“MR. GORBACHEV, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL”By David G Hanger
January 11, 2019
Nicholas P. Trist is not a name well-known to Americans today, but were Mount Rushmore a monument to those responsible for establishing the geographical boundaries of the United States the faces on that sculpture would be Washington, Jefferson, Trist, and Gadsden (and Seward, of course, if Alaska is taken into consideration). A career bureaucrat, chief clerk at the State department, a lifetime non-entity distinguished only by his marriage to Thomas Jefferson’s granddaughter, he was sent to Mexico by President Polk to negotiate a conclusion to the Mexican War (now also termed the Mexican-American War), was summarily recalled (fired) for getting too chummy with Polk’s political opposition, in this instance General Winfield Scott; refused and ignored his recall, acting, therefore, as “private citizen” then negotiated and dumped into Polk’s lap the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. “Altogether twenty-six of the fifty-eight senators had at various times voted against basic features of the treaty, but it was nevertheless ratified by a vote of 38 to 14. It was then hastily returned to Mexico, and there approved by both houses of the Congress, so that ratifications could be exchanged on May 30,” 1848. (Ibid., page 6.)
By the provisions of which the dominion of the United States was increased by a total of 619,000 square miles, 522,000 square miles via the Mexican cession, the remainder via the Texas Annexation. All of California, all of Nevada and Utah, almost 100,000 square miles of Texas (later subdivided in part to other states), most of Arizona and New Mexico, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas; the second largest acquisition of territory by the United States after the Louisiana Purchase.
AFFIRMED SHORTLY THEREAFTER BY THE ‘PROTOCOL OF QUERETARO’ WERE THE SPANISH LAND GRANTS AND OTHER PROPERTY RIGHTS ESTABLISHED UNDER SPANISH LAW, AND THE RIGHT OF THE RESIDENT MEXICAN CITIZENS TO IMMEDIATE RECOGNITION AS U.S. CITIZENS. This, of course, did not work out exactly in fact, but by law and treaty (and by intelligent forethought and consideration) no stateless persons were created, and no mass expulsions were compelled. (After the American Revolution thousands of British sympathizers were expelled in what British historians until the 1930s called “The Abomination.”)
SO ONE HELL OF A LOT OF THOSE BROWN FACES DOWN THERE HAVE BEEN U.S. CITIZENS FOR A LONG TIME, AND NOT SURPRISINGLY A LOT OF THEM HAVE RELATIVES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER. And not surprisingly all of the Hispanic gals I dated as a younger man (and probably should have married in one or two instances) were one to three generations removed from someone who “jumped” the border.
Even many current histories tell us that the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 AD resulted in the destruction of the irreplaceable highly specialized core of the Byzantine army thus permitting the Turks to overrun Anatolia and exterminate the indigenous population thereby depriving Byzantium of its primary recruiting grounds. Thus in 1453 AD Constantinople fell and Byzantium was memory.
Part of this is someone(s) adding meaning to events after the fact; there is a lot of water going downstream in a period of 400 years; and part of this is the ethnic bias of these earlier historians; for fact is both more boring and much more interesting. Manzikert is the prequel to the First Crusades which formed in response to Alexius’s call 25 years later for help in taking Manzikert back. The battle itself was not the massive destruction of the Byzantine army some historians for simplicity’s sake want us to believe. Out of 40,000 to 45,000 in action Byzantine casualties were in the 2000 to 5000 range with 8000 captured including the Byzantine emperor, the predictable 25% to 30% range for losers of such contests until the end of the 18th century. Most of the units were involved in other known actions on other fronts within months. Nor did it demonstrate a peculiar viciousness in the Turks who released all of their prisoners in short order, and ransomed back the emperor within a week. Rather it was internal political dissension that was exacerbated by this battle then and thereafter that dissipated Byzantine military strength and influence, thus in effect creating something of a power vacuum in Anatolia into which local Turkish warlords very gradually encroached, i.e. over 150 to 200 years. While sacks and massacres of towns and small cities occurred, massive exterminations did not occur as genetic analysis clearly confirms; as per normal they encroached and interrelated.
