Mexico’s President AMLO Sends Strong Message to US Neocons: Mexico Is Nobody’s Colony

“We will not allow any foreign government to intervene in our territory, much less with armed forces,” AMLO told US neocons. 

Relations between US and Mexican lawmakers plumbed new lows this week, as a coterie of Republican senators, congressmen and a former attorney general called for direct US military intervention against Mexico’s drug cartels. They included Lindsey Graham, who has lent his support to every single US military intervention and regime change operation since becoming senator in 2003. Together with John McCain, he helped lay some of the ground work for the NATO-Russia proxy war in Ukraine, famously telling Ukrainian soldiers: “your fight is our fight”.

Setting the Stage for US Military Intervention

Now, Graham wants to introduce legislation to “set the stage” for U.S. military force in Mexico, saying it is time to “get tough” on the southern neighbour’s drug cartels and prevent them from bringing fentanyl across the border. The senator’s intervention came just days after four US citizens were kidnapped in the northern Mexican city of Matamoros, two of whom were killed. It is not yet clear why the kidnapping took place, but all four of the victims had lengthy rap sheets, including for drug offences. Whether that has any bearing on the crime has not been confirmed.

Graham added he would “introduce legislation to make certain Mexican drug cartels foreign terrorist organizations under U.S. law and set the stage to use military force if necessary.” Graham escalated tensions on Thursday by describing Mexico as a “narcostate”. His  words elicited a furious response from Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador (AMLO for short), who said (translated by yours truly):

Once and for all, let’s set our position straight. We will not allow any foreign government to intervene in our territory, much less with armed forces. And from today we will begin an information campaign for Mexicans and Hispanics that live and work in the United States to inform them of what we are doing in Mexico and how this initiative of the Republicans, besides being irresponsible, is an insult to the Mexican people and a lack of respect to our independence and sovereignty. And if they do not change their attitude and continue using Mexico for electoral propaganda… we are going to recommend not voting for this party.

This would be no small matter, given that 34.5 million Hispanic Americans were eligible to vote in 2022’s mid-terms, making Latinos the fastest-growing racial and ethnic group in the U.S. electorate. According to Pew Research, the number of Hispanic eligible voters increased by 4.7 million between 2018 and 2022, accounting for 62% of the total growth in U.S. eligible voters during that time. And AMLO has significant influence over this demographic. But that is unlikely to have much of an effect on the Republican neocons pushing for direct US intervention against Mexican drug cartels.

They include, all too predictably, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Also on board are Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Stephen Walts, who in January presented a joint resolution in Congress seeking authorisation for the “use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for trafficking fentanyl or a fentanyl-related substance into the United States or carrying out other related activities that cause regional destabilization in the Western Hemisphere.”

Mexico’s “Narco-Terrorists”

Also along for the ride is former Attorney General (under both George HW Bush and Donald Trump), whom the late New York Times columnist William Safire used to refer to as “Coverup-General Barr” for his role in burying evidence of then-President George H.W. Bush’s role in “Iraqgate” and “Iron-Contra.” In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Barr likened Mexico’s “narco-terrorists” to Isis and calls Reps. Crenshaw and Waltz’s joint resolution a “necessary step”:

What will it take to defeat the Mexican cartels? First, a far more aggressive American effort inside Mexico than ever before, including a significant U.S. law-enforcement and intelligence presence, as well as select military capabilities. Optimally, the Mexican government will support and participate in this effort, and it is likely to do so once they understand that the U.S. is committed to do whatever is necessary to cripple the cartels, whether or not the Mexican government participates.

Barr called AMLO the cartel’s “chief enabler” for refusing to wage war against the cartels with quite the same zeal as his predecessors:

“In reality, AMLO is unwilling to take action that would seriously challenge the cartels. He shields them by consistently invoking Mexico’s sovereignty to block the U.S. from taking effective action.”

Bizarrely, Barr makes this claim even as the US and Mexico are quietly intensifying their military cooperation. As the investigative journalism website Contralinea reports, one of the millions of documents leaked in a massive cyberattack on the Mexican Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), in October revealed the extent to which the US and Mexican armed forces are deepening their collaboration on “shared security challenges” such as combating organised crime, arms, drugs and people trafficking.

