The conflict in the Middle East is winding down, US forces are withdrawing, and wars are being handed over to various proxy forces to fight in the context of the so-called Arab Spring from Egypt, to Libya, to Syria. Once Syria falls, more than likely after the US Presidential elections are complete, the Arab Spring with US covert assistance will almost certainly shift its focus to the gem of Eurasia, Iran. But that is another story.
Meanwhile, the policy makers and official white papers are talking about a strategic pivot, a realignment of US forces to confront a real or perceived growing of Chinese spheres of influence in the Pacific Rim. This has already begun in earnest with China feuding with the Philippines and several South East Asian nations regarding territory disputes, mostly related to islands in the South China Sea. Another realignment of US military and intelligence assets is to the Southern Cone, Central and South America.
The third realignment is to turn the surveillance and intelligence gathering techniques and tactics developed for the War on Terror inward for domestic use, mostly under the banner of cyber-security. The defense establishment will not simply let contracts expire and shrink their margins, rather they will seek out new venues to apply the same methods of operation.
The second realignment involves various Unmanned Aerial Vehicles being reoriented into the Southern Hemisphere, but there are also a number of rumors that just don’t want to die. Has the Asymmetrical Warfare Group been south of the border to study cartel tactics, techniques, and procedures? Are Spanish-speaking SEAL Team Six operators working with FES, Mexico’s Maritime Commando equivalent? Many attribute the Mexican Marines, and other military forces recent successes in capturing high value targets to close cooperation and assistance from American military and intelligence sources, much of which was hashed out as a part of the Mérida Initiative.
All of this happens in the background of the so-called Fast and Furious scandal in which the ATF first ordered American gun shop owners to sell guns to straw buyers, and then intentionally allowed them to be smuggled across the border into the hands of cartel sicarios, or assassins. The excuse given by ATF and the Justice Department was that the weapons were allowed to “walk” across the border so that law enforcement officials could track them to the recipients and use the information to make arrests. This excuse is just that, a pathetic cover story for what actually happened. Why was no effort made to Tag, Track, and Locate the smuggled weapons?