Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Still At the "Beat Them" Stage

Mexicans are reacting quite naturally to the failure of the government to provide security. While arming and organizing to beat the drug cartels is not the best thing to happen, it at least is better than locals simply joining the drug cartels for safety.

Local defense forces have sprung up in Mexico separate from the government:

The rapid spread of vigilante-style community “self-defense” groups is drawing debate in Mexico after the latest group popped up with suspiciously sophisticated weapons, printed T-shirts and clothing that doesn’t reflect the usual mix of participants.

The group appeared this week in Tepalcatepec, in the western state of Michoacan, in an area dominated by warring drug cartels. Tepalcatepec is the latest in a recent wave of towns where residents have set up patrols and checkpoints to fight crimes like kidnapping and extortion. ...

Many Mexicans are concerned that the “self-defense” patrols could start acting like paramilitary groups or be used by the drug gangs themselves.

Well, yeah. In the long run they could become a problem or even the problem. But in the short run, is it better for the locals to simply join the cartels now? Or simply do nothing and be controlled by the cartels by default?

The Mexican government should attempt to support these forces to provide some level of oversight and focus to keep them from devolving into gangs or auxiliaries to the drug cartels.

The development should be a lesson to us, as well. Our president keeps telling us that the tide of war is receding. But it is not, in the original form that prompted the large-scale operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that are over or ending. Jihadis keep trying to kill us.

And if our government does not appear to be fully engaged in fighting the jihadis, private American individuals and groups will fight the war on their own. You might think that waging war abroad is way different than defending your town from a threat all around. You'd be right. But that doesn't mean that private groups can't join the war.

You can read my blog thoughts on this for only 99 cents!

Heck, might not states or even cities (New York City already has intelligence and SWAT teams that surpass the spy and special forces capabilities of most countries) fill in the gap?

Let's hope these groups fight for what American wants and don't devolve into death squads or just a force for the foreign policy of a faction at odds with American interests.

National governments are supposed to have a monopoly on the use of force. If the national government does not do everything it can to defeat threats, the vacuum will be filled by someone.