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  • Mexico Drug Threat Divides Obama Administration & Weakens Policy

    After a major foreign policy speech, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked to comment on the drug violence in Mexico. She answered quite frankly:

    We face an increasing threat from a well-organized network drug trafficking threat that is, in some cases, morphing into or making common cause with what we would consider an insurgency in Mexico and in Central America.

    The Mexican government quickly challenged the statement. The Secretary’s top diplomat for Latin America, Arturo Valenzuela, also questioned the correctness of the Secretary’s views. He asserted that Mexico in 2010 is quite unlike Colombia in the 1990s since there are no “armed group aiming to seize political power.” Valenzuela viewed the Mexican cartels as violent and dangerous but essentially lacking the political clout and ideological purpose that characterized the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the late 1990s. Yet, Valenzuela failed to mention how FARC evolved from a political insurgency to a narco-terrorist organization that survives on the cocaine trade.

    Spiraling violence, assaults on political authority, military-like firefights: these all seem to validate Secretary Clinton’s concerns. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual, for example, noted in an important speech that:

    Cartel-driven violence has moved … to Mexico’s business capital, Monterrey… The security environment in Monterrey has turned, in just months, from seeming benevolence to extreme violence… The total number of cartel-related executions for 2010 has already exceeded the combined total for the previous 12 years. [U.S. schoolchildren in Monterrey have been sent back to the U.S. as they were in Colombia in the 1980s.]

    Yet the current U.S. military definition of insurgency tends to support Valenzuela’s views.

    An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict…Political power is the central issue in an insurgency, and each side has this as its aim.

    Even the White House jumped into this increasingly confusing debate. President Obama told Spanish language La Opinion, “you can’t compare what is happening in Mexico with what happened in Colombia,” seeking to calm fears raised by Secretary Clinton.

    Thus it appears that the widespread, terroristic violence of Mexican cartels falls short of an insurgency because it lacks a well-defined political program and does not formally control territory, a technical point certainly lost on millions of Mexicans living in the shadows of fear and outright terror.

    In addition to demonstrating a lack of coordination, the Mexico-Colombia debate highlights a rift in management philosophies at the State Department and White House.  Many officials prefer to play down the security/insurgency challenge in Mexico and still want to shift policy away from the “failed war on drugs.”   They do not want another Plan Colombia and prefer softer assistance approaches aimed at institution-building, anti-corruption measures, legal reform, and human rights training rather than applications of hard power or grants to purchase of police and military hardware.  They seek to demilitarize and de-narcotize U.S. policy and see the emphasis on drugs, violence, and insurgency as upsetting the sensitivities of our southern neighbors and hampering a diplomacy of friendly gestures.

    Despite the unresolved insurgency debate, the bottom line remains worrisome.  The situation in Mexico is supremely troubling and constitutes a national security threat.  Design, funding, programs and delivery of counter-drug assistance for Mexico and the region as a whole is fiercely debated within the Administration and Congress.  Metrics for success in the drug fight are limited.  Many fear the project is failing.  Spending for demand and supply reduction is flat-lined at $15 billion.  Yet, shrinking the danger is good politics for the White House.

    With his leadership on matters relating to Latin America and the drug issue still as yet unproven, President Obama generally steers clear of contentious hemispheric issues.  Yesterday, however, he challenged the views of his Secretary of State.  While the Administration is uncomfortable with some of the flawed assumptions and aspects of its policy toward Mexico, it does not want Mexico’s drug violence let alone an “insurgency problem” to become a distracting issue in November.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Mexico Drug Threat Divides Obama Administration & Weakens Policy

    1. nobama, MA says:

      It is about time to inform the public of what's going on in Mexico, particularly in the border states as the state of Nuevo Leon. In a matter of weeks, Monterrey, the industrial capital of Mexico, has been under attack by the drug cartel to a point that world business people are thinking twice before travelling to Monterrey. Kids of US business executives are returning home. No less than 28,000 people have been killed by the cartel in Mexico during the last 4 years… Mrs. Hillary Clinton is right "we face an increasing threat from a well-organized network drug trafficking". It is about time to acknowledge it. Meanwhile the Obama Administration is suing the State of Arizona and Sheriff Joe Arpaio…

      The border is in most parts controlled by the cartel (72 people were mass murdered in Tamaulipas two weeks ago) … To secure the border (drug & weapons) is a must step to take. Suing the State of Arizona and Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the wrong step to take.

    2. Billie says:

      The American president refuses to hold the Mexican government cartel accountable?

    3. malcolm kyle, New Yo says:

      Mexico's civil war is a product of our failed policy of drug prohibition.

      The illegal drug trade is now estimated to be somewhere in the region of $400 billion a year ( equal to the defense budget ). This "former land of the free" arrests 1.5 million of it's citizens a year for drug law violations, half for marijuana alone, The majority of the 2.2 million inmates in the USA are incarcerated because of this insane drug war (Prohibition 2) at a staggering cost to all taxpayers and trauma to their families.

