I want to give you a hypothetical. Let’s say that in the 20th Century, the United States had a security presence in Northern Mexico and that there are some American citizens living there because they believe that the U.S. has a historical claim to the territory as well. Then, in the early 2000’s, under President Bush, the U.S. withdraws U.S. troops from Northern Mexico and forces its own citizens out of their homes there, bringing them back north of the border. After the U.S. withdrawal, in 2006, the states in Northern Mexico hold democratic elections and elected the Sinaloa Cartel (“the Cartel”)
Regarding the Cartel, assume for the sake of this hypothetical that it asserts a historic claim to United States land and established a Charter in 1988. In that Charter, the Preamble reads as follows: “The United States will exist and will continue to exist until God will obliterate it, just as God has obliterated others before it.” Realizing that its 1988 Preamble may not be too good for its PR, the Cartel updates its charter in 2017. Article 19 of the 2017 Charter, which is the current Charter of the Cartel, reads as follows: “There shall be no recognition of the legitimacy of the United States entity. Whatever has befallen the land of America in terms of occupation, settlement building, Americanization, or changes to its features or falsification of facts is illegitimate. Rights never lapse.”
Let’s also assume for the sake of this hypothetical that prior leaders of the people of Northern Mexico had engaged in peace negotiations with the United States, but that the talks fell apart because the Cartel and its allies had engaged in suicide bombings in San Diego and Dallas and other attacks on U.S. civilians. Now, in the aforementioned 2017 Charter, the Cartel, with regard to accords that were put together in the search of peace between the U.S. and Mexico, affirmatively rejects said accords in Article 21 of the Charter.
Regarding the Cartel’s rule since 2006, the international community feels for the citizens of Northern Mexico and directs billions of dollars of aid to those citizens. The Cartel, rather than use that money for its citizens, uses some of it to build El Chapo’s tunnels into the United States. However, these tunnels are not for smuggling drugs. They are for sneaking into United States cities to kidnap and kill United States civilians. The rest of the money goes into the hands of the leaders of the Cartel so that they can enrich themselves. The citizens of Northern Mexico are left to suffer. In Northern Mexican schools, the children are indoctrinated to believe that they are impoverished because of the United States and that the United States exists solely to steal Mexican land and kill the Mexican people.
Unfortunately, day to day life for the citizens of Northern Mexico under the Cartel rule is no better. They have no freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or freedom of religion. Any protests are violently put down by the Cartel. It is illegal to identify as LGBTQ, let alone have a pride parade. Failing to abide by the Cartel’s interpretation of its state religion leads to arrests or worse.
Women are left to suffer the most in Northern Mexico. The Cartel’s 1988 Charter stated that women were important because they “manufacture men and play a great role in guiding and educating the [future] generation.” The 2017 Charter does its best to gaslight the status of women in Northern Mexico but it remains the case that only 3.8% of people in management positions in the Cartel’s legislative entity are women. In the labor force, women comprise only 22% of the labor force and, of that number, 59% are in housekeeping.
In 2013, the Cartel mandates gender segregation (picture pre Brown v. Board of Education, the gender version) in its education system and a forced dress code for women. Worst of law, is the abuse of women in Northern Mexico. There is no law against abuse of women within the family, including sexual battery. When a woman makes a report of abuse to the authorities, the report is publicized, leading to the public ridicule of the woman. 51% of married women in Northern Mexico report that they have been victims of physical, sexual, psychological, or economic violence/subjugation at the hands of their husbands. “Honor killings” of women in Northern Mexico, where the man accuses of the woman of some “horror,” such as adultery or less, lead either to no punishment or prison sentences of 3 years or less for the murderous man. In Northern Mexico’s legal system, it is legislated that a woman’s testimony is worth half of that of a man’s.
Because the people of Northern Mexico live in such poverty and are without freedoms, to take focus off of the fact that it is the Cartel making their lives so, the Cartel blames the United States. One of the Cartel’s foreign allies supplies it with weapons, including long-range rockets. Thereafter, the Cartel, alleging some form of mistreatment by the United States, launches those rockets at civilian centers in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, El Paso, and Houston. In response, the United States military, in cooperation with Mexico’s southern neighbor, announces restrictions on Northern Mexican imports, which are policed by both militaries.
Unfortunately, the rocket fire from the Cartel into the highly populated United States cities has remained a constant in the last fifteen or so years. Bomb shelters are a norm for United States citizen homes, as are the sounds of sirens ringing all through the large U.S. urban areas, with those sirens warning citizens of incoming rocket fire from the Cartel.
Of course, the United States has far more power and might with its military and technology than the Sinaloa Cartel. While the United States would like nothing more than a peaceful co-existence with its Mexican neighbors, including recognition of Northern Mexico as a part of the nation of Mexico, the Cartel still will not recognize the United States’ right to exist. Every attempt at peace by the United States has been countered with violence and terrorism from the Cartel and its allies.
Sadly, under President Trump, the United States begins to sit idly by as its Mexican-American citizens are subjected to racism in the United States. Moreover, President Trump, in rhetoric leading up to an election where he barely maintains his hold on power, openly sided with racists, against rights of Northern Mexicans.
With regard to territory in dispute between the United States and the Cartel, President Trump starts evicting Mexican families in favor of United States families. In response, the Cartel incites violence in U.S. cities and launches thousands of rockets directed at United States civilians in the above-referenced cities.
Now, I ask you, what is an “appropriate response” to the Cartel? If you are the United States government and thousands of rockets are being launched indiscriminately at your citizens, with the clear aim being the killing of said citizens, what do you do? Worse yet, United States technology has identified the sites of the rocket launchers as apartment buildings, schools, churches, and hospitals in densely populated Northern Mexican urban centers. What do you do if you are the United States?
In case you are a little confused, this hypothetical is not a hypothetical. It is the reality of Israel and its citizens since Hamas was elected to govern Gaza in 2006. So, before you condemn Israel, please ask yourself what you would do in its position. For those who have read this space before, you know what my favorite legal professor taught me: “It is not enough to identify the problem. You must come up with solutions.”