The internal strife of a decaying empire of long standing succumbed to the unorganized persisting strategy of a series of Turkish warlords out for loot and land, but not much more; that was on rare occasion enhanced by a strong man who was capable of consolidating this effort into something more substantial. So for 600 years, from 1071 to 1683, in periodic spurts the Turks pushed west northwest until finally turned back by consolidated western European power at Vienna.
To a considerable degree we are Mexico’s Turks; it is not the other way around.
Spain as empire began crumbling about the time it initiated the effort. The conservatism of Hispanic-Catholic culture quickly ran afoul of Northern Europeans and their developing individualistic attitudes. Of particular historical note are occurrences in Holland and the Netherlands which Spain dominated and controlled until the 17th century. The Dutch expelled them ultimately, but by the time these wars ended most of the surviving nobles went with Spain, so the developing mercantile middle class began electing or appointing ‘kings’ and assassinating them if they didn’t comply with the wishes of their constituents. Military officers were appointed on the basis of merit rather than birth, thus it is to the Dutch that we look for the beginnings of both modern representative democracy and free enterprise.
By 1821 this hollowed-out empire ceded independence to Mexico which promptly established its own monarchy. The Mexican monarchy in turn was replaced in 1824 by a democratic republic, but Mexico did not expel its monarchists, thus leaving in place a powerful political faction that returned to power in the form of Maximilian in wake of the political and economic chaos created in Mexico by the Mexican War and its aftermath.
Where the U.S. Constitution specifically and unequivocally separates the church and state while also placing the military under civilian control, due to cultural and religious differences the Mexicans did not do this, and the military and the Catholic Church have both sought to dominate Mexico politically and economically. From strongman to revolutionary who in turn becomes the next strong man the tradition of “el heffe” or “el caudillo” has a long and sordid history in Mexico and in South America.
Missions as power projection and as long-term, low-cost persisting strategy is one of the Spanish Empire’s most imaginative inventions. For the cost of a few priests and monks, a soldiery acting as constabulary once the mission was established numbering three to six, and little more, the Spanish established unmatched political and economic power centers that operated as magnets to the region’s native populations. The five Spanish missions of San Antonio, some of which are fully preserved and restored, and at least three of which still have operating churches, represent the zenith of this endeavor. Founded on the floodplains of the San Antonio River and stretching over a distance of about 15 miles, each attracted an indigenous native population of at least 400, thus with the founding of the Alamo in 1718, a very strong Spanish presence was established smack dab in the middle of what today is Texas. But even then only a few dozen, if that, were actually Spaniards. These missions stretched out sporadically as far as Santa Fe, New Mexico.
But a century later as Mexico became an independent nation the resources to maintain such an extensive domain just weren’t there, and as with any power vacuum someone moved in to fill it. By 1820 the Comanches had taken solid control of a region comprising about one-fourth of modern Arizona, two-thirds of modern New Mexico, and about one-third of Texas, plus a chunk of Oklahoma, that was referred to at the time as “Comancheria.” They raided deep into Mexico and as far east as 80 miles east northeast of San Antonio, and were a major threat until after the American Civil War. They flat de-populated the northern provinces of Mexico (oh yes, the Apaches were contributing their mayhem, too, but over a smaller territory).
In response to this Mexican authorities decided to invite U.S. citizens into Texas as an intended counterweight to these Comanche encroachments with the expectation that they would occupy the central and western parts of Texas in substantial numbers. (Pretty silly, really, because western Texas for the most part is a desert empty of all but oil operations to this day.) Instead they settled in East Texas where there was lots of good land for growing cotton; and with cotton came slaves.
Recognizing the essential failure to accomplish the purpose of their immigration policy in 1829 the Mexican government took the quite interesting expedient of outlawing slavery in all of its territory for the specifically intended purpose of curtailing immigration of U.S. citizens.
SO DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THE FACT THE TEXIANS RAISED AT THE ALAMO THE FLAG OF 1824 REPRESENTING THE “REPUBLIC” OF MEXICO RATHER THAN THE DICTATORSHIP OF SANTA ANNA. FOR WHAT THEY WERE REALLY DEFENDING WAS THE RIGHT TO SLAVERY SO THEY COULD GROW COTTON.
I think you are starting to catch on that this thing is pretty damned complicated.
