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No Special Envoy, No Crisis

"Burn me. Don't treat me like this. Do not spare me." Berthold Brecht's books were not included in the Nazi book-burning pyres, and this is how he responded to the omission in one of his many great anti-Nazi poems, "The Burning of the Books."  (I do not recall many great anti-communist poems by Brecht at all.  But I do remember "The Solution," with its grim satiric suggestion that the "...government/ dissolve the people/and choose itself another.)

Well, any country that doesn't have a special envoy designated to it by the White House will feel that no one in the present administration cares for it. And, if a special envoys are the currency of a country importance, why shouldn't their absence be a sign of insignificance.

Today's Times carries a spooky story by Randal C. Archibold about drug cartel violence spilling over the Mexican border into America and, of course, "alarming" the U.S.  This recalls Pancho Villa's raids across the frontier in 1916.  Which further recalls the failed retaliatory missions of General Pershing and Lieutenant George Patton in 1916 and 1917.

Well, I am extremely pessimistic about Mexican-American relations, not because the U.S. had done anything specifically wrong to our southern neighbor but because a (now not quite so) wealthy country has as its abutter a Latin society with all of its characteristic deficiencies:  congenital corruption, authoritarian government, anarchic politics, near-tropical work habits, stifling social mores, Catholic dogma with the usual unacknowledged compromises, an anarchic counter-culture and increasingly violent modes of conflict.  Then, there is the Mexican diaspora in America, hard-working and patriotic but mired in its untold numbers of illegals, about whom no one can talk with candor.

The present political strife between the two countries is actually economic.  But it is not wholly subsumed under the labels of "free trade" or "protectionism."

The fact is that Mexico is also a failed state, not like Pakistan, mind you. But a failed state, nonetheless, and its failures are magnified by its immediate proximity to the U.S. Its failures will increasingly cross the national boundary, like the drugs and the people, two very different manifestations of our intimacy. The fact is that America is threatened by a failed state, and the only way of dealing with that failure is to make it a success.  Which requires not only a special envoy but much more.