Category Archives: Mexico

Mexico plays US politics


Pres. Enrique Peña Nieto’s invitation to the two U.S. candidates for president is one more instance of the growing role of Mexico in domestic American politics.
There was a time, now long ago politically, when Mexican politicians preferred to ignore what they considered an embarrassment of the Mexican American population in the U.S. and the massive flow of migrants from Below the Border. In more recent times, Mexican politicians have seen the growing size and activism in the Mxican American population as one of their negotiating weapons in the increasingly complex relationship with the U.S.
That relationship is one of the most intense of any neighbors in the world with U.S. goods and services trade with Mexico totaling an estimated $583.6 billion in 2015. Exports were $267.2 billion; imports $316.4 billion, with a goods and services trade deficit with Mexico almost $50 billion in 2015.
To some extent this business – the third largest foreign destination and source of American trade – is underpinned by the huge American Mexican American population. It is now estimated at 33 million or a tenth of the U. S. population, a third of whom were born in Mexico.
With its own population tripling in a half century to some 135 million by 2012, Mexico’s long-time monopoly ruling party, the Party of the Institutionalized Revolution [PRI], always had seen immigration to the U.S. as its steam escape valve. Still a largely subsistence agriculture economy with crippling leftwing ideological modifications introduced in the 1930s, Mexico could not provide jobs and livelihood for its population. The PRI did everything it could to push migrants over the border, all the while ignoring their existence in the U.S., but welcoming their remittances to relatives who hadn’t made the journey. [Trump has said he would block the largest remittance channel in the world, more than $23 billion annually. But like so many of Trumps’ proposals, it’s not clear how he could do that and if he could, how to avoid serious consequences to both economies.].
In more recent decades, Mexico has not only begun to try to acknowledger the large Mexican presence in the U.S. but its government – including a short ill-fated opposition interregnum by the Catholic-oriented and northern states based National Action Paty [PAN] has tried to exploit it. Mexican politicians have seen the possibility of its using the growing Mexican American political influence as a weapon in bilateral national negotiations.
Peña Nieto’s invitation to the two candidates to come to Mexico to discuss bilateral issues was a daring maneuver in this new game of growing interrelations. The invitation came despite what some would interpret as Trump’s hostile attitude toward Mexican emigration, including the illegals crossing a very leaky U.S. southern border.
Mexico’s population control policies, and the inevitable fall in birthrate with rising living standards, has somewhat reduced the pressure to push more Mexicans across the border. But even though the birthrate has been cut by two thirds in recent decades, at 1% in a population half of whom was under 25 in 2010, there are surplus workers even which a growing industrialization and modernized corporate agricultural sector [with exports to the U.S.] cannot absorb.
Donald Trump’s immediate acceptance of Peña Nieto’s invitation, despite what some in Mexico and the U.S. might have characterized as his antagonistic statements, was characteristic. He obviously saw it as another opportunity, whatever the outcome of his disussions with the Mexican president, as another of his successful media exploitations. And Hillary Clinton’s delayed response was equally characteristic of her inability to meet Trump’ unpredictable hursts – perhaps an omen for the what most observers believe will be the crucial candidate debates.
Trump has promised to slap restrictions on multinational companies’ exports from migrating U.S. manufacturing which moves south of the border to exploit lower wage and other operating costs. That would call for a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA], and perhaps negotiation of a new “Bracero” treaty – contract imported agricultural workers – to satisfy the agroindustrial lobby for unrestricted immigration.
Whatever the outcome of Trump;s talks in Mexico City – and they are likely to lead only to publicly announced generalities – he has scored points against Clinton. And at the same time, Peña Nieto will have made his point that Mexican policies [and [politics] can no longer be ignored by American politicians.
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Add to GoodReads
Mexico
Chaos on our Doorstep
Sol Sanders
Paperback
Sol Sanders presents a panorama of Mexico’s problems, gives reasons for the current situation, and explores the possible impact on the United States.
Madison Books
Pages: 232 • Size: 6 x 9
978-0-8191-7296-9 • Paperback • July 1989 • $14.95 • (£9.95)