According to the leaked GANSEG document, the objective going forward of the Armed Forces of Mexico and the United States is to interact (emphasis my own) “closely, efficiently and in an orderly manner to strengthen bilateral military cooperation in matters of protection and regional security, evaluating existing bilateral mechanisms in order to work with a common strategic vision.” The tactical-strategic bilateral military cooperation framework will also involve trilateral meetings between the defence ministers of Mexico, the United States and Canada.

As NC regular anon is so cal notes in the comments section, the U.S. military has had a small but constant presence in Mexico since at least 1999:

The U.S. Department of Defense has sent personnel to train the Mexican military every year since at least 2001, the first year the Pentagon began to report foreign military training by location. The United States has trained Mexican soldiers in security, intelligence gathering and analysis, counter-terrorism, English, special operations, interdiction planning, civilian-military relations, tactical law enforcement, anti-smuggling, and aviation—all on Mexican soil.

In 2010, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told NPR that the US military is already working in certain ways with the Mexican military in their efforts against the drug cartels — but only “at the request of the Mexican government, in consultation with the Mexican government.” Even that was enough to provoke a huge public outcry in Mexico, demonstrating, as anon in so cal puts it, “the near-consensus in Mexico that the US military is not welcome under any circumstances.”

While the growing influence of Mexico’s drug cartels is a matter of vital import, not just for Mexico and the US but for the entire American continent, direct, overt US intervention on Mexican soil will only make things a darn sight worse.

Also, conspicuously (albeit not surprisingly) absent from the debate in Washington is the central role US arms manufacturers and dealers play in facilitating a large part of the drugs-related violence on both sides of the border. Nor, of course, is their any reckoning with the now-indisputable failure of the US War on Drugs in stemming the flow of narcotics to the US. Even the NY Times recently ran an op-ed declaring that the global war on drugs had been a “staggering failure”.

Strange Praise

Things got decidedly weird when Barr singled out Felipe Calderón Hinojosa as the only Mexican president that actually confronted the drug cartels — an absurd claim. After all, the man Calderón personally handpicked to serve as security minister during his presidency, Genaro García Luna, was recently found guilty by a New York court of taking millions of dollars in bribes from Mexico’s biggest crime group, the Sinaloa drug cartel. García Luna is one of the highest-ranking Mexican officials ever to be convicted of having ties to drug trafficking.

The AMLO government is currently weighing up whether to seek Calderon’s extradition from Spain, where he recently qualified for a premium visa. Barr’s bizarre praise for Calderón prompted speculation from AMLO that perhaps Barr is offering his legal services to Calderón:

I don’t know what’s up with William Barr, because imagine saying that when García Luna, Calderón’s right-hand man, is on trial and has been shown to have protected the Sinaloa Cartel. So why is Barr saying this? I kept thinking: could it be that – since he is working as a defence lawyer again – he is going to take Calderón’s case? They are going to hire him as a lawyer for Calderón, or for those who are responsible – here [in Mexico] and there [in the United States] – because García Luna can still spill the beans.

The good news is that for the moment the Biden administration is reluctant to up the ante, arguing it would have minimal benefits. Plus, Mexico, the US’s second largest trading partner, is a key node in Washington’s plan to pivot away from its third largest, China, and bring its production base closer to home.

“Designating these cartels as [foreign terrorist organizations] would not grant us any additional authorities that we don’t really have at this time,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing with reporters. “The United States has powerful sanctions authorities specifically designated to combat narcotics trafficking organizations and the individuals and entities that enable them. So, we have not been afraid to use them.”

The bad news is that the US government’s position could change at any time, especially if it becomes politically expedient to do so. The drug war seems destined to play an important role in next year’s elections, and the Republicans are determined to extract as much political capital as possible from the issue.

Other Reasons for Tensions

But souring relations between the US and Mexico have to do with a lot more than just the illicit drug trade. As I reported way back in June 2021, in The Empire Strikes Back Against Mexican President AMLO, the AMLO government has helped to improve the lives of many of Mexico’s rural and urban poor who were essentially hung out to dry by previous administrations, and he is done so without embarking on an uncontrolled state spending spree, as US political scientist Ian Bremmer notes in his article, “Advantage Mexico”:

Even after the pandemic, Mexico’s debt-to-GDP ratio still stands at a healthy 50%, because the leftist López Obrador, aka AMLO, has confounded critics by both expanding the country’s tax base and keeping government spending in check.

