Mexico's Security Failure
Collapse into Criminal Violence
Edited by Paul Kenny, Monica Serrano, Arturo C. Sotomayor
Routledge – 2012 – 244 pages
Mexico has failed to achieve internal security and poses a serious threat to its neighbors. This volume takes us inside the Mexican state to explain the failure there, but also reaches out to assess the impact of Mexico’s security failure beyond its borders. The key innovative idea of the book—security failure—brings these perspectives together on an intermestic level of analysis. It is a view that runs counter to the standard emphasis on the external, trans-national nature of criminal threats to a largely inert state.
Mexico’s Security Failure is both timely, with Mexico much in the news, but also of lasting value. It explains Mexican insecurity in a full-dimensional manner that hasn’t been attempted before. Mexico received much scholarly attention a decade ago with the onset of democratization. Since then, the leading topic has become immigration. However, the security environment compelling many Mexicans to leave has been dramatically understudied. This tightly organized volume begins to correct that gap.
"This is an excellent book. It focuses on Mexico’s inability to provide for one of the fundamental services that the state should provide its citizens, namely, public order and, therefore, personal safety. The book’s principal strengths are the choice of a topic that is so salient for Mexico and its neighbors, the very impressive empirical research evident in all the chapters, and the brevity and clarity of each of the chapters. This book presents in concise, focused fashion excellent empirical research with regard to domestic and transnational insecurity in Mexico such as no other has."
—Jorge I. Domínguez, Harvard University
"The Mexican state has not failed; the government's security policy has. That is the conclusion of Mexico's Security Failure, which looks beneath the headlines to explain how the Calderon government's assault on the drug cartels exacerbated a security crisis. For those who want to understand the drug-related violence, this is a great place to start."
—Robert A. Pastor, American University
"This book provides a comprehensive and engaging treatment of the multi-dimensional challenges of Mexican security. This is an ‘eyes wide open’ treatment of uncomfortable, but essential topics. It raises key questions for countries facing violent threats and attempting internal reforms."
—Jennifer Holmes, The University of Texas at Dallas
Introduction: security failure versus state failure Paul Kenny and Mónica Serrano Part I: The Background 1.The Mexican state and organized crime: an unending story Paul Kenny and Mónica Serrano 2. Transition to dystopia: 1994-2008 Paul Kenny and Mónica Serrano Part II: Security Failure at Home… 3. Arbitrariness and inefficiency in the Mexican criminal justice system Ana Laura Magaloni 4. Accounting for the unaccountable: the police in Mexico Ernesto López-Portillo 5. Security versus human rights: the case of contemporary Mexico Alejandro Anaya Muñoz Part III: … and Abroad 6. Drug trafficking and US-Mexico relations: causes of conflict Jorge Chabat 7. Mexico’s war on terrorism: rhetoric and reality Athanasios Hristoulas 8. The Mesoamerican dilemma: external insecurity, internal vulnerability Raúl Benítez and Arturo Sotomayor Conclusion: Authoritarian evolution Paul Kenny and Mónica Serrano
Paul Kenny, former lecturer in humanities, King’s College, London University, and Visiting Professor, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
Mónica Serrano, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Professor of International Relations at El Colegio de México, and Senior Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies, Oxford University.
With Arturo Sotomayor, Assistant Professor, Naval Postgraduate School.