A new report indicates government instability isn't exclusive to the Middle East. The U.S. Joint Forces Command report says the governments of Pakistan and Mexico are at risk of "sudden collapse." Jennifer Collins, Assistant Professor of Political Science at UW-St. Point, specializes in Latin American studies. "I found it very surprising that they would put Mexico on the same level with Pakistan, in terms of being that close to some sort of imminent collapse," says Collins. "I don't think that's the case."
The report indicates the Mexican government is under extreme pressure from drug cartels and organized crime, something Collins concedes has been going on since the '80s. "When the U.S. in the 1980s sort of shut down Florida (as a drug conduit), the Columbians then looked to Mexico and began making connections and building ties with illegal Mexican cartels," she says. "Since then, this has been an escalating problem in Mexico."
Collins wonders if the report was issued to justify more U.S. military intervention at the border, where some Mexican towns have become virtually lawless. "These drug cartels have lots of money at their disposal, and essentially have enough guns to out-gun the Mexican police and military," she says. "The U.S. has been working with Mexicio for a number of years trying to build elite units, primarily in the Mexican military."
She says a major factor in the instability in the region is the failure of NAFTA to produce on promises to good-paying jobs for Mexico's shrinking middle class. Experts say they don't believe the nation-state of Mexico will ever just cease to exist, but regions of the country are no longer under its control.