You would think that would be a good thing for most US conservatives. Yet former George W Bush speechwriter (and one of the “intellectual” architects of the Iraq war) David Frum actually criticised AMLO for being “a strange kind of leftist,” who “has actually cut social spending” and has “done nothing to enforce tax collection.” The second point is an outright lie, since one of the first things the AMLO administration did was to begin strong-arming domestic and global corporations into finally settling their decades-long tax debts.

It has also done other positive things that have have hurt the profits of some of the world’s largest corporations and threatened the power base and fortunes of some of Mexico’s political and financial elite. A few examples:

  • It passed one of the strictest food labeling laws on the planet, in a desperate bit to halt Mexico’s obesity epidemic, much to the horror of global food and beverage companies. The United States, EU, Canada and Switzerland, home to some of the world’s biggest food companies, tried to derail the new legislation. But to no avail.
  • The government has sharply increased the minimum wage, which for decades had been one of the lowest in Latin America. It has also lowered the retirement age to qualify for pensions, increased governmental contributions and reduced commissions and reformed housing benefits to assist debtors and halt eviction.
  • It has also passed a bill to curtail the outsourcing of personnel to third party firms, which had enabled corporations to skirt health and safety regulations and avoid paying taxes and social security.
  • By rolling back some of the sweeping energy reforms unleashed by AMLO’s predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto, the government has tried to reduce the country’s reliance on gasoline imports from the US and strengthen Mexico’s energy independence. A pretty shrewd move given the energy shortages and price surges caused by the Ukraine conflict and subsequent US-EU sanctions.
  • AMLO also passed a presidential decree phasing out the use of the herbicide glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, and banning the cultivation and importation of genetically modified (GM) corn. That was in December 2020. In recent weeks it has watered down the legislation somewhat, yet this week the US and Canada still demanded formal talks with Mexico in a bid to pressure Mexico into abandon the ban completely.
  • It has nationalised Mexico’s abundant deposits of lithium, a metal that is vital for the rapidly growing e-mobility industry.

In foreign affairs AMLO has also charted a more independent course. As Jacobin magazine’s Kurt Hackbarth reported in 2021, “Mexico has exchanged its former slavish devotion to Washington for a rigorous defense of its own national sovereignty. It has reined in the actions of US intelligence agencies, refused to recognize Juan Guaidó in Venezuela, called a coup a coup in Bolivia, bucked the Organization of American States, and sent a plane to rescue Evo Morales.”

Since then it has refused to support US-EU sanctions on Russia or recognise Peru’s “usurper” President Dina Boluarte. AMLO has repeatedly used his morning press conferences to call out US meddling in Latin America as well as Washington’s persecution of Julian Assange, whom AMLO described as “the best journalist of our time.” He is now leading the international campaign against the US blockade of Cuba, whom AMLO has also invited to join an anti-inflation alliance of Latin American countries.

Suffice to say, none of these things will have gone down well in the Oval Office. Last December, on the occasion of the bicentennial of US-Mexico relations, Former US Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobsen accused AMLO of “goading Washington, whether by inviting leaders of Cuba or Venezuela, making comments on the Statue of Liberty or on our human rights situation.” The thorniest issue remains, of course, the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “It is frustrating that Mexico does not pronounce itself in favor of [Ukrainian] sovereignty,” said the former US Ambassador.

The political, economic and intellectual elite on both sides of the Rio Grande are now up in arms about the AMLO administration’s plans to shake up Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE), which includes slashing the institute’s budget by 80%. Both David Frum, who purportedly coined the expression “Axis of Evil”, and Anne Applebaum, whose Polish husband famously thanked the US on Twitter for sabotaging the Nordstream pipelines before quickly deleting the tweet, penned pieces warning of the grave threat posed to democracy by AMLO’s “plan B” proposals.

Frum accused AMLO of “scheming to end the country’s quarter-century commitment to multiparty liberal democracy”:

He is subverting the institutions that have upheld Mexico’s democratic achievement—above all, the country’s admired and independent elections system. On López Obrador’s present trajectory, the Mexican federal elections scheduled for the summer of 2024 may be less than free and far from fair.

