Category: Chris J. Krisinger

What Mexico Should Be Focusing On


Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto once again canceled plans to make his first visit to the White House to meet with President Trump after a recent phone call described as “testy” ended in an impasse over President Trump’s promised border wall.

This time, the pretext for canceling alluded to Mexico’s upcoming July presidential election, where any action by Peña Nieto seen as folding under pressure from President Trump could damage prospects for his ruling party’s successor candidate.  A similar occurrence took place just about a year ago, in January 2017, when Peña Nieto first called off a Washington trip to meet with the newly inaugurated President Trump after a dispute over who would pay for the wall.

Maybe this current rift with the Trump administration is really a blessing in disguise, allowing Mexico to have its own national dialogue on immigration.  President Peña Nieto might better use the time at home to assemble his Cabinet and Legislature for frank discussions about mass emigration out of and through Mexico, the role and responsibilities of his nation’s government, and Mexican society.  Let Mexico’s president and “Congress of the Union” expend their energy on the “going” part of the immigration issue, just as their U.S. counterparts do on the “coming.”

Presently, there is great inconsistency in Mexico’s understanding of why the United States contemplates building a wall.  Mexico is a country of emigration and immigration, but the Mexican government’s policy toward Mexicans who have emigrated, particularly those in the United States, stands in stark contrast to how the government treats immigrants on Mexican territory.  While Mexican policymakers demand openness from the United States, not only does the Mexican government limit the rights of foreigners, but immigrants are often subject to human rights violations by Mexican police and immigration officials.

Erosion of Mexico’s goodwill toward the U.S. coincides with low approval of President Trump and one of his signature policies, yet polls still indicate that a third of Mexicans would move to the U.S. if given the opportunity.  Many Mexicans consider President Trump’s statements on building a wall offensive and outright racist, yet the societal anomaly of large-scale immigration north by their fellow citizens and family members leaving Mexico goes on.

There were a staggering 5.6 million unauthorized Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, albeit down from 6.4 million in 2009.  While Mexican migration to the U.S. has slowed, today, Mexico increasingly serves as a land bridge for Central American and Cuban immigrants trekking to the U.S.

It is a grossly abnormal societal aberration that several million Mexican citizens believed they must leave their native homes to migrate north – at great personal risk – to cross the border into the United States.  They crossed the border “illegally” – not obeying established immigration laws of a sovereign country – on the conviction they would have opportunities for better, more prosperous lives that did not exist in Mexico.  In general, widespread conditions in Latin America, brought on by oppressive and autocratic governments, corruption, poor governance, conflicts, persecutions, prejudices, and badly managed economies, drove these emigrants to such extreme actions and beliefs.

Why can Mexico – and other Latin American nations – not have societies and economies with the kinds of opportunities for all of its citizens that so many still believe can be found only north of the border?  Mexico has plentiful natural resources, a favorable geographic location with coasts on two oceans, an abundant supply of labor,the ability to create jobs and manufacturing, and public institutions at least rooted in the traditions of Western civilization.  Why must Mexican citizens face the traumatic dilemmaof leaving their native homes and lands?  Should Mexico, as a nation, not embrace some collective national responsibility for creating societal and economic conditions that would induce Mexican citizens to stay in their native homes instead of emigrating?  And what are the roles and responsibilities of the Mexican government to create and foster the development of such a society?

Mexican politicians have never been vocal in admonishing Mexican society or its politicians for allowing societal conditions to deteriorate such that millions of Mexicans believed they must migrate north for the chance of a better life or would still – to this day – leave Mexico if afforded the opportunity.  There needs to be more of that debate that is just as intense as U.S. deliberations over its own roles, responsibilities, and concerns for allowing immigrants and refugees into the United States.  In fact, for all nations generating large streams of immigrants and refugees, true and lasting solutions to the immigration problemmust address the origins and causes of this modern civilizational phenomenon.

The “greater good” for immigrants and refugees would be served if conditions that drive them to leave could be alleviated so they could instead stay and live prosperous, happy, productive lives in their own native homes and lands.  That would require the greater moral and personal fortitude, leadership, and effort from those nations, governments, and politicians.  When Presidents Trump and Peña Nieto finally meet, maybe that discussion can frame their agenda.

Chris J. Krisinger (colonel, USAF ret.) writes on governance and national security topics.  He lives in Burke, Virginia.

