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  • Vice President Biden: Right and Wrong on Mexico and Central America

    This week, the White House dispatched its peripatetic Vice President Joe Biden south to Mexico and Honduras. Biden rightly sees criminal violence and insecurity as the gravest security threat in the region, but he was too quick to dismiss the potential threat posed by Iran.

    “People talk about Hezbollah. They talk about Iranian support for weapons and the rest. I guarantee you, Iran will not be able to pose a hemispheric threat to the United States,” he said. This appears to contradict what Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James R. Clapper warned on January 31:

    (The) 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. shows that some Iranian officials—probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei—have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the U.S. in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.

    Using Mexico or Latin America as a staging area, therefore, cannot be ruled out.

    Iran notwithstanding, Biden’s primary mission was to reassure Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon that the U.S. isn’t losing sight of Mexico’s difficult economic and security challenges and values its relationship. He also met with the three candidates for the Mexican presidency in the July 1 election. It appears Biden did not address continued fallout from the gun-walking scandal, Operation Fast and Furious, that sent firearms south to Mexican gangsters.

    Looming large on the agenda was a recent push by several leaders in the region to discuss “market alternatives” or drug legalization as a way of reducing the profits of criminal organizations. Biden rightly rejected the idea, although his manner of responding was perhaps confusing. “I think it warrants a discussion. It is totally legitimate,” responded Biden. “And the reason it warrants a discussion is, on examination you realize there are more problems with legalization than with nonlegalization.”

    As for an effective drug-fighting strategy, Biden observed: “We did such a good job in shutting down the Caribbean and [with] Plan Colombia that it was like squeezing a water balloon. It came up through Central America and up throughMexico.” His analysis is correct, but the problem with the over-used balloon effect metaphor is the stark fact that U.S. drug consumption keeps filling the balloon with an estimated $35 billion of U.S. cash. On domestic consumption and demand reduction, Biden offered nothing new.

    In Honduras, an epicenter for criminal violence with the highest homicide rate in the world, Biden reported that the U.S. has provided about $361 million in anti-crime aid under the Central America Regional Security Initiative, which leaders fear is insufficient given the gravity of the threat. Biden promised that the Administration would seek a little more funding. Yet, doubts about the Administration’s commitment to the drug fight are fueled by its latest budget request, which includes a 16 percent reduction in counter-narcotics assistance to Latin America—including a 60 percent drop in aid to Guatemala—reducing U.S. ability to build capacity and much-needed support for institutional reforms.

    After two days of whirlwind meetings that left many questions unanswered, Biden hurried back home for a fundraiser in Florida.

    Like other troublesome threats and miscues—Iran, the Keystone Pipeline decision, Syria—President Obama definitely wants a preemptive strategy to keep the issue of drug policy or the threats of drug-fueled disorder in Mexico and Central America off the electorate’s mind in November.

    Vice President Biden’s trip into the region is a reminder that while the Administration has not entirely abandoned our neighbors to the South, it still hopes to fight a raging wildfire with a leaky garden hose and a President who wants to remain above the fray.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Vice President Biden: Right and Wrong on Mexico and Central America

    1. Alexander says:

      "throughMexico." spelling error here

    2. BlackAvenger says:

      The lunacy and corruption of our looniebin regime peeks out from under its blanket of slime once again.

    3. Lisa says:

      The Drug War is a farce and joke and the reason there is so much violence in the area is BECAUSE of the "War on Drugs". The Shadows love Drug Money and that is why they don't want to share and why they want to make perpetual War on the People of Earth. WAKE UP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE, these Wars are about filthy MONEY. Our soldiers are dying and being maimed for stinking MONEY. They have to try and keep us afraid so we will go along but the real threat against the American people is not in some foreign land. It is at our Gate. Ron Paul 2012 Wake Up Wake Up

    4. Carol,AZ says:

      Thanks Ray :
      DNI, James Clapper's quote, strengthen what thousands of us living in the border state have feared for three a half years. under this failed leadership..
      The greatest unchecked treat to America IS right here in N. America.:
      Hezbollah, in Mexico and throughout S. America is as dangerous to the USA, as Cuba was, during the Cuban missile crisis.
      Mexico continues to be used as a staging area, per ex.above, and weapons found in any battle field conflict (IED's,) in the related post. We know here, of numberous thwarted attempts, unpublished .
      The main point of view in :"Act of Valor", is factual. It clealy centers on the conduit of terrorism that connect right to the back door to America.
      Every American must question "why, "Hollywood is boycotting this movie.
      Every American that cares for our security must go and see it, and decide for themselves if , they feel safe.

    5. Slick says:

      "I guarantee you?" You must be kidding!!! Since when are we going to take Boo-Boo Joe's word for how safe our country is????? Did anyone ask HOW many security went with Biden? Did he go down and actually stand on our Southern Border where the real traffic is? Did he meet with local officials to find out what is really needed? Or did he just do a photo-op, fly over the area, then land for a press release on his way back to Washington?

      There is a REASON why the recent administration(s) have not decisively and completely closed the border. And just to be very VERY clear: this is not just about this administration; it includes GW Bush, Bill Clinton, GHW Bush, and on down the line!

      Instead of seeing where the drugs are coming from, perhaps we should be actually tracking where they are going and how high up in the "food chain" the profits from this dirty business goes!!! Perhaps there is a lucrative reason Washington doesn't want to solve this problem . . . I'm just saying we have a whole lot of people there who seem to have a pretty fat wallet, limited exposure for personal contribution to the private sector and a lonnnnnnnnnng history in national politics! You know the old saying, "Where there is smoke, there is fire!"

      • Carol,AZ says:

        Slick- Yes Joe's one of them, bought and paid for…
        No ones kidding…Some the drug lords live on estates here in the USA..
        Reminds me of the "big surprise," finding Bin Linden in PK living without fear for six years under PK's protection
        The $$$ is too great for the kick down under Bo, Bo regine.to be completed ( for now).
        I always read your posts. Keep the faith.

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