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sws-08-31-16

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Misplaced charity


Pres. Barack Obama’s proposal for what would be a substantial new entry of Syrian refugees is a major miscalculation of traditional American morality and generosity.
It is true that the 13.5 million Syrian refugees, half of them expelled or hounded out of their country, are a momentous human tragedy. And America has almost always responded to some calamities.
But the question of additional Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. is part of a challenging failing American immigration policy which has become an extremely divisive political issue.
While generally unrecognized, it has arisen because of the profound changes which have taken place in worldwide migration patterns and the traditional one of entry into the U.S. Rapid and cheap transportation and communication has changed the pattern of the lives of newcomers to America.
In the great wave of American immigration of the late 19th and early 20th century, Europeans abandoned their homelands with a desire to build a new life in The New World. Ties to the old country, while culturally deep, dissolved – and, indeed, some ethnic and religious groups such as the Jews did not want to look back on persecution. Even the Italians, with their celebrated family ties, came and for the most part to their new neighborhoods, only occasionally maintained their European ties, mainly for remittances for family to follow them.
In the 21st century, immigrants to the U.S. may have much of the same motivation. But large numbers come for economic benefits and either maintain their relationships with their home countries, return at frequent intervals, or, indeed, return to their original homelands.
Those New York City Indian and Pakistani taxi drivers, for example, rarely bring their families, and return on long “vacations” to their families with whom they are in constant contact through cheap communication. This group, like other migrants with similar patterns, have no intention of becoming ‘Americans” in the traditional way although they might acquire U.S. citizenship for convenience and profit. Important, often influential, groups such as these exist today at every level of American society including the highest echelons of business and culture in our major cities.
Another significant difference from past patterns of immigration is that welcoming ethnic or religious communities in the U.S. which once helped integrate the newcomers are no longer prominent if they exist at all. Syrian Moslems, for example, find little institutional aid from coreligionists when they immigrate to the U.S. And, in fact, some of the existing Moslem organizations are suspect with ties to the Moslem Brotherhood, the fountainhead of Islamic terrorism. Ostensibly pursuing an electoral policy [The Brotherhood’s strategy of “One man, one vote – one time!”], Its attempt to establish an Islamic dictatorship was proved quickly to the satisfaction of the Egyptian electorate which welcomed the military back to power.]
On August First U/S. Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued “temporary protected status” to some 8,000 Syrian, many of whom had arrived in the U.S. illegally. He did so, he said, because ““Syria’s lengthy civil conflict has resulted in … [A]ttacks against civilians, the use of chemical weapons and irregular warfare tactics, as well as forced conscription and use of child soldiers have intensified the humanitarian crisis.” Another 7,000 Syrian refugees – many of them persecuted Christians and other non-Moslem minorities — have been admitted legally to the U.S. since Oct. 1, 2015. Obama announced in September that the U.S. would admit 10,000 Syrian refugees by Sept. 30, 2016.
But GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has attacked this decision, arguing that – as FBI Director John Comey has admitted – despite elaborate UN and US procedures to process them, little is known of the refugees’ background. Daesh [ISIS or ISIL] like other Mideast terrorists has made no secret of their attempt to infiltrate refugee communities. Only a few such subversives, given the gruesome “effectiveness” of suicide bombers, could defeat efforts to defend Americans against attacks such as took place in Orlando, San Bernardino and Ft. Hood by immigrants.
American charity might better be directed toward relief efforts for the Syrian refugees in the region. Oil-rich neighbors in the Persian Gulf have not met demands that they absorb, at least temporarily, Syrians [and other Mideasterners masquerading as Syrians] who have moved into Jordan, Turkey and Western Europe by the hundreds of thousands. [Germany took in more than a million migrants from the Mideast last year, and difficulties of absorbing them and with highly dramatized attacks on women and other crinmes, are now producing a backlash against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcome].
Illegal migration from Mexico and Central America has already become a major problem for U.S. immigration policy, developing into a political football between the parties based on a still nebulous growing influence of Spanish-speaking voters. Adding the Syrian problem to this controversy neither benefits the humanitarian goals of its sponsors nor the formulation of new American immigration policies to meet a new world of migration.
sws-08-4-16

Viva Mexico Libre!


