No doubt the importance of the goings on in Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently Georgia. And no doubt much of what both Presidential candidates have had to say in these past few weeks matters to Americans.
But as the economy does or does not face "collapse" (depending on who you talk to) whatever draft the US and Iraq have agreed upon for re-deployment of ground forces out of Iraqi cities, however dire things look in Afghanistan and whether or not Russia lives up to it's cease fire agreement and pulls forces out of Georgia; there still remains a rather pressing issue that isn't taking place on another continent.
Quite the contrary it's taking place right along our own national border and is bleeding across the Rio Grand and into America as Americans are being snatched on US soil, brought to Mexico and held for ransom. It is the slow decay of the Mexican state as drug cartels and Mexican authorities wage what is quickly coming to look much more like a civil war than a mere crime wave.
At least 43 people died in violent attacks in the last three days in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua, the scene of ongoing drug gang turf wars, police said Monday.
Thirteen males, aged between 18 and 41, died in separate attacks on Monday, mostly in the flashpoint city of Ciudad Juarez on the US border, local police said.
Assassins killed nine people overnight Sunday in the city, following the slaying of 21 people the previous night, including 14 in a massacre at a family gathering in the western Chihuahua town of Creel.
Violence has escalated throughout the country since President Felipe Calderon, who took office at the end of 2006, launched a military crackdown on drug trafficking.
A baby was one of the 14 murdered in Saturday's shooting in Creel, believed to be part of a drug gang feud.
"Armed men, travelling in at least three vans and carrying heavy-duty weapons, fired on some 20 people who were leaving the town's dance hall," local police said.
Creel, in the Sierra Tarahumara mountains near Mexico's Copper Canyon, is on the main drug route from Mexico to the United States, but had previously registered only one violent death this year.
Foreign policy beyond our immediate borders is tantamount to America's well being and primacy on the global stage. It would seem, however, that our attentions are so focused abroad that we've given little notice of the firestorm brewing along our southern border and the direct effect this battle will have on our own cities.
Of course neither candidate for the Presidency is likely to even blink at my own very obvious first step in containing what could spread beyond containment. A look at our "war on drugs" and how it virtually invites the creation of blackmarketeering and then facilitates the enormous cartels that grow, like weeds, from such prosperity. America's "war on drugs" is effing well Providence for Mexican drug cartels.
For every DEA task force churned out, every minor drug bust on the streets of Phoenix, Los Angeles or New York (sorry, a little aside here: the police prefer minor drug busts, they look great in terms of quota and career and are very easy to obtain. The police prefer volume over anything else. The locals watching the police bust some chump on the corner while a fat cat gets rich calling the shots from their pads in the same neighborhood view the police as going after the "little guy" and so cooperation and trust are, shall we say, not much) the cost of the narcotic increases right down the line. Demand remains the same while supply is suddenly limited, the price rises.
If three chumps go down in a neighborhood the neighborhood price goes up and three more chumps line up to take their place. If a city hub goes down the price goes up right around the city and another city hub takes his place and enjoys an increase in profits. I think you get my point. For every knothead that finds himself behind bars there are many who are willing to take his place and enjoy the profits he leaves behind. Whatever the level of trade, from street corner pusher to state kingpin directing the flow of narcotics in a thousand lucrative directions, a reduction in supply realizes an increase in profits.
Great thing about addiction, the bargain hunting is limited but the need is certain. If the supply is there it will be bought. The guy hawking on the corner knows this and the drug cartels hammering the state of northern Mexico know this. It'll be interesting to see if either candidate takes this rather eminent issue on and how they ply their never ending promises regarding it. Whatever their promises it will be a matter of policy to be attended in January 2009.