While Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Westphal said he does not want to see “armed soldiers fighting an insurgency right on our border or just across our borders,” he warned there may be “insurgents” right over the border, according to The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News.
Speaking at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics on Monday, the second-highest ranking civilian official in the U.S. Army cautioned about corruption and the weak grip civilian governments have on their military forces throughout Latin America, where he said the balance between the two “is very fragile.”
“This isn’t just about drugs and illegal immigrants. This is about the potential takeover of a government that’s right on our border,” Westphal said.
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently compared Mexico to Colombia “20 years ago” and used the word “insurgency,” Mexican officials took it to mean that the U.S. considers intervention against Mexican drug cartels a legitimate policy option–and publicly expressed offense. President Barack Obama publicly backed down from the comparison.
And yet, WikiLeaks cables have revealed Mexican President Felipe Calderon secretly sought U.S. police assistance to fight organized crime in the border city of Juarez. A 2009 cable said Calderon sought to rid Mexico’s police, military and attorney general’s office of corruption but needed the cooperation of local authorities and governors to succeed.
And apropos of Westphal’s statement, the cable said that unfortunately, “not all are equally committed.”[via The Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, NPR, All Headline News]