The news that Mexico is moving one more step to break the monopoly of Petróleos Mexicanos [Pemex], the government-owned producer and until now monopoly retailer, is big and good news.
With the world’s tenth largest economy, Mexican growth at between four and five percent over the past few years is considered well below its potential. The World Bank reckons less than 2% of Mexico’s population lives below the international poverty line but the Mexican government estimates a third of its population in moderate poverty and some ten percent of that in extreme poverty.
Competing with Brazil as Latin America’s largest economy, the country has vast disparities of income, including between those more prosperous states bordering the U.S. Mexico City and the south. Growing remittances, largely from the U.S.’ southwest, are an important part of the country’s income, more than $22 billion in 2012. But all this produces tax revenues of less than 20 percent of GDP [2013], the lowest among the 34 OECD countries.
Although Mexico is the sixth largest oil producer in the world, its exports have fallen from just under 62% of total exports in 1980 to just over 7% in 2000. Most observers agree this is a result of the inefficient monopoly over its oil resources and distribution by Pemex which has neither the capital – even though it provides more than 60% of government revenues – nor the technology to expand to meet domestic and foreign demand. But long the holy of holies for Mexico’s left, opening it up to competition and collaboration with foreign oil companies has been fought at every step since the 2014 decision was made to privatize at least some aspects of the monopoly.
Now the government has announced it will allow private companies to import gasoline for the first time since the late 1930s. That will permit the country’s independently owned 11,400 filling stations now all bound to Pemex franchises to link with other companies. The government had already permitted Pemex to form joint ventures with foreign companies to explore for more oil and increase production. But that may be years away given the bureaucracy and the long neglected technological aspects of the company.
Opening service stations to other franchises is going to be the most visible aspect of the new more liberal strategy and, hopefully, encourage faster development of the whole process. London-based Gulf Oil International already has plans to slap its Gulf de Mexico brand on a few stations in the largest cities, to expand to a wide scale national network. Motorists will be enthusiastic because of the poor service of most Pemex stations including shortchanging customers according to widespread convictions by Mexico’s consumer-protection agency.
Still, it is going to be a slow process. Mexico already imports more than half of its daily consumption of gasoline from the U.S. because the country has only six refineries. Pemex controls virtually all of the oil and gas infrastructure — pipelines and storage facilities — and the government is encouraging investors to expand the infrastructure to supply the newly freed stations. .
With trade running at well over $530 billion in 2015, the U.S.’ number three trading partner, American have a special interest in seeing more rapid liberalization and growth of the Mexican economy. Mexico, whose free trade pact with the U.S. produced a trade surplus of nearly $60 billion last year can afford to see an increase of U.S. imports – along with an accompanying investment and technology transfer for what has become its dormant oil industry. Hopefully, the Obama Administration will be pushing these developments ahead of its curious interest in the Cuban Communist dictatorship.
sws-04-01-16

“Intelligence” and intelligence


Some of those who pursue a lifetime career in the 17 intelligence sectors of our armed forces and the civilian agencies promulgate a good deal of goobledegook. As in all highly touted [and relatively highly compensated] professions, it is part of “protecting” the turf.

But if truth were told, a good deal of Intelligence is simply intelligence, that is a thoughtful pursuit of well identified goals. Yes, there is the so-called “tradecraft” – the methodology of gathering information. A good deal of it, perhaps the overwhelming majority, is what outsiders would normally call collecting dumb facts. That’s why during the height of The Cold War, the Soviets’ largest embassy outside the Communist Bloc was in Mexico City. It was a joke among knowledgeable Mexicans that most of its personnel didn’t speak Spanish. What they did do was collect what would otherwise pass as ordinary materials from the U.S. – everything from catalogues to telephone books.

The talking heads gossiping on what is going on in the world [should we say intelligence?] are in one of their periodic hysterias about whether U.S. government intelligence is adequate. It is occasioned, by again a not unknown phenomenon, of a group in “the community” who have gone to the media with stories about how they are being short-circuited. They complain, with apparent justification, that their information being passed up the line to decision makers – finally to the chief decision maker, the President – isn’t being heard. Or worse still, that the word is coming down to modify findings to fit preconceived policies of the Administration. The particular issue at hand, apparently, is the evaluation of Daesh as the Arabs call it, the premier organization of Islamic fundamentalists who have created a ministate.

Gen. Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, one of the biggest players in the Community, squeezed out of office by White House advisers, is on the loose. Flynn takes umbrage, quite rightly, in accusations that it was the Community which failed to identify Daesh early on as a potent force in the chaotic Middle East. Not so, he vehemently protests, his own organization and others did identify Daesh [ISI or ISIL] as a threat to U.S. interests. That, of course, would seem to be what Pres. Obama did not know or hear or get when more than a year ago he called Daesh the Varsity Team, denigrating its potency.

We are now going to have one of those inquiries into whether, indeed,
“intelligence” is being twisted or rejected on is way up the ladder to the policymakers, particularly the White House. We are not very sanguine that we will get much satisfaction from the investigation. For one thing, as is his wont, Obama has already publicly reached a decision before the inspector general announces his verdict.

‘Intelligence” has unfortunately been plagued through the ages with failures. Pearl Harbor used to be the most dramatic modern example, when all the evidence – including thoughtful estimates by our then ambasssador to Japan Joseph C. Grew had long argued where Japanese [and American policy] were heading. And, indeed, he sent a warning by a fellow diplomat almost a year ahead of the event. The latest debacle, or perceived as one by many, is the reporting which led to Pres. George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and bring down Sadam Hussein. Bush’s critics, especially those on the other side of the aisle, are fond is declaring that this was a perversion of intelligence. In fact, the argument that Iraq was pursuing weapons of mass destruction was built on a a body of facts and conjectures shared by all the other intelligence organizations of our allies.