      Prisons have been filled to capacity. Violent criminals, murderers, rapists and child molesters are released early to create space for these so called drug offenders. Half of court trial time and also a huge chunk of police officers time is pointlessly wasted. Enormous untaxed profits from illegal drugs fund multi-national criminal empires which bribe law enforcement authorities and spread corruption faster than a raging bush fire. These laws take violent criminals and turn them into multi-billionaires whilst corrupting even entire countries such as Columbia, Panama, Mexico and Afghanistan. The extreme violence on and south of the border is drug gangs fighting for turf in this lucrative business. The drug laws are also funding the Taliban whose illegal opium profits allow it to buy weapons and pay it's fighters more than $300 a month, compared with the $14 paid to an Afghan policemen.

      The definition of insanity is great folly, madness, extreme senselessness, lunacy. The present drug laws cause all of the above and may therefor be deemed insane.

      There will be many of you who probably fear a theoretical free-for-all, but that overlooks one major point: That's exactly the situation we have at the moment. Sure, there are laws against the possession and sale of these drugs, but they have no impact on actually restricting either one. When we allow such drugs to remain in the criminal market, they finance the activities of street punks, violent gangs, drug lords and terrorists. That's why there is now such an urgent need to legalize, which will not only allow us to properly regulate these substances, but also strip the illegal cartels of their main income.

      So please consider the following very carefully : It wasn't the alcohol that caused the surge in crime and homicide during alcohol prohibition, it was prohibition itself. That's why many of us find it hard to believe that the same thing is not happening now. We clearly have a prohibition fueled violent crime problem. A huge number of these violent crimes are perpetrated by criminal syndicates and gangs who use the proceeds form the sales of illegal substances to further even more of their criminal activities.

      Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare. We have to regulate and we have to do it now!

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    6. Ray Davenport Portla says:

      The idea that making drugs legal by comparing it to probition is false. Probition wasn't an international problem, drugs are.Even Californians ballot measure doesn't legalize all drugs. The worldwide distribution system is simply to large for the U.S.to handle alone.The drug highways are already paved.Infrastructures are there.With illegal drugs coming from all directions the violence may be greater not less.

    7. Dennis Georgia says:

      We just need to talk with them to get this problem solved. That is all obama is capable of, talk and more talk. The words he utters are hot air, he has no guts to enforce anything when it comes to the border with Mexico. His lack of enforcement for the illegals is a prime example. I would venture to guess when the drug-cartells come into an American city on the border with mass excutions, he will still deny the problem and call them misguided citizens of Mexico. Talk is all he knows, and it is useless.

    8. Carol, AZ says:

      The above comments are certaily the most detailed and perceptive from other Americans/ and it has given me hope.

      Sec.of State, Clinton has sent a variety of mixed messages and marches in goose step with all agencies sworn to protect our borders/ who have created a nightmare by doing nothing/ or too little too late/ on all aspect of this pervasive issue.

      It is insane to think that our counrty has purposely NOT SECURED OUR BORDERS..

      With regards to Columbia;

      It was my understanding that Columbia asked for America's help to interdict/ along with their own para military operations and police task-force /to defeat the growing violence by the Drug Cartels control in their backyard.

      Sec.Clinton has come out front and center to trash AZ and our attempt to help fight the violence here/ and on all Border States where the spill over /due to a full blown NARCO WAR of terror continues.

      Sec Clinton took this backlash one step further and held us up to the UN /as an example of racial profilers and the sinner of human rights/ in front of the rest of the world.

      Clearly, one of the worse abuses of her power and clealy a screaming example of the twisted policy/ over this issue/ how deep the duplicity goes straight tot he White House.

      It has eroded all decison making policy by all agencies involved/ to protect America's borders.

      The message heard from across the border is / we are untouchable/ and fully supported by numerous acts from: Senoir Morton, (ICE), HLS (J, N.), Att. General, Senor Holder,

      and Senor Obama..

      AZ has parts of our State, also Federal Preserve land/ under direct control of MX Drug Cartels moving their loads.

      HLS, told us to post "danger signs". We have.

      THousands of arces that run from MX through-out various State Perserve lands are not off limits /to all recreational usage by Americans and under the Cartel control.

      All issues mentioned above my post/ and in contrast recently released by our Gov't / " illegal border crossers are way down,"

      is Yellow Journalism in the purest form /to soften up the problem/ to the rest of America.

      As stated above this post , the violence has risen .

      Have you ever asked yourselves where you are/ why AZ has been targeted?

      Do you ever hear about these issues from New MX, or CA? You only hear facts from TX and AZ.

      What you must decide in NOV when you vote/ do you want all of America to look like all Border States?

      This is not going ot go away.

      The deep pockets in the millions in dollars flowing on both side of the Border /is one of the primary dirty secret you/ there/ have not been informed about.

      Banking forenstics /disclosure/ where million in dirty money/ laundered 24/7/ through the USA banking system here is JUST another large dirty secrets kept silent over this issue.

      Vote in NOV for all candidates that will support Fed Law(s) and will support America's Borders.

      Terrorism is a word we understand in AZ., we have never been wrong about this issue and we also continue to need help here..

      For the 28 State that have passed laws for States Rights and also support AZ, we thank you.

      Please continue to support us. The tipping point for our great nation will be in NOV.

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