, 2007
| Over 2 Million Served |




Home | Notes
Archives | Search
Links | About

Julia Gorin
The America Show
Episode 4
Jesus and Mordy
Watch Video Now


Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky

America Alone
by Mark Steyn


The CRO Store




Opinion Page | Register

Ralph Peters is a regular columnist with the New York Post. Register here for access to the Post's Online Edition.



PETERS Mexico - Watch The Loser
by Ralph Peters [author, novelist] 7/7/06

Tortilla strips instead of hanging chads? The outcome of Mexico's presidential election remains too close to call. But no matter who's declared the winner, democracy won.

It's frustratingly hard to find a balanced picture of Mexico in our media. It's either Cancun or cocaine cartels. We hear about the problems - illegal immigration, drug empires and crippling corruption - but the progress our southern neighbor has made over the last decade goes ignored.
Ralph Peters - Contributor
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications. [go to Peters Index]

There's been far too much alarmism over the prospect of a win by leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). As of now, the odds look fair that the ballot tally will put conservative Felipe Calderon atop Mexico's government. But whoever becomes the next el Presidente will be the choice of the Mexican people.

It hasn't always been so. For eight decades after the Mexican Revolution - which went horribly awry - the authoritarian Party of the Institutionalized Revolution (PRI) rigged elections with Soviet shamelessness. Only in 2000 did the demand for real democracy enable the victory of Vicente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN).

Mexico is one of the world's youngest democracies. And Mexicans have utterly rejected the old regime. This year, the PRI's candidate trailed both Calderon and Lopez Obrador by an insuperable margin.

But the 2006 campaign polarized Mexican society, with the populist Lopez Obrador drawing support from Mexico's ever- neglected poor, while the middle and upper classes backed Calderon. Troublingly, Lopez Obrador has hinted that, if the final vote count doesn't go his way, he may call his supporters into the streets.

That would be a tragedy. Mexico's democracy remains fragile, as does its economy. Mexico needs a peaceful presidential transition, no matter who wins. It's essential for the loser in this election to be a good citizen of his country and accept the popular will - no matter how narrowly expressed.

What kind of a man will Lopez Obrador prove to be? He made an undeniable difference in the lives of Mexico City's poor during his years as mayor and greatly improved city services. Yet his throwback rhetoric scares domestic and international businessmen. Now he's in a position to strengthen or shatter Mexican democracy.

He has a radical base of the millions who attended his campaign rallies, masses who convinced themselves that they were too numerous to lose. As with the exaggerated power of Internet activists in our own recent elections, the illusion leads to disillusion when confronted with the reality of the ballot box. Will radical anger turn violent in Mexico?

Yankee pundits have taken the easy route by casting Lopez Obrador as just another Latin American leftist ready to join the Fidel Castro fan club. In fact, he's been careful not to alienate the business community. In the clinch, he's consistently proved a pragmatist. And during the campaign, he and the other candidates refrained from the tried-and-true Mexican electoral tactic of blaming every ill on the United States.

This campaign was fought - hard - on domestic issues. Each candidate took care to avoid antagonizing Washington. Leftist or not, Lopez Obrador realizes that no Mexican administration can afford to alienate the United States - especially not when immigration issues are an urgent topic up north. Illegal immigration has been Mexico's political and economic safety valve for a century. The country's No. 1 export isn't oil, but its people. That's Mexico's inescapable reality.

From Washington's perspective, Calderon, the conservative, is the preferred candidate. The PAN man probably would be better for Mexico, too. He's a pro-business technocrat, and his country desperately needs investment and development - a future that won't force Mexicans to leave their families by the millions for work north of the Rio Grande (American ideologues refuse to see that Mexicans would much rather stay home - if jobs were to be had).

But it's in our own best interest not to be sore losers, either. If the final vote count hands the presidency to Lopez Obrador, we should greet the populist as warmly as we would have the conservative. We must stop creating enemies out of potential friends.

Mexico is the most important foreign country to the security and economy of the United States - whether we like it or not. Nobody's going to tow our neighbor out to sea, so our policies must get beyond emotional sloganeering to seek mutual solutions to long-neglected problems, from immigration to the drug-cartel "ownership" of the border. Name-calling is never a substitute for practical solutions.

So here's the bottom line on the still-undecided Mexican election: The crucial issue is whether or not Lopez Obrador will put his own ego above the national interest if he's defeated. Whoever loses must do so with grace; to do otherwise would be to inflict grave damage on Mexico's budding democracy. Mexico can't afford political violence.

The vote was so close that half the population will be disgruntled whatever the outcome. There'll be charges and counter-charges of fraud (sound familiar?). But, no matter who wins, the man who will make this election a success or failure will be Lopez Obrador. If he turns to the tyranny of the streets, he'll prove that his critics were right, that he's just another leftwing demagogue.

In Mexico's second democratic election, the behavior of the loser will shape the country's future. CRO

Ralph Peters' latest book is New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremacy. His next book, Never Quit the Fight, is due out July 10.

This piece first appeared in the New York Post
copyright 2006 - NY Post

Rush Limbaugh


New Glory: Expanding America’s Global Supremacy
Ralph Peters

Beyond Baghdad:
Postmodern War and Peace

Ralph Peters

Beyond Terror
Ralph Peters

by Ralph Peters

The War in 2020

Perfect Soldier

Flames of Heaven


Twilight of Heroes

The Devil's Garden

Red Army




Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2002-2007 CaliforniaRepublic.org