Saturday, January 10, 2009

More than terrorism to be concerned about

There are two things that Americans, and more specifically President Obama, need to monitor in the upcoming months that could have a profound impact on us. First is the escalating drug war in Mexico.

In 2007, 1,600 homicides took place in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, just on the other side of El Paso. So far 20 homicides have been reported this year alone. Mexican authorities have made it clear that the homicides are connected to a drug war that is about which cartel will control weapons and drug smuggling along the border. The Border Patrol has been beefed up in the last couple of months with personnel and weapons upgrades. It is also possible that military intervention may take place if any of the bloodshed crosses over into El Paso.

Yes there could be a military surge in Mexico. Let us hope that the Mexican government can get a handle on the war before American military intervention is necessary.

The other issue is concerning American touring abroad, especially on cruise ships. The Somali pirates are becoming more emboldened as the business is becoming more lucrative. The pirates primarily have targeted supertankers, holding them for ransom from oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, pirates drowned before they could spend the $3 million ransom they had received for hijacking a supertanker with $100 million worth of crude oil in its cargo.

However, before Christmas, some pirates tried to hijack a cruise ship, with American tourists on board. Fortunately, the captain of the cruise liner took evasive action, but I believe it will not be the last attempt. Heightened security on the high seas has to be taken, which means that the new administration will have to work on treaties to protect our citizens from this potential danger. Also, economic and political stability is needed in Somalia, which looks like it is a long way off after the resignation of a current influential Somali leader. Again, it is hoped that no American blood is spilled before resolution of this scourge.

The threat of terrorism is real, but unfortunately it is not the only battle we have to fight to protect our citizens all over the world. I believe that the Obama administration's focus on national security will see the broad picture, but it is imperative for us, as citizens, to see the big picture as well and act accordingly when the times demand so.