The drug war brought U.S. commandos into Mexico, but the opening of the country’s once publicly-owned energy resources to foreign investors may provide justification for the secretive American presence there to escalate—especially if the cartels are successfully painted as “narcoterrorists.”
Energy resources can never be ignored in geopolitics. And an often forgotten fact is that Mexico is its northern neighbor’s third-largest source of foreign oil—enticingly located right next door.
Mexican petroleum and gas are about to hit the big time, with estimates that as much as $50 billion in new investments could flow into the country by 2018. The bidding began last year, and financiers are looking past today’s sharp drop in oil and gas prices at a lucrative future.
Naturally, outsiders who come drilling will expect a stable environment for profit. Companies do not want blocked shipments, bombed transit routes, kidnapped executives, or other interference from the cartels.
They want certainty, and military action is one way to provide it. Already, the Mexican Army is escorting contractors from Weatherford International, an oilfield services firm founded in Texas. And there is every reason to wonder if Pentagon or U.S. security contractors are assisting in such protection missions. Even members of the U.S. Marshals Service have taken part in operationsdressed as Mexican Marines.
Set aside the oilfields, and there is still a lot of money on the line. Mexico is the United States’ third largest trading partner, with half a trillion dollars crossing the border in 2013. Since 2000, U.S. foreign direct investment into the southern country stands at about a third of a trillion dollars.
The official line from the Pentagon is that there is no unusual activity caused by anything. Northern Command, covering the period from 9/11 onward, told WhoWhatWhy, “We do not have a permanent military presence in Mexico, other than those assigned to the U.S. Embassy” and “all other U.S. service men and women only go to Mexico for short duration exchanges on temporary duty.”