Be Afraid

Is Mexico a Failed State?

Is drug-related violence pushing Mexico to the brink of collapse? The Wall Street Journal takes up the question. Over the past year, 6,000 people were slain by Mexican drug cartels, whose confiscated weaponry alone "could arm the entire army of El Salvador." The U.S. military has labeled Mexico one of two countries (the other being Pakistan) where failed state-hood is a real possibility. Other analysts fear that "the risk is not that the Mexican state collapses, but rather "becomes like Russia, a state heavily influenced by mafias." The latest incident occurred in Ciudad Juarez on Friday, where cartel members murdered a police officer and a prison guard, leaving behind a sign threatening to kill one officer every two days until the city police chief resigns—which he did. The crisis is so devastating that it even prompted three former heads of state in Latin America, including Mexico's former president Ernesto Zedillo, to issue a joint report recently stating that the drug war was "too costly for countries like Mexico, and urged the U.S. to explore alternatives like decriminalizing marijuana."