Bottom line: “intelligence” is, in the end, intelligence, put together by people who are neither 10-feet tall nor have a sixth sense. Better to try to usher our best minds into following such a career and take our lumps when they make mistakes. But, above all, we must honor the profession and see that its product reaches the consumer in a pristine fashion, undiluted by a backward flow of instructions.

sws-11-23-15

 

 

 

Anchor Babies


Anchor Babies
It may be a new nomenclature – odious to some — but it is not a new phenomenon, far from it.
In Sol Sanders’ Mexico: Chaos on our doorstep, 1989, he records how Los Angeles medical services senior officials reported their budgets for prenatal extension clinics was being impacted by growing numbers of Mexican illegal women birthing their children from free. They came then temporarily, they reported, to take advantage of free and better services not available in Mexico, and then returned home, waiting for the time, then, when at 17 under U.S. law their offsprings could choose his or her citizenship. In fact, the practice was even older than that: Sanders’ researcher and translator for the book had a teenage son, whom she had given birth to in California even though she was a Mexican citizen and resident at the time.
Like all the other “undocumented immigrants”, the statistics on how many children are born of illegal migrant mothers – either those in permanent residence or hospital-temporaries – are going to be vague. They will be exaggerated in some quarters and diminished in others for obvious reasons. They media is throwing around 300,000 annually. But since we are even skeptical of the current 11-million figure being tossed about by the media as the number of undocumented here, we wonder.
There, again, there are vast complications: what part of the mothers are have overstayed legitimate visas. [You get a stamp at the immigration cubicle, told to report – if when and and how your presence becomes a real question. But many, probably most, do not report.] And in the past, many of not most of them ha not been Mexican or Central American citizens, but Europeans, Middle Easterners and Asians. That would seem to be all the more so these days with many more migrants coming from those parts of the world – excluding Europe – than in the past.
It is here, of course, that Obamacare, and the growing difficulties of Medicaid and Mtdicare. collide with the problems of the undocumented, perhaps even more than the accusation that the illegals are using other parts of the social welfare system. Hospitals, some supposedly nonprofit but gobbling up private practices at high prices in order to fund their own probably extravagant officials’ salaries and rising medical costs, are carrying a heavy load through the Emergency Room open-doors.
We note a small hospital, probably overexpanded in the past, in a small Virginia village we know, keeps a doctor and nurse on 24-hour standby although rarely used except for the occasional traffic accident or heart attack, together with standby ambulance and first providers.
All this only begins to suggest the real “transformation” which is going to be needed come a new presidency in 2016. The Obama Administration has talked grandiloquently of curing the nation’s long term problems, but there is no reason to believe that Obamacare – whatever its qualities – has done much to attack such basic issues in the medical system. And the growing insurance premiums and increasingly whopping deduction provisos certainly add weight to our argument.
Mr. President 2017, we are waiting with baited breath!
sws-08-28-15

Energy: let’s go!


