–Why Pakistan and Afghanistan, but not Mexico?

Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
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This is not my area of expertise, but you may find it thought-provoking.

First the setup question: Why have U.S. soldiers been in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Presumably, the answer is to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda, who over the years, have killed many Americans and who represent a serious, ongoing threat to the American way of life. That seems like a reasonable use of an army, even when the action occurs in a putative ally.

Now the real question: Which has caused more American deaths and hardship, and been a bigger threat to the American way of life: The Talaban/alQaeda combination or the drug cartels of Mexico? The question came to mind when I saw a Washington Post article which said:

Today’s competitive crime mafias in Mexico are no longer satisfied with bazookas, rocket-propelled grenades or land mines. The Mexican military has discovered that gangsters south of Texas are building armored assault vehicles, with gun turrets, inch-thick armor plates, firing ports and bulletproof glass.
[ . . . ]
Last year authorities found an elaborate tunnel stretching more than 2,200 feet, complete with train tracks and ventilation, that was used to move marijuana between a house in the Mexican city of Tijuana and a warehouse in Otay Mesa, Calif.

On the high seas, maritime forces have intercepted dozens of “narco-submarines” hauling multi-ton loads of cocaine north. The semi-submersibles travel very low in the water to avoid detection.

With growing frequency, U.S. guards have spotted ultralight aircraft barnstorming over the border fences to drop 200-pound loads of pot in fields for waiting pickup trucks that flash their high beams or create a makeshift drop zone out of light sticks. According to U.S. officials, there have been more than 300 ultralight incursions into the United States in the past 18 months.

I say the Mexican drug cartels have caused far more damage to America, and are far more likely to continue doing damage well into the future. If true, why do we devote so much military effort to Afghanistan and Pakistan, all of whom are far across the ocean, while devoting virtually no military effort to Mexico, right on our border.

As in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Mexican government has shown very little inclination or ability to rid itself of America’s enemies, the drug cartels. Isn’t there even more reason to make the same deal with Mexico as we have with Afghanistan, and send in our bombers, our Predators and our troops?

According to the Journal of American Medical Association, in 2000, 17,000 deaths occurred as a result of illegal drug abuse. But death is only a small part of the story. Consider individual lives ruined, entire families ruined, entire neighborhoods ruined. The damage done by the Pakistan and Afghanistan wars, while horrendous, pales in comparison to the damage done by illegal drugs from Mexico.

What is different about the Mexican “disease” that makes it immune from a “vaccination” by the U.S.army? Mexico, is within easy range of our army, and stabilizing Mexico not only would reduce illegal drugs, but illegal immigration. Further, Mexico could become a much stronger trade partner, if its people and businesses were not subjugated by crime lords.

The current situation makes internal reform almost impossible. The government, the army and the drug cartels all work together. There is no institution with the power to stop them. Mexico will continue to decline until it is one vast illegal drug factory. There is no countervailing effort. Talk about WMDs, what is worse than illegal, habit-forming drugs?

So my question is: Why Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not Mexico? Don’t we have our priorities confused?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
http://www.rodgermitchell.com


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No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. It’s been 40 years since the U.S. became Monetary Sovereign, , and neither Congress, nor the President, nor the Fed, nor the vast majority of economists and economics bloggers, nor the preponderance of the media, nor the most famous educational institutions, nor the Nobel committee, nor the International Monetary Fund have yet acquired even the slightest notion of what that means.

Remember that the next time you’re tempted to ask a teenager, “What were you thinking?” He’s liable to respond, “Pretty much what your generation was thinking when it ruined my future.”

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

31 thoughts on “–Why Pakistan and Afghanistan, but not Mexico?

  1. SBINet was designed to help put a stop to this, But was cancelled because of “Budget” reasons by the democrats. I guess stopping nancy;s lawn care service was too much. DHS did have an operational system running after 5 years or so.

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  2. SBINet was a border control initiative, that fell prey to, among other things, (here it comes again) the anti-deficit budget hawks. However, I suspect even building a fence a mile high and a mile deep, would not do enough. The Mexican cartels need to be routed out, and Mexico returned to a nation of laws.

    While IMHO Pakistan and Afghanistan are hopeless, Mexico actually has some civilized history. That, and its proximity together with the damage being done by the cartels, would seem to make Mexico military priority #1, with Pakistan and Afghanistan far behind.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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  3. “SBINet was a border control initiative, that fell prey to, among other things, (here it comes again) the anti-deficit budget hawks. I worked on that project and your comment is simply wrong. You can’t blame every money decision on anti-deficit hawks. Big Sis stopped the project and gave the money to one of her donators to protect the Northern Border. Yea, all of SBINet money went north. Mexico is a socialist country that is dead as they come. It is gone and will never come back to life.

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    1. I said, “among other things.”

      When you say, “. . . gave the money. . . ” that implies a limited supply of money, i.e. debt-hawkism. As you know, a Monetarily Sovereign nation does not have a limited money supply.

