In 1974, authors Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, writing in their seminal science fiction novel “The Mote In God’s Eye”, coined a character concept called “Crazy Eddie”, a concept-figure who would appear in a society’s mindset at time of extreme social stress, and take the most insane and contradictory actions possible, which usually resulted in accelerating the collapse of a society or civilization.
The world is in a remarkable state of tumult as of September 1 of 2023. The war in Ukraine is well into its second year. In Africa, a wave of military coups is obliterating France’s sixty-plus year old “totally-not-an-empire”, sending the region and the wider world into a frenzy of impotent rage, as no one wants to wade into a quagmire against black nations standing up to imperialist and corporate interests. Russia and China, aside from rattling military sabers to whet the appetite of the ravenous bloodlust of the Western media and entertainment spheres, are quietly marching towards an economic checkmate against the West, in a move that will not simply destroy the Western business models, but will smash Western economies flat, potentially reducing many Western European economies to a state no scene since the post-World War 2 recovery, and the Marshall Plan…only there won’t be a Marshall Plan this time. Maybe a Putin-Xi Plan, but not a Marshall Plan.
Pretty heavy for an opening bit, eh?
Amid all of the current tumult in the United States – the possible return of Covid lockdown restrictions not least among those – there is a quietly increasing crescendo calling for actual military intervention – meaning, “invasion” – of Mexico, in order to “deal” with the flow of illegal drugs.
I wish I were joking.
The current power bloc in Washington, DC – supported by their cohorts in The City of London, Paris, and Brussels – had goaded Russia into what they thought would be a “warm-n-fuzzy” kind of “Cold War, 2.0”; what they got was a full-on invasion. Although there initial, hysterical screams to “go to war” with Russia, both from within the power blocs and from those in the general public who should probably be on emotional-management medications, it soon dawned on most people that “going to war” with Russia would almost certainly mean a “nuclear” war, that no one would “win”.
Then came Africa: Beginning in 2017 (YouTube link), people seemed to suddenly remember that there were still islamist jihadi’s out in the world, burning, looting, raping and killing people in order to serve the warped vision of religion espoused by a tortured political prisoner. However, murderous religious maniacs were “so three years ago”, and virtually no one on the “Western Street” considered barely-literate bandits hiding under the cloak of religious fervor to be an existential threat to Western civilization. Likewise, the recent wave of coups – not coming at the behest of Western governments and corporations – aren’t exactly revving the martial engines of Western populations being crushed under rancid economies and continual political scandals.
Something else was needed…And in the United States that answer is, increasingly, the illicit drug problem.
And it is a problem: tens of thousands of Americans die every year from drug overdoses, a large percentage involving the drug fentanyl. Unlike the normal cries for “Bayonets UP!”, however, this group of calls comes from the opposite side of the aisle: instead of Democrats leading the charge for military intervention, this time, the main thrust is coming from the Republican side of the fence.
This should not be a surprise, given the GOP’s continuous cries against illicit drugs. After all, it was no less a figure than Richard Nixon, who authorized the placing of cannabis (aka, “marijuana”) on the list of drugs as a Schedule 1 compound, right next to heroin – a position it retains to this writing – in 1970. And, like the vigorously enforced alcohol raids of the Prohibition Era – also enforced by successive Republican administrations – the GOP’s “war on drugs” has directly sparked the explosive growth of massive, high-revenue and well-armed and frighteningly well-equipped drug cartels, who have an international reach, and who have now diversified into human trafficking.
Given the abject inability of the US military to deal with the opium trade in Afghanistan during its twenty-year long occupation of the country – which saw opium poppy fields expand five-fold – the idea that a smaller military, struggling with recruiting efforts, and quietly speaking the dreaded “D-Word” out loud, can deal with the various drug cartels is not a matter for political or military debate, but a matter to be dealt with by mental health counselors.
The US military is having trouble recruiting people with bonuses exceeding $50,000 to sign up. As Mexico itself has discovered, military recruiters have a hard time competing with their counterparts in the Cartels, especially if the Cartel recruiters can use Mafia-like threats against potential recruits’ families. Likewise, the Cartels not only pay what regular forces term “combat pay”, but offer bounties against specific targets.
As well, with revenues between US$20 billion and US$60 billion per year (minimum), and far less overhead than conventional corporations and nation states, the Cartels have plenty of cash left over for high-intensity R&D: the wave of combat footage coming out of Ukraine, showing drones – from both sides – dropping small bomblets into trenches and bunkers are merely the current state of a technology pioneered by the Cartels, and refined in Syria in the aftermath of the rise of ISIL.
Much worse, from both a tactical and an operational standpoint, is the ability of Cartel members to blend into the general population. While islamist jihadis are comparatively easy to target, as they belong to a very narrow slice of the US population, Cartel members are a subset of the largest minority group in the United States. Where – to get rather “ugly” about it – potential jihadists tend to limit themselves to Muslim mosques, Cartel soldiers are largely Catholic, and are thus able to circulate freely among the Catholic population, the fastest-growing Christian denomination in the world.
The Cartel’s leadership echelons are not idiots. In fact, a distressing number began as military professionals, as is clear from their ability to organize a military-style logistics system. They are watching the rhetoric coming from within Washington, DC and various other organs, both from within the government, and from government-adjacent groups – nothing presented here is new to the Cartels.
Decades of neglect of border security, up to and including the recent encouragement of millions of desperate economic refugees to cross the southern border of the United States illegally – an action which helps to fuel the cartels’ diversified revenue structure, to say nothing of the very real physical dangers of the northern Mexican deserts and the human trafficking predations of the “coyotes” – has fueled an massive surge in drug-related deaths across the United States. Communist China is certainly complicit in this, as they are the Cartels’ prime suppliers of fentanyl precursor drugs…something they have no issue supplying, as Beijing sees this as “payback” for the Opium Wars…but that is a whole other story.
With the hyperventilating actions of people who should know better, calling for a Presidential authorization to use military force against the Cartels, alongside equally breathless and stentorian calls to designate the Cartels as “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” (FTO’s), and coupled to a military establishment that has seemingly lost its way, to the point where it is quietly considering a return to a military Draft, the notion of an all-out “hot” war on the southern border of the United States is the height of lunacy, a lunacy driven by both sides of increasingly incompetent power blocs.
“We, the People” have allowed our “elected” leaders to paint us into a corner, a corner from which there is no real way out, except through the use of extreme levels of violence.
Kind of like Africa in the last few months.