MEXICO D.F. (Federal District) – A poignant cartoon titled “Venus de Fentanilo” appeared in a recent edition of Mexican daily, La Jornada, showing a drug-addled Venus de Milo draped in an American flag with multiple syringes protruding from her famously missing arms strewn across the floor. “I want to invade Mexico because I am addicted to drugs,” reads a speech bubble above the tattered-looking goddess of beauty. “But most of all,” she continues, “because I am addicted to war.”
On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced the temporary deployment of 1,500 U.S. troops to the southern border, raising the number of military personnel engaged in migrant-related operations on the U.S.-Mexico border to 4,000. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the request, which came from the Department of Homeland Security, led by former California District Attorney, Alejandro Mayorkas.
According to Mayorkas, the decision to beef up security at the border with a massive contingent of active duty soldiers is designed to anticipate any problems that could arise as a result of the end of Trump-era Title 42, scheduled for May 11. Critics of the 90-day mission, like Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), have deemed the move “unacceptable“, adding that the White House has had ample time to better prepare for the abrogation of Title 42, which suspended the rights of asylum seekers over public health concerns in the midst of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is laying the blame on Republican lawmakers, stating that the measure could have been avoided altogether if the Republican-controlled Congress had not stalled on the president’s immigration reform initiatives and refused to fund border agencies. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused conservative “governors and mayors across the country” of using immigration as a political tool and called for more funding for border security.
Setting the Stage
Ultimately, the singular premise that is driving ‘both sides’ of the issue reveals the fundamental aim of the American permanent state. Namely, the ostensible existence of a ‘border crisis’ and the multi-pronged approach to deal with it. The Democrats use the narrative to funnel federal dollars to build a massive global surveillance infrastructure, as coveredby Silicon Icarus, while Republicans stoke the fears of their xenophobic base to keep the war machine at the ready with threats of direct military intervention.
Trump’s campaign rhetoric in the lead up to his election marked a turning point in the relationship between the two countries. Riding all the way to the White House by conjuring racist tropes about Mexican immigrants and promises to “build a wall”, the former reality TV star inaugurated a hitherto unprecedented trend in the political discourse towards the U.S.’ biggest trading partner and neighbor.
Evidence that a significant shift has taken place at the core of U.S. policy towards Mexico mounted when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) floated the idea of introducing legislation to “set the stage” for American military intervention in Mexico just last March. Politically unthinkable a decade ago, the mere mention of an invasion suggests that the United States is ready to take a major step in pursuit of expanding its hegemonic reach in Mexico and Latin America.
Despite some pushback, Graham’s salvo has gained traction in the GOP, with other Senators like Tom Cotton open to the notion of sending troops across the border. Energized by a base radicalized by recently disgraced rightwing pundits like Tucker Carlson or political operatives like Steve Bannon and their alt-media clones, House members now have no compunction about introducing legislation to go “to war with the cartels“.
Stories about the Fentanyl craze have been flooding American media for years now. Many rife with disinformation and outright lies, but which are nonetheless highly effective in shaping public opinion. Among the latest propaganda efforts of the “war on drugs”, Fentanyl overdose has become a rallying point for disaffected Americans, who are especially vulnerable to the media narratives spun around them, and which keep them blissfully ignorant about the real causes behind the stratospheric drug addiction rates in the country that fuel the multi-billion-dollar black market.
The last time the United States invaded Mexico was during the period of Westward expansion, imbued with the ideological underpinnings of Manifest Destiny. American forces reached deep inside the country and raised its flag at the National Palace in Mexico City. War came to an end with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ceded over fifty percent of Mexico’s territory to the United States, comprising the present-day states of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, much of Arizona, Colorado, and ended any claims over territories in the already annexed state of Texas.
Even more important than the fertile land southern plantation owners were able to amass in the process were the immense deposits of mineral wealth present beneath many of the westernmost territories, which would drive the growth of the industrial sector of the United States during the early XX century. The gold rush of 1849 soon gave way to a plethora of extractive endeavors with the discovery of copper, iron, coal and oil that made the United States into a world manufacturing power.
Nearly two hundred years later, the mineral demands of the so-called fourth industrial revolution and its digital accoutrements are different than those of its preceding era. Elements once unknown or without any practical uses have now become critical for the ICT (information and communication technology) infrastructure, and a new round of land grabs and mineral extraction are required for its survival.
In 2020, a Canadian mining company discovered that the largest lithium deposits in the world are located in the northeastern Mexican state of Sonora. Bordering Arizona and parts of New Mexico, Sonora is only one of four Mexican states considered to have “large, undeveloped deposits of rare earths“; a category of mineral elements vital to the emerging data economy.
Lithium is an indispensable metal for the production of rechargeable batteries, that are so ubiquitous in our many digital devices and a fundamental component in the electric automobile industry. Chihuahua, Oaxaca and Chiapas are the other states said to have important rare earth mineral deposits. Coahuila, Sonora, Sinaloa and Durango, all northern states, also have significant stores of these minerals.
Perhaps most critical of all is the single element required by every phase of production: Water.
Along the Mexico-U.S. border exist dozens of fresh water aquifers that respect no international boundary. At least one of these lies at one of the most volatile points of cartel territory in between Piedras Negras, Coahuila and Eagle Pass, Texas, where a tragic scene with the complicity of the Zetas, the DEA and the Mexican federal government took place and left almost 300 innocent victims dead.
A Sovereign and Independent Invader
It is no accident that the drug cartels in Mexico are concentrated in the northern parts of the country and mineral-rich states, in particular. Population displacement is an important aspect of the war on drugs, which is waged from the United States through the Pentagon and its various agencies in Mexico and other parts of Latin America.
Keeping huge pools of natural resources intact for capital interests is a top priority for the corrupt leadership of client states like Mexico, which operates as a stealth military dictatorship, sponsored by the military superpower of the North and coordinates the flow of narcotics and virtually all goods through the country on their way to market.
Through bi-lateral agreements under the auspices of the war on drugs, Mexico and other countries within the United States’ sphere of influence, have gradually militarized their law enforcement agencies and entered into a securitized governance status quo, that is slowly but surely leading to total absorption.
By placing 1,500 active duty troops at the U.S.-Mexico border, the United States is raising the stakes and announcing a future invasion that is sure to come within the decade. Pentagon spokesman, Gen. Pat Ryder, tried to diffuse concerns and assured the press corps that the troops are only meant to assist in administrative and monitoring tasks, leaving agents of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) with more free time to enforce immigration laws.
Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who met privately with DHS adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall to discuss Title 42 at the Mexican National Palace on the same day the troop deployment was announced, seems committed to lulling his own population into a false sense of security, stating that the decision was “part of [the United States’] rights as an independent, sovereign government,” adding that he would respect the decision.