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Monday, 30 March 2009 06:30

America to Blame for Mexico’s Problems?

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hillary in mexicoSecretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Mexico last week to meet with various Mexican officials including President Felipe Calderón and Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa. During her visit she “acknowledged” America’s role in Mexico’s recent descent into chaos, blaming Americans for everything from drug crime to weapons used by cartels.

"We know very well that the drug traffickers are motivated by the demand for illegal drugs in the United States and that they are armed by the transport of weapons from the United States," Clinton said. In an interview with NBC from Mexico, Clinton explained that she would like to see the ban on semi-automatic rifles re-instituted, saying “I think these assault weapons, these military style weapons don't belong on any one's street.”

The secretary of state, sounding like a legislator more than an envoy of the president, also said, “We will make the case that we need to put more teeth in the law.” She claims letting the “assault-weapon” ban expire was a “mistake” because “police in America were able to drive crime down” when the guns were banned.

But the facts don’t agree with her claim. “Those firearms classified by the legislation as ‘assault rifles’ are the least likely firearms to be used in crime,” wrote The Law Enforcement Alliance of America. Even the Clinton Justice Department concluded in a 1999 study that “the public safety benefits of the 1994 ban have not yet been demonstrated.” Also, the drug cartels in Mexico have access to fully automatic rifles, grenades, and other high-tech weaponry, hardly items that your local gun shop would have available.  

"Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of [Mexican] police officers, soldiers and civilians," Clinton told reporters upon her arrival in Mexico. "I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility."

President Calderón, who Clinton said has “demonstrated great courage and dedication,” praised the "first steps in terms of co-responsibility between the two countries in the fight against organized crime." Calderon’s government will also be receiving even more money from American taxpayers, Clinton announced. Despite the widespread corruption among Mexican law-enforcement and military personnel, the government will be handed another $80 million to buy more helicopters for the war on drugs. These new funds are in addition to the substantial share of the $1.4 billion already allocated under the Merida Initiative. Of course, throwing more money at the problem also ignores the crucial fact that government agents and soldiers often work for the cartels.

In addition to targeting guns and handing more taxpayer money to the Mexican government, Clinton announced the creation of a new “Bilateral Implementation Office” where officials from both governments will supposedly fight the cartels together.

Clinton’s visit to Mexico comes before a trip by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the president himself, who will be travelling to Mexico in mid-April. Obama’s press secretary denied having any knowledge of plans to re-institute the assault weapons ban, but Obama has called for similar efforts in the past. Even Clinton admitted that re-instituting the ban would be tough, saying, "We're going to talk to the Congress, I'm not going to sugarcoat it. It's a very heavy lift." But with so many gun-grabbers in Congress and the violence currently spreading across the border, it may not be so far-fetched.  

None of the solutions being considered are constitutional or very likely to succeed at lowering crime. Waging a war on guns because of the consequences of the American-sponsored war on drugs oozes irony. But failures of past “solutions” offered by government have a tendency to elicit calls for more government solutions, which lead to more unintended consequences and ultimately more government intervention to solve the problems it created. The proper and constitutional answer to current problems would be to effectively guard the border and obey the Constitution, which means no more money for Mexico or any foreign nation. Waging a war on guns in America to bolster the failed war on drugs in Mexico is not only wrong, it’s illegal. Hopefully Americans will put pressure on their representatives to find constitutional solutions and real change.     

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