      Mexico may be “dead” as you say, or at least dying, but socialism is not the cause of a nation’s death. Norway does rather nicely. Mexico has many problems, but to paraphrase your comment, “You can’t blame every problem on socialism.”

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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  4. Rodger,

    Mexico will become a viable nation when and only when the IMF, multi-national corporations and their enablers within it’s borders stop stripping the wealth of the nation and allow it to prosper. It’s a complicated situation and we do not need another illegal war or the associated violence. The citizens of Mexico also suffer because of AMERICAN drug use. Stick to economics, maybe.

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  5. Because they are Islamic countries – duh! Gotta fight the damn Muslims, ya know.

    We NEVER have our priorities confused, that’s why we’re in such great shape right now.

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  6. Rodger,

    1. Legalize Marijuana
    2. Concentrate on arrest and prosecution of major traffickers rather than users.
    3. Stop acting as an Imperialist Power and begin acting like people and their lives matter.
    4. Stop enabling the theft of the wealth of developing nations by multinationals.
    5. End so-called free trade agreements.

    A start? Maybe.

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  7. Charles:

    1. I tend to agree
    2. Are you talking about the major traffickers who happen to be the cartels in Mexico? If you only are talking about American traffickers, prohibition doesn’t work.
    3. Not specific. What has this to do with the drug problem?
    4. Not specific.
    5. Stop trading with Mexico as a solution to Mexico’s and America’s drug problems?? Huh??

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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    1. 2. Major traffickers both here and in Mexico but only when they cross into sovereign US territory.
      3. Our intervention into Mexico’s sovereign government is historically well documented. The results of which are also historically documented. If you have not made yourself aware of the historical FACTS then you have no ability to either question or comment.
      4. C’mon. Read your history. There are volumes written with regard to the destruction done to Mexico’s economic development by multinational corporations.
      5. No, now you are being silly, not stop trading. But, do so to the mutual benefit of both nations; or are you a supporter of agreements such as NAFTA? Again, if you are not fully aware of the results of such so-called trade agreements then you must read your history.

      I won’t write a book for your benefit here.

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    2. Finally, are you stating that it’s okay for major traffickers in this country to import and sell dope but not so for Mexican ones? Your comment is quite dubious. Sort of like being half pregnant??

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      1. I believe:

        1. It is impossible to enforce a domestic prohibition on drugs, and we would be better to legalize them,
        2. But, if we are not going to legalize them, we should assist the Mexican government in routing out the drug cartels, as this would do more for American security than fighting the Taliban.

        Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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  8. Forget fighting abroad, America should redouble efforts to win its war on the middle and lower class at home.

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  9. I think both the hawks and the non-interventionists have a point in this debate. On the one hand, Mexico is sliding rapidly into failed state status, and seems unable or unwilling to reestablish the rule of the law. The presence of the US military could make their government both more able and willing. On the other hand, the economics of the situation tend to favor the drug cartels: they have a monopoly on a number of highly sought after products, due to these products being illegal in the United States. The legalization of marijuana and the decriminalization of harder drugs would severely cripple these organizations’ ability to wage war against the rule of law in Mexico.

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  10. Yes, there is an argument that could be made for decriminalization of all currently illegal drugs. I’d go a step further and regulate/tax them — even allow domestic production — ala alcohol and cigarettes, both of which I suspect kill more people than illegal drugs. Clearly, the war on drugs doesn’t work.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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    1. Mr. Mitchell,

      Agreed. Just like gold standard thinking in a Monetarily Sovereign system, we still have Prohibition-era thinking in a time when we have facts that refute it.

      Nathan Goss

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  11. Mr. Mitchell,

    I’d say the comparison you’re presenting (drugs vs. religious fundamentalism) isn’t accurate. Drugs are a personal choice and many would argue that non-military action (i.e. legalization) can solve the problem.

    However, you do (maybe inadvertently?) allude to an altogether new point; one we discussed earlier on your blog: religious fundamentalism. The fact is: Our misguided drug laws were largely put in place by, and are largely supported by, the Christian community solely for “religious” reasons (although I must say that I never saw marijuana mentioned in the Bible). Even though Christian fundamentalism is nowhere near as dangerous as Islamic fundamentalism at the moment, it’s obviously still something that needs to be addressed. After all, creationism is still being pushed on/in our schools.

    Overall, I think the government isn’t doing too bad in theory (i.e. treating Islamic fundamentalism as a more serious issue than Christian fundamentalism at the moment), although it’s doing horrible in practice on all fronts (our wars in/on Iraq, Afghanistan, and drugs are being waged well below par). I understand the saying that “no plan, no matter how well laid out, ever survives first contact with the enemy,” but there’s a difference between “hitting a few snags” and the amount of ineptness we’ve seen in these wars.

