Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mexico Grows Increasingly Disfunctional

Written on M.S. Prinsendam, in the Gulf of Aden--

Somalia, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Lebanon and Iraq are not the only countries in the world which are threatening because they are so dysfunctional. Increasingly, Mexico is joining them, and it, of course, is right next to the U.S.

The news from Mexico recently has not been at all good. The courageous campaign of the new president, Felipe Calderon, to use the army and police to curtail rampant drug peddlers has only been followed by a large number of assassinations of law enforcement personnel. The situation along the border, particularly in the cities of Tijuana and Juarez, has grown critical.

According to a New York Times article (its International Herald Tribune saw fit to only pick up a couple of paragraphs of it), the mayhem has cost at least 3,500 lives, including those of 200 police officers.

The spreading corruption of the drug trade threatened to destabilize the whole country. Mexico has a volcanic past of sudden eruptions of domestic trouble, and this is a danger sign that neither we nor the Mexican government can afford to ignore.

In addition, relying by Mexican law only on its own resources, the Mexican oil industry is sinking fast. Without investments that the big international oil companies could provide, production has been dropping off, and there doesn't seem to be the willingness to do anything about it. Mexico, always rocky economically, is falling into a downward spiral that has to be disquieting, particularly to us as neighbors.


My ship is now racing, at full speed of about 20 knots, through the Gulf of Aden, and is scheduled at the moment to enter the Red Sea, beyond the reach of Somali pirates, at 6 a.m. tomorrow. Our Dutch Navy escort has turned back to Mombasa, to resume convoying food shipments to Somalia, although other NATO military ships are reportedly nearby. The ship is more or less hugging the Yemeni coast, as far from Somalia as possible. Our captain, Christopher Turner, has been very good at keeping the passengers informed, and photographs of the Dutch frigate are being sold on the ship.


David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, who is hard to fool, remarks in a column today of Sen. Hillary Clinton, in her appearance Sunday on ABC that "for the first 30 minutes, she did not utter a single candid word."

Hillary, as I've remarked before, is a Richard Nixon retread, just as demagogic and dishonest. By contrast, as Brooks declares, Sen. Barack Obama "gave off an entirely different vibe on 'Meet The Press.' He still seems like a human being. He still seems to return each night to some zone of normalcy, where personal reflection lives."

Will the voters of Indiana and North Carolina appreciate the difference? We'll see when the returns come in tonight.

And will the press as a whole start giving the disgraceful Clintons' grab for power, the negative attention it deserves? I'm not holding my breath,



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to disagree with your admiring assessment of The NY Times' conservative columnist David Brooks. To this reader he's a tedious bore and a prissy little wimp. If he had even an touch of Hillary CLinton's testicular fortitude he might be able to write his way out of a pay toilet.

5/06/2008 2:38 PM  

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