Yet as INE itself reported this week, most Mexicans support the main reforms proposed by AMLO. Ninety-three percent of respondents to an INE survey said they support plans to reduce the amount of public funds funnelled to political parties; 87% endorse reducing the number of deputies and senates at the federal level; 78% agree that electoral advisers and magistrates should be elected by direct vote; 74% agree with cuts to public funding of INE.

The survey seems to show that public sentiment is far removed from the postures of the opposition party leaders, as an article in El País notes. And that is perhaps no surprise given INE’s excessive spending, particularly on executive perks, as well as its long history of looking the other way as electoral crimes are committed, reports Hackbarth:

In his 2012 campaign for president, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) spent some thirteen times the legal campaign spending limit, according to a congressional analysis, including cash-for-favors money from the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht. In Operation Safiro, PRI governors from seven states diverted some Mex$650 million (US$35.8 million) into their party’s 2016 electoral campaigns.

In the 2018 presidential campaign, a cabal of businesspeople and intellectuals illegally spent millions in online campaigns out of an operations center in what became known as Operation Berlin, for the Mexico City street where the center was named. In the recently concluded trial of Genaro García Luna (the former secretary of public security in the administration of Felipe Calderón who was found guilty in US federal court of colluding with the Sinaloa cartel), a former finance minister for the state of Coahuila testified to diverting millions from state coffers into campaigns and the purchase of favorable media coverage, including the triangulation of funds for García Luna himself. In all these cases — and many more — the INE, together with the rest of Mexico’s electoral machinery, saw no evil, heard no evil, or applied slaps on the wrist that did nothing to undo the underlying crimes.

AMLO’s proposed “Plan B” could end up being blocked by Mexico’s Supreme Court anyway. In the meantime, tensions between US and Mexican lawmakers continue to rise. Ironically, this is all happening as trade between the US and Mexico also hits record highs — testament to just how symbiotically dependent the two countries have become.

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  1. Ignacio

    Multiparty liberal democracy = it doesn’t matter what you or your citizenship want(s), the US Deep State plus the bipartisan GOP and DNC complex dictate the rules. Understood?

    From New English Dictionary, Applebaum et al.

    1. Oh

      When you’re required to pick from one or the other stooges put up by the Deep State your vote seems to be an exercise in futility and a waste of your time.

      1. John R Moffett

        The problem is that not voting doesn’t help either. I vote for the best 3rd party candidate when available. If all the non-voters did that, it would change the dynamics and might force the corporate parties to adjust. There are no good solutions for voters (unless you are a Red or Blue Team devotee). It sucks to be a voter in the US, and that is how TPTB like it.

          1. Bawb the Revelator

            Paula rhe two party system was written into the US Constitution in 1789 as Bull Moose former POTUS T. Roosevelt discovered in 1912. Paradoxically the last Koch brother standing is a few states short of the three forth majority needed to form a second Constitutional Convention. Perhaps the time has finally come to make a temporary alliance with the American Oligarchy.

            Finance Capitalism’s ultra libertarian Koch GOP knows what it wants.It’s time for the rest of America to think through and decide on what it wants.

        1. Odysseus

          If all the non-voters did that, it would change the dynamics and might force the corporate parties to adjust.

          Alaska and Maine both have Ranked Choice Voting. Do you live in either of those states, or is your state changing their voting system to incorporate it?

          Missouri’s Ranked Choice Voting ballot initiative failed.

    2. Paula

      No, really? Yes, you are correct but US underestimates those immigrants who love their mother country as the indigenous love theirs. Most US citizens have no long history of this land except how they “acquired” it from those who were here before them and their ancestors. Euros and their ancestry are a lost people who need to look at that history and then learn how to deal with real love for a land and country by loving it and its peoples who were here long before them. Were the Euros able to adopt indigenous belief systems, there may be hope for humanity not ending up like the dinosaurs, eh?

    3. Rubicon

      It’s a statement made by a Mexican president that “is all for not.” As long as Mexico is intricately tied to huge Corporate interests and the US’ IMF, World Bank………..the Mexico president is “whistling in the wind.”

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Nick.

    I note your mention of crazy canuck Frum and Apfelbaum. I have not come across the gruesome twosome on UK airwaves for a year or so. One wonders if they need money and, thinking of Oscar Wilde, to avoid being ignored.

