Many times in Mexico I have hear the quote that is attributed to the late Mexican president Porfirio Diaz, "Poor Mexico, so far from God and so near to the United States." At times Mexican people use their close proximity to the United States as an excuse as to why things are like they are and why it is so difficult for their situation to get better. In a way, they have a point because going back in the history between the two nations one can see that the U.S. has not always been kind to their neighbor to the south. Having said that, however, I realize that times have changed and no matter what happened in the past the United States and Mexico are married to each other. For better or for worse and they are locked in an orbital dance like the Earth and the Moon. Where would the United States be without Mexican oil and Mexican labor and where would Mexico be without their biggest customer and largest source of revenue. I always ask my Mexican friends the question, “Who would protect Mexico from an invasion by forces from outside North America, the Mexican Army and Navy?”. Of course not. No one would dare attack Mexico for fear of being crushed like a bug by U.S. military might. Would the U.S. ever invade Mexico? Perhaps, but the present situation looks more of a case of Mexico invading the United States. Robert Frost once wrote a poem that said “Good fences make good neighbors” but how can you separate neighbors whose interests are so tightly entwined. The only thing that really separates the U.S. and Mexico is a difference in language and culture but already those differences are slowly starting to blur.
Instead of focusing on the things that divide Mexico and the United States people should focus more on the things that unite them. For one thing, the majority of people in both countries are Christian. Look how many places where the Islamic world meets the non-Islamic world and tensions are very high without much foreseeable relief. I am talking about hot spots like Israel, Nigeria, Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Chechnya, Sinkiang, Kashmir, Timor, and Mindanao. Even with all the tensions caused by the juxtaposition of major religions there is an even more serious potential or I should probably say “inevitable” flash point and that is the ethnic, religious, cultural, and geographical divide between Russia and China.
Right now Russia and China seem to be uniting against American interests but I for one am not fooled by that. They are two ethnic groups who have been warring constantly through the ages. One country, Russia, is seventy-eight percent Caucasian with a Christian heritage. Its territory is enormous and covers eight time zones and is rich in natural resources. Its population is only 142 million, however, and in a steady and projected state of decline. In fact, this year Russia started rewarding Russian mothers who give birth to a second child the Russian equivalent of $10,000 U.S. dollars. The other country, China, has a territory not even half as big as Russia but it has a population approaching 1.4 billion people and its mothers are frowned upon if not penalized for having more than one child. China's hunger for natural resources is insatiable and in the next five years China’s needs for energy and basic materials will go from a linear rise to exponential. They will no doubt feel an ever increasing need for what the Germans called “lebersraum”…”living space” when they invaded Poland in 1939.
Vladimir Putin of late has been rattling his saber in the news. Seemingly it is directed against the United States but when all is said and done I think it is an effort to demonstrate to the Chinese that Russia is still a serious power and will not easily surrender its territory. In any case, whatever tensions eventually ensue I hope that the powers that be can keep a lid on it. A war between neighbors like Russia and China would make Iraq look like child’s play. In reality, every time that a Mexican and a Gringo meet they should shake hands and smile and say, “Howdy neighbor!”. The old Porfirio Diaz quote should be rewritten so say, “Lucky Mexico, so close to God and the United States”.