Image: Chatham House via Flickr.

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto once again canceled plans to make his first visit to the White House to meet with President Trump after a recent phone call described as “testy” ended in an impasse over President Trump’s promised border wall.

This time, the pretext for canceling alluded to Mexico’s upcoming July presidential election, where any action by Peña Nieto seen as folding under pressure from President Trump could damage prospects for his ruling party’s successor candidate.  A similar occurrence took place just about a year ago, in January 2017, when Peña Nieto first called off a Washington trip to meet with the newly inaugurated President Trump after a dispute over who would pay for the wall.

Maybe this current rift with the Trump administration is really a blessing in disguise, allowing Mexico to have its own national dialogue on immigration.  President Peña Nieto might better use the time at home to assemble his Cabinet and Legislature for frank discussions about mass emigration out of and through Mexico, the role and responsibilities of his nation’s government, and Mexican society.  Let Mexico’s president and “Congress of the Union” expend their energy on the “going” part of the immigration issue, just as their U.S. counterparts do on the “coming.”

Presently, there is great inconsistency in Mexico’s understanding of why the United States contemplates building a wall.  Mexico is a country of emigration and immigration, but the Mexican government’s policy toward Mexicans who have emigrated, particularly those in the United States, stands in stark contrast to how the government treats immigrants on Mexican territory.  While Mexican policymakers demand openness from the United States, not only does the Mexican government limit the rights of foreigners, but immigrants are often subject to human rights violations by Mexican police and immigration officials.

Erosion of Mexico’s goodwill toward the U.S. coincides with low approval of President Trump and one of his signature policies, yet polls still indicate that a third of Mexicans would move to the U.S. if given the opportunity.  Many Mexicans consider President Trump’s statements on building a wall offensive and outright racist, yet the societal anomaly of large-scale immigration north by their fellow citizens and family members leaving Mexico goes on.

There were a staggering 5.6 million unauthorized Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, albeit down from 6.4 million in 2009.  While Mexican migration to the U.S. has slowed, today, Mexico increasingly serves as a land bridge for Central American and Cuban immigrants trekking to the U.S.

It is a grossly abnormal societal aberration that several million Mexican citizens believed they must leave their native homes to migrate north – at great personal risk – to cross the border into the United States.  They crossed the border “illegally” – not obeying established immigration laws of a sovereign country – on the conviction they would have opportunities for better, more prosperous lives that did not exist in Mexico.  In general, widespread conditions in Latin America, brought on by oppressive and autocratic governments, corruption, poor governance, conflicts, persecutions, prejudices, and badly managed economies, drove these emigrants to such extreme actions and beliefs.

Why can Mexico – and other Latin American nations – not have societies and economies with the kinds of opportunities for all of its citizens that so many still believe can be found only north of the border?  Mexico has plentiful natural resources, a favorable geographic location with coasts on two oceans, an abundant supply of labor,the ability to create jobs and manufacturing, and public institutions at least rooted in the traditions of Western civilization.  Why must Mexican citizens face the traumatic dilemmaof leaving their native homes and lands?  Should Mexico, as a nation, not embrace some collective national responsibility for creating societal and economic conditions that would induce Mexican citizens to stay in their native homes instead of emigrating?  And what are the roles and responsibilities of the Mexican government to create and foster the development of such a society?

Mexican politicians have never been vocal in admonishing Mexican society or its politicians for allowing societal conditions to deteriorate such that millions of Mexicans believed they must migrate north for the chance of a better life or would still – to this day – leave Mexico if afforded the opportunity.  There needs to be more of that debate that is just as intense as U.S. deliberations over its own roles, responsibilities, and concerns for allowing immigrants and refugees into the United States.  In fact, for all nations generating large streams of immigrants and refugees, true and lasting solutions to the immigration problemmust address the origins and causes of this modern civilizational phenomenon.

The “greater good” for immigrants and refugees would be served if conditions that drive them to leave could be alleviated so they could instead stay and live prosperous, happy, productive lives in their own native homes and lands.  That would require the greater moral and personal fortitude, leadership, and effort from those nations, governments, and politicians.  When Presidents Trump and Peña Nieto finally meet, maybe that discussion can frame their agenda.

Chris J. Krisinger (colonel, USAF ret.) writes on governance and national security topics.  He lives in Burke, Virginia.

Image: Chatham House via Flickr.



