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More US Republicans support sending army into Mexico – Politico

Trump and other prominent GOP members want a military solution to the fentanyl-driven overdose problem

US Republicans are increasingly warming to the idea of waging war against Mexico’s powerful drug cartels, according to Politico, which spoke to several lawmakers in the party about the controversial idea.

Former president Donald Trump is eager to send “special forces” south of the border to take out the cartels, according to Rolling Stone, whose sources claimed the 2024 Republican frontrunner was asking for “battle plans” to engage traffickers. Trump, they said, has been complaining about “missed opportunities of his first term” and is surrounded by people “who want fewer missed opportunities in a second Trump presidency.”

But the ex-president is far from alone inside his party. Republican congressmen Dan Crenshaw and Mike Waltz are pushing legislation that would seek an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) targeting the cartels, accusing them of “turning Mexico into a failed narco-state.” 

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The bill would “put us at war with the cartels,” Crenshaw boasted in a press release, insisting “we must start treating them like ISIS – because that is who they are.”

Waltz agreed that it was “time to go on offense” against the traffickers, echoing his colleague’s comparison to the banned terrorist group. “We need to start thinking about these groups more like ISIS than we do the mafia,” he told Politico on Monday. 

A group of 20 Republican congressmen led by Texas Rep. Chip Roy last month introduced a bill that would designate the Gulf Cartel, Cartel del Noreste, Cartel de Sinaloa, and Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion as “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.”

Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John Kennedy unveiled a similar bill last month calling for a task force dedicated to cartels and drug traffickers and naming nine such organizations to be designated as terrorist.

The push to invade the southern neighbor of the US has some unlikely detractors, including John Bolton, the hawkish former Trump national security adviser. Bolton suggested going to war against the cartels was “not going to solve the problem” of fentanyl overdoses.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul, a Republican from the border state of Texas, is “still evaluating” the AUMF proposal and “has concerns about the immigration implications and the bilateral relationship with Mexico,” a staffer told Politico.

More than 70,000 Americans died in 2021 from overdoses on fentanyl and other synthetic opioids largely produced in Mexico, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Mexico has denied responsibility, citing American social decay as the primary factor in the overdose crisis. Despite pressure from state attorneys general, the Biden administration has ruled out designating the cartels as terrorist.

April 11, 2023 at 10:41PM

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