Headline November 12 2019/ '' 'MEXICO'S -FAILED-STATE- MURMURS' ''



A PARODY OF POLICY has produced predictable results : 2019 is on course to become Mexico's most violent year in decades, with about 17,000 killings between January and June.

In sheer numbers, that's a figure that exceeds the civilian death toll in Iraq at the height of war in 2006.

In Mexico : Prisons are out of control Municipal authorities cower before the cartels. The ''impunity rate'' - that is, the likelihood that crimes will not be punished - is just shy of 99%.

MEXICO CITY : On a working visit here, I have dinner with one of the country's elder statesmen and listen to him describe its greatest challenges. He names three : ''Rule of Law. Rule of Law. And rule of law.''

The truth of the observation is under scored a few days later, when gunmen kill nine members of the LeBaron family along a back-country road in the northern state of Sonora.

The motive for the massacre is unclear, but its barbarity is not : three women and six children, including infant twins, shot at close range
and burned alive in their cars.

The episode has gained major attention in the U.S. largely because the LeBarons are part of longstanding American Mormon presence is northern Mexico. [George  Romney, the late Michigan Governor and Mitt's father was born in Mormon colony in Chihuahua in 1907, which he was forced to flee as a child during the Mexican Revolution].

But the reason the killings really matter is that they are yet another reminder that Mexico is on a fast track toward becoming a failed state.

For this, blame a combination of managerial incompetence and ideological inanity from Donald J Trump and his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

In 2015, I asked then-candidate Trump whether he feared that that his protectionist policies would hurt Mexico in ways that ultimately would hurt the United States as well.

His reply : ''I don't care about Mexico, honestly. I really don't care about Mexico.'' Since then, Trump has forced a dubious renegotiation of NAFTA , but has yet to get the new trade agreement ratified in Congress, causing business uncertainties that have brought the Mexican economy to the edge of recession.

It took the US administration more than a year to replace its ambassador, after the last one resigned in disgust. And Trump's insistence that Mexico militarize its southern border with Guatemala has drained its army of the manpower it needs to fight the drug cartels.

Last month, the northwestern city of Culiacan, Mexican security forces found themselves quickly outnumbered and outgunned when they tried to arrest the son of Joaquin ''EI Chapo'' Guzman, the jailed drug lord. The soldiers capitulated and the son was promptly freed.

If Trump's actions have been damaging, Lopez Obrador's have been disastrous.

His slogan in the face of cartel violence bullet is ''hugs, not bullets.'' His strategy has been to increase spending on social programs while urging gangsters to think of their mothers. He has claimed, preposterously, that crime is under control, and still insists he has no intention of rethinking his approach.

In the Culiacan fiasco, he praised the decision to release  EI Chapo's son while ordering the disclosure of the officer's name who had ordered the operation, endangering the man's life. Much of the army officer corps now openly reviles their commander in chief.

A parody of policy has produced a predictable result : 2019 is on course to become Mexico's most violent year in decades, with about 17,000 killings between January and June. In sheer numbers, that's a figure that exceeds the civilian death toll in Iraq at the height of war in 2006. 

So what could work? A conversation with former senior U.S. intelligence official suggests a bracing analogy.
''What has always been required is,'' the former official says, ''is to construct a comprehensive, integrated civil-military campaign, where 'military' includes all security services, similar to a counterinsurgency campaign such as the one pursued in the surge in Iraq.''

But hasn't that been tried before? Not quiet. Under president Felipe Calderon [2006-12], Mexico pursued a ''kingpin'' strategy of taking down cartel leaders. But decapitating strikes never work when your enemy is hydra.

Hus successor, Enrique Pena Nieto, believed that economic prosperity and political reform would be an antidote to criminality. But that turned out to be another mirage as growth lagged and corruption surged.

''When Mexican presidents have looked at this, it's such a daunting task,'' the former official notes. ''It's very manpower intensive, and it's just security forces to clear, hold, and build.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Operational Research on Mexico, continues. The World Students Society thanks author, Bret Stephens.

With respectful dedication to the People of Mexico, Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers, and then the world.

See Ya all on Facebook, prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter- !E-WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Fast Fury '''

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