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Disorderly conduct

8 April 2009

Boz (my “inside the beltway” mole) writes (my emphasis):

Unitas, now in its 50th year, will be based out of Mayport, FL (most years, it does a circuit around Latin America) and will focus on countering piracy and drug trafficking. Participating this year will be Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico and Peru. Mexico’s participation in the joint naval exercise would be a first and still hangs on a controversial congressional vote next week that is uncertain…

There’s nothing controversial about the vote. The Constitution is clear on this — Congressional approval is required any time the Mexican Navy is dispatched to foreign waters.  What is controversial is that that the Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice-Chairman, Marine Corps General James “Hoss” Cartwright took it upon himself to say that Mexico WOULD participate.

There’s a logical argument (one I don’t agree with, but logical) that Mexico should participate in military activities outside its own borders, and there may be nothing wrong with a training exercise.  There is genuine opposition to breaking with tradition and concerns within all Latin American military circles about the 4th fleet, but given the General’s statement, what might have passed through Congress without much opposition now is a controversy.

The Obama Administration has shown itself to be woefully tone-deaf when it comes to Mexican law and sensibilities (no change from any administration since James Monroe’s tenure).  One has to assume the General is speaking for the United States government, and it sounds like an order.

Mexicans hate being told what to do, even by other Mexicans.  When it’s the U.S. Navy doing the telling, it can get ugly.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 April 2009 2:39 pm

    The tone-deafness is really a problem. I can’t convince my own kids in the States that Obama, et. al. are tone-deaf, let alone that we don’t live amidst shoot-’em ups or that Mexico should not be talked down to not only because it’s rude to do so but because Mexico is a full-fledged country, not a bunch of poor people clambering at the border and narcos.

  2. Ken Walker permalink
    29 August 2012 3:51 pm

    I agree Esther, my wife and I vacation and travel in Mexico and while the Mexican people that we have met are kind and generous the accommodations and conveniences are world class. I get so annoyed when speaking of our times in Mexico only to hear that Mexico is a third world country but you can’t argue with ignorance.

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