It is so unlikely that we will ever see a dramatic halt to the violence and bloodshed in Northern Mexico that it will likely come to be seen as a Darfur-like situation; a conflict of closer geographical proximity yet remaining to be just as untenable. Here's why:
Reason #1: Negative Entrenchment.
US and Mexican government agencies, both local and federal and namely the police, DEA, and various versions of Mexican armed forces rely heavily on funding provided to stop the drug war. Simply put, people are employed on both sides of the border to stop everything from drug sales to drug transport to gun battles. And the last thing we're going to do is make a drastic move to end the problem in Juarez, which would essentially cut jobs in the US or Mexico.
Reason #2: We Don't Care About Mexico.
Safe Darfur is one of many fantastic organizations fueled by the media attention the African conflict brought on. Hotel Rwanda is a great movie that tells a great story of undeniable heroism. Helping Africa is an extremely worthy and marketable cause. Helping Mexico, on the other hand, while extremely worthy, isn't marketable. At all. It lacks the angry push of a large American demographic, the sexiness of a Che Guevara over-throw, the oil or strategic location of Iraq or Afghanistan, the proximity to Russia and denouncement by a peaceful, recently ousted Asian religious icon. Mexico, despite its friendliness and friendly people, is no Tibet. We, the general population of America, see it as a dump where illegal immigrants come from. Whether or not you agree with the building of the large wall on our border, you see the wall and you know the wall is there - we are pushing Mexico away, turning a blind eye, and our timing couldn't be worse.
Reason #3: We're Fighting the Wrong War
Need I elaborate on the uselessness of a war on drugs? Let me rephrase that: need I elaborate on the fact that there is no war on drugs ? America is the largest consumer of drugs in the world and, as new Juarez Mayor Hector Murguia explained so well this past weekend, Mexico's borderland has zero opportunity...except to get into the drug game. Take a minute and fast forward to 2:45 in this YouTube video for the most concise explanation of the violence - easy money. Add on top of that the membership young people seek and find in Juarez cartels.
If the cartels are a boxer, we're stepping into its ring with the same gloves on, looking to fight the way it wants to fight. We throw the FBI in the ring, the CIA, and claims from Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in the Spring of 2010 that we're behind Calderon's fight. No, we're not. Sorry to disappoint you all, but we're just pretending to help. The cartels have us on the ropes, yet we claim to be a nation promoting freedom and democracy while the cartels are laughing all the way to the bank. We protect the little guys out there, right? Like Georgia in the case of Russia, like Taiwan in the case of China, right? Well guess who the big bad guy is in Mexico's case? Us. And we'll never fight ourselves by changing our ways. We're too cocky.
We're not creative or brave enough to invest in the building of social capital in Juarez. Any politician who even proposed that idea would lose voters, and that can't happen in such a tumultuous political environment. For now, it's up to the NGOs and brave Juarez citizens, many of whom I have met during my last four trips to the border city, to try and make change. And you know what? They could really use some help.
But we won't realize that until 30,000 more people die. But there won't be a movie made about it; we'll just build a wall and hope it all stays over there.
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