Thursday, May 5, 2011

Poor Formulation

Alejandro Poiré, the spokesman of Calderón's security cabinet, says that "Without reforms to the security laws, the violence will not cease."

This assertion, while unprovable, seems wrong to me (even beyond the obvious point that criminal violence will never cease). The violence in Mexico obeys a logic that is only tangentially related to government policy. It could be that the reforms that Calderón seeks, even if they are eminently logical, apply pressure to a lever within the industry that we can't perceive, and then lead to a spike in violence in, say, the heavily populated suburbs of Mexico City. Alternatively, the violence could dip next month without any new reforms. It's impossible to accurately predict the many ramifications of policy changes on a hidden industry. That's not to say that reforms shouldn't be pursued, but the government should try to separate the merit of the reforms from their immediate impact on the levels of violence, both in order to remove the debate from the daily point-scoring of partisan politics, as well as to avoid the reforms being discarded when they fail to deliver on his unrealistic promises.

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