The markets – including old-fashioned American technological know-how – has almost turned the Obama Administration’s original energy policies 180 degrees.
But there is still a lot to be done. And it will require the cooperation of a Congress, too long besotted with narrow-minded subsidies for powerful lobbies.
The Obama Administration which started out six years ago calling for outrageous gasoline prices to force the country into so-called new, green energies, has lost the game. That’s been acknowledged by several recent quiet White House decisions along the way toward an enlightened energy strategy, the basis, of course, of all economic and most of our social activity.
With the growing technological breakthrough in shale gas and oil, the U.S. again has the potential to be a net exporter. And letting the markets – rather than government fiat – decide which and where would be a major step in energy rationalization is obviously the way to go. Along the way, we would joint Gov. Rick Perry and others who have called for dismantling the Energy Department, which, where effective, duplicates other federal government activities.
New and hugely important developments are popping up everywhere:
The White House has just okayed a swap of lighter American crudes for Mexican heavier petroleum for which we have refinery capacity in the southwest [designed originally and still working on similar Venezuelan imports]. That’s not the lifting of all export controls which ought to be a high priority, their heritage going back to the 1970s embargos and our dependence on foreign oil.
The Sabine Pass, Texas, liquified natural gas facility, originally designed for imports, has signed a deal on 2011 permits to ship LNG to France. With U.S. domestic gas prices a fraction of LGP delivered prices in East Asia, there are a dozen applications for the expensive export facilities to cash in on the global market, now Europe too reinforced with the US-EU sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s machinatioins in Ukraine menacing his high-cost oil and gas exports..
Dutch Shell, which has already spent $7 billion looking for oil and gas off the Arctic coasts of Alaska, has now received permission for offshore deep drilling for gas. Later this month Alaska Governor Bill Walker argue in a personal session with Obama l that his state’s LNG and natural gas development is a main strategy to cut carbon emissions and lower energy costs. With proposals for his state to take 51% of some new oil and gas developments, he has a sheaf of proposals for a huge boost for Alaska’s revenues, impacted by the general economic downturn.
Looking back, luckily there were enough private shale holdings to develop the technologies which have brought about the whole energy revolution. And kudos again go to the industry for meeting – at least so far – Saudi efforts to undercut American shale production by going full blast in their own production and export to keep world prices low.
Yet several factors have so far defeated the Saudis in their effort to sabotage American selfsufficiency: the increasing skills of American technology, the cutbacks in China’s imports because of a rapidly declining economy and a moderation in the anticipated Indian takeoff, and the cutback in American imports because of the shale bonanza.
The Obama Administration has even timidly announced what could be one of the most important reforms in the domestic economy: removing the forced use of grain alcohols [ethanol] in gasoline sold gasoline sold at domestic pumps. Although ethanol has been a hallowed icon for some enviromentalists, its actual application has been a $10 billion a year bill for the taxpayer. Furthermore, the process distorts the food chain: making ethanol of corn requires huge tracts of land, fertilizers, pesticides, tractor and truck fuel, and natural gas for processing. That’s even a pretty strong argument against forcing the motorists to use it for the dedicated enviromentalist.
There is a worldwide economic and moral issue as well. Turning corn into ethanol raises feed prices and thereby the cost of beef, pork, chicken, eggs, fish and international food aid. It raises world food prices, a critical problem for many in the backward parts of the world who are food importers. So in addition to other concerns, there is a humanitarian aspect as well.
Ethanol is a bobanza of course, for the auto repairman. It wreaks havoc on the automobile itself, especially older cars. It can cause gaskets and other rubber parts to fail, causing fuel leaks and even engine failure or fires. With every prospect of American fossil fuel surpluses for the foreseeable future it is time to step back to the market and end required ethanol additives for gasoline and diesel fuel.
sws-09-18-15

Close the damned border!


Just when we thought the so-called debate about immigration couldn’t get more screwed up, we get another round.
Donald Trump provided the gotcha media with a confused statement on illegals, and then trying to take it back in the fashion of Jeb Bush with his Iraq War fandango.
Then a prince of the Church wades in accusing Trump of being a neo-Klu Klux Klaner. [Would it be uncharitable of us to suspect this, too, has something to do with the growing competition in Latin America between their traditional Church and the evangelicals?] In any case, the good father has overshot his critique since we don’t have any evidence that Trump, whatever else his sins, is a racist.
Then we get the more disheartening news involving the death of innocents at the hands of illegal Mexican immigrants with criminal records. Nothing could be more heart-rending than the most recent story of a couple and their daughter who stopped to help a roadside motorist only to be murdered. But then he was an illegal who had been here so long, ICE officials had given him a green card!
And so it goes …
It is unlikely that debate among the Republican aspirants coming up shortly will do much to clarify issues.
So may we add our few cents, restating the more than obvious basis on which any sensible eventual solution of the knotty immigration conundrum is to be found?
We don’t know how many illegal aliens are in the U.S. And we suspect that ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] doesn’t either. Have you noticed that suddenly the mainstream media has abandoned the 12 million figure for an 11 million estimate – a million here, and a million there, as someone has said, and you have a lot of illegals. Has anyone among our learned professional colleagues asked ICE where they get that figure?
More than a few years ago when the predecessor to ICE estimated the illegals at 5 million, we asked for an accounting procedure. We were told that it was based on examining the number of applications for visas from a particular country and then on-the-spot census takers. Our response was that we doubted if one of their young ladies with her clipboard wading into what was then called Spanish Harlem would know the difference between Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Hispanics masquerading as Puerto Ricans who, of course, had U.S. citizenship
The reason we ask where the estimate comes from is that somewhere, again, pulled out of an old Christmas Eve sock, someone has said that 40% of the illegals are actually legal immigrants who have simply overstayed their visas. Were that the case, then we are probably talking about a much larger portion of illegals being non-Latino– with their economy in collapse again, for example, we suspect there may be more Irish overstaying as was the case in the past.
Enough said.
The beginning and end of this whole discussion has to be the simple proposition of closing the southern border and tightening up at immigration airports.
We don’t underestimate that problem. And that is why we say it is principle concern and should take all the energies of all those – calling all Congressmen – who sincerely want to deal with the problem. As Gov. Rick Perry has shown with the Texas National Guard, we know what is required to seal the border..
Once the borders are sealed against additional immigration – a big if for we know there are special interests, not the least the agro-industrial lobby, that wants a unskilled, cheap and dependent labor – we can proceed. Contrary to the fiction perpetrated on both sides of the aisle, our own Latino populations – who are the first victims of the illegal presence here – are not wedded to continued wideopen borders and their Texas votes have proved they are not for sale only on that issue.
But the beginning of any solution of the presence of whatever number of illegals is in the country, and other issues connected with it, lies first in closing the border.
Can we stick to that one goal for the moment please, and end this circus?
sws-08-0115

Strategy, any one?


