This is a source for analysis, interviews, and commentary on security in Latin America. Herein you will find rumors, the results of off the record interviews, and information you'll not find in international or United States news media.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Get off the Fence
The Dallas Morning News reported this morning that we may see an “enhanced role” for the United States in Mexico. True, the drug trade in Mexico is out of control, but I have to agree with those who are cautious about any "enhancement", or joint operations.
This is Mexico’s fight first, and while the US must support its southern neighbor, that support should come by way of what the US can do inside its own borders, first.
That aside, the DMN article reminded me of a presentation I gave in November 2008 at a government intelligence agency base in Texas. The presentation was on the presence of Mexican drug trafficking organizations in the Americas, outside of Mexico.
During my 6-hour stay with government intelligence employees, the one resounding comment I heard was, “we need to get off the fence.”
The US needs to decide, from an intelligence-gathering point of view, whether or not Mexico will be seen as a friend or an enemy. That fundamental distinction will set the tone for all decisions for “enhanced roles” down the road. And as far as I can tell, that decision has not yet been made.
Now, back to the presentation: the slide that got the most attention was a map of the United States, I borrowed from the Los Angels Times (see below).
Apart from the problems with drug demand and gun trafficking from the US into Mexico, we need to focus on eradicating - or at least complicating - the down stream operations of Mexican organized crime inside the US.
The laundry list of what the US government can do inside our own country is long enough not to continue worrying about the supply side. Sure, share intelligence, but let the Mexicans fight their own battle. We have enough to do at home.