It has grown fashionable in recent years to argue that the solution to Mexico’s public security difficulties lies in treating organized crime within the context of counterinsurgency theory. Many have made this argument, one of the most recent being Robert Culp here at Small Wars Journal. This is an unfortunate misreading of the security problems that are plaguing Mexico. While COIN theory offers a handful of sensible ideas, as an overarching philosophical guide, it is an imperfect fit for Mexico.
The first thing that bares mentioning when considering whether COIN as the answer for Mexico is that, problematically enough, Mexico in not suffering from an insurgency. Hillary Clinton and other American officials have indicated that it is, but they are incorrect. An insurgency seeks either concessions from the state or its overthrow, and it uses attacks on the state or on civilians as a means to achieve that. Mexican gangs are seeking profits, and their attacks are overwhelmingly directed at competitors, not at government officials or innocents.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
COIN for Mexico?
I make the case against it at Small Wars Journal: