JOE 2008 examines changes/trends in the geopolitical and military landscape
January 15, 2009 1:39 PM   Subscribe

"Authored by the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), the Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008, pdf) outlines a strategic framework and forecasts possible threats and opportunities that will challenge the future joint force." One portion picked out by the media: Mexico and Pakistan are the two countries most likely to undergo "sudden collapse".

"In the broadest sense, the Joint Operating Environment examines three questions:

* What future trends and disruptions are likely to affect the Joint Force over the next quarter century?
* How are these trends and disruptions likely to define the future contexts for joint operations?
* What are the implications of these trends and contexts for the Joint Force?

By exploring these trends, contexts, and implications, the Joint Operating Environment provides a basis for thinking about the world over the next quarter century. Its purpose is not to predict, but to suggest ways leaders might think about the future."
posted by 445supermag (7 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
From where I'm standing (Mexico), it seems the US is far more likely to suddenly collapse than Mexico. There's certainly drug-related violence here, in some cases extreme, but it's largely geographically limited, and limited to people who are in some way involved with drug trafficking, or actively working against it (police and army). Civilians aren't really impacted much.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2009

The kidnappers might be involved in drugs, but can you honestly believe, these victims were all in some way involved with drug trafficking.....and not simply innocent civilians?

Need More?
posted by HyperBlue at 2:54 PM on January 15, 2009

It may not be obvious just how much power the cartels in Mexico really have. While it costs a lot of money to buy a senator in the US (a senate seat is, after all, a fucking valuable thing) it's not quite as spendy in Mexico.

Just last summer in the Financial Times:
In one of the frankest admissions yet from a leading authority of the scale of the problem confronting Mexico, Guillermo Valdés, head of Cisen, the government's intelligence organisation, told the FT and a small group of foreign media recently: "Drug traffickers have become the principal threat because they are trying to take over the power of the state."
posted by mullingitover at 2:56 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hmm. Actually what the document says is:

A serious impediment to growth in Latin America
remains the power of criminal gangs and drug cartels to
corrupt, distort, and damage the region’s potential. The
fact that criminal organizations and cartels are capable of
building dozens of disposable submarines in the jungle
and then using them to smuggle cocaine, indicates the
enormous economic scale of this activity. This poses a real
threat to the national security interests of the Western
Hemisphere. In particular, the growing assault by the
drug cartels and their thugs on the Mexican government
over the past several years reminds one that an unstable
Mexico could represent a homeland security problem of
immense proportions to the United States.

It doesn't say Mexico is incredibly likely to fail, it says that if Mexico _does_ fail, it _could_ represent a homeland security problem ..
posted by Comrade_robot at 3:30 PM on January 15, 2009

The last time Mexico fell into disorder is falling out of living memory. So how would this scenario compare?
posted by gimonca at 4:33 PM on January 15, 2009

Comrade_robot writes "It doesn't say Mexico is incredibly likely to fail, it says that if Mexico _does_ fail, it _could_ represent a homeland security problem .."

Mexico is mentioned five times in the document. You're citing the fourth instance, but the next one says:
The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the
government, its politicians, police, and judicial infrastructure
are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs
and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over
the next several years will have a major impact on the stability
of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos
would demand an American response based on the serious
implications for homeland security alone.
The "Strategic Estimates of the 20th Century" on page seven illustrates just how quickly things can change in the course of a decade, one example being from 1940 to 1950 when China went from being a US ally against the Japanese to being an adversary in the Korean war. It's not unthinkable that in ten years from now we could be in a serious war with Mexico as the cartels take control of the country from the inside.
posted by mullingitover at 5:03 PM on January 15, 2009

This is only a future conventional forces problem as long as it isn't a current special operations problem.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:37 PM on January 15, 2009

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