While President Felipe Calderón deploys the full force of the military, his counterpart Barack Obama, much more interested in sending troops to Afghanistan, expresses hesitation and resistance to the pressure of border governors, who demand the shipment of another 250 National Guard troops in addition to the 150 already deployed as part of the Joint Task Force against Narco-Terrorism that has its headquarters in Arizona.It's not often that you hear a foreign analyst blame the US for not being militaristic enough. Indeed, I think this is the only Mexican piece I've ever read that was anything other than apoplectic at the thought of a militarized border. The thing is, regardless of the legal impediments to deploying the army along the southern edge of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, it's hard to see how soldiers are the correct balm border region's ailments. They aren't investigators, and no American city has gotten anywhere near the point where martial law is needed. Also, unless the idea is that Mexican criminals are using American cities as sanctuaries, how would cracking down on general lawlessness in the States have much of an impact on crime in Mexico? It's not like the army is going to drive down drug demand.
[T]he government seeks to support itself with the sheriffs from the 23 counties along the Mexican border to create a first line of defense. Nevertheless prefer to use their scarce resources in the combat of crimes in their jurisdictions and the resist fighting against undocumented immigration, arguing correctly that this a federal responsibility.
Mexico then seems to be alone in its effort to protect the border via military saturation of zones controlled by drug traffickers. The resources come from the Mérida Initiative are arriving a drop at a time and the force of municipal, state, and federal agents continue disarmed, intimidated, and controlled by drug traffickers.
This situation has generated a disequilibrium in border security. Drug traffickers are changing their axes of operation and they are diversifying their criminal activity to overwhelm federal forces and harass common citizens through kidnapping and extortion. The fundamental problem is that the drug violence is growing and touching citizens while the definition of a solid and efficient binational strategy follows other rhythms is governed by other priorities.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
An Unusual Take on the Border
Jorge Luis Sierra is worried about Obama's lack of sustained interest in the border: