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banyon 10-22-2019 03:47 PM

Is Mexico Collapsing?
 
On Mexican State Collapse: a Guest Post by El Anti-Pozolero
Oct 20

Now to business. To Mexico. I think the questions raised by El Anti-Pozolero, below, might require more urgent attention than we seem to be able to muster these days. I cannot say whether he’s right: I haven’t set foot in Mexico in more than twenty years. But worthy of our thought? It sure looks that way from the news.

You may have read the news just a few days back: the Mexican military captured not one but two of El Chapo’s sons in the heart of Culiacán, the Sinaloan capital. One son freed himself—which is to say his entourage and retainers at hand overpowered and killed the soldiers at hand—and then, in a decisive riposte, seized the entire city center of Culiacán to compel the liberation of his brother.

The forces that emerged were in the literal sense awesome and awful. Heavy weaponry that would be familiar on any Iraqi, Syrian, or Yemeni battlefield was brought to bear. More and worse: custom-built armored vehicles, designed and built to make a Sahel-warfare technical look like an amateur’s weekend kit job, were rolled out for their combat debut. Most critically, all this hardware was manned by men with qualities the Mexican Army largely lacks: training, tactical proficiency, and motivation.

Then the coup de grace: as the Chapo sons’ forces engaged in direct combat with their own national military, kill squads went into action across Culiacán, slaughtering the families of soldiers engaged in the streets.

Cowed and overmatched—most crucially in the moral arena—the hapless band of soldiers still holding the second son finally received word from Mexico City, direct from President AMLO himself: surrender. Surrender and release the prisoner.

It’s an absolutely extraordinary episode even by the grim and bizarre annals of what we mistakenly call the post-2006 Mexican Drug War. The Battle of Culiacán stands on a level above, say, the Ayotzinapa massacre, or the Zetas’ expulsion of the entire population of Ciudad Mier. Killing scores of innocents and brutalizing small towns is one thing: seizing regional capital cities and crushing the national armed forces in open fighting in broad daylight is something else.

“Drug War” is a misnomer for reasons the Culiacán battle lays bare. This is not a mafia-type problem, nor one comprehensible within the framework of law enforcement and crime. This is something very much like an insurgency now—think of the eruption of armed resistance in Culiacán in 2019 as something like that in Sadr City in 2004—and also something completely like state collapse. The cartels may be the proximate drivers but they are symptoms. Underlying them is a miasma of official corruption, popular alienation, and localist resentments—and underlying all that is a low-trust civil society stripped of the mediating mechanisms that make peaceable democracy both feasible and attractive.

Note as an aside that the cartels are not even necessarily drug-trafficking-specific entities. There have been ferocious and bloody cartel battles—against one another, against the state—for control of economic interests ranging from port operations to the avocado crop to lime exports. Illegal drugs supercharge their resources and ambitions, but absent them and that illegality they would simply assume another form.

I want to pause here and be explicit: none of this is an argument that Mexicans are incapable of liberality and democracy. The millions of Mexicans in the United States illustrate the contrary quite well, and localist democratic structures in Mexico proper are often of the sort that would make a communitarian conservative’s heart swell with pride. What is argued here is that Culiacán illuminates that the Mexican state as constituted is incompetent to that end.

Simply put, we can understand the past two centuries of Mexican history as a cyclic alternation between chaotic liberality and pluralism on the one hand, and orderly (if corrupt) autocracy on the other. The orderly and corrupt Porfiriato was followed by the horrors of civil war unleashed by Madero, followed in turn by the “perfect dictatorship” of the PRI, followed in turn by this century’s emergence of true Mexican multiparty democracy—and therefore the disintegration of the state we see now.

This is important because Americans have not had to think seriously about this for nearly a century: there is a place on the map marked Mexico, but much of it is governed by something other than the Mexican state. That’s been true for years.

The Battle of Culiacán, government surrender and all, made it open and explicit.

