Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mexico: A Failed State?

Today's Stratfor article on Mexico and its drug smuggling problems has some interesting ideas. I think the following makes a case for Mexico legalizing drugs in its southernmost states. Not in its northernmost states, thank you, America has enough problems resulting from the drug trade there.

Or else we should man up and start nuking or landmining the northern Mexican side.

"There are examples in American history as well. Chicago in the 1920s was overwhelmed by a similar process. Smuggling alcohol created huge pools of money on the U.S. side of the border, controlled by criminals both by definition (bootlegging was illegal) and by inclination (people who engage in one sort of illegality are prepared to be criminals, more broadly understood). The smuggling laws gave these criminals huge amounts of power, which they used to intimidate and effectively absorb the city government. Facing a choice between being killed or being enriched, city officials chose the latter. City government shifted from controlling the criminals to being an arm of criminal power. In the meantime, various criminal gangs competed with
each other for power.

"Chicago had a failed city government. The resources available to the Chicago gangs were limited, however, and it was not possible for them to carry out the same function in Washington. Ultimately, Washington deployed resources in Chicago and destroyed one of the main gangs. But if Al Capone had been able to carry out the same operation in Washington as he did in Chicago, the United States could have become a failed state."

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