Washington has intervened in Latin America several times since the Monroe Doctrine 200 years ago. U.S. border militarization across the Western Hemisphere is this intervention's newest evolution.
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I appreciate the article and I am going to read the book "Empire of Borders" (I found it on Amazon). This was a very thoughtful piece of journalism.
What I find most telling and troubling is the word investment. In a political matrix most people would put me squarely in the conservative quadrant and understandably point to aggravating policy failures of past administrations. But I hope that the word "conservative" in my thread here can take on a different meaning. Where am I going with this? I have no crafty or poetic ambush in my comments. I completely agree with the view that virtual border extension is aggressive and really just a band aid to hide the problem. It does not matter whether it is CBP cages or armored jeeps in Honduras, some group of "investors" are making a lot of money. The clichéd perspective of the military industrial complex is still wealthy, powerful and quite able to sway opinion and politicians. What you share with us in this article I believe underscores that influence.
Our problem is that years of political neglect does not afford us the opportunity to take a conservative approach to mass migration problems. When VP Harris said she was going to work on root causes, the words were right, but the actions as you discuss in the article don't match and are just a re-work of old policies. A conservative approach would be to influence the troubling governments in Latin America to focus on economic security. But we the "US" can not ever seem to correctly put the formula on paper and deliver a working solution. The governments of the region just give us lip service in exchange for the gifted investments. It is exacerbating, frustrating, that we fail to aggressively influence the border economy with Mexico, to improve living conditions, wages, and industry to US standards directly across the river. It is the same dance with different music for every country in the region. We focus on criminality to catch those with true evil intent and fail to look into the eyes of the children.
Conservatives have to open their eyes to understand that with 21st century mobility, 19th century border policies fail on contact. All of our political intelligentsia need to admit open open their eyes and see that the US is the bright shining city on the hill when compared to economic conditions in so many Latin American Countries. I naively suggest that Progressive and Liberal policies in the failed economies to the south should be challenged because wealth is not equitably distributed across the populations. I start and stop there because I could write for days on the failed dictatorships the US has backed in the past. It is tragic, and it is our fault.
So again thank you for the article, and I hope people can enjoy a cup of coffee while they parse through my rant.
Todd, I'd very much like to have a PDF of your Empire of Borders book. The only book of yours I have read is Build Bridges, Not Walls (published in 2021). For some time I have believed that the wealthy/corporate classes of each country have more in common with each other than any of them has with the lower class in their own country. So the comment you quoted in that book spoke to me: "The act of refusing or subverting an unspoken custom" reveals "its often-fragile contours"...
And by the time I got to page 82 I was realizing borders are not built to create safe, comfortable environments for those deemed fortunate enough to live inside; nor are they built to keep others out, even though that is the current interpretation Rather, as you state, borders make it possible for big businesses to "maximize profit by reducing wages and benefits for their employees...all the attention goes to the migration of impoverished individuals, while the migration of U.S. corporations to foreign countries (where they pay local populations pennies for their labor and local governments little to no taxes) goes unreported." The cross border cooperation between countries on opposite sides of the world becomes apparent in the sharing of expertise in constructing walls and in endlessly perfecting surveillance practices. We were not the first country to build walls but now we want to be the best?? I look forward to reading your Empire of Borders: the Expansion of the U.S. Border around the World
Reading this first comment on dates of the pictures got me to check the article -- which I find alarmingly interesting-- for dates of the interviews as well. Am I correct that both Biden's announcement on processing centers and your interview with Mayorkas with reference to "hemispheric challenge" date to April 2023?
The discussion around the concept of "investment" and the offices opened since 2003 took place in 2017. right? And the comment that the "newest ones in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador opened this year" -- does that also refer to 2017 or is it referring to offices opening this year, 2023"?
Are things changing so rapidly that there is public acknowledgement of significant actions that expand our hegemony only some 5 years after it is firmly in place?
While I appreciate the journalism here, I find it odd that you are only showing pictures of conditions 3-5 years ago. Surely what you describe happening in the article has changed the visuals? I know this administration is not perfect, but I believe it is better than the last one, by miles. If Nixon era activities are still happening in the americas, let’s shine a light that is less jaded, and I think many folks would respond and help change. Thanks