Mexican Drugs Wars: A Failed State?

The movies Taken and International hint at raw and unchecked violence spinning out of control and like Friday the 13th, one says “it is only a movie”, “its only a movie”.  Well, the real thing is happening in Mexico along the border – and the murders and violence in the drug wars is  starting to suggest that the US may have a  failed state right on it border. The evidence is more than 8000 drug related killings in 2008 (more than double the total for 2007 and more than all the US deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past 5 years) and deep levels of corruption in police and enforcement agency ranks. The narcotic gang violence is starting to destabilize big cities like Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez and their associated states right next to San Diego and El Paso respectively. Newt Gingerich on George Stephanopoulis’ This Week  weekend TV political review show suggested the Mexican border problem might eclipse Afghanistan and Iran as a major foreign policy concern for  President Obama.Now most enforcement officials on both sides of gthe border will tell you that the demand for drugs in the US is a critical player. Yet the US prison population of 2.4 million has over 500,000 prisoners for drug related offenses, slightly over 1 in 5. It appears this improsonment campaign has not acted as a deterrent because the number of illicit drug users has rollercoastered  around 8% of all Americans from 2002 to 2005. But the big consuming groups, 16-17 years old (at19.8% in 2002 and then 17.0% in 2005), 18-25 years old (at 20.2% in 2002 and then 20.1% in 2005) and then 26-34 years old (at 20% in 2002 and then 20% in 2005) are the big consumers of drugs in the US and, except for 16-17 year olds are showing consistent usage despite all drug interdictions and negative drug abuse campaigns. Not pretty. The US drug users may yet bring drug wars spilling over the borders into the US much like the Somali pirates, thriving in their failed state, now roam the Gulf of Arabia and the Western Indian Ocean – both vital world shipping routes.  Like the Financial meltdown, the US is accumulating more self-inflicted moral, ethical and now social/political  wounds.

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