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Joint Forces report warns Mexico could destabilize

Posted by commendatori on January 15, 2009

EL PASO – Mexico is one of two countries that “bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse,” according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.

The command’s “Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)” report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. “In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.

“The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.”

The Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., is a Defense Department combat command that includes different military service branches, active and reserves. One of its roles is to transform the military’s capabilities.

In the report’s foreword, Marine Gen. J.N. Mattis, the Joint Forces commander, said “Predictions about the future are always risky. … Regardless, if we do not Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon announces a new economic stimulus package in Mexico City, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. In an attempt to head off layoffs at companies vulnerable to the economic crisis, Calderon announced the government will invest 2 billion pesos into the country’s troubled industries.  

try to forecast the future, there is no doubt that we will be caught off guard as we strive to protect this experiment in democracy that we call America.”

The report offers “a Polaroid snapshot,” and conditions in Mexico and elsewhere are in a state of flux, said Brig. Gen. José Riojas, executive director of the National Center for Border Security and Immigration at the University of Texas at El Paso. “I’m not sure Mexico looks today like it did nine months ago,” Riojas said.

The report is the latest focusing on Mexico’s security problems, which stem mostly from drug violence and corruption. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security and former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey issued similar assessments.

Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people who “are in denial about what is happening in Mexico.”

Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calder n Hinojosa instructed his embassy and consular officials to promote a positive image of Mexico. He’s also vowed to continue the crackdown on drug cartels. 

Diana Washington Valdez reports for the El Paso Times, a member of the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership, and may be reached at; 546-6140.



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