What a brotherhood exists between the US and Mexico. We smoke pot. Lots of it. (With some 42% of Americans having whiffed weed at least on occasion, leading the world in cannabis consumption according to the WHO, one now understands why so many Krispy Kreme’s opened in recent years…) We have guns. Lots of them. (Over 200 million, according to the Brits.)
Meanwhile our brethren to the south have poverty. Lots of it. And access to pot. Some 25 million tons of it a year. So we give money to Mexican pot smugglers who use it by US guns to then shoot other Mexican pot smugglers (and cops, politicians, journalists, women, children and any other form of life who gets between the business end of an Uzi and an intended target).
What a perfect, symbiotic relationship.
And look at the advantages to both sides! Both make money off trade. People get employed. Consumers get products. The freest of free market competition reigns This is David Ricardo’s concept of comparative advantage leading to mutually beneficial trade made real. Indeed, except for all those bodies everywhere, the US/Mexican pot relationship is neo-liberal globalization at its best, Everybody wins. Except, of course, for all those pesky dead bodies. Mexico has lots of them. Over a thousand in January alone. And except, of course, for Mexican civil society and democracy, which has pretty much collapsed in Juarez and is teetering in TJ. And then there are US tax payers, shelling out tens of billions a year to arrest and incarcerate hundreds of millions of tokers.
But America’s 70 year pot prohibition stills continues to give and give: drug lords get rich, prison guards get employed and Mexican undertakers have to literally stack up the clients business being so good. And, best of all all those Americans who don’t smoke pot, don’t want to smoke pot (heck, they’re plenty happy with old man tobacco and devil whiskey—two other deadly vices the US leads the world in) can continue to take tremendous solace that their cheap, moral thrill of superiority still trumps the cost in ruined—and ended—lives on both sides of the border.
Oh, America and Mexico. Let that Philadelphia Freedom sing.
I wrote over a year ago that Tijuana (and, now, most of northern Mexico) is burning while we, their brethren, pay them no heed. Now the fire is an inferno that is incinerating our neighbors to the south and is beginning to engulf our own communities on this side of the border. And, beyond calls to man that border with troops, no-one seems to care.
Note to President Obama: foreign policy begins at home. For what does it gain a president to win a victory in Afghanistan if he loses Mexico right on his doorstep.