Americans Are Strangely Oblivious to the Security Crisis in Mexico

Omar Trevino Morales, known as "Z-42" and leader of the Zetas drug cartel, is escorted by soldiers during a media conference about his arrest in Mexico City March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

A dangerous fire is blazing next door.

In late August, the U.S. State Department issued updated travel warnings covering twenty-three of Mexico’s thirty-one states—including the major tourist areas. A Los Angeles Times article highlights just how bad the situation has become in some of the favorite destinations for U.S. and other foreign visitors.

“In Quintana Roo, the state where Cancun is located, 169 killings were reported from January to July, more than twice as many as during the same period last year.

In Baja California Sur, home to Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas, 232 slayings have been reported this year, nearly four times as many as during the same period last year.”

U.S. policymakers seem strangely oblivious to the security crisis that is developing in our southern neighbor. While we obsess about who should lead Syria, whether Russia or Ukraine should rule Crimea, and how to achieve an elusive victory after sixteen years of unrelenting failure and frustration in Afghanistan, a dangerous fire is blazing next door.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of ten books on international affairs, including Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington’s Futile War on Drugs in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) and The Fire Next Door: Mexico’s Drug Violence and the Danger to America (Cato Institute, 2012).

Image: Omar Trevino Morales, known as "Z-42" and leader of the Zetas drug cartel, is escorted by soldiers during a media conference about his arrest in Mexico City March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

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