 

“Okay, smart-a___, what is your strategy?”

In a [rather large] nutshell; here are the tactics which when pulled together make up a grand strategy:

Domestic

Make an “America is back!” speech from the Oval Office in the White House modeled on Harry Truman’s “Doctrine” speech of 1947. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/harrystrumantrumandoctrine.html   Its principal theme would be recognition that the U.S. and its allies are launched in an extended war — and still far from being won — against the Islamic jihadists.

Immediately ask Congress for emergency lifting of all Sequestration applying to the Department of Defense, the CIA and other security agencies for five years. Halt and reverse with continuing extension and recruitment the personnel cutbacks now decimating the American armed forces.

Reverse energy policies to provide the U.S. economy and our allies with a noninflationay stimulus of cheaper fuel, simultaneously directly providing hundreds of thousands of new jobs, by:

 

  • Administratively, opening up all federal lands [including offshore Virginia, etc.] to fracking,
  • Administratively, waiving all EPA regs on fracking for five years.
  • Administratively, fast-tracking applications for the dozen or so outstanding applications for liquefied natural gas export facilities, putting on hold any Environmental Protection Agency regulations concerning them for a five-year period.
  • Asking  Congress to lift all oil and gas export restrictions, including a waiver on EPA fossil fuel export regs for five years. [These exports would begin to supply allies in Europe and Asia and simultaneously help mend the balance of payments hemorrhage against the dollar.]
  • Immediately okaying the XL Keystone Pipeline and other Canadian applications for pipelines into the U.S. directed at Houston refineries and their export facilities.
  • Pushing Detroit and foreign-owned auto companies to organize and subsidize a national network of filling stations for an expanded production and use of LNG-fueled vehicles.

To reinforce federalism, begin the rescission of the 17th amendment, restoring the original intent of the Founders by returning the power on how to elect senators to the states, freeing the states to determine their own method including indirect election by the various legislatures. [Most of the turn of the 20th century arguments for direct election are now better ones for indirect election, e.g., “it’s a millionaire’s club”.]

Resurrect the independent U.S. Information Service with a cabinet post and assistant secretaries from State, Defense and CIA. The new department would incorporate the Board of International Broadcasting, expanding Radio Liberty [with renewed local language broadcasts to Central Asia] in order to tell “the American story” to the world.

Mideast

            Bomb the ISIL in Syria and Iraq “back to the stone age” with a massive WWII type aerial bombardment. In riposte, sanction all banks and financial institutions – including third parties, and, of course, including all Russian and the Chinese institutions – doing business with the al Assad regime.

“Pressure” Turkey to accept a NATO mission on its southeast flank to work directly with the secular and “moderate” Islamic anti-Assad forces from a Turkish sanctuary. Organize with our NATO partners a joint “request” that Ankara release immediately all imprisoned Turkish journalists as the first step in reinaugurating the movement toward a civil society. Let Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan know if he does not acquiesce to these quiet pressures and move back from his drift into Islamism, Washington will demand Turkey’s expulsion from NATO.

Reinvoke strict sanctions on Tehran until the mullahs accept a NATO – not the UN IAEI which has been so notoriously inept — inspection of their nuclear activities. Slam the possibility of military intervention “back on the table” and be prepared for surgical strikes to slow if not deter the Mullahs’ acquisition of WMD.

Administratively, add the Moslem Brotherhood to the State Department’s terrorist list, and direct the FBI to insure that all domestic Islamic organizations [including mosques] with formal and informal ties to the Brotherhood be put on a terrorist alert list.

Lift all restrictions on arms to Egypt now being temporarily enforced and invite al Sisi to visit the U.S. before mid-summer 2015.