With the 30,000 square miles added by the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, which filled out Arizona and New Mexico, between 1836 and 1853 the United States deprived the Republic of Mexico of 55% of its territory; the bulk of which was stolen under pretext. It took 400 years from Manzikert for Byzantium to fall, 200 years and more for the Turkish warlords to gradually absorb most of Anatolia; but only 17 years for the United States to gut Mexico, plus another 30 years to consolidate the territory gained.
Considering California and Texas alone the long-term economic consequences to Mexico have been devastating. Political consequences are more difficult to attribute, for the Hispanic-Catholic culture has introduced both political and psychological attributes that has made it difficult for representative democracy to take deep root anywhere south of the Rio Grande. Thus it seems the psychological realm is where the greatest damage is done, for superimposed on a permanent sense of inferiority is the fact of true economic deprivation and lack of opportunity.
Modern Mexico is the vestige of the mess we made of it more than 150 years ago. We are their “Turks,” and it did not take us 400 years to do it. Building a wall between us does not begin to solve the problems on either side of the border. Nor is Mexico or their people a major security threat to the United States. (In the first instance look at the location of our active military posts, so many of which are pointed southward, i.e. Forts Polk and Bliss, Fort Hood with its massive armored contingent.) More terrorist encroachments have occurred on the Canadian border than the Mexican, and most ‘watch-listed’ individuals (who actually represent the vast bulk of these numbers) arrived on an airplane and were sent back home from there.
No, ten terrorists on average are not trying to enter the United States every day. (I am sure way over ten people with bad attitudes enter the United States every day, but what is going on in their noggin is not something anyone can even see.) Here Sarah “Chuckleberry” Sanders is flat lying through her teeth, a not unusual event, but pathetically stupid in this instance. Out of somewhat more than 2550 incidents in a year’s time 2170 ‘watch-listed’ individuals arrived and left via airplane. That leaves about one a day across all of the other entry points in the United States, and the majority of those are not on the Mexican border. (In fact, as reported even by Fox “Fixed and Fascist” News, a total of six watch-listed individuals sought to cross the Mexican/U.S. border, more than 40 the Canadian border.)
There are two major differences between the people on the far side of the Canadian border and those on the far side of the Mexican border: Folks from Mexico are generally brown in complexion with dark eyes, dark hair, and dark nipples, and they speak Spanish (a sort of Spanish). Folks from Canada are generally pale and flesh-toned, and speak English with a funny accent (thus we know they are Canadians when we meet them). Cultural distinctions are more obvious with Hispanics than with Canadians, but why should any of us be surprised or bothered by that?
They feed us, you damned fools. They cross that border in droves to take on the jobs that we refuse to do. They yet know the land and how to make it grow. In 100 degree heat they will pour concrete like maniacs ten hours a day, and if you tried it, whitey, you would be dead in an hour. There are many strange things in this world, and perhaps none stranger than the desperation that compels so many to cross a border, to seek to hide in plain sight, and to live in comparative squalor while working for the peanuts paid to them by some white ‘Trumpista’ who pretends he wants to build a wall between them and us; which, if true, would only be true because our ‘Trumpista’ has calculated he can pay less to them than what he or she is paying now.
In terms of comprehension and awareness Donald J. Trump is not much above the level of a moron, particularly as it comes to understanding the nature and the purpose of walls. In agricultural terms walls (or fences) are in fact sometimes designed to keep something out rather than keeping something in, but in historical terms most, if not all, of the noted walls of history were designed to keep someone in, not to keep someone out. Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” of 1948 descending over Europe was ultimately a physical barrier specifically designed to keep the indigenous population in. In 1961 when I was 11-years old they built the Berlin Wall, and the next 30 years of my life saw how many movies and articles with themes of people getting shot trying to cross the Berlin Wall, and always trying to get out, not in.
Hadrian’s Wall and the Great Wall of China were not barriers designed to keep the barbarians out (save indirectly), but in fact were barriers designed to keep the raiders in once they got in. The primacy of retreat always allows raiders to outrun and disengage from defenders, nor could defenders effectively defend everywhere. Neither of these ancient edifices were ever manned along their entire length. What they provided the defenders was a means to cut off or at least harry potential routes of retreat with the added advantage of creating a barrier against which a potential raider once in can be trapped against and destroyed.
Simple explanations of some of history’s wonders have left so many of you not really understanding how those folks used them. At the very least it is safe to say that historically walls are far better at keeping human populations in than they are at keeping them out of a large geographical area.