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Show Me the Motive


Over the many months since he first cried “collusion” before a camera, one thing Adam Schiff and his fellow Democrats have never done – or conveniently avoided – is explain just what happened or provide any substantive proof or evidence of specifically what was done (or promised) during the campaign and election – and why.  In a word, what was President Trump’s motive for colluding with the Russians?  What did the Russians stand to gain from collusion with Donald Trump?

All of us have watched enough reruns of the long-running TV series Law & Order to know that District Attorney Jack McCoy and TV’s NYPD detectives always tried to establish the motive for a crime.  Motive goes a long way to explain “who done it” and, more importantly, why.  With Russia, Jack and the detectives would be at a loss to make a case, because there is no persuasive explanation for collusion that comports with the facts, the events, and reason.

So far, no one – let alone Congressman Schiff – among all those seeking to mortally wound President Trump politically with their collusion allegations has yet provided the American public a convincing rationale for why the Russians would want a President Trump instead of a President Clinton.  Russia could have obtained anything it wanted – more easily and at less cost – from a more pliable, soft, internationalist President Hillary Clinton.  In reality, every autocrat, dictator, and warlord around the world would have wanted a more malleable President Clinton over the nationalistic and assertive President Trump, who has openly adopted a more aggressive “America first” leadership approach to foreign and defense policy.

That question is now extra-compelling, given the Trump administration’s more uncompromising policy vis-à-vis Russia, which has, in the Trump administration’s first year, felt the consequences of a more assertive United States.  In November, the U.S. approved the $10.5-billion sale of Patriot anti-missile systems to NATO ally Poland in the face of perceived Russian aggression.  In December, the U.S. authorized the transfer of lethal anti-tank weapons to Ukraine to help that nation fight off Russian-backed separatists.  U.S. troop presence in Eastern Europe has increased over Obama-era levels to bolster European defenses against Russia, and the U.S. recently imposed monetary sanctions targeting bad individual Russian actors and companies instead of sanctioning that nation’s sovereign debt.

On the other hand, Russia remembered (likely fondly) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the Obama administration.  There was that inane “reset button” to set the tone.  The U.S. obliged the Kremlin by canceling missile defense systems for Central Europe.  How could Moscow forget the Obama administration’s fuzzy line in the sand over Syrian chemical weapons and actions?  President Putin surely approved of Obama’s concessions to Iran on the nuclear deal, and it was Obama who notably told former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev that Vladimir Putin should give him more “space” and that “after my election, I have more flexibility.”  Mr. Putin surveyed the Hillary Clinton of Benghazi infamy.  For that matter, Mrs. Clinton herself “guided” the Clinton Foundation to help arrange the sale of a large uranium concern to Russian interests in exchange for donations to her foundation.

So why would Russia want a President Trump when actual events suggest that it could have achieved its objectives much more easily with Hillary in office, whose actions, predilections, and temperament the Russians had observed and benefited from while she was Obama’s secretary of state?

Let’s turn the tables.  If one wants “motive,” all Democrats may have to do is find a mirror.  Americans did not hear the words “Russia” or “collusion” in earnest until shortly after the “impossible” dawned on the post-election morning of Wednesday, November 9.  The Democrat establishment needed an explanation – an excuse – for the election results to take the spotlight off their candidate’s considerable shortcomings.  One suspects that the Democrats surmised that if they kept shouting “collusion” long and loud enough, they could also hang it like a legal and political millstone around the new administration’s neck to keep it pinned down, disjointed, and on guard for some time.  Add a fawning press and mass media, ostensibly not at all curious about what had actually happened, along with a small cadre of hyper-partisan government apparatchiks not inhibited by our laws, and you have the makings of guerrilla war against a president Democrats loathe.

One last – but not small – related point.  If Russia did interfere in the 2016 presidential election, there was only one person ultimately responsible for the defense and security of this nation in his role as “commander-in-chief,” and his name was Barack Obama.  If there was determined organized foreign interference, he ultimately failed in his oath-sworn responsibility to keep the nation’s democratic processes secure and free from that interference.

For the American public, it is long past time for Congressman Schiff to make the Democrats’ case.  Show us the motive.  And after spending this much time casting collusion aspersions, you’d best “go big or go home.”

Chris J. Krisinger (colonel, USAF ret.) writes on governance and national security topics.  He lives in Burke, Virginia.