Persuade al Sisi to abandon his dicey Second Suez Canal Project. Instead round up  Gulf States, Israel’s Dead Sea Works, the World Bank [IBRD] and private European, American and Japanese capital to fund the Qattara Depression Project to provde Egypt with cheap hydropower and a new chemical industry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qattara_Depression_Project

Immediately and with considerable public fanfare accept Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s request for stationing additional American forces [he has called for 10,000] on the world largest air base at Al Udeid [Abu Nakhlah Airport], the U.S. Army base at Sayliyah and the U.S. base at Doha. Then, “encourage” the Gulf States [UAE, Dubai, Saudi Arabia] in concert with the United Arab Republic [Egypt] to ultimatum the Sheik to end all payments and subsidies to the Moslem Brotherhood, Hamas, al Nusr and ISIL and to both Arabic and English al Jazeera networks — “or else”. Compensate by helping the EU, and especially Germany, to negotiate greater LNG purchases from Qatar, if necessary using additional European storage facilities, to negate the Russian fossil fuels blackmail.

Immediately supply Ukraine with necessary heavy weapons and technical assistance to meet Pres. Vladimir Putin’s aggression.

Reoccupy with significant ground forces and maximum publicity the old Wheelus U.S. Air Force base at Mitiga International Airport in eastern Libya. “Encourage” Gen. Khalifa Belqasim Haftar to negotiate merger of Libya with the United Arab Republic [Egypt] with the help of ENI [Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi ] whereby the huge oil revenues could be stolen and wasted more beneficially.

“Persuade” the UN to amalgamate the UNWRA [special Palestinian UN organization with its enormous budget] with the UN Refugee Organization with the appointment of an American administrator by withholding the major part of both their fundings from the American taxpayer [as was done earlier to reform UNESCO and ILO]. Insist on a purging UNWRA staff, ejecting all those who have worked for or been active in Hamas, a terrorist organization so designated by the US and its allies.

Europe

Put the ruffles and flourishes back into the Anglo-American alliance with its attendant links to Canada, Australia and New Zealand as the cornerstone of NATO and America’s world alliance strategies.

Deliver SAPiest heavy weapons and technical assistance to Ukraine in its fight against the invasion by Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin’s forces and block Moscow intervention in rewriting the structure of the Kyiv regime.

Establish a NATO base in Estonia.

Move into lock-step with the French in tamping down West and Central African violence [see below].

See that the NATO Rapid Deployment Force becomes a reality SAPiest with the training on a level with the U.S.’ and Britain’s Special Forces.

Prepare for the eventual collapse of the Euro.

East & South Asia

Quietly assign a senior U.S. diplomat to a special U.S.-Japan-Korea commission to sit sine die to help sort out issues between Tokyo and Seoul with special personal representatives of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Pres. Park Geun-hye. [Their grandfather and father, respectively, established postwar relations between the two countries.] This would aim to smooth over the most important obstacle in an American-led defensive alliance in Asia against North Korea and Communist China threats.

Reinvoke the strict sanctions earlier used to induce the North Koreans to come to heel, including third party sanctions against any financial institutions who deal with them, openly or clandestinely. They would be lifted when an international inspection team consisting of Americans, Japanese and the NATO allies certify its weapons of mass destruction programs have been ended.

Nudge ASEAN to resurrect the intent of Sec. of State John Foster Dulles’ 1950s Southeast Asia Treaty Organization with the headquarters again in Thailand, and hold out admission possibility to Vietnam [if it makes major “reforms”, that is de-Communize] in its feud with Communist China.

Push Taiwan rearmament and “invite” the Republican Party to cuddle up to the Democratic Progressive Party to pressure the Kuomintang back into a stronger line against amalgamation with the Mainland to maintain the oinly democratic society in Chines history.

Latin America

Initiate “tough love” with Mexico, e.g., introduce legislation to subsidize American investment in Mexican oil and gas in exchange for joint paramilitary border operations to halt illegal flow of immigrants to the U.S. with reinforced joint patrols on both sides of the border and a joint U.S.-Mexican undercover immigration control force on the Mexican-Guatemala border. Reach agreement on new “modalities” for protecting American citizens traveling, visiting and doing business in Mexico, matching those affording Mexican citizens in the U.S.

Swap new legal provisions for bond concessions to the Argentines for their cooperation in U.S. Latin American projects, especially cleaning up “ice” trafficking through Rosario and Iranian penetration of neighboring Paraguay, and a quit-claim to the Falkland Islands.

Introduce legislation to reinstitute the macro aspects of the Cuban embargo at the same time removing all restrictions on movement to and from Cuba by American and Cuban citizens.

Africa

Move U.S. Africom to a new joint U.S.-French-Portuguese-NATO base to be built rapidly with port and air facilities on São Tome e Principe in the Gulf of Guinea while pursuing a campaign of destruction with African and Eruopean allies against Boka Harum.

