El General


    Where do we begin with Mexico? We must be prepared for the certain coming war in Mexico. That’s war in Mexico, not with. Sort of like Afghanistan. There’s an echo: “History casts a long shadow.” A forest of shadows. Mexico is in America’s shadow. Mexico’s shadow is in America.

    PBS is airing a documentary in its POV series that is essential viewing. El General provides a glimpse into the complex history of political and economic conditions facing Mexico’s citizens. It is from the purposefully jumbled perspectives of members of one of Mexico’s premier ruling class families. It gives voice to people in the streets struggling to maintain a subsistence level existence without hope of improvement or faith in politicians’ promises. Their faith and hope rest with the Virgin of Guadalupe and the national lottery. History it is and isn’t; President Plutarco Elías Calles’s great-granddaughter Natalia Almada crafted the story from family records and recordings. Gut wrenching it is.  

    General Zinni might be surprised, but a couple of weeks ago I left his presentation on national security strategy thinking about Mexico. He made remarks about Afghanistan that revved up my compare and contrast engine. I got all enmeshed in concepts of rules of engagement and national interest. And it occurred to me that conducting a campaign in Mexico would be much simpler to explain and execute than the one in Afghanistan. For one thing it might actually be necessary and in both our national interests.

    The film is airing on PBS and available for viewing online through September 14th.


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