Saturday, January 21, 2006


Good Fences Make ...

Though not one to prophesize, I nevertheless believe that the United States is going to confront a major domestic crisis this century. This particular crisis will overshadow most other domestic crises as well as all “foreign affairs” and overseas imperialist “adventures” (including the current crusade in the oil-rich Middle East) thus forcing the US to look inward and (hopefully) leaving the rest of the world alone (for a change). I am referring to the influx of Mexicans (so called “illegal aliens”) to the US. Prior to forming part of the Homeland Security apparatus the INS estimated that the “illegal alien” population from Mexico grew by nearly 2.8 million in the final decade of the last century, accounting for 80 percent of the total increase in the “illegal” population within the US. As we all know, this issue is not new and has been around ever since the US notoriously appropriated Mexican lands following the Mexican American War. There are signs, however, that the situation is reaching a boiling point (some argue it has been boiling over for some time already!). I am not necessarily referring to President Bush's recently announced temporary worker or bracero proposal, that - by the way - included a multi-billion dollar authorization aimed at further militarizing the border through hiring additional border patrol agents and creating more jails for immigrants, among other measures. Instead I am talking about H.R. 4313 which was unveiled by Congressmen Hunter (R-CA) and Goode (R-VA) as "the border fence bill." There is in my opinion a definite analogy between this "fence" and the wall in Israel purporting to protect that country against "terrorists".

The otherwise pro-US Mexican gov't has called the border fence bill “shameful” and has pledged to block the plan and organize an international campaign against it. There seems to be a groundswell of support among the US public for such a barrier. Just last month, a federal judge removed the final legal barrier to completing a border fence meant to stymie illegal immigrants in the southwestern corner of the US. Evidently this will be an issue to be watched closely in the years to come.


Name me one country, anywhere in the world, who does not try to defend it's borders. Even Puerto Rico does everything it can to keep Dominicans from entering illegally (supposedly because they take jobs away from Puerto Ricans - yet coffee planations in PR are worked by everyone other than Puerto Ricans, many of whom prefer to accept welfare from the horrible U.S.). The Mexican/American war was fought to determine the boundary between Texas and Mexico. Up until that time, Mexico claimed the boundary was at the Nueces River (close to Corpus Christi), while the U.S. claimed the border was the Rio Grande. A large portion of land was at stake and that particular war decided the present day border. Name one country that wouldn't try to expand it's own territory. Have you heard of what's going on between the Jews and the Palestinians? The U.S. won that war. Why does that make us so bad?

All that being said, why would anyone taking advantage of all the previledges and benefits offered by the United States be so anti-American? Funny how so many people of this ilk throw stones at the U.S. but never leave to that better place somewhere else out there. Try doing the same thing in many of the countries which seem so attractive to the anti-Americans. Countries like the old Soviet Union, Iraq, Iran, China (this one is even afraid for it's citizens to try Google). And I suggest that the word Imperialist be looked up in the dictionary. Some Puerto Ricans loved to call themselves a colony of the U.S. But what does the U.S. take out of any country? Last I heard it was pouring about $8 billion into that little island (no wonder it's the "Happiest Place In The World"). I think a tip should be taken from the people in the U.S. who are in favor of the fence between here and Mexico. Maybe we know what's going on in our own land better than some outsider (no matter how well educated they think they are). And how humane is it for these illegal Mexicans to be dying out in the desert fleeing their own country? Those who get here, leave families behind and, in so many cases, never see them again. Is this what anti-Americans call humane? We don't. And if building a wall helps to save lives, who could possibly be against that? Only someone who doesn't pay taxes here, perhaps. Thanks, but no thanks. The expression stands, "Good fences make good neighbors".
Dear Anonymous,
Some Puerto Ricans loved to call themselves a colony of the U.S. But what does the U.S. take out of any country? Last I heard it was pouring about $8 billion into that little island... In all fairness, you are looking at just one side of the equation. In pecuniary terms, you have to take into consideration the profits made here by U.S. corporations. You certainly don't believe the U.S. would be unilaterally pumping $8m into PR without getting anything in return? That is almost as naive as believing that the U.S. invaded Iraq for the joy of bringing democracy to the Middle East. As for your comments on Mexico: by virtue of being vanquished in the war, Mexico ceded half of its territory to the USA, that is historical fact. However, not all Mexicans might accept that outcome. Argue with them about it, not with me. Rather than get polemical about it, the determining factor here is that the relative (I should say overwhelming) strength of the US economy vis-à-vis Mexico is going to ensure a steady flow of poor Mexican migrants across the border no matter how many fences, walls or moats you build. That, my friend, is the power of economics.
It is more naive to use an old, worn out, untruthful arguement that the U.S. invaded Iraq for it's oil, as implied by the comment doubting that the U.S. would not invade Iraq simply to bring democracy to the Middle East. The U.S. invaded because we were attacked by radical Muslims. Agreed that not too many Americans care very much about that area, democratic or not. But neither do we care about their oil, since we import most of that commodity from Canada and Mexico. Don't see the U.S. attacking either one of those countries for their oil, do we? In fact, Canada comes under the same umbrella of protection as the U.S. and most of that protection is provided by tax-paying American citizens.

