Tuesday, December 3, 2019

If Trump Designates Cartels As Terrorist Groups, He Should Go To War With Them

Washington is waking up to the threat of Mexican drug cartels and the growing chaos in Mexico. But is Trump prepared to take robust action?
In an interview posted online Tuesday, President Trump said he would designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, marking a major shift in U.S. policy toward Mexico, where cartels now exercise effective control of much of the country.
In the interview, with former Fox News has Bill O’Reilly, Trump said his administration has been working on the designation for the last 90 days, well before the massacre of nine American women and children on November 4 by cartel gunmen in the Mexican state of Sonora, not far from the U.S. border. The victims, some as young as eight months old, were members of the LeBaron family, a Mormon community that’s lived and farmed in northern Mexico for decades. One woman was shot point blank as she begged for her children’s lives.
The brazen killings, along with the spectacular defeat of a detachment of Mexican National Guard troops by heavily armed Sinaloa cartel forces in the city of Culiacan in October, have brought increased public attention to violence in Mexico’s and the country’s descent into cartel wardlordlism. Homicides have been at record high the last two years, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has no real plan to combat the cartels or deal with the violence, instead he repeats his facile campaign slogan of “hugs, not bullets.”
Trump’s designation comes just as lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are waking up to the reality that Mexico is in crisis. On Monday, Sens. Ben Sasse and Mike Lee sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and FBI Director Christopher Wray urging them to level sanctions on the Mexican drug cartels responsible for the massacre.
“While we wait for these butchers to be identified and brought to justice,” the senators wrote, they want the Trump administration to “consider the full and creative use of existing sanction authority” in these departments, citing sanction authority currently authorized under the Kingpin Act and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
This is a slightly different approach than the one proposed by House Republicans like Rep. Chip Roy, who in March introduced a bill that would designate drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. The freshman congressman, who represents a Texas district not far from the U.S.-Mexico border, has been outspoken about the need to secure the southwest border and combat powerful cartels that Roy says have “operational control” over the border.
Read the rest from John Daniel Davidson HERE at The Federalist.

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