    What do you think? I hope you don’t feel I’m beating the “religious” dead horse too much.

    Best,

    Nathan Goss

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      1. Rodger,

        You are assuming that the “PTB” want the drug trade to stop. I believe that this is quite incorrect. If you look at Afghanistan, the Taliban had totally stopped the cultivation and sale of opium. Within two years of the US entering Afghanistan, the acreage under poppy cultivation was at record levels! Please do read the links that I had given in my previous post. They are quite eye opening.

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      2. Mr. Mitchell,

        Yea, I knew the main point wasn’t “religious,” I was just trying to point out a different angle.

        To answer the question, I’d say just refer to the first paragraph of my previous post.

        Best,

        Nathan Goss

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  12. That’s because you can’t justify such a reason for invasion to the international community. By the same token, Russia should take over most of Central Asian states, including Afghanistan, as they are the originators of opium and heroin trade that spreads all across Europe. Where do we stop then? Why not then invade countries because we they are heavy polluters and affect the quality of our air => people?

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    1. Mark,

      We would do it with the permission of, and in coordination with, the Mexican government — as with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Again the question: Why those two nations, but not Mexico, which is closer and contains a greater threat to our lives?

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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  13. Clonal

    Portland Trail Blazers? Physical Trade Balance? Oh, powers that be??

    I’m not sure the Taliban is a model for the Mexican drug cartels. We’ve done little if anything to stop the drug trade in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We’ve been focused on the Taliban as a military enemy.

    My original question was, “Why Pakistan and Afghanistan, but not Mexico?” The question requires drawing a comparison that shows why our interests are better served, and American lives better protected, by fighting abroad than by fighting here. In short, the question requires an answer that goes something like this:

    “Pakistan and Afghanastan are more ________________, while Mexico is more _____________________.”

    Although the Mexican government is in bed with the cartel (as in Pakistan), why is it better to fight there than to fight here?

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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    1. Mr. Mitchell,

      How’s this:

      “(The problem in) Pakistan and Afghanistan (is) more (related to something that is not a personal choice), while (the problem in) Mexico is more (related to personal choice).”

      As far as what this comparison shows with regards to our interests and security, I think it’s a false choice. Why not do both (correctly, and not the way we’re currently going about it)? However, if I had to take a stab at it, I’d say that we can get to the root of the drug problem without military force (i.e. change our laws). However, the root of religious fundamentalism is harder to get to. We can’t just change a religion.

      Best,

      Nathan Goss

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  14. WaMu was given a mild slap on the wrist for laundering drug cartel money. The people who benefit from the drug trade are sitting at the top of the power pyramid in the US. They do not want the drug trade to stop. They do not want legalization, as that makes the drug trade unprofitable. See A Real World Example: NYSE’s Richard Grasso and the Ultimate New Business “Cold Call”

    The Taliban all but eliminated opium poppy cultivation across the Afghan territory under its control in 2000 and 2001 — US invaded in 2001. By 2003 Opium was being cultivated in amounts similar to before the Taliban crackdown. Today Afghanistan is producing about 9000 to 10000 tonnes of opium — double the annual global consumption. If the US was concerned about controlling drugs, there would be nothing coming out of Afghanistan. See Opium production in Afghanistan

    Mexico is not invaded because drug cultivation and the consequent drug use in the US and Europe benefits American elites. Afghanistan has the Taliban that ended the cultivation of opium, and continues to want to do so. And that is not in the interest of the American power elites.

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    1. Name names.

      Specifically, who are the power elites who “benefit from the drug trade”? Are you saying President Obama benefits from the drug trade? John Boehner? Nancy Pelosi? Or perhaps Bill Gates? Warren Buffett? Larry Ellison? Cardinal George? FBI Director Mueller?

      As you probably have learned from reading this blog, I prefer facts to popular opinion and rumor, when strong claims are made.

      Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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  15. Oh oh, it’s Mena, rearing its ugly head again. Iran/Contra wasn’t about drugs, which were incidental to the whole sordid affair. It was a typical Presidential end run around Congress. I don’t think you can say Iran/Contra is evidence the “power elites benefit from the drug trade.” That’s adding 1 + 1 and getting 1,000.

    As for the banks benefiting, I’m sure you’re correct. You could as well say banks are in favor of all crime, because they benefit whenever any criminal deposits money. I’d guess the banks loved Bernie Madoff.

    I don’t hope to dissuade you from your belief that “power elites” favor the drug trade, because I’ve learned years ago that conspiracy theorists see only one color in a 2-color photograph.

    At any rate, I guess your answer to the question posed in the post would be, “The power elites want the drug trade to continue.” Fair enough.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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    1. Mr. Mitchell,

      You know what I’ve found funny lately? The positive correlation between conspiracy theorists, gold standard advocates, and Tea Partiers. Ron Paul and Peter Schiff brought them out of the woodwork.

      Nathan Goss

      Like

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