Bordering on Chaos

To optimists, the recent arrest in Mexico of the world’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, is proof that the Mexican government is standing up to the cartels. But pessimists look at Mexico and see a failing state on America’s border. More than 80,000 people have been killed in Mexico’s brutal conflict, with the victims beheaded, shot, tortured and worse. Civil authorities regularly quit or join the warlords, and entire towns have been depopulated. In 2008, the U.S. military issued a report challenging policymakers to prepare for the “rapid and sudden collapse” of Mexico. Yet, the Mexican government has decided to challenge the drug cartels and reassert its sovereignty using the military, a move the Mexican people support. Mexico is not a failed state, but neither is it a healthy one. With concerted effort, targeted resources, and freedom-oriented reforms, things can get better in Mexico.

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