Michelle Malkin was back on Glenn Beck's Fox show last night helping him paint a bleak apocalyptic portrait of America's future because they both believe Mexico is about to completely collapse economically and bring complete anarchistic chaos -- brown anarchistic chaos -- streaming over the border. And as usual, they presented falsehoods as facts to make their claims:
Beck: We are talking now about the possible collapse -- and it is something real, this isn't crazy talk -- that Mexico, because of the economy -- remittances are down, people aren't working here, illegal immigrants are going back home -- the Number Two engine of the Mexican economy is remittances! People here sending their money back to Mexico. That's dried up, tourism has dried up. And we're looking at the possible collapse of Mexico.
Now if I wargame this, Michelle, I think -- OK, that opens up Venezuela, that opens up Russia to go ahead and put -- fund people who are not friendly to the United States -- Communists, really bad revolutionaries down there. Plus you have the drug lords which we just armed and trained! Can you explain that?
Malkin: Sure, the Zetas in the 1990s were a paramilitary force that we helped train, and now of course it's coming to bite back Mexico in the backside because these are the very people who are threatening peaceful citizens and wreaking havoc and terrorism across the border and across the country there. It's really a toxic stew.
I think what you're getting at, Glenn, is exactly right, that you've got despair, discontent. And then on top of that, of course, the national security threat. At the end of last year, the Department of Homeland Security and our intelligence officers under the Bush administration warned that Mexico poses a huge national security threat to us, because of course these cartels will deal with anybody, and our intelligence officers have been saying since the Sept. 11 attacks that many of these gangs could be collaborating with groups like Al Qaeda and other jihadists to bring other dangerous people across the border to do God knows what!
First, a little factual common sense, please: remittances from Mexican citizens working in the United States account only for 2% of Mexico's economy. They are indeed in decline, and as the the Christian Science Monitor recently reported, it is having an impact in rural areas, mostly for a narrow economic bandwidth. Otherwise, the notion that Mexico is on the verge of complete economic collapse is sheer hysteria:
Mexico's economy is in much better shape than in previous global economic downturns. While GDP is expected to remain stagnant or shrink here this year, in the past, when the US was in a recession, the economy south of the border quickly followed.
Even though Mexico sends up to 80 percent of its exports to the US and Canada, it has been cushioned somewhat by having corrected macroeconomic imbalances, such a fiscal deficit, external deficit, and high inflation, says Alfredo Coutino, a senior economist for Latin America at Moody's Economy.com.
Meanwhile, if terrorists really want to sneak into the country, they'll likely do it the way they do traditionally: forge papers and come in through the front gate with visas. That's how the 9/11 terrorists came in, and it's fairly simple and easy for them -- unlike, say, paying large sums to drug lords to sneak you over in a highly dangerous illegal crossing in the remote backcountry, which is how nativists like Malkin seem to imagine the terrorists are sneaking in.
Moreover, if Malkin wants to worry about terrorists sneaking over our borders, she'd be better off keeping an eye on the Canadian border. After all, the only known case of a terrorist caught bringing materiel over the border -- the 1999 Ahmed Ressam incident -- happened in Washington state, on the ferryboat from Canada. A quantitative analysis of terrorist threats to the U.S. found that there was "no terrorist presence in Mexico and no terrorists who entered the U.S. from Mexico"; but there was in fact "a sizeable terrorist presence in Canada and a number of Canadian-based terrorists who have entered the U.S."
And Glenn Beck -- well, he just keeps looking around for reasons to fear one kind of looming apocalypse or another. He should just get himself a sandwich board and leave the rest of us in peace.