Republicans are very, very concerned about drugs being smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico. And they are right to be concerned. But what do they plan to do about it?
Apparently “going to war with Mexico” is the Number One plan. David Frum has an article at the Atlantic (which I can’t read, because I didn’t renew my Atlantic subscription, sorry) in which he calls “being willing to go to war with Mexico” the new “litmus” test for a “serious” Republican candidate.
They don’t plan to declare war on the government of Mexico, mind you, but they do want to send U.S. troops across the border to attack the cartels who are responsible for a lot of the drug smuggling. Apparently this remarkably stupid idea is not new, but it’s just now coming to my attention. Here is a May 2023 Reason magazine article about what several Republican contenders for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination are saying about sending troops into Mexico. Note that even Reason thinks this is a bad idea.
And a lot of them, including Ron DeSantis, want to use “deadly force” against migrants who might be bringing drugs across the border in their backpacks. In fact, I notice you can’t have a conversation with a Republican about drug smuggling before it veers off into a diatribe into all those migrants. One suspects this is what is really bugging them. The drug thing is just an excuse to shoot at brown people.
U.S. officials say that most of the drugs being smuggled by the cartels are crossing the border at official entry points like ports and are hidden in cars and tractor-trailers. so shooting at the brown people wading across the Rio Grande isn’t going to discourage the drug cartels any. But try explaining that to a Republican presidential candidate.
DeSantis doesn’t want to stop with sending troops across the border. He also wants to use the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard to block Chinese ships from reaching Mexican ports. Most of the component drugs required to make fentanyl are shipped into Mexico from China. Yeah, that wouldn’t possibly have any another international repercussions, would it?
DeSantis also has promised to end birthright citizenship if he becomes POTUS, which of course a POTUS cannot do. One assumes DeSantis knows this.
None of these people are ready for prime time. Consider, for example, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, While interviewed by Hugh Hewitt, clearly drew a complete blank when asked about the Uyghurs. Which is pronounced WEE-gurs. He seems to have thought Hewitt was joking. Suarez has declared his candidacy for the presidency. Seriously?
The Uyghurs, of course, are a Muslim minority group in China, and the government of China is oppressing them brutally. Having decided that China Is Bad (and I won’t argue), the Right is outraged that the Uyghurs are being oppressed. But if Uyghurs were here, the Right probably would would want to shoot them.