Trump Was Right About Hitting Mexican Drug Cartels with Missiles – Treat Them ‘Like ISIS’

Cartel enforces show an interviewer their drug harvest / Screenshot from ABC on YouTube

ANALYSIS – In May, all the media was aflutter over former Defense Secretary Esper, claiming President Trump had asked about launching missiles into Mexico to destroy drug cartel labs. Of course, the consensus was this was supposedly another crazy Trump idea.

And Esper ensured everyone he told Trump this would violate international law.

Trump never denied it, and I was never convinced that this was so crazy, especially in light of reports that Trump had considered designating Mexican drug cartels’ foreign terrorist organizations’ or FTOs – in 2019 – something I supported.

When a group is added to the list, its members cannot enter the United States. In addition, banks and financial institutions that do business with the group can face penalties. And Americans who provide “material support or resources” to it can face criminal prosecution.

But the biggest issue is it could allow the president to launch drone strikes or take other limited military actions against these groups on foreign soil.

Trump eventually held off on doing so, under pressure from Mexico and other groups. But I don’t think he should have. And time has shown that Mexico isn’t up to the task of fighting the cartels on its own.

Now, former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr is saying we should start treating Mexican cartels “more like ISIS and less like the mafia.”

And he is right.

In an interview on Newsmax TV, the former AG said that “Mexico is well on its way to being a failed narco-state” and that the U.S. should adjust its approach to the cartels accordingly.

“The United States [has been] relegated to working through Mexico to try to deal with the cartels, and I think that’s a losing proposition,” Barr stated, adding that he doesn’t believe the Mexican government is “serious enough” in tackling the drug crisis.

Barr also strongly condemned Team Biden’s response to the cartels, arguing they “have essentially abandoned the border to them.”

This is especially odious with the ongoing fentanyl and migrant crisis. Barr added, “…the United States cannot have these cartels operating on our border, poisoning our country — over 100,000” deaths.

Referring to the Mexican cartels, Barr correctly noted that: “They are effectively terrorist organizations. They are increasingly building their connections with terrorists. Their paramilitary can take on the Mexican military, and they have so much money they can corrupt any system.”

The former AG explained that trying to prosecute Mexican drug gangs and affiliated organizations is about as ridiculous as “going after ISIS in Syria on the same basis.”

The only way to treat them like terrorists is by designating the worst of the cartels as FTOs and treating them accordingly. This will likely only happen if a Republican wins the White House in 2024. ADN


Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - paulcrespo.substack.com - PAULCRESPO.COM

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