    When Apfelbaum’s husband, Radek Sikorski, “a fake Ruritanian aristocrat”, according to Oxford contemporaries and especially after Boris Johnson initiated him into the Bullingdon Club, became a minister, he was obliged to disclose his earnings and that of his wife. It turned out that much of their income came from the US MIC and its think tank proxies.

    Their sons went to Eton and Oxford, where Sikorski pere studied. The fees don’t pay for themselves. Sikorski’s university fees and lodgings were paid for by the long suffering British taxpayer. He has pulled up the ladder now that he’s alright.

    1. Paula

      I love when people dig into relationships. I hope everyone on here has heard of Unlimited and a young woman who explores deep into the relationships of all these nefarious players on our world stage.

  3. square coats

    Coming from Applebaum, what I heard of her warning sounded worryingly more like a possible threat :\

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      Her two sons won’t be fighting, though. Please see my comment above.

      1. Stephen

        I think someone made a comment here before that compared elite behaviour in modern wars with those of the past.

        Murderous and unnecessary as WW1 was, the political elite and their progeny fought in it. Usually bravely. The WW1 memorial at any British Public School or Oxbridge College is a testimony to they. Asquith lost his son, I recall.

        Clear that Applebaum / Sikorsky, the Kagans / Nuland and indeed Johnson all have no intention of doing any actual fighting. That’s for the little people.

        1. mrsyk

          In contrast, a Russian perspective. The link below to an English translation of an interview with Alexander Sapozhnikov, former Mayor of Chita who stepped down to enlist in the Russian mobilization. This is not intended to be the comment that tells it all, just some insight. This link is to a translation provided in the comments at MoA, at which there is a link to the original interview. I machine translated a few parts from the original just to check. The translation seems kosher. Please scroll down to the bottom, comment #99.
          Get up from the leather chair.

        2. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you and well said, Stephen.

          You are right about Raymond Asquith. I came across his memorial,, in Amiens cathedral last June when escaping the Jubilee.

          My school was founded exactly a 100 years ago, after the the owner’s son and heir fell in battle just before Christmas 1914, as per The house was spared from demolition and became my school, producing the likes of Leonard Cheshire, Frank Kitson and Sebastian Roberts for the army and George Zambellas for the royal navy.

          Wotton, the Grenville family’s other and original estate in Buckinghamshire, is now part owned by Blair and two of his sons. The family became rich at the expense of other families.

          It’s only since the Theresa May left office that a majority of army officers no longer come from that world.

          Raymond Asquith’s grandsons served in the Foreign Office, including MI6.

          1. Stephen

            Exactly, Colonel. There was a genuine element of noblesse oblige. It can be overstated too and it came with challenging baggage but it did exist. Hard to see even an electron of noblesse oblige in the current political elite.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, Stephen.

              The Grenvilles continue to serve. Roger was in the Royal Marines. Oscar is in the Coldstream Guards and an instructor at Catterick.

              Some of their former family home, Wotton, is owned by the chicken hawk Blairs.

        3. Roland

          Opposition leader Bonar Law lost two of his sons.

          Lord Kitchener literally went down with a ship.

          Churchill, during his few months out of cabinet, went to the front to command a battalion, and was daily under enemy fire.

          The Prince of Wales was a junior staff officer, and while as a “red tab” he didn’t hold a rifle, nevertheless his liaison duties often took him the trenches.

          1. JohnA

            I know a guy whose son was in the army in Afghanistan. He said the safest place to be was in close proximity to Harry the Spare, who was surrounded by bodyguards at all times there.

        4. Rubicon

          Yes, but back before/during WWI, the British Elites did fight for their country. All that ended with many killed as the rise of the US financial system instituted “War Debts” in Germany…..later “Lend Lease” in Britain, forcing that nation to kow-tow to the US $$$ System. Britain surrendered.

      2. square coats

        Thanks Colonel! I realized in retrospect I was getting Applebaum & Samantha Powers mixed up (whoops), but I agree with Stephen and digi below.

        If I were more versed in Hegel I could try to wax about the master slave dialectic at this point..