What happens now, barring an exceedingly unlikely discovery of spine and competence by the government in Mexico City, is more and worse. The country is on a trajectory toward warlordism reminiscent of, say, 1930s China or its own 1910s. Some of those warlords will be the cartels. Some of them will be virtuous local forces genuinely on the side of order and justice—for example the autodefensa citizen militias of Michoacán. Some of them will be the official state, grasping for what it can. Some of them, given sufficient time, will be autonomous or even secessionist movements: look to Chiapas, Morelia, et al., for that.

The lines between all these groups will be hazy and easily crossed. None will be mutually exclusive from the others.

It is tragic and a pity, because Mexico has in fact mastered the forms if not the substance of democratic civics. It is a shame because much of the Mexican diaspora in the United States is transmitting back home ideas of natural rights and a virtuous armed citizenry—right at the moment we ourselves have stopped believing in those things. (This has been a significant driver of the autodefensa phenomenon.) It is a loss because, depending on how you measure it, México just this decade tipped into a majority middle-class society for the first time in its history. In regions like the Bajío, advanced manufacturing is taking root and a class of engineers is slowly changing the old ways.

Nevertheless as any student of history will tell you, revolution happens not when things are bad, but when expectations are frustrated.

So what does all this mean for the United States? A century of relative peace along our southern border has left us complacent. We haven’t seriously thought about what it might mean if a nation of one hundred twenty million people with thousands of miles of land and coastal access to the United States went into collapse. We still tell ourselves a series of falsehoods about Mexico: that the immigration problem is about immigration, that the crime problem is about crime, that the Mexican state is the solution and not the problem, that they can handle their own affairs, that light-armor forces can overrun Culiacán and it isn’t our problem.

From Culiacán, Sinaloa, to Nogales, Arizona, is one day’s drive.

We know how we handled it last time México evaporated as a cohesive state, in 1910-1920. By late spring 1916, cross-border raiding got so bad that we mobilized the entire National Guard and called for volunteers. Most people remember the punitive expedition against the Villistas. Less remembered are the raids and counter-raids at places like San Ygnacio, Texas—and still less remembered is the time the United States Army was compelled to attack and occupy Mexican Nogales in 1918, and Ciudad Juárez in 1919.

You may rightly ask whether we are capable of the same policy now—and if we are, whether we are competent to execute it.

Mexico is not an enemy state, and the Mexicans are not an enemy people. Yet as Mexico falls apart, we need to ask ourselves questions normally reserved for objectively hostile nations. There is a war underway. It won’t stop at the border.

It’s time to look south, and think.

— El Anti-Pozolero is a pseudonym.

https://claireberlinski.substack.com...llapse-a-guest

banyon 10-22-2019 03:49 PM

I remember I used to have arguments on this site where a fairly left leaning poster (can't remember the name) and I would argue about whether Mexico was a third world country at this point or not.

But prior to reading this, I had no idea of the epic scale of defeat here of the Mexican army. For a national government to capitulate and give up one of its most feared narco-terrorists? That's sheer desperation.

This got very little coverage here with the Trump 24/7 coverage. I remember some jumbly hand held video being shown where someone is running with gunshots fired, but it gave you no idea of what was actually happening.

Detoxing 10-22-2019 04:03 PM

Just to add context here, Sinaloa is essentially a state ran by El Chapo's cartel. Their economy is completely supported by drug lords. These drug lords build community centers there, schools, churches etc and employ large swaths of Sinaloa's residence. And as such, a large segment of their population supports El Chapo more than they do the government.

So to imprison El Chapo's sons in Sinaloa is just mind bottling. They basically run that state.

Next, i've noticed that a lot of Mexicans have glorified Narco Culture. Being around Mexicans a lot, it's something i've picked up on and taunt them for. IMO, Narcos have become part of Mexico's identity, and there seems to be a healthy amount that have just become apathetic about it and even entertained by it.

banyon 10-22-2019 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Detoxing (Post 14545581)
Just to add context here, Sinaloa is essentially a state ran by El Chapo's cartel. Their economy is completely supported by drug lords. These drug lords build community centers there, schools, churches etc and employ large swaths of Sinaloa's residence. And as such, a large segment of their population supports El Chapo more than they do the government.

So to imprison El Chapo's sons in Sinaloa is just mind bottling. They basically run that state.

