in the U.S. and day by day is growing bolder as it reaches ever more into every facet of our lives.

    The article ends by saying that Mexico is not an enemy state. I disagree. Mexico breeds corruption, their very society and style of law is conducive to bribery, graft, corruption. Too, remember that what is Mexico had its origins in, and still is very much influenced by, a loose confederacy of indian tribes. Do not mistake these tribes as a comparison to the tribes within the U.S., even of the south west. Well, perhaps the Apache but still that would be a weak comparison.

    Since independence Mexico has been wracked by internal battles whether for land or resources, identity as individuals or identity as a state. The individual is considered inferior to the state. Anyway, I do not care to know more of Mexico except as a hostile force. To think of Mexico on equitable terms ('...not an enemy state...') is to foster an idealization not supported by reality.


  2. CORRECTION: 2nd para, 1st sentence; "The article *mentions*...."

  3. think of the names of the Aztec men who first met the Spanish. "Blood Glutton" "Dances in the skins of women" "Child eater" "Cuts out 5000 hearts". Can anyone say in honesty that anything has changed, other than language, fashion, and weapons?---Ray

    1. Some days that's harder to argue than others.