The Balkanization of America, Part II: A Clear and Present Danger
by PETER FARMER
October 5, 2012
Part I can be found here.
In part I of this series, we discussed some of the forces threatening the cohesion and unity of the United States, and the possibility of Balkanization. In part II, we consider the specific case of Mexico and illegal immigration from that nation into the United States.
In present-day America, there is perhaps no better illustration of Bertold Brecht's vision of "dissolving one people and electing another" (see part one here) than the case of illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America into the United States.
Among the many drivers of the on-going Balkanization of the United States, none is more potent than the unchecked river of humanity flowing across our southern border.
According to recent demographic data, there are approximately 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. These data, often collected by such left-leaning organizations such as the Pew Hispanic Center and the Center for Immigration Studies, understate the extent of illegal immigration; actual figures are almost certainly higher. Some authorities place the figure in the 18-22 million range, while others place the total as high as 30 million people. Since, by definition, illegal immigrants are undocumented, a precise count is probably impossible, especially given the dynamic nature of population flows. It is estimated that some 55% of illegals were from Mexico, with an additional 22% from other Latin American countries; illegals from other nations comprise the remainder of the total.
Unofficial crossings of the border have been going on for almost as long as the nations of Mexico and the United States have existed. Regions along the U.S.-Mexican border have long-been a hybrid of the two nation's cultures. "Tex-Mex" is an established staple in places like El Paso, Texas, where one is just as likely to hear the norteño music of Mexico as American country, western swing or blues. Prominent and wealthy Mexicans and Americans alike own homes and travel widely in both nations. Both nations depend on tourism from the other. Cross-border trade is booming.
Yet, for all of these signs of apparent normalcy, there exists an undercurrent of tension within American-Mexican relations, albeit one seldom remarked upon by the political and cultural elites of either nation. Mexico and the United States fought a bitter war from 1846-1848, after Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845. Much of the American southwest and California were originally part of the Spanish empire, just as Mexico herself once was. The U.S. has a long history of military intervention in Latin America; including the 1916 Punitive Expedition into Mexico by the U.S. Army in pursuit of Pancho Villa. Naysayers may scoff, but memories of such conflicts persist among Mexicans and other Latinos, many of whom resent the enormous power and influence of their northern neighbor. The Mexican folk saying applies, "Poor Mexico - so far from God and so close to the United States."
The tensions are not merely as a result of wars in the now-distant past; they arise out of the specific circumstances in both nations. Politicians on both sides of the border have demagogued the issue of illegal immigration for their own purposes, and influential business leaders routinely engage in doublespeak - expressing concern about open borders, but laughing all the way to the bank on the savings they gain by hiring undocumented workers. In both nations, illegal immigration has become a very big business, not only in the declared, open economy but in the black markets and the criminal underworld. Endemic corruption and narcoterrorismo in Mexico only worsen the problem.
The tensions in the United States arise from multiple factors, including but not limited to the following. During the prosperity of the 1990s and early 2000s, illegal immigration could remain mostly in the shadows, since work was plentiful for citizens and non-citizens alike. However, with the nation and the developed world now mired in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, jobs are no longer easy to find - especially ones that pay a decent, middle-class salary. The jobs held by millions of illegal workers now look much more attractive to Americans desperately in need of work. In some quarters, resentment is growing that illegals are taking work that would otherwise go to Americans.
Given the growing fiscal crisis of public-sector America, people are demanding answers and a closer look is being given to the back-breaking costs imposed by illegal immigration upon our schools, prisons/corrections, and healthcare systems and other public goods and services.
There is also a growing backlash among middle- and lower-class Americans that legislators and other elected leaders are not doing enough to solve the problems of illegal immigration. These groups have been the hardest hit by the presence of large numbers of illegal immigrants in the job market and also feel most-directly the cultural and other effects of open borders. There is a growing recognition that the political/economic/cultural elites who benefit the most from illegal immigration are also those who suffer the least from its negative consequences. This privatization of gains and socialization of costs quite naturally enrages more than a few taxpayers.
A final source of anger and resentment among certain Americans is that illegal immigration has been turned into a tool of political and economic warfare to be wielded against them. The left and the Democrats, doing their best to fulfill Bertold Brecht's vision, are doing everything in their power to import as many illegals as possible and then get them to the voting booth to vote Democrat. This is blatantly unconstitutional, criminal and treasonous matters not to them. For the GOP and the business community, illegal immigration is being used as a tool to break organized union labor and bid down wages. This, too, is lawless but no one at the Wall Street Journal seems to mind very much.
