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Texas Governor proposes US army presence in Mexico

October 3, 2011

The leading candidate for the Republican Party nomination in next year’s U.S. presidential election has said he would consider sending troops into Mexico to combat drug-related violence and prevent it from spreading into the United States.

“It may require our military in Mexico working in concert with them to kill these drug cartels and keep them off our border,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry at a campaign appearance in New Hampshire on Saturday.

The comments, which seem certain to inflame opinion on both sides of the Rio Grande, were made in response to a question about the growing threat of drug violence along the southern border.

Perry offered no further details on the nature of any possible military intervention. “I don’t know all the different scenarios that would be out there,” he said, “but I think it is very important for us to work with them to keep that country from failing.”

An ultra-conservative candidate with strong Tea Party support, Perry is favorite to win the Republican Party candidacy to challenge President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

The White House responded to his speech by promising to continue “our historic level of cooperation with Mexico as we work to protect the public health and safety of citizens on both sides of the border.”

Working closely with the Mexican authorities, the Obama administration has sent National Guard troops to patrol the border and even operates unmanned Predator drones gathering intelligence inside Mexico.

Yet any deployment of U.S. troops in Mexican territory would mean a dramatic escalation of U.S. involvement in the drug war and would prove completely unacceptable to the Mexican authorities.

Mexico has long been wary of foreign intervention, having only gained independence from Spain 200 years ago and subsequently lost around half its territory to the United States after the Mexican-American War of 1846-48.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has called on the United States – the world’s largest consumer of illegal drugs – to do more to reduce domestic drug demand and to reduce the flow of arms from the United States to Mexico’s cartels.

Perry’s comments may be aimed at nullifying criticism from other Republican contenders that he is not tough enough on border security or illegal immigration.

Perry’s spokesman, Robert Black, said afterwards that sending troops to Mexico was just one possible means of combating the cartel-related violence in the region.

“Never say never,” said Black. “Mexico has a problem. They have a significant problem with drug cartels at war with each other and that is a significant problem for the United States.”

Although he said Perry’s intention was to work with the Mexican government, Black declined to specify whether Perry would consider sending troops south of the border without Mexico’s consent.

During the same campaign appearance on Saturday, Perry criticized President Obama’s handling of military operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere, himself promising never to send troops into another country without a detailed plan for victory and a swift withdrawal.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Alastair permalink
    October 4, 2011 22:24

    God helps us all if Obama doesn’t get a second term …

  2. October 4, 2011 22:28

    Indeed, what a nutter. Surely he’s unelectable though, or at least you would like to think so.

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