As to the U.S. pouring billions of dollars into Puerto Rico in exchange for profits being taken out by U.S. corporations, you must be confusing foriegn aid with capitalism. Any corporation is free to do business in Puerto Rico as long as it is good for both, the corporation as well as Puerto Rico. The U.S. government does not have the final say in such matters. Tax breaks offered such corporations are an incentive, not an edict. If the Puerto Rican government were to expell every American corporation (as they did the U.S. Navy), the U.S. would more than likely continue to pour billions into the island. Some years ago, Senator Wellstone (who died tragically in a plane crash), had the U.S. government grant $500,000 to each of the three parties (status quo, statehood, or independence) so they could continue to "study" their position. I would venture to say that U.S. citizens didn't get a nickel's worth of benefit from that money. And if U.S. citizens had been allowed to vote on it, the money would never have been wasted in the first place.

As for Mexico, the only thing that can be said about the illegal imigration problem is that the President of Mexico should be ashamed that his own population prefers to leave Mexico under any circumstances than to stay. At least those people who want to leave have an appreciation for the United States and do something about it, even die trying to get here. As opposed to those American citizens here who hate this country but don't leave it. Must not be all that bad here after all. And if anyone thinks the only thing this country has to offer is the "U.S. economy", well, capitalism is the easiest thing for any country to adopt. But that would require faith in the populace, something Socialists don't seem to grasp. For the sake of those poor Mexicans who die every day out in the desert trying to get here, build the fence long and tall. There will still be legal ways to enter this country.
Dear anonymous,
I stand by what I said. The U.S. would not be in possession of Puerto Rico if it did not derive benefit from it; both in pecuniary terms (and yes... I include corporate profits in there as well) AND non-pecuniary terms. If you notice, my previous comment omitted reference to the latter benefits to the US, not least of which is a steady supply of Puerto Ricans to be used as cannon-fodder in the wars the US aristocracy refuses to send it's own sons and daughters to fight.

Another point concerns that $8 bn figure you claim the US is "pouring" into PR. Although I have heard that figure bandied around a lot, if you break it down I believe you will see that not an insignificant portion is made up of transfer payments such as Social Security that Puerto Ricans have accumulated through work, having paid for them out of their own pockets.

Regarding the Middle East, if you want to count yourself among the dwindling minority that still cling to the myth that the US invaded Iraq because "we were attacked by radical Muslims", that is your prerogative. I still maintain that oil was if not the central reason, then one of the chief reasons for that disastrous war of choice. I want to remind you of one of the supreme ironies of that debacle: As Tom Engelhardt has indicated, "American forces in Iraq ... are now 'the Praetorian Guard' for a radical right-wing Iraqi theocratic government in Baghdad, one deeply indebted to that full member of the 'axis of evil,' Iran."

Rather than restating the case about the invasion being for control of the oilfields here, there are those far more eloquent than I (and with much greater credentials in the field) who have drawn the same conclusion.

Oh, ...and I reserve the right to criticize my government (yes, I do consider the US to be MY government). I don't do it out of hate, spite or a lack of patriotism like you seem to insinuate; I do it precisely out of patriotism and because I am a dreamer. I dream of a more just and equitable society that respects its neighbors and the rest of the world.
Dear anonymous:
Allow me to bestow a little bit of wisdom on you (albeit, belatedly):

But neither do we care about their oil, since we import most of that commodity from Canada and Mexico. Don't see the U.S. attacking either one of those countries for their oil, do we?

You should perhaps take a course on oil markets since the global nature of oil trade and pricing means that it matters little if Persian Gulf oil flows to Asia or to the USA. Middle Eastern pricing and supply trends will affect energy costs around the globe regardless.

Ready for some more? You had stated:

It is more naive to use an old, worn out, untruthful arguement that the U.S. invaded Iraq for it's oil, as implied by the comment doubting that the U.S. would not invade Iraq simply to bring democracy to the Middle East.

The following is an interesting document you might not be aware of:

According to the Strategic Assessment 1999, prepared for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defence, 'energy and resource issues will continue to shape international security'. Oil conflicts over production facilities and transport routes, particularly in the Persian Gulf and Caspian regions, are specifically envisaged. Although the policy does not forecast imminent US military conflict, it vividly highlights how the highest levels of the US Defence community accepted the waging of an oil war as a legitimate military option. Strategic Assessment also forecasts that if an oil 'problem' arises, 'US forces might be used to ensure adequate supplies'.

OK!; so it is just a synopsis of the 1999 Strategic Assessment, but when coupled with the following excerpt from James Baker III's study STRATEGIC ENERGY POLICY: CHALLENGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY might just suggest a "smoking gun":

a trend toward anti-Americanism could affect [Middle Eastern] regional leaders’ abilities to cooperate with the U.S. in the energy area. The resulting tight markets have increased U.S. and global vulnerability to disruption and provided adversaries undue potential influence over the price of oil. Iraq has become a key “swing” producer, posing a difficult situation for the U.S. government.

The Baker study was reportedly handed over to Vice President Cheney a full five months before the attacks of September 11th!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?