THE VERY CONCEPT IS KNUCKLE-HEADED BECAUSE IT CANNOT WORK, NOR IN FACT IS IT DESIRABLE BECAUSE WE REALLY DON’T WANT IT TO WORK. (I suppose we could have a new conscription law where everyone age 18 to 25 has to do two or three years in the fields, which would dry up some of the available cheap jobs.)
Last I heard this is the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Nothing either particularly free or brave about trying to hide from your neighbors by building a giant wall. Erecting walls is what dictators do as Ronald Reagan so clearly understood when he sonorously proclaimed, “MR. GORBACHEV, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL.”
In the 2017-2018 election cycle 152 elected officials were assassinated in Mexico. The political and economic instability of Mexico exists for two fundamental reasons: There are too many people, and there are too few jobs. What wealth there is remains poorly distributed, and the “patrones” are a bunch of greedy bastards. Culturally, it is a neo-feudalistic society vividly colorful and emotional, yet lacking in imagination and technical creativity. It is effectively owned by the drug cartels whose massive wealth permits them to buy off anybody, and with the power that has evolved out of that they kill anyone and everyone who gets in their way.
Driving through El Paso on I10, a misery for most of the day that compares with New York City, look south and what you see is Juarez, Mexico, a city of millions that was cleared of more than half its tenants at one point in time a few years back by the actions of the drug cartels. There are at least two movies of which I am aware that thematically deal with the subject, but I don’t think there are any really satisfactory answers yet to the unmarked graves of hundreds of girls or young women in Northern Mexico. Fort Bliss is located in El Paso for a very simple and obvious reason. Fort Polk is an infantry post that can post itself en masse’ on the border in less than 24 hours. Fort Hood and Fort Knox hold the bulk of our armored contingent, and the forward echelon can be anywhere on the border within eight hours, the rest within a day-and-a-half. There are five Air Force bases in San Antonio alone, so many some have been mothballed, but study the layout of Air Force bases overall, and you will see very quickly that the whole damned outfit can point itself southward within hours.
Long before Donald J. Trump came along the problem of defending our southern border was addressed effectively times about 20. If as in the movie “World War Z,” the zombies pile up in vast waves at the border, the U.S. military will simply make vast piles of crispy critters out of them. It is not a problem.
The right wing of this country, literally lily-white, is very concerned with the fact that in the relatively near future more than half the country will not be white, and this they perceive as a very serious problem. So any brown persons crossing that southern border merely advances that day when good old USA changes from majority white to majority brown. THAT IS WHY TRUMP AND HIS ‘TRUMPISTAS’ WANT TO BUILD THIS SILLY WALL. They actually believe that building a wall will stop what they perceive as a massive migration.
Here we have to be honestly careful, and perhaps build a few bridges rather than walls amongst ourselves, and understand they have a point. San Antonio, Texas, is also called “Little Mexico.” The population is now almost two-thirds Hispanic, and the family lineage of most within the past 175 years is south of the Rio Grande, and for the most part much more recently than that. All of south Texas is predominantly Hispanic, has been as long as I have been around, but that has also become more pronounced.
When I was born in 1949 the population of this country was perhaps 150 million. Today there are 330 million, and it is in fact in a lot of places getting crowded. So that old notion of not needing any more mouths to feed does make sense. So the idea of not letting you in unless you have something special to offer also makes sense, too, up to a point.
But they don’t just feed us. Something like two-thirds to three-fourths of all construction workers in the Southwest are undocumented. Go to the local hair salon, and two-thirds of them are undocumented, too. In the Southwest the culture for all practical purposes ignores the law, and the employers are mostly ‘Trumpistas.’ I am not sure it is even rational to mess with that very much; there are way too many informal linkages. Nor do I think it desirable. You have to have something better first, and a lock-out is not better; it causes real pain and leaves real children hungry.
Intersecting at this long porous border are a plethora of issues that has nothing to do specifically with immigration policy. It starts with racism and class arrogance, and what Trump has in fact accomplished with his blatant racism is to expose beneath that thin sheen of veneer the deep-seated racism of so many white Americans.
