is also a factor that must be considered in discussing the legalization of narcotics and the impact that would have on the Mexican cartels. Narcotics smuggling is the most substantial revenue stream for the cartels, but is not their only line of business. If the cartels were to lose the stream of revenue from narcotics sales, they would still be heavily armed groups of killers who would be forced to rely more on their other lines of business. Many of these other crimes, like extortion and kidnapping, by their very nature focus more direct violence against innocent victims than drug trafficking does.IMO that's both spot on and extraordinarily depressing, since the status quo in northern Mexico is unsustainable and the Mexican military response not only ramped up the killing, but contributed to further political destabilization throughout northern Mexico. Some questions arising from the piece include, how will public dissatisfaction translate in the Mexican electoral arena next year? Will any candidate offer the public a realistic alternative to military deployment? For that matter, is there a realistic alternative and if so, what is it (beyond legalizing narcotics)? Can the next Mexican president, from whatever party he hails, stop the bloodshed surrounding cartel feuds, however noble or well-meaning their intentions? Can any strategy, however brilliant, survive implementation by corrupt law enforcement, and how can corruption be rooted out? Taking the suggestion at face value, how would the US react to Mexico striking accommodations with cartels in exchange for peace instead of crushing them militarily, if it came to that? Assuming Mexico won't allow US boots on the ground in their country (a safe bet) what influence can the US really have on that sort of street-level law enforcement?
North of the river, I doubt what's happening in Mexico will become an issue seriously discussed in the US 2012 presidential election, at least nothing besides vague discussion of preventing "spillover" onto American soil, ignoring that almost all of the so-called spillover happens in the other direction. Obama's Mexico policy has been substantively no different than his predecessor's. How many Mexicans must die in Juarez and other border towns, often at the hands of American-based gangs working as assassins for Mexican cartels before the the US decides Mexico is a more pressing problem than Moammar Qadafi? Or will they wait until the killings ramp up in El Paso, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, etc.? ¿Quien sabe?