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The most under-reported story of the last year is, simply, the turmoil in Mexico. We’ve heard about kidnappings and assassinations, usually followed by warnings that the troubles in Mexico may well “spill” across the border, and newspapers in the border states pay the issue more attention, but for the last several years a nominally conservative government in Washington has responded to the pleas of a conservative, pro-American government in Mexico City with a shrug of the shoulders and talk about building a fence on the border. Anyway, talk of “spilling across the border” is stupid. The seat of the Mexican problems is in the United States, not vice-versa.
If you track the same story from the Mexican side (reading La Reforma from time to time can provide that perspective), you get a far more realistic take. The problem, in their view, is us. Criminal syndicates based in Mexico have come to control the drug traffic inside the United States. They have gorged themselves on American cash and armed themselves with lethal assault weapons procured on the largely unrestricted American gun market. Mexican law enforcement is no match for them. And these problems would not exist but for the United States.
The Obama Administration appears to be doing something that the Bush team refused to do: it is giving the entire problem a careful top-to-bottom study and is listening attentively to the appeals from the government of Felipe Calderón. That has started with a visit by Hillary Clinton to Mexico City in which she admitted the obvious American roots of Mexico’s troubles. The New York Times reports:
“Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,” Mrs. Clinton said, using unusually blunt language. “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.” Mrs. Clinton’s remarks were coupled with a pledge that the administration would seek $80 million from Congress to provide Mexican authorities with three Black Hawk helicopters to help the police track drug runners. She also came bearing a new White House initiative, announced Tuesday, to deploy 450 more law enforcement officers at the border, and crack down on the smuggling of guns and drug money into Mexico.
Here’s Andrea Mitchell’s interview with Clinton and report on the Clinton meetings in Mexico City:
There are no easy solutions to this problem. But the answers start, at long last, with a sober appreciation of the problem and a recognition that the fates of America and Mexico are tightly linked and no fence on the Rio Grande will change that fact.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:
Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.
An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”