We recently watched the television premier of a documentary series called "Border Wars." It is concerned with the Mexican border and the disintegrating state just to the south of that border. I recommend it to all. The United States and Mexico have a long history of inability to sort out their relations in a reasonable way. There have been wars and rumors of wars. There has been migration, resistance to migration and now an acceptance among most Americans that the future United States will be very strongly Mexican in culture and blood. There are now massive American business presences in Mexico. A visitor told me yesterday that such places as Saltillo, Guadalajara and Monterey are filled with American enterprise, profitable enterprise. These are good things, but still the border is an impossible task. Drug smugglers and illegal migrants (not the same people) create what is, in the end, an impossible situation, a situation that contributes to crime, vice and levels of greed otherwise most likely to be found on Wall Street and among defense contractors.
Haiti is probably the worst "basket case" among all the recognised countries of the world. There is no economy that amounts anything. The government has not functioned since the US Department of the Navy surrendered control in the '30s. There are no real public services. And now,as a symbol of final catastrophe, the gleaming white, utterly inappropriate National Palace (built by the United States) has collapsed in downtown Port au Prince. So, now we are back, but for how long and to what purpose after relief and basic assistance are performed?
At the same time we are now engaged in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen with the purpose of nation building in these countries. "Nation Building" is a dirty word except among the AEIers and the CNAS crowd. The COIN generals are also careful not to use the word, but that is what we are doing as a result of various policy reviews.
How much money did we spend in Iraq in pursuit of phony WMD and very real neocon ambition for social revolution? How much money are we spendng now in Afghanistan in a Kiplinesque pursuit of 21st Century versions of the "Mad Mullahs" of the Great Game? How much money are we going to spend in Yemen seeking to make a "nation-state?"
The terrorists? Hunt them down.
Mexico and Haiti are our neighbors. How difficult is that to understand?
There will be those who respond with the idea that there should not be borders.
They should think carefully about the implications of that idea. pl