    2. digi_owl

      Any warning out of USA seem to be a covert threat, similar to a mobster out for protection money…

  4. ChrisFromGA

    It’s a feature of neoliberalism that it always seeks to make the lives of the people in countries it controls worse.

    It is refreshing to hear that AMLO is actually trying to improve the lives of most Mexicans. May he successfully resist the evil that attacks from the north.

    1. mrsyk

      It is as refreshing as it is difficult to imagine (from a US perspective) a president concerned for the wellbeing of his/her fellow citizens. Instead we get East Palestine.

  5. doug

    ‘Relations between US and most of the world’s lawmakers plumbed new lows this week’. They are not just going after Mexico. It is a multi front exercise in hubris.

    I am impressed with AMLO. I hope he survives standing up to the USofA. When I ask Hispanic workers about him, I hear praise.

    1. thoughtfulperson

      As many Mexicans have said over the decades, “Pobre Mexico, tan lejos de Dios, tan cerca de los Estados Unidos.”

  6. Stephen

    I think the US foreign policy elite need to prioritise the fights they want to have with different countries / the regimes they want to change. Right now, it is looking like a scattergun of imperial fury directed at anyone who disagrees with any element of their agenda.

    Of course, they do say that a formerly totalitarian overlord is at its most violent when it is losing control. When it is in control violence is not needed. We seem to be in the losing control phase right now.

    Perhaps AMLO might like to test American commitment to sovereignty by holding joint military exercises with China. I am sure the pro Ukraine crowd would support him.

  7. LawnDart

    A bonus-bonus: regarding that lithium “nationalization”… Mexican regulators made good on that theoretical grandfather clause and without fanfare gave the green light to Gengfeng’s takeover of Bacanora’s Sonora lithium mining concessions.

    This could be an opportunity to dust-off that Monroe-doctrine thing and to kick China’s ass too… and the pretext is already set: the deposits are in Sonora where Jalisco Cartel New Generation, Sinaloa Cartel, and Caborca Cartel are battling for control– perfect for “triangulation.”

    This is a freaking neocon wet-dream! I can’t see how they won’t go for it– it’s like the perfect set-up: kick “bad” cartel asses (not ones working with CIA/DEA), steal Chinese investments, and coup AMLO– all in USA’s backyard. Plus we put a leash on Latin American lefties, like Lula (who already seems to have gotten the message).

    Background on lithium-find:

  8. Martin Oline

    Nick, I am glad to see the prominence of “Coverup-General Barr” (drug smuggling, money laundering in Arkansas, Iraq-gate, and Iran-Contra) in your article. He was the unseen hand behind many of the CIA’s activities from the 1970’s, as CIA director William Casey’s link to Southern Air Transport in Florida, up to today. He has continued to enable the tarnished legacy of the CIA’s financial and drug ties to organized crime. After the operation at Mena, Arkansas was shut down due to the Contra revelations, the money laundering pipeline to the ADFA (Arkansas Development Finance Authority) switched to laundering money from the drug cartels through Panama. The ADFA served as William (Slick Willy) Clinton’s personal slush fund, providing him with 10% of the ‘profits’. Barr served as both George H. W. Bush and Donald Trump’s Attorney General. See Terry Reed’s Compromised book from 1994 for more details. It is a very fascinating book.
    Poor Donald probably didn’t know what he was getting with Barr, but he also brought Bolton into his administration. George ‘Shrub’ Bush famously said “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, eh, er, I can’t be fooled again.” If Trump lets William Barr near his supposed 2024 presidential campaign I will have to go shopping for a third party.

  9. The Rev Kev

    Can’t see a firefight breaking out on the border between the US Army and the Mexican Armed Forces. And if the US tried to go deep into Mexico, I would be willing to bet that the Mexican Cartels will be siding with Mexican soldiers and some of them have very professional teams indeed. If the US wants to do something, they could go after the finances of the Cartels. Declare them terrorist organizations to get the legal authority maybe. The only trouble is that I am not convinced that the major banks are still not washing billions in drug money like they were caught doing before. How come the US can’t go after those billions?

    1. Polar Socialist

      Just imagine what would happen if Mexico announced a purchase of 12 batteries of Chinese HQ-22, to be later extended to a layered air-defense system.

