Just like Rome, America will fall if it continues to be unable and unwilling to defend its borders with the force of arms.
In my negotiating class at Northeastern, we had a cool prof who taught us the hardball tactic of the stinky goat gambit. This gambit is brilliant in its simplicity: you simply bring a stinky goat into the negotiating room and then extract concessions from your opponents for the privilege of removing it. Like all hardball tactics, this one carries a risk. The goat stinks as much to you as it does to your opponents, so you must rely on the element of surprise to get them to cave to your demands. Keeping the goat in the room is no more an option for you than it is for them.
Trump, powerless and out of options, played this gambit last week when he introduced the stinky goat of escalating tariffs against Mexico. Needless to say, Trump was fully aware that these tariffs would never go into effect for the simple reason that their stench is every bit as bad for America as it is for Mexico. While it is true that prolonged tariffs that enjoy broad political support would force manufacturers to abandon the Mexican market in favor of the US, this is not the situation in reality. In reality, the short-term pain that these tariffs would inflict on Americans and especially those in politically crucial border states as well as the bipartisan and bicameral opposition to them in Congress, make tariffs against Mexico very stinky indeed, most of all to Trump himself.
Of course, Mexico signed something. Not to do so would cause Trump an unnecessary loss of face, something that Mexican government would rather avoid, if possible. It is likely that they will pretend to hinder the passage of migrants from Central America through Mexico and somewhat possible that this hindrance will cause a small and temporary reduction in the onslaught on America’s southern border. This ripple, however, will be as short-lived as it will be meaningless in the grand scheme of things. “But then Trump will just hit them with tariffs again, this time for real!” you say. No, my friends, he will not. The stinky goat trick can only be played once, you see, before everyone is smart to it and the element of surprise is lost. Whatever modicum of indulgence Trump has now received from the corrupt and paid-for Senate Republicans, he will not get again.
The idea that Mexican soldiers and police, all of whom are Latinos with lots of Mayan and Aztec heritage will fight to stop people just like them from Central America from coming to the US and taking it over is historically ludicrous. The Roman Empire fell because, while they had the most powerful military in the world, it consisted of Gothic tribes hired to defend Rome from other Gothic tribes. It was only a matter of time of course before these “defenders” and “attackers” who spoke the same Germanic dialects and had much more in common among themselves than they did with the Romans decided that they would join forces and sack Rome together.
President Trump is truly one of the most tragic figures in history. Ostensibly in command of the most powerful and best funded military forces the world has ever seen, sitting atop a federal bureaucracy of unparalleled girth and might, he is in fact nearly powerless. His orders, as has been well-documented, are simply laughed at by the bureaucrats and the generals. He cannot even void the security clearance of a retired apparatchik, let alone command American power and might on the battlefield and off it. American joint command is filled with officers who have never really fought for their country against an equally powerful and determined enemy like their predecessors did in WWII and even in Korea once the Chinese joined the fight.
American federal bureaucracy is chock full of Trump haters who have no intention whatsoever of following his lead come hell or high water. The House of Representatives has a majority of Trump Derangement Syndrome victims who wish for nothing more than to see him and his entire family brought to ruin and the Senate has likewise minded though smaller majority split between Democrats and never-Trump “Republicans”.
A healthy nation, a nation that has retained its will to survive, shoots to kill, once every other means of deterrence has failed, those who attempt to unlawfully cross its borders. In a healthy nation, the Commander in Chief of the armed forces commands his generals to use all necessary force to defend the border against all unlawful crossing attempts, regardless of who is making them. In a healthy nation, military leaders understand that their primary duty is to defend the nation’s borders and consider an order to do so the most legitimate order of all.
Now ask yourself: is America such a nation? Is America healthy? Can the American Commander in Chief issue such an order to the American military? Will American generals, knowing the situation, have already prepared a plan of action that calls for the occupation of a strip of Mexican territory ten miles deep everywhere that illegal entry of personnel and other illicit materiel is occurring and holding that “security buffer” for as long as is needed to put a complete stop to illegal cross-border activity and help the Mexican government break the back of the criminal cartels? The answer to all these questions, as we all very well know, is a resounding no. None of this is remotely plausible, which is why, unless something changes, America, like all nations in history that found themselves unable or unwilling to defend their borders, will most definitely fall.