So much for peace . . .

To a lot of people in the First World, it seems like peace is a normal condition.  We don’t think of violent danger lurking around every corner.  However, in many parts of the world, that’s exactly the problem that faces many residents – millions upon millions of them, in fact.

Austin Bay has provided a list of current conflict areas and ‘hot spots’ around the globe.  His list includes (in alphabetical order) Afghanistan, Algeria, the Balkans, Central Asia, Chad, China, Colombia, Congo, Ethiopia, India-Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Korea, the Kurds, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda and Burundi, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Uganda, and Yemen.  (I note that several hot spots have been left out of his analysis – notably, Venezuela, in our own back yard;  Zimbabwe, adjoining my former home country;  and a number of minor countries in West Africa, where armed conflict still lingers after years of war.  One might also say that conflict with and between criminals, in US cities such as Chicago, has produced such an impressive toll of killed and injured citizens that each city probably deserves inclusion on the list as a separate entry.)

To illustrate, here’s what he has to say about Mexico.

Government efforts to reduce drug cartel violence and crime has been much more successful than doing what the public wants the most; reducing corruption. After 2012 a newly elected government quietly backtracked on its promises to halt the war on drug gangs. This change of attitude occurred when it because obvious that there was a real need for this “war”. This could be seen out in the countryside where growing drug gang violence led to the formation of many armed militias, who confronted the local cartel gunmen and told them to either fight or leave. Noting the success of the militias the government eventually made them legitimate rather than treat them as outlaws. On the downside the success of these militias also brought unwelcome (for the government) attention to the corruption of government and police out in the countryside. The militias were as much a protest against corruption as they were against drug cartel activity. Moreover the extent of the militia movement also made it clear how the cartel violence was not a nationwide threat while corruption was. Nearly all the cartel violence (which accounts for three percent of all crime) occurs in under five percent of the 2,500 municipalities. But the often spectacular Cartel War violence gets the headlines, making it appear that the entire country is aflame. Because so much of the violence is on the U.S. border it seems to Americans that Mexico is a war zone. The end of one-party rule in 2000, the subsequent growth of drug gangs and increasing corruption in the security forces has triggered unprecedented levels of violence and unrest in the areas involved. The non-PRI government eventually went to war with the drug gangs, and the outcome is still in doubt. The PRI (the party that controlled the government for most of the 20th century until finally eased out by reformers in 2000) got back in power in 2012 and promised changes, but has found that determination is more needed than change. PRI also discovered that corruption (much of it perfected over 70 years when PRI controlled power) was THE big issue for all Mexicans. The cartel violence was a minority concern. Worse the 2012 PRI government was soon being accused of bringing back the old PRI corruption. Now there is fear that the decades old PRI support for corruption is back in play. PRI has had to pay more attention to popular demands for less corruption and that will not be easy because the corruption is deeply entrenched and widespread.

There’s much more at the link.  Depressing, but worthwhile reading.



  1. My observation of Mexicans over the last few decades leaves me to believe many consider government corruption a part of life that doesn't change. Maybe that attitude will change and they eventually find they can turn their country into a productive place where so many won't want to flee.

  2. Isn't the Chicago body count happening in just one part of town for the most part & gang related?
    From what little I've read I'll most of Chicagoland still considers itself a peaceful place.

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