If this seems a formidable list, it is indeed. It it seems an impossible list, remember that a population less than half the present one in the American war mobilization between 1939 and 1944 doubled real wages in the U.S., produced 229,600 aircraft, added 5,000 ships to the existing merchant fleet, even though two-thirds of the economy was devoted directly to military equipment — and simultaneously won a war against two formidable enemies. It took leadership and political resolve. But just as the attack on Pearl Harbor alerted a recalcitrant nation, however far current leadership has drifted away the country should be reminded that 9/11 was proof that “the splendid isolation” of the U.S. from the rest of the world’s troubles during the 19th century is long past history.

But no amount of posturing over strategy and tactics will suffice if the leadership is irresolute and tries to wish away the dangers of that world jungle that has now physically encroached.

sws-09-07-14

Down Mexico way: big trouble


Alas! The old clichés about Mexico are coming home again. New York Times veteran Scottie Reston had said: “Americans will do anything for Latin America – except read about it.” When four people connected with the U.S. consulate in Juarez were gunned down in March, three of them American citizens, it didn’t make the front pages. The murders came on the heels of 79 Americans killed in Mexico in 2009.

How to account for this refusal to recognize a primary security problem escalating along our 1500-mile southern border? In the mid-80s, returning from decades in Asia, it didn’t take perspicacity to recognize the classic problems of “underdevelopment” were present here, not in distant Afro-Asia. Mexico and the U.S. then as now had the only land border between the industrial societies and the Third World. The book I wrote then – the title hyped but certainly appropriate now, “Mexico: Chaos on our doorstep” – mostly only needs statistical updating.

That other classic Mexico cliché, too, bears repeating just now. Profirio Diaz, the late 19th century dictator, said, “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the U.S.” There is no denying that we provide the world’s largest market for “recreational drugs” – conservative estimates put Mexico’s total drug smuggling in 2009 at between $25 to $40 billion, more than the country’s No. 1 export, oil. There is evidence that smugglers also supply the illicit weaponry from the U.S. which fuels a hideous war among crime “cartels” controlling the traffic inside Mexico [and increasingly on this side of the border] and against their government.

The increase in violence – including kidnappings, beheadings, torture, killing of innocent women and children – is feeding on and contributing to Mexico’s economic problems. With all the bad publicity and world recession, tourism fell by 15% in 2009, the first time in a decade, as violence spreads out over the country. The benefits of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement have been eroded by competition for Mexican border “twin plants” from “the China price”, creating additional unemployment. And Mexico’s “escape valve” – the flow of illegal immigrants with their remittances sent back home – has been severely curtailed, not so much by border enforcement as by dwindling job prospects in the U.S.

One thing seems predictable: the mowing down of American citizens in Mexico will be followed by the next act, violence on a new scale spilling over into our own border cities. It has already happened in legendary Laredo. The exceptionally low major crime rate in El Paso, Juarez’ “norteno” twin, suggests that American border cities are increasingly safe havens for higher-ups reaping drug profits.

Some Mexicans – the usual gaggle on the left, but even voices in his own conservative party – have faulted Mexican Pres. Felipe de Jesus Calderon for his all-out “war” on the drug barons. His critics see that as sparking the violence. But not to have moved against the increasingly sophisticated crime syndicates would have been to allow a further erosion of civil government, turning Mexico into a narco-state. That his campaign has been, at best, only partially successful, is surely partly because the problem had been allowed to drift for so long – corrupting the police, the military, and even Mexico’s legal system.

Ten days after the Juarez bloodbath, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “war cabinet” [including high U.S. military] swept into Mexico City for an elaborate restatement of Washington’s pledge to help Mr. Calderon. But for all the rhetoric, policing the border – for illegal entrants more and more intertwined with drug trafficking – has not been a high priority for this Administration as it was not for Pres. George W. Bush.

Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano says she is canceling out the whole high-tech “virtual” border surveillance project which was intended to help an embattled, underfunded border patrol. That may be a correct decision; it wouldn’t be the first time Washington had been scammed by oversold exepsnsive technical shortcuts. But it also could be seen as a signal that, once more, border security is being given short shrift. What makes for suspicion is that Ms. Napolitano, despite her border state background [former Arizona governor] has made one gaff after another about border security, once, for example, claiming the Canadian border had a higher priority for terrorism. Her latest was publicly to reveal participation of uniformed American military in Mexico, certain to insight nationalist sentiment there.

Pres. Barack Obama has a full plate, without doubt. However, shortly, apparently, he plans to inaugurate a new effort to draw up immigration legislation, to somehow treat the problem of the 12-15 million mostly Mexican illegals in country. But the problem of growing violence in Mexico, the disappearing border, and intimate U.S. domestic connections which feed both, must begin to take a higher priority. It’s important that if and when Congress starts the immigration debate, it grapple with its Siamese twin, the growing drug violence on our southern border. Neither can stand alone in any solution.

sws-03-02-10