The Case for Investment In Mexico

America’s losses in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and North Korea have been felt across the globe. Afghanistan’s heroin trade is pervasive across Asia, the situation in Iraq has destabilized the entire Middle East, the loss of Vietnam impacted the US so pervasively that we had a non-interventionist policy for decades, and the stalemate with the North Koreans has allowed them to develop nuclear weapons in Asia and rattle their neighbors.

America has not adjusted its tactics in almost 70 years and this has left the US vulnerable on the world stage. America needs a win now more than ever and there are a dozen countries where the US can try to find a winning strategy without a full-scale intervention.

One of the countries where America is currently fighting a war is in a similar situation to Afghanistan. Mexico is a major illegal drug producer similar to Afghanistan, the cartels control more territory in the country than the Taliban did in early 2021, and the cartels seem poised to take over if the US ever pulls back from the country.

One could even draw parallels between Mexico and the United States before World War II. Prohibition gave the mob unparalleled power in the US, rural America lacked any kind of infrastructure, and people did not even have indoor plumbing or electricity in the US, and women had few rights.

Having a large-scale draft in 1940 drew men away from their homes and allowed women to flourish. It took foot soldiers away from the mob which forced them to operate with only the higher-ups in the organization (who were already in their senior years) and the very young. This led to drawing power away from the mob and it allowed the government to gain a foothold against the mafia.

This model might have worked well in Iraq before the United States disbanded the military and allowed rioters to loot the museums and local shops. The US protected the oil and gas industry in the country because we knew Iraq would need finances to maintain their country. This is similar to what has been keeping Libya together. The US failed to bring Iraq together and the different religious sects went to war against one another. The Sunnis and Shias were soon at each other’s throats after Sadam was deposed. There was fighting in the streets, neighborhoods went to war against one another, and there was mass religious persecution.

A nationwide draft of all men between the ages of 15 to 55 would have drawn the young men that were fighting one another away from the civil war and would have put them to work side by side in the military. This would have forced them to cooperate and get to know one another while building a comradery. For the section of the public that feels that training a vast Iraqi army would not be in the interest of the United States, the military does not have just one MOS. They have logistics, medical, civilian, communications, and every other type of MOS that does not include infantry. America could have had a draft of all Iraqi men to build roadways, bridges, schools, and everything else they needed to develop their country.

Afghans could have benefited under a similar strategy as the Tajiks and Uzbeks watched while the Pashtuns fought the US military for 20 years. In a country of approximately 40 million people, Afghanistan has only 8 million men that would be of fighting age between the ages of 15 and 55. No fighting force has ever subsisted of 60-year-old men and 10-year-old boys. The elders would be too old to fight the US and the boys would be too young to maintain a resistance that would lead to the devastation that we saw throughout the Middle East. America could have paid approximately $500 a month per person (which is what the Taliban were paying and the reason why so many Afghans joined them and not the Afghan military that was paying approximately $300 a month). This would have equated to approximately $40 billion a year which is what the US was spending at the end of the war anyway. The US could have even gotten volunteers from Afghanistan to fight in regional conflicts against Iran in Yemen, Syria, and North Africa. We could have even gotten the Saudis to pay them better than the US could even dream of doing since they hired mercenaries to fight for them in Yemen and Syria anyway.

This leads us to the current war in Mexico. Cartels have infiltrated every single part of the government and the economy. The position of top cop in the country has repeatedly been accused of siding with one cartel to take down its rivals, the current president has taken a hands-off approach to the cartel wars and has even suggested supporting farmers growing poppies after opium gum prices collapsed after the introduction of fentanyl.

America is pouring billions of dollars into the war on drugs and it is losing this war just like it did in Asia and the Middle East. Synthetic drugs like methamphetamines and fentanyl have wreaked havoc on the country. It has caused widespread crime, loss of revenue, trillions of dollars being sent overseas, and the destruction to American families.

Investing in Mexico at a time that America needs substantive investment might seem counterproductive to most Americans in the short term. Even interest-free loans to the country would seem extravagant due to the current debt crisis that is going on with the US federal government. But the cost of doing nothing has contributed to mass migration into the US, drugs flowing north and guns flowing south, endemic corruption through the country, and a rise of cartels that have more influence throughout the country than the Mexican government. But if people were to see the results of a successful strategy this may change their minds and encourage them to take a harder stance on drugs if we can stop violence overseas.

Mexico has substantial oil and gas reserves offshore, deposits in the Eagle Ford Shale on the opposite side of the southern border, excessive gold deposits, tourism, and cultural music and food that spreads across Latin America. It has an abundance of gold and silver deposits across the country. It could export its agricultural products to the US and Asia, develop its mineral resources, tap into the potential of the people and allow women to flourish just like women did in the 1940s in America. To do this it needs to rid itself of the cartels, it needs good governance, and it needs to give all of its citizens a job they can be proud of at home.

If we could turn back time in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Vietnam and make a substantial upfront investment that could change the course of those wars, would we be prepared to make it?

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