In response to the increasing drug violence in Northern Mexico, President Obama is pushing for 1,200 National Guard troops and roughly half a billion dollars to aid in securing the 2000-mile long border between the U.S. and Mexico. This move is of particular interest in light of the immigration reform actions taken by Arizona in recent weeks.
While I can certainly commend the White House for finally taking some kind of initiative to address an issue looming since before Election Day, this wasn’t quite what I had in mind.
For one, this is yet another example of political posturing done by the President to appease unappeasable Republicans. As was to be expected, Obama’s push for at least some muscle on the border has been met with opposition by Republican leaders. As Obama is pushing for 1200 troops, opponents want 5,000. Give them 5,000, they’ll want 10,000. Give them 10,000, they’ll want every single man and woman in uniform. Give them that, and they’ll want Superman and the Justice League. Short of that, no concessions (i.e. tougher immigtration laws) will help – even to a lesser extent – in quieting their tantrums.
Then of course, there is the obvious question of using militaristic might in favor of strategically seeing the bigger picture. Placing an army on the border (even one with as much of a window-dressing effect as the National Guard) may work in temporarily quelling Mexican drug cartels, but we need to exercise a bit more caution and strategy before we commit thousands of lives and millions of dollars toward a cause. We’ve seen what happens when fools rush in based off an emotitonal response to tragedy. What needs to be thought about and addressed just as much as preventing drugs from making it onto U.S. soil are the money and guns headed to Mexico in exchange (which, as far as I’ve read has not been discussed that much).
Back in 2006, a certain U.S. President of ours steered efforts to do something similar, with limited results. Though he pushed for having 6,000 US Border Patrol officers, created a fence that stretched over 700 miles, and rounded up illegal immigrants left and right, (leading to massive increases of prosecutions for of petty immigration-related offenses) we are closer to comprehensive immigration reform now as we were then. It may have been politically expedient for Bush (and perhaps Obama and the Dems come time for midterms) to push this agenda, but in the end, failure is almost certain. I’m hoping to be wrong here, but I doubt I am.
Finally, I’m concerned that this deployment of troops will eventually become less about drugs and more about kowtowing to Republicans and caving in to their immigration demands. If you think the steps Arizona has been taking were bad, you haven’t seen anything yet.
Somewhere down the road, Obama and the Dems forgot that the country put them in power last November. This is yet another reminder. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m not seeing it.