Mexico turns down a generous offer from the big orange gringo?
Mexico, which just saw its troops chased out of Sinaloa in an ignominious defeat by filthy drug cartels and now has seen the massacre of a group of American families on its soil, got a rare and generous offer from President Trump:
This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2019
That's the same Trump who just decapitated the brutal ISIS leadership and who pulled U.S. troops out of Syria on the grounds that he can't stand endless wars. No U.S. troops for Syria, no U.S. intervention for Venezuela ... but Mexico is different. Mexico is special. If Mexico wants help, Mexico gets help.
And this is coming from a neighborly leader with a very fresh track record of blowing extremely powerful non-state actors straight to hell.
Trump didn't even argue or push for it, he just let the president of Mexico know that all he has to do is make a call. The VIP treatment would be his. The power was there, the good will was there, and an extended track record of success was there. The U.S., remember, also did a helluva a job helping Colombia clean up its cartel-narcoterrorist problem, too. That's in addition to the ISIS victory. An offer of help from a guy like this can only be a good thing, particularly because he doesn't like extended military involvement.
It's an offer the Kurds and Venezuelans can only dream of.
The Mexican response?
Usual garbage, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he didn't want it.
According to the Daily Caller:
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador flatly rejected President Donald Trump’s offer to “wage war” on drug cartels following the massacre of a U.S.-Mexican family along the border.
During a Tuesday press conference, López Obrador rejected Trump’s public offer to send U.S. military forces to Mexico and help his government combat organized crime. The leftist president — reiterating a position he’s long held — argued that war with the drug cartels was not the best approach.
“We have to act independently and according to our constitution, and in line with our tradition of independence and sovereignty,” López Obrador said Tuesday. “War is irrational. We are for peace. It is a characteristic of this new government.”
He was still into his "hugs not bullets" policy, despite the clear evidence of a pretty significant threat to his state and cries from Mexico's locals to take the offer. Here's one and I'm watching the Mexican press for more.
It's pretty much a sign he's in denial about the problem.
Yes, there are explainable reasons for it, very old ones:
One, the Mexican elites have always had contempt for the people and culture of northern Mexico, the carne asada belt, meaning, they could care less if that area endures attacks.
Two, Mexico has nursed its grievances for more than a hundred years over the U.S. invasion of Mexico in the 1840s, which ridded them of the curse of a clown dictator, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, but left them hostile to the U.S. military. It was that grievance-nursing, taught in Mexican schools, that AMLO was appealing to.
Three, cartels aren't just bad guys out in the badlands -- they have tentacles all through the Mexican government. There's a reason Mexico sends its Navy in for big cartel sweep operations. They don't trust either law enforcement or the army. And the corruption extends well beyond the gunned professions, and well into the soft-handed political classes.
But there are also signs that this isn't going to go over all that well with Mexico's public. Even the Guardian is noticing. Lopez-Obrador is under significant pressure to scrap the hug thing and fight the killers.
The threat, after all, is pretty real. The cartels are fattened and enriched on the U.S. opiate epidemic profits and the billions they have earned in smuggling and crossing fees from the organized border surgers. That's made them ambitious and mean.
And Mexican public attitudes are changing. AMLO himself was elected on a change wave election, signaling that people are thinking differently. That AMLO has gone into denial and retreated into the comfortable old truisms, imagining that gringos on U.S. soil are a bigger threat than cartels massacring both locals and Americans (which will do wonders for Mexico's tourism industry) is insane.
His idiotic response calls to mind a 1990s story about Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid telling Singapore's founding father, the famous Lee Kuan Yew about how unfortunate Mexico was to have a U.S. border. Lee slapped sense into the dolt by telling him he'd practically kill to share just one tiny piece of the American border.
De la Madrid ended his term office unpopular and in disgrace, the public still screaming at him as he made his exit. AMLO is setting himself up for a whiff of that Mexican tradition, too.