      And also two squadrons of Chinese J-11 fighters, deliveries staring in May and in the initial phase a Chinese “training” squadron being located at El Ciprés military base 70 miles south of San Diego…

    2. Cresty

      That cash is the only thing propping up certain banks. The CIA’s job aside from the coups is to manage black market cashflows to make sure they sit in american banks and real estate

  10. Camelotkidd

    What’s ironic is that US Green Berets trained the Los Zetas, former Mexican special forces personnel who defected and went on to become one of the most brutal drug gangs. Talk about blow-back
    Moreover, the historical record is clear that the war on drugs has been in reality a counterinsurgency war against leftist movements and governments

  11. Carolinian

    all four of the [South Carolina] victims had lengthy rap sheets for drug offences

    This is news–might need a link. As for Graham, his constituency is the Blob far more than me and my fellow Carolinians. Perhaps we should blame them for his obnoxious presence.

    I read a book about the US invasion to capture Pancho Villa which was a disaster on just about every level and especially US/Mexico relations. It seems unlikely that Graham will get his way.

    1. Nick Corbishley Post author

      You’re right. Have inserted a link in the post to an article in El País. The raps were not just drug-related so have changed the sentence so as to read: “…had lengthy rap sheets, including for drug offences”

      For non-Spanish speakers, there is also this:

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for the Daily Mail link. Needless to say none of these details are available in my local paper but then they barely cover anything so that’s par for the course.

  12. Synoia

    Making all drugs legal would be a good first step, followed by support jobs, (work and housing) and finally help with addiction.

    And Colonel my school was founded about 450 years ago, but at the prep level (under 13) it appeared to me to be primarily focused on bullying.

    1. jobs

      Agreed. The US “War on Drugs” has mostly been a War on Poor People.

      Why don’t we first address rampant, systemic poverty in the US? (Rethorical question, of course.)

    2. Ashu

      The War in Drugs has always been a scam. Just another opportunity to maintain the police state domestically and an imperial power internationally

  13. anon in so cal

    The U.S. military has been in Mexico for over a decade.

    This is an outgrowth of Hillary Clinton’s Mérida Initiative.

    (planned to implement Plan Colombia (direct US military intervention) in Mexico.)

    “”Are you saying that Calderón has expressed an openness toward a uniformed, U.S. military presence within Mexico?” asked NPR’s Robert Siegel.

    Napolitano responded, “Yes. Let me be very, very clear [because] this is a very delicate subject…. Our military in certain limited ways has been working with the Mexican military in their efforts against the drug cartels. But, it is at the request of the Mexican government, in consultation with the Mexican government.”

    The outrage Napolitano’s statement provoked throughout the country demonstrates the Mexican near-consensus that the U.S. military is not welcome in Mexico under any circumstances. What the Mexican press isn’t reporting, however, is that the U.S. military has been working in Mexico for years.

    The U.S. military has had a small but constant presence in Mexico since at least 1999, the earliest year for which data on the number of active-duty military personnel stationed in Mexico is available. The U.S. Department of Defense has sent personnel to train the Mexican military every year since at least 2001, the first year the Pentagon began to report foreign military training by location. The United States has trained Mexican soldiers in security, intelligence gathering and analysis, counter-terrorism, English, special operations, interdiction planning, civilian-military relations, tactical law enforcement, anti-smuggling, and aviation—all on Mexican soil.”

    Bonanza for the U.S. MIC.

    1. Nick Corbishley Post author

      Thanks, anon in so cal, for raising a very important point — and one that is, as you say, widely overlooked in Mexican (and my own) reporting. If you don’t mind, I would like to hoist part of your comment to the post.

  14. Insouciant Iowan

    Whenever Mexico and its drug cartels are discussed by US media and pols, odd, isn’t, that never part of the discussion is why so much of the North American populous requires the numbing effects of all manner and variety of drugs, licit and illicit. It’s a mystery beyond exploring. Perhaps it’s just easier to shoot someone than sober up.

    1. eg

      Yeah, it’s funny how the demand side of the US drug problem is never called into question where the “war on drugs” is concerned, eh?

  15. Cresty

    Do you know what Mexico got after it used its military to fight the gulf and Beltran Levaya cartels?

    A military cartel that worked with Sinaloa to make a lot of money.

    So what Lindsay’s really saying is that he wants the US military to get in on the drug trafficking money

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