Over the many months since he first cried “collusion” before a camera, one thing Adam Schiff and his fellow Democrats have never done – or conveniently avoided – is explain just what happened or provide any substantive proof or evidence of specifically what was done (or promised) during the campaign and election – and why.  In a word, what was President Trump’s motive for colluding with the Russians?  What did the Russians stand to gain from collusion with Donald Trump?

All of us have watched enough reruns of the long-running TV series Law & Order to know that District Attorney Jack McCoy and TV’s NYPD detectives always tried to establish the motive for a crime.  Motive goes a long way to explain “who done it” and, more importantly, why.  With Russia, Jack and the detectives would be at a loss to make a case, because there is no persuasive explanation for collusion that comports with the facts, the events, and reason.

So far, no one – let alone Congressman Schiff – among all those seeking to mortally wound President Trump politically with their collusion allegations has yet provided the American public a convincing rationale for why the Russians would want a President Trump instead of a President Clinton.  Russia could have obtained anything it wanted – more easily and at less cost – from a more pliable, soft, internationalist President Hillary Clinton.  In reality, every autocrat, dictator, and warlord around the world would have wanted a more malleable President Clinton over the nationalistic and assertive President Trump, who has openly adopted a more aggressive “America first” leadership approach to foreign and defense policy.

That question is now extra-compelling, given the Trump administration’s more uncompromising policy vis-à-vis Russia, which has, in the Trump administration’s first year, felt the consequences of a more assertive United States.  In November, the U.S. approved the $10.5-billion sale of Patriot anti-missile systems to NATO ally Poland in the face of perceived Russian aggression.  In December, the U.S. authorized the transfer of lethal anti-tank weapons to Ukraine to help that nation fight off Russian-backed separatists.  U.S. troop presence in Eastern Europe has increased over Obama-era levels to bolster European defenses against Russia, and the U.S. recently imposed monetary sanctions targeting bad individual Russian actors and companies instead of sanctioning that nation’s sovereign debt.

On the other hand, Russia remembered (likely fondly) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the Obama administration.  There was that inane “reset button” to set the tone.  The U.S. obliged the Kremlin by canceling missile defense systems for Central Europe.  How could Moscow forget the Obama administration’s fuzzy line in the sand over Syrian chemical weapons and actions?  President Putin surely approved of Obama’s concessions to Iran on the nuclear deal, and it was Obama who notably told former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev that Vladimir Putin should give him more “space” and that “after my election, I have more flexibility.”  Mr. Putin surveyed the Hillary Clinton of Benghazi infamy.  For that matter, Mrs. Clinton herself “guided” the Clinton Foundation to help arrange the sale of a large uranium concern to Russian interests in exchange for donations to her foundation.

So why would Russia want a President Trump when actual events suggest that it could have achieved its objectives much more easily with Hillary in office, whose actions, predilections, and temperament the Russians had observed and benefited from while she was Obama’s secretary of state?

Let’s turn the tables.  If one wants “motive,” all Democrats may have to do is find a mirror.  Americans did not hear the words “Russia” or “collusion” in earnest until shortly after the “impossible” dawned on the post-election morning of Wednesday, November 9.  The Democrat establishment needed an explanation – an excuse – for the election results to take the spotlight off their candidate’s considerable shortcomings.  One suspects that the Democrats surmised that if they kept shouting “collusion” long and loud enough, they could also hang it like a legal and political millstone around the new administration’s neck to keep it pinned down, disjointed, and on guard for some time.  Add a fawning press and mass media, ostensibly not at all curious about what had actually happened, along with a small cadre of hyper-partisan government apparatchiks not inhibited by our laws, and you have the makings of guerrilla war against a president Democrats loathe.

One last – but not small – related point.  If Russia did interfere in the 2016 presidential election, there was only one person ultimately responsible for the defense and security of this nation in his role as “commander-in-chief,” and his name was Barack Obama.  If there was determined organized foreign interference, he ultimately failed in his oath-sworn responsibility to keep the nation’s democratic processes secure and free from that interference.

For the American public, it is long past time for Congressman Schiff to make the Democrats’ case.  Show us the motive.  And after spending this much time casting collusion aspersions, you’d best “go big or go home.”

Chris J. Krisinger (colonel, USAF ret.) writes on governance and national security topics.  He lives in Burke, Virginia.



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