By Karl Arnold Belser
14 October 2013
The book, Revenge of Geography by Robert Kaplan discusses how geography has helped shape the course of world history. The first two parts of the book show what happened in the past relative to geography in order to convince the reader that geography is important. The third part analyzes the situation the United States faces in the coming years, namely that Mexico and the people from Mexico will probably affect the future of the United States in dramatic ways. As always there are several possibilities that foreshadow an uncertain future.
There is no geographical obstacle that separates Mexico from the southern states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Further, the economic disparity between Mexico and the US is the largest in the world for two countries that share the same border. Hence, there has been a large migration of Mexicans to the US.
Kaplan estimates that one in eight people in the US are of Mexican origin. There are clearly even more Latinos from other countries. Given this large population of people of the same cultural background, it is doubtful that this group will adopt the norms of the US in terms of rule of law and morality. In fact, Kaplan suggests that such a large population will certainly dilute and change the American character, at least in the southwestern states.
Kaplan describes Mexico as a failing state in which the northern Mexican states are dominated by the drug cartels. The kind of dilution of American values depends on whether these criminal activities are stopped. If they are stopped and the standard of living in Mexico is raised, then the future looks bright. If not, the United States could experience a severe threat rivaling that of China and the Islamic world.
Kaplan thinks that the United States should put dealing with Mexico in a much higher priority than the Islamic and Chinese issues. Kaplan thinks that the best strategic position that the United States could create is a unification, at least commercially, of all of the nations from the north of South America, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the United States and Canada. This unification would form a geographical "island" that would be difficult to attack either commercially or militarily.
I intend that this BLOG be politically neutral, but I suggest that the United States might help Mexico curb its drug distribution problem by legalizing and decriminalizing almost all types of drugs.
For example, the burden of this legalization could be placed on the drug users themselves by mandatory drug testing as a requirement for employment, receipt of social benefits, and for certain privileges like drivers licenses. There might be even more severe restrictions based on criminality that would restrict criminal drug users from living in productive urban areas as an alternative to prison so that the crime associated with drug use might be minimized.
I am not advocating any such procedure. I am just suggesting the the government might try to think outside the box when it comes to helping Mexico and curbing the criminality associated with drugs.
Given this uncertain future and the fact that I live in California, what is the prudent action to mitigate the risks from Mexico?
I have already taken action in that I am now fluent in Spanish. Further I like the Latino culture and am participating in a Spanish Club in order to keep my fluency and the keep abreast with the Latino American culture. PBS has just completed a documentary series called the Latino Americans which I think should be required education for anyone who lives in the southwestern states.
Last updated October 15, 2013
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