It's a bit like being in a Kafka novel or on the other side of the looking glass to read what the US press has to say about Mexico -- and now the very frightening report from the US Military. The Joint Command of the Armed Forces has issued a report offering its vision of strategic problems for the US over the next twenty five years. This report claims Mexico is as much in danger of becoming a failed state (or almost as much) as Pakistan.
This is either madness or very calculated or both. It is starting to seem as if the US is looking for justification to make a Bush-like pre-emptive strike against Mexico. The fact that Obama really knows nothing about Mexico and has no one on his staff that I'm aware of who does and has indicated that he will be putting Mexico "on the back burner," i.e. a place where he doesn't learn more about it, doesn't bode well. The utter ignorance in the US of Mexico, the totally wrongheaded images of Mexico, the racism directed towards Mexicans, is, to say the least, horrifying. This report feeds directly into it, perhaps deliberately.
Below is my translation of the article in La Jornada by David Brooks, the US bureau chief for that paper (not the NYTimes columnist), describing this situation.
I hope you read it and then read the rebuttal that will follow in another post shortly (I hope -- I'm a bit swamped by work) by the foreign secretary of Mexico and then more information.
For reasons that are not clear to me, the US press and government have kept a very nasty and distorting spotlight on Mexico. As you read the article, you will notice how some states are highlighted as "good" or on the right road. Cuba and Venezuela, as one might expect, receive their own special treatment. At least Brazil and Colombia have problems as great as Mexico's. I don't know enough about Argentina, Peru and Chile. I do know that today, Argentina's president is visiting Cuba.
As you read the report, see if it doesn't strike you that the military or someone in the US is trying to divide an increasingly allied Latin America and is trying to look for justification to invade Mexico. The US has an unfortunate history of invading Mexico, though Americans aren't really aware of it.
Among global threats in the future, “most worrying is the sudden and rapid collapse of Pakistan and Mexico,” warns a report produced by the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of the United States. This report’s purpose is to put forth a vision of the strategic problems of the next 25 years.
In the section of week and broken states, the document says that although the majority are in Africa and parts of Asia, one has to take into account the “phenomenon of ‘rapid collapse’” which happens in a surprising fashion, and the report highlighted the case of Yugoslavia as an example. The report, prepared for the highest military commands and those in charge of making civilian decisions in matters of national security affirmed that in terms of worst case scenarios for the Joint Chiefs and in fact for the world, two large and important states merit consideration [in the face of the possibility] of a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.
In the case of Mexico, compared with Pakistan, the authors pointed out that “it might be less likely, but the government, its politics, the police and the judicial infrastructure are all under assault and feeling sustained pressure from criminal gangs and drug cartels.”
It emphasized that the result of this internal conflict over the coming years “would have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent on the part of Mexico to chaos will demand an American answer based exclusively on the serious implications for the security of the United States.”
It insists: “the growing assault of the drug cartels and their henchmen on the Mexican government during the past reminds us that an unstable Mexico could represent a security problem of immense proportions for the United States.
In the region, the report emphasized that “the military problems which arise in South and Central America probably will originate in the interior [of each country],” and mentioned in particular the drug cartels and criminal gangs, “while terrorists continue finding a place in some of the frontier areas of the continent which are outside of the law.”
It indicates, however, that “for the most part the economic situation of South America suggests that the region would be able to be in a position to avoid these problems.” Thus, “Brazil in particular appears to be on a course which would make it a major player among the great powers by 2030, and Chile, Argentina and Peru and possibly Colombia will enjoy sustained growth if they continue their prudent economic policies.”
It emphasizes the major potential challenges at present are Cuba and Venezuela. It explained that the fall of the Castros will create the possibility of major changes in the policies of the island. The future of Venezuela is more difficult to read. The Chavez regime is redirecting substantial amounts of its oil revenue to promote the anti-American ‘Bolivian revolution’ and at the same time consolidating control of the power of the regime to distribute petroleum wealth to its sympathizers. By trying to do both things it is delaying investments in its petroleum infrastructure which could have serious repercussions for the future.
It warned that “unless the present regime changed its direction, it would be able to use its petroleum wealth to subvert its neighbors for an extended period while promoting anti-American activities on a global scale with nations like Iran, Russia and China creating as a consequence opportunities to foment anti-American in the zone.
The report considers that “a serious impediment to growth in Latin America is in the power of criminal gangs and drug cartels which corrupt, distort and hurt the potential of the region.
In the section discussing demographic changes in the world, the report points out that for the decade of 2030 the US population will grow to approximately 355 million. “This growth will result not only from births in American families, but also from the continuation of immigration, especially from Mexico and the Caribbean. By 2030, at least 15 percent of each state will be Hispanic in origin; some states will be more than 50%. The effects which may occur as Americans try to assimilate these new immigrants to the poltics and culture of the nation will play a central role in the perspectives of the country.
The report Joint Operations Environment 2008 or JOE was released this past December by the Joint Command of the US Armed Forces and its purpose is to describe the “future operational environment and its implications” for the conventional armed forces of the US. The report is for use by those in charge of making military and civilian decisions and to generate a broad dialogue over the nature of military threats and national security and possible military needs.
Effort to determine challenges.
The JOE report “is historically our informed effort with forecasts for the future to discover in the most precise manner the challengeswhich will confront us at the operational level of war, and to determine their inherent implications. We recognize that the future environment will not be exactly as we describe it. However, we are confident enough in the rigor of this report that it can serve to guide the development of concepts for the future,” writes General J.N. Mattis, Commander of the Joint Command, in the Introduction.
The command is one of the new commands of the Department of Defense. It is located in Norfolk, VA and has more than 1.16 million employees, civilian as well as military, from all branches of the armed forces.