International events opinion

While I was stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, for my Army Advanced Individual Training, I had the fortunate experience to hike up to the top of the Huachuca Mountains separating Arizona from Mexico.  Before departing, the drill sergeants had warned my battle buddy and me to stay alert and be observant for any signs of possible “coyote” activity near the mountain tops and off of the marked paths on which we would be traveling.  A “coyote” is defined as a person who smuggles drugs, money, weapons, or people across the border from Mexico into the United States.  Fortunately, it wasn’t until we neared the mountain top that we actually saw the devastation left in the wake of immigrants crossing over illegally into Arizona.  Trash, clothing, half-eaten food, and sleeping bags littered the entire area of the top of the hiking path we were using.  This was when I realized for myself the very real threat that illegal immigration could have on the environment and appearance of the Arizona landscape.  But trash on a hiking path is only a symptom of a greater, overarching problem.

In recent weeks, America has seen a rise in drug-related Mexican cartel violence against not only Mexican natives, but against American citizens and federal agents as well.  It would seem that the drug cartels have been emboldened by America’s lack of an obvious attempt to retaliate against them.  In the past, there was an apparent unwritten code that the drug cartels would not take violent action against American citizens, excluding periodic kidnappings for ransom.  That unwritten code is very obviously not in effect any longer, as exemplified by the slaying of a Texas rancher last December, an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent in February, and the most recent murder of two American citizens attempting to cross the border from Mexico back into the United States.  While the deaths of Americans rings home for all of us, the deaths of 59 migrant workers found this past Wednesday, the 6th of April, buried in a mass grave just across the border should be examined just as closely.

The willingness of these drug cartels to take their battle for power, money, and controlled territory right up to, and in some cases over, America’s southern border will most likely become a very real threat to those states connected with Mexico.  These drug cartels have been “testing the fence” for years and now they are beginning to believe that they can get away with their brazen attacks against American federal agents and civilians.  The United States needs to address the corruption in the Mexican bureaucracy, and the lack of that government’s ability to remove the cartels from power, with the same willingness that they have taken with other international incidents where a country’s citizens are being massacred – with the offer of military assistance to the people.  Because trade agreements and a working relationship with Mexico are important to maintain, the United States should use the utmost care when offering Mexico assistance in removal of their drug cartel problem, because this problem is no longer just Mexico’s problem, it is our problem.

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