Eyeing the headlines, Americans can be forgiven for seeing the US-Mexican border as little more than a putrid cheese cloth: immigrants keep getting through and the drug violence just barely keeps out.
Going ‘beyond the border’, as the aptly named Great Decisions 2012 episode does, offers a more refined view of Mexico. Of course, Mexico plays a key role in drug trafficking, and the topic is duly covered. Vanda-Felbab Brown, a specialist in illicit markets at the Brookings Institution, describes the economic reality of supply-and-demand that traps Mexico as the world’s most concentrated cocaine artery, pulsing from the Andes to America. In the next breath, she also notes the flow of arms from the U.S. that worsens violence in Mexico.
Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, is the other discussant. He points out that Mexico is more a part of America’s “domestic policy sphere” than any other country—virtually every U.S. cabinet agency deals with Mexico and, in fact, ten percent of the U.S. population is Mexican-American.
Thanks to Felbab-Brown and Selee, as well as brief cutaways to a number of other experts, it’s a multi-themed 30 minutes shot through with pointed analysis, not popular impression.
If you miss it on PBS you can check it out on Youtube.