There is a growing sense that globalists within the American business community are colluding with their counterparts in the U.S. and Mexican governments to assure that the border remains open and weakly-enforced. The Mexican government is thereby allowed to export its social and economic problems to the United States while parasitically tapping into U.S. economy. Transfer payments by illegals in the United States are a vital source of hard currency for the Mexican government; an estimated $15 billion dollars annually is wire-transferred from the U.S. to Mexico. Another $25 billion is sent to Latin America. Needless to say, these monies are not taxed by the Internal Revenue Service and therefore generate no revenue for the U.S. Treasury.
Again and again, public opinion polls conclusively show (even across party lines) that the uncontrolled border with Mexico is one of the most serious concerns of voters, but the permanent political class and their crony capitalist pals continue to ignore the issue as much as possible.
In Mexico, tensions with the United States arise not only from economic and other disparities, but from the primary and secondary effects of the decades-long "war on drugs" being waged by Washington. Beginning in the 1980s, concerted efforts by the Reagan and Bush White Houses were mounted to root out and destroy the most powerful Colombian drug cartels and their leaders. By the 1990s, these efforts bore fruit as such notorious drug kingpins as Carlos Escobar were hunted down, captured or killed; likewise, increased pressure on the Medellín and other Colombian drug cartels made their illicit businesses riskier and much more costly. Consequently, many moved northward into Central America and ultimately, Mexico - where they found conditions much more favorable. Today, the drug cartels are as powerful as ever, and have exploited a series of weak and ineffectual governments in Mexico City to create what amounts to a "hollow state." Noted strategic thinker and analyst John Robb1 defines the hollow state as follows,
The hollow state has the trappings of a modern nation-state ("leaders", membership in international organizations, regulations, laws, and a bureaucracy) but it lacks any of the legitimacy, services, and control of its historical counter-part. It is merely a shell that has some influence over the spoils of the economy. The real power rests in the hands of corporations and criminal/guerrilla groups that vie with each other for control of sectors of wealth production.
The narcoterroristas - the drug cartel paramilitaries - are now as well-armed and equipped as regular units of the Mexican army, and outgun all but the most heavily-armed police forces. The resultant conflict is a vicious and cruel form of fourth generation warfare (4GW), with the Mexican people caught in the crossfire. Thus, it is probably safe to regard a significant portion of illegal aliens in the United States as refugees from the violence in Mexico.
Adding fuel to the fire, there is a significant subset of nationalists within the Mexican government and military who are working actively to subvert U.S. border controls and immigration laws and regulations. These individuals are actively aiding the efforts of would-be "undocumented workers" to enter the United States. The Mexican government has produced audio-visual aids and written materials to assist illegal entrants into the U.S.; these materials tell immigrants how to apply fraudulently for public aid/welfare, food stamps and other government largesse; how to evade border patrols, and much more. On more than one occasion, the Mexican army itself has been observed escorting convoys of illegals being ferried into the United States; similarly, Mexican army units have trespassed onto U.S. soil while engaged in such activities. Indeed, to the nationalists, these efforts are part of the Reconquista, their sacred effort to take back territories they have always regarded as Mexican.
The foregoing analysis suggests that it is imperative to reframe the issue of the open border with Mexico - and illegal immigration generally - first and foremost as one of national security, and not simply economics, culture or demography. Noted geopolitical and military affairs analyst William Lind, an internationally-known authority on fourth-generation conflict and the co-creator of the "generations of war" model, has stated that the uncontrolled border with Mexico is the most serious threat to the security of the United States, bar none. Ominously, he predicts that if the situation is not brought under control, there will be a fourth-generation conflict on United States soil within a generation. 2 As we have seen, such conflicts almost always occur as part of the breaking up or "Balkanization" of a nation-state.
Uncontrolled immigration therefore must be regarded as a clear and present danger to the security of the United States, if not its continued existence as a sovereign and autonomous nation. If we do not heed the warnings of Robb, Lind and many others like them, America too will become nothing more than a hollow state.
In part III of the series, we'll continue our examination of the Balkanization of America, and some of its additional causes and effects.
Copyright 2012 Peter Farmer
1 - John Robb, "Onward to a Hollow State," Global Guerillas, 22 September 2008,
2 - Paul Weyrich and William Lind, "The Next Conservatism," Saint Augustine's Press, 2009. 105-107.
Peter Farmer is a historian and commentator on national security, geopolitics and public policy issues. He has done original research on wartime resistance movements in WWII Europe, and has delivered seminars on such subjects as political violence and terrorism, the evolution of conflict, combat medicine, and related subjects. Mr. Farmer is also a scientist and a medic.