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A secret plan to end the war?

16 June 2010

Bloggings by Boz, which often reflects the thinking of one of the few groups that still think Felipe Calderón’s “war on drugs” is productive (i.e., the Obama Administration) posted yesterday on the “lengthy defense of his security strategy.

Boz is more attuned to security and strategy than I am, but the strategy seems to be a lot like Dick Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the war in Vietnam… escalate the violence and demand domestic opponents trust the President.  Not that the Mexican opposition is any more likely to trust Calderón in 2010 than the U.S. opposition was willing to trust Tricky Dick in 1968.

Several commentators in Mexico (both Mexicans and foreign residents) have commented on the seeming lack of anything new or “strategic” in the latest statements on narcotics fighting. Rather than go with the nuanced, and somewhat apologetic attempts to spin the same-old, same-old as somehow significant, I’ll go with SDPNoticias.

It isn’t a publication that attempts to be fair and balanced (editorially, they support “legitimate president” Lopez Obradór over “ex-presidential candidate Felipe Calderón”), but nicely cuts the crap when it comes to discussing Calderón’s “strategy” (my translation):

Ex-presidential candidate Felipe Calderón, saying that organized criminal violence already existed when he came to power has only worsened because of the sale of weapons from the United States.

On national television and repeating the same speech he has been saying for years, Calderón insisted that the alleged war on drugs “is not just the president’s responsibility, but of all Mexicans”, although it was he, after all, who declared war in 2006 trying to justify the electoral fraud perpetrated Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador.

After insisting that the country was already beset with violence when he came to power, Calderón listed the actions he has taken to supposedly combat organized crime, which obviously have not diminished violence, but to the contrary have increased violence.

He said he has a “long-term anti-crime strategy” and claims to have inflicted heavy blows to the cartels.

He also said that the cartels been killing each other, by which he sought to justify the number of violent deaths in the country.

In the end, while insisting  that the war on drugs cost money and the lives of soldiers and sailors, he failed to mention that hundreds of innocent civilians have also lost their lives.  Nonetheless, he will continue its war on drugs and which, he said, “worth it.”

When Nixon was president of the United States, his veracity and trust-worthiness was dubious even to many of his own supporters. While Mexicans are more likely to trust their presidents, even “de facto” presidents (as the Lopezobradoristas would say), there are limits. Excuses for increased violence and the lack of progress on other social issues in a single minded — and so far counter-productive — attempt to resolve this one problem, are costing the administration what credibility it has with the “silent majorty”:  those who were never sold on either the Lopezobradorista or Calderonista vision, but who accepted the legitimacy of Calderón’s presidency, and who had hoped for at least some reform and progress in areas not related to this one issue.  Or at least social stability.

While Calderón did run on a “law and order” platform (as did Richard Nixon in 1968), it wasn’t to the exclusion of all other social and political programs. While I thought the Lopez Obradór program was better economically and socially and have been critical of some of the proposals the Calderón administration advanced (such as the “reforms” at PEMEX and labor law changes), I  praised others (the now-forgotten billion tree project, the overhaul of federal court procedures, changes in the tax code).

But whether I favor a proposal or not, they have all been shunted aside in favor of a single minded continuation of the same thing which is giving the same (negative) results.  The only “strategy” seems to be to continue doing what doesn’t work.  And isn’t wanted.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 16 June 2010 6:51 am

    I would just note that I didn’t say anything in favor or against Calderon’s strategy in that post. I was just reporting that it was published and briefly what it said.

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