“While the foreign policy elite in Washington focuses on the 8,000 deaths in a conflict in Syria – half a world away from the United States – more than 47,000 people have died in drug-related violence since 2006 in Mexico. A deeply troubled state as well as a demographic and economic giant on the United States’ southern border, Mexico will affect America’s destiny in coming decades more than any state or combination of states in the Middle East.” ~ Robert D. Kaplan
Robert D. Kaplan
Robert D. Kaplan, the Atlantic Monthly’s National Correspondent, has written several books about remote regions and has not been shy about urging intervention in places where an over-riding American interest might not seem obvious—he was a vocal proponent of the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Kaplan is a New York City native with war correspondent experience and Israeli military service, so I was inclined to characterize him simply as an unusually muscular neocon/liberal. Some of his more recent books about the U.S. military reveal a fascination with things that go boom. But unlike most of the prominent neocons who continually call for American intervention in Middle Eastern morasses — Kagan, Kristol and Frum come to mind, among others—Kaplan has been willing to don fatigues and take his chances. Even if the fatigues weren’t American.
Kaplan now writes a weekly Geopolitics feature for George Friedman’s Stratfor. Stratfor (shorthand for Strategic Forecasting) is a subscription-based private sector intelligence provider in Austin, Texas — right on Sixth Street, Austin’s once-notorious downtown party strip. The Stratfor crew seem a pretty serious bunch, though. They were recently the target of a Wikileaks hacking attack, a Left-handed compliment to their importance, but appear to have recovered.
(One revelation: a Stratfor email reported that defeated GOP Presidential nominee McCain had refused to challenge Democratic election fraud in 2008 on the grounds that it would “our nation no good for this to drag out like last go around, coupled with the possibility of domestic violence.” See GOP Wouldn’t Challenge Black Voter Fraud in 2008—Why Would It Challenge Trayvon Martin Lynch Mob Now?)
Stratfor reports show real perception—for example, about Russia, its coverage is refreshingly free of the reflexive hostility so often seen in American commentary. And recently Stratfor posted a thought-provoking examination of “Britain’s Strategy”, marred only by a failure to acknowledge that Britain has changed in any material way since 1945.
But for Americans concerned about the problems in our backyard, of which there is no shortage, Stratfor’s best feature is its ongoing, frequent and very detailed coverage of Mexico’s misfortunes—the growing drug-fuelled lawlessness that threatens the whole country, spills over the porous border into the United States, and in several Mexican states has effectively ended civil government.