Since the end of the Cold War it seems almost like US/NATO forces have been looking for even the slightest casus belli to start a destabilizing conflict in a foreign nation. But these military actions have been exclusively focused on targets that are very far away from the homeland. Distant locations like the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria were all on the bad end of a “well intentioned” intervention with crippling results for the local population. However, now President Donald Trump is offering to intervene in Mexico to help them with their drug cartel problem, which is in many ways also America’s drug cartel problem. Naturally the answer from the Mexicans was negative, but Washington isn’t known to take “no” for an answer and if the US does take action in Mexico it will be a very different type of conflict due to its proximity.
A US military intervention in Mexico would mean three very important things for America’s near future.
1) “Fortress America” would be all but confirmed.
It has been rumored for quite some time, that Donald Trump is trying to push forward a type of Monroe Doctrine 2.0 that has been dubbed “Fortress America”. One should note that Trump himself does not use this expression but it gets attributed to him, but with US backed regime change (in one form or another) in Bolivia, Brazil, and a hard push in Venezuela we can definitely see there is a tangible desire to focus on South of the Border. This is in contrast to Ukraine, Syria and the rest of the Middle-East, which are just sort of being left in stasis. Pulling the troops out but keeping hold of the oil in Syria is a perfect example of this.
If it can be revealed that the US is responsible for the uprisings in Chile and willing to attack and reorganize Mexico under some questionable pretence, then it more or less proves this Fortress America concept is more than just a fun term for geopolitical buffs to throw around to feel smart online.
An America that has ambitions only in the Western Hemisphere is going to be much different from the global hegemon that we know today, in fact it may look like the America of yesteryear that the world fell in love with. For the Ron Paul types this could be a major victory via retreat.
2) Amerca would be reasserting the continental dominance that it won in 1846-1848.
Geopolitically the United States has some of the best geography in human history, being very big with fair and diverse climates. The only neighbor to the north (who is culturally similar) has a tiny population, with massive oceans protecting it from any potential invaders. After the War of 1812 the best anyone has ever done was attack Pearl Harbor – oceans are a fantastic defense. However, despite the way things may seem today had Mexico to the south, won the Mexican-American war it would have become the dominant power on the continent. Comparing Post-Cold War America to Mexico seems like a joke but in the late 1840s, when fighting was a matter of man and bayonet both sides were rather equally matched and had the Mexicans simply fought better they could control the entire West Coast and much of the middle of what is today the United States, possibly giving them the titanic geopolitical advantage that America enjoys today.
Trump has stated many times that he fears China above all else but his passion for the Border Wall and immigration control leads one to see that Mexico is probably #2 on his feared enemies list. This desire to intervene could be masking the necessity (from the President’s perspective) to reassert American dominance on the continent and repeat the triumph of 1848 that is part of the reason the US became a great power.
A newly broken and humiliated by war Mexico will not be able to achieve “Reconquista” through birth rate.
3) The public reaction to fighting near home would be radically different and probably much more impassioned.
Because there are so many Mexicans and Spanish-speakers in the United States bombing south of the border will have a much different social aspect than murdering unintelligible sand people and sub-Europeans. The “victims” of an intervention will have a much louder voice than normal and could actually cause mass protests. It is hard to say just what will happen but attacking Mexico would create a violent blowback all across the United States and have a much different character than the usual “foreign wars” fought in far off lands that no one can find on a map.
Will Trump pull the trigger?
Although this possible intervention sounds alarming, so far Trump has been very reserved in the use of direct force when compared to his predecessors. This would make it seem out of character for him to all of a sudden break his streak and start bombing our neighbors. But this could be a question of value, Trump sees little importance in Syria and probably none in Ukraine, Mexico is a different issue and may cause The President to act more aggressively.
If for some reason Trump were convinced that doom was nigh, then taking action in Mexico would definitely change the trajectory of American history.
By Tim Kirby
Source: Strategic Culture