From John Robb:
JOURNAL: Mexico’s Mercado of Violence Heats Up
Open source warfare often combines market-based functions to accelerate its innovation rates and expand its operations beyond the primary players. These markets, or bazaars (as I called them) are very efficient. For example: the price of violence plummets as the number of entrants increases and the capacity for violence improves as the market’s participants specialize and hone their skills.
Usually, the military/law enforcement response to the surge in the sophistication and quantity of violence is to assume some outside source of training or support rather than something that is the natural byproduct of rapid marketplace development.
So, it’s no surprise with the growing availability of the street/prison gangs (Barrio Azteca and the Artistic Assassins) as sources of cheap, violent labor the marketplace is heating up. Note the excellent quotes below from a WaPo article on the growth of the market for contract killings:
From Joseph Fouche at The Committee of Public Safety:
….Mexico, showing more concern for its sovereignty than their northern neighbor, has launched a brave if thus far futile attempt to win control of its territory from large and powerful narco-traffickers. Large parts of Mexico are in disorder and large parts of Mexico threaten to descend into chaos. The Mexican Army has been brought in to take over from Mexico’s corrupt local and federal police. The well-armed and well-equippednarcotraficantes have counterattacked against the police and even the Mexican Army. The government is riddled with gang informants and corrupt officials. An already uninspiring government has pulled off the unique trick of becoming even more uninspiring.
In the long run, I believe the Mexican state will win. Colombia was in a similar pickle ten years ago but eventually found enough institutional resilience to fight back and win control of most of its territory. But the road back is long and, in the meantime, Mexico’s troubles will inevitably leak north, involving and corrupting American law enforcement even more than it already is, drawing entrepreneurs on both sides of the border to profit from America and Mexico’s shared misery, and applying negative pressures on Mexican residents in the United States to cooperate with the narcotraficantes. ¿O plata o plomo? (silver or lead?) the Colombian drug gangs used to ask their victims. Profit or death, a choice will be put to many Mexican Americans in the years ahead, or as Mexico’s own Porfirio Diaz put it, ¿Pan o palo? (bread or a beating?). Illegal immigration, perhaps deliberately induced by Mexican drug gangs in an ironic echo of the strategy of Mexico’s incumbent elites, will destabilize American local governments and drain their resources. Violence in Mexican communities in America will increase and inevitably spill over to non-Mexicans. Political correctness and diplomatic niceties will paralyze American responses.
The historical significance of the War in Iraq will be revealed: COIN on American streets. Containment, if it can be described as such, will occur house by house, block by block, city by city, state by state. The traditional American response to crisis, the inspired muddle, will produce more corruption of American institutions and society, already weakened by the last round of containment….