The drug cartels are a major problem, indeed an absolute disaster for the rule of law in Mexico. The violence and the corruption are out of control, but all of that is contained by our actions on the border and by our defense strategy. Instead of more incidents at the Mexican border the past several cycles have seen much lower rates of movement between Mexico and the United States.
What few people know today is that Hitler commenced the first “environmental” war in history; in moving east his primary purpose was to secure “lebensraum” (or, “living space”) for an expanding German population. The solution to too many people was to kill or enslave the indigenous populations, then to re-colonize with Germans. Only with the mass movement capabilities of the twentieth century could such a monstrous project be conceived. The intent was the mass extermination of one people so that another group could move in; the reason was not enough space for everyone.
A five-year drought was the primary motivating fact behind the Syrian Civil War which has displaced to date millions of people, many of whom are banging on the doors of various European nations asking to be let in. The cause of this Syrian mess is an environmental disaster that forced people into the cities looking for food and work that was not there. Climate change is not a joke, and its consequences are not just the flooding of coastal cities and the burning of California forests. In the future it is quite reasonable to anticipate numerous additional displacements of large masses of people for environmental reasons, and as evidenced by this current mess when refugees come banging on your border in massive numbers, local political norms are among the first casualties. The consequence in Europe has been the emergence or the strengthening of right wing nationalistic and/or isolationist political parties. (Which also, of course, gets played and ramped up by Putin when he is given free rein in Syria. Quite desirable in fact from Putin’s perspective to keep Syria going indefinitely because of its de-stabilizing effect on the politics of Western Europe.)
Lacking any other target our “Syrians” are the Hondurans and the other Central Americans trying to escape the problems of those countries, which parallel to a degree those of Mexico but diverge in that legal U.S. corporations have had a lot to do with what has happened there. Whether it be bananas or cocaine; whether it be “Chiquita” or “El Chapo,” it is U.S. markets and U.S. greed that are responsible for the bulk of these problems. A wall between us will do nothing to solve any of this.
Population growth is the canary in the coal mine. Mexico is bursting at the seams, and so, too, good old USA, at least in comparative terms. Oh sure, there is a big vast empty in the West, but there is either no water or it is 10,000 feet straight up. In my personal experience traffic congestion is already nuts in all West Coast cities, throughout the East concluding with the absolute absurdity of New York City; Dallas, Salt Lake City, Houston, El Paso, Austin, the list goes on and on. Our best farmland is being buried under new apartments and subdivisions. Everyone wants a family.
But population growth is a separate issue from immigration. It may obviously affect immigration policy, but it is a separate issue and problem. Nor can it be solved by building a wall between us, for there problem here is our problem; those excess people WILL go somewhere; and unless the first problem is solved you will never get around, at least rationally, to solving the second.
To begin to re-establish the rule of law in Mexico requires declaring defeat in the War on Drugs. We have to legalize (or is it semi-legalize???) heroin, cocaine, and some of the other crap just to get the money out of the hands of the bandits. As many “El Chapo’s” are killed or imprisoned, there will be that many and more heads on that hyda monster, ad infinitum. U.S. demand feeds this instability, and will continue to ramp up and increase this instability as time goes by. Rather than solution current policy is a form of slow suicide.
All historical evidence indicates you cannot stop people from screwing, and you cannot stop some people from stuffing strange stuff up their noses, or injecting it. Managing what is real requires a bit more applied intellect, and a clear recognition that all current policies have failed.
Our contributions to the messes in Mexico and Central America are not simply substantial, they are colossal in magnitude and dimension. The idea that a wall makes all this go away, conveniently ignoring the fact of culpability, is childish.
I do not have canned solutions for the problems “south of the border,” any more than I have such solutions for this side of the border. What I do clearly understand is this crap with a wall on our southern border is completely contrived by a racist who cannot help being what he is. There is not a crisis on our southern border; conditions in fact in the past several years have improved somewhat; but there is a crisis with Donald J. Trump who is in process of being exposed. This is just a “Wag the Dog” exercise to divert attention from that.
Donald J. Trump is a rancid racist puke. He cannot help being that; it is embedded in his marrow. He wants to build a wall because he hates Mexicans; that is what this is all about.
THAT IS A SORRY EXCUSE FOR YOU TO THINK AND BE THE SAME WAY.
Received January 10, 2019 - Published January 11, 2019
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