We’ve got a problem in our own back patio. Actually, we have our own Ukraine, complete with Russian tanks, China jockeying for position, and a possible Domino Theory. And it’s not nine time zones away.
I’m talking about Nicaragua.
If you were a terrorist with nefarious aims against the U.S., would you chance a commercial airplane trip to arrive there? Far better to travel to Cuba or Venezuela, two fellow traveler nations, and from there to openly communist Nicaragua. From there, join the land hordes flooding the U.S. southern border. It’s cheaper, safer, and more efficient. Viva May 23.
Work takes me frequently to the southern border of Mexico — four times this year alone. The first wave of camped out refugees there came largely from Africa, the second a mix from Haiti and Cuba, and the third is now seasoned liberally with travelers from Nicaragua, the new communist pariah of Latin America, just a hop, slink, and hide away from your USA target, with your backpack intact. Become, as the DHS secretary puts it, a getaway.
In 1823, under James Madison, Asia was not an issue. Add it, since it is now.
In the 1860s, when Europe installed an emperor in Mexico, we were busy with the Civil War. But by the early 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt added his Monroe Doctrine corollary: if it’s not working right, go and fix it. He did.
Although Mexico flirted with triggering the Doctrine with the Zimmermann telegram, the next serious time was Cuba and Russian missiles. Between world wars we had to straighten out, you guessed it: Nicaragua. Now it’s Nicaragua again.
Demonstrate in Nicaragua — go to jail. Or die.
Run for office — go to jail.
Publish some contrary but accurate news — go to jail.
At first glance, Nicaragua, which by land area is Central America’s largest country, is of little strategic value. If, as Henry Kissinger is alleged to have wryly remarked, Chile is a dagger poised to strike Antarctica, Nicaragua is poised to strike no one. Yet. Yes, it has terrorist trampoline value, but little else.
China and Russia evidently disagree. In recent years, Russia has donated 50 older-generation battle tanks to Nicaragua, and long-term-thinking China has signed a treaty granting it allegedly unlimited territory to build a trans-isthmus canal.
Highly respected Transparency International, analyzing perceptions of corruption, cites serious worries in nearby El Salvador and Guatemala and labels Nicaragua “rock bottom.” Domino Theory, maybe? Not just tiny Nicaragua, but tens of millions more caravanning along the way.
The Monroe Doctrine with the Teddy Roosevelt Corollary? The U.S. is preoccupied with Ukraine and can scarcely handle another conflict. But May 23 and the revocation of Title 42 are nigh.