Of all the absurd things that The Washington Post could report about the Mexican drug cartel wars, today’s above the fold, front page piece on U.S. grenades would have to be it. Resurrecting Cold War-era wounds about how communism was defeated, the Post even managed to make indirect pokes at Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. The Post if focusing on the wrong things.
Take your pick, there is plenty to report on with regards to U.S. interests in Mexico. Immigration and border security. Middle East terrorist cells (yes, it is an issue). Economic insecurity. Stories on Mexican drug cartels could fill pages of daily broadsheets for weeks. For example, what about a series of stories on how Mexican drug cartels use persons located in the United States to launder money or, better yet, how they violate U.S. laws by trafficking in weapons?
“Grenades made in the United States and sent to Central America during the Cold War have resurfaced as terrifying new weapons in almost weekly attacks by Mexican drug cartels,” the Post informs us. Who cares where the grenades were made? Terrifying? Are these folks serious? If they want to report on something terrifying, they may want to focus on the countless beheadings of police officers and other government officials.
These type of stories feed into and resonate with the anti-American, blame America first movement. Rather than focus on how the Mexican legal system has failed to hold lawbreakers accountable for decades, violence in Mexico is America’s fault because we made the grenades that bad people stole to do illegal things them. Rather than focus on how the Mexican state has failed to fully embrace free-market systems to help improve the quality of life for millions of Mexicans so Mexicans are not forced to leave Mexico illegally, illegal immigration is also somehow America’s fault. This list could go on and on.
As with most leaders of Latin American republics, this type of reporting attacking the U.S. and conservative U.S. leaders is a favorite past time. Regrettably, it fails to stimulate the type of serious reporting or dialogues that are necessary to address the many challenges faced by regional leaders. It has also create a curiously ambivalent approach in the U.S. policy establishment that places in harm U.S. national security. The grenades and other weapons have little to do with the problems the Mexican law enforcement and legal community has been dealing with for quite some time. And stories such as today’s Post piece are, quite simply, not helpful.
P.S., thanks to presidencies Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, we have freedom and democracy throughout Central America. Maybe it is time folks in this town learned from their work and helped our partners with the business of governing in freedom.