Next, i've noticed that a lot of Mexicans have glorified Narco Culture. Being around Mexicans a lot, it's something i've picked up on and taunt them for. IMO, Narcos have become part of Mexico's identity, and there seems to be a healthy amount that have just become apathetic about it and even entertained by it.

Yeah. I actually had a trial one time where we called an expert about the fake Narco-Saint shrines that are built. It's a whole culture.

But it is pretty ridiculous objectively.

BlackHelicopters 10-22-2019 04:10 PM

Ever been to Mexico? It collapsed several centuries ago.

Halfcan 10-22-2019 04:12 PM

I wanted to go to Mexico for a vacation and see the Pyramids- that trip is canceled now. Travel down there is too dangerous.

Just Passin' By 10-22-2019 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackHelicopters (Post 14545596)
Ever been to Mexico? It collapsed several centuries ago.

:hmmm:

Maybe we should ship all the U.S. "latinos" to Mexico, so that they could fix that country and turn it into a powerhouse.

Prison Bitch 10-22-2019 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Passin' By (Post 14545601)
:hmmm:

Maybe we should ship all the U.S. "latinos" to Mexico, so that they could fix that country and turn it into a powerhouse.


The ones that make it here turn into solid 1st world citizens of culture. You see, we have the “magic dirt” here that turns anyone into an upper middle class capitalist. So it’s important they never cross back to Mexico and leave this magic dirt.


Plus I hear Mexicans are super-Religious. So they will be able to save Christianity in America with their family values and shit.

Easy 6 10-22-2019 04:52 PM

The cartels are operating with just as much, if not more, money than the government... sure sounds like a collapse to me

We’ll have to get involved eventually, and not just in an advisory/technical assistance role

Frazod 10-22-2019 06:01 PM

Hmm. Sounds like we should maybe build a wall or something. :hmmm:

ShiftyEyedWaterboy 10-22-2019 06:07 PM

Seems like northern Mexico at least has been a failed state for some time. 100,000 dead or missing since the Drug War started and the government has little to no control in large swaths of the country.

RubberSponge 10-22-2019 06:11 PM

How much better off would the Mexico be without the U.S. drug war? They are the country that has suffered the most from that failed policy.

They will legalize cannabis very soon. Which will result in flooding the U.S. market with mid grade seedless cheap cannabis that the masses will love and be everywhere. The legal cannabis market that has been built in the U.S. will suffer as many more in that industry will face financial ruin as profits will drop even further while the cost of operating in the U.S. increases.

Their is talk of legalizing all drugs in Mexico. While I do think that is further down the road. It will happen and might be the only thing that stabilizes that country so the Govt. can effectively operate without the rampant corruption the U.S. drug war has created for them. Legalizing everything will be one of their **** you's to the U.S. for having domestic policy that creates a quasi narco-state in their country.

As for as collapsing. Every government and nation will collapse. It is only a matter of time the U.S. will collapse as well. To think the U.S.A. will be the U.S.A. it is we know in a few centuries is incredibly dumb. So yes, Mexico is collapsing. We all are.

alpha_omega 10-22-2019 06:33 PM

Yes, what a bunch of savages...

Quote:

Then the coup de grace: as the Chapo sons’ forces engaged in direct combat with their own national military, kill squads went into action across Culiacán, slaughtering the families of soldiers engaged in the streets.

HonestChieffan 10-22-2019 06:38 PM

Mexico is a third world country with special areas that are clean and wonderful. Ive spent a good bit of time in the rural country, ranches and cattle country. Sad to see how the rural Mexicans live.

Anyone who has been there can understand why they will do anything to come to America

They are genuine good people.

BucEyedPea 10-22-2019 08:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Easy 6 (Post 14545657)
The cartels are operating with just as much, if not more, money than the government... sure sounds like a collapse to me

We’ll have to get involved eventually, and not just in an advisory/technical assistance role

Yeah, they have more power than their govt, not matter what any politician says to reform the place. The social fabric is wearing down.

Central America isn't in the greatest shape either. I forget which country Hilldawg overthrew a leader, but he's a real tyrant. No wonder they want to escape. I'm also hearing of communism spreading through South America too, with violent rioting in Chile which really had transformed itself. WTF is going on?


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