U.S.-Mexico Relations Tea Leaf Reading


There are plenty of facts to be found. For this exercise in prognostication, I leave it to Dear Reader to find their own, connect them as they will, and make of the patterns they find, if any, what they will. Prognostication is far less serious business, after all.

So I’ll state nothing as fact. How about I merely suppose some things and ask, “what if the suppositions are true?”

  • Suppose Mexico is at our southern border.
  • Suppose some number of people commit the misdemeanor of illegally crossing that border each day.
  • Suppose a belligerent regime north of that border interprets the statistics, real or imagined, as representing some degree of threat, or at least they may pretend to, and rather vocally, at that.
  • Suppose that northerly regime were to suggest that Mexico bears some degree of responsibility for the number of misdemeanor crossings at the border.
  • Suppose Mexico had a policy in place already that makes it so difficult for migrants to pass through that, rather than taking the main thoroughfares for the safest and fastest trip to commit a misdemeanor, they opt instead to take back routes, such that they are robbed, raped, and otherwise victimized by bad actors at an alarming rate.
  • Suppose that policy were considered insufficient by the northerly regime.
  • Suppose that northerly regime were to impose a 5% tariff on Mexico with the promise that things will get much worse for them if they don’t stop the flow of migrants through their sovereign territory.
  • Suppose budgets exist.
  • Suppose that Mexico will now have a smaller budget thanks to the tariff.
  • Suppose they have already allocated sufficient funds out of their pre-tariff budget to make their policing efforts against transient migrants so strict that those migrants prefer taking their chances with robbery, rape, and worse.
  • Suppose that Mexico must now increase the funding for that policy while having a smaller budget.
  • Suppose that means Mexico would have to strip other parts of their budget to make it happen.
  • Suppose that such an expectation is even rational.
  • Suppose you were as aware of the nuances of the Mexican national budget as you are with the U.S.’s federal budget. Maybe even more.
  • Suppose Mexico had to choose which budget areas to strip very carefully to be able to afford the implementation of such a draconian policy.
  • Suppose it would have to be draconian for it to work.
  • Suppose the Mexican government were to actually decide this is a sound course of action in the best interest of their own national sovereignty.
  • Suppose the Mexican government, now with a somewhat smaller budget, must strip funds from programs like infrastructure, education, public health, and whatever else isn’t the police or the military.
  • Suppose nations that struggle economically might find themselves populated with upset populations.
  • Suppose enough angry people might destabilize a government.
  • Suppose we end up with a destabilized Mexico on our southern border.
  • Suppose that this sounds like a good idea to some people.
  • Suppose what it would take for it to be a good idea.
  • Suppose a destabilized neighbor on our southern border might actually present a real security risk.
  • Suppose a destabilized neighbor to the south, already having enough trouble keeping transient migrants from passing through, might actually become lawless enough that just about any bad actor could pass through with relative ease.
  • Suppose that such a scenario might provide sufficient justification for a U.S. military invasion of Mexico, all in the proper course of securing our own border.
  • Suppose there was nobody to stop us.
  • Suppose Russia were to turn a blind eye.
  • Suppose Bolsonaro in Brazil were friendly to the idea.
  • Suppose there were already instability in Brazil’s western neighbor, Venezuela.
  • Suppose Venezuela’s western neighbor, Colombia were already open to hosting 5,000 U.S. troops that might be deployed into Venezuela from their territory.
  • Suppose the only barriers between Mexico and Columbia were Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
  • Suppose control of the ~5 billion barrels a day from those regions combined would be more desirable than trying to control the ~4.4 billion barrels a day produced by Iraq.
  • Suppose peace on our southern border isn’t a terribly high priority.
  • Or suppose it is.

What do you suppose about the wisdom of our strategic approach to Mexico?



1 reply »