I hesitate to even dignify this with a post, but on the off chance the worst case scenario does indeed materialize, I suppose it’s worth mentioning, especially in light of the fact that John Bolton and John Kelly are reportedly at odds over the administration’s border policy.
Donald Trump appears to be on the verge of losing his mind at the prospect of several thousand Central American migrants showing up on America’s southern border just ahead of the midterms. That eventuality would cast serious doubt on the notion that the President’s high pressure NAFTA strategy served a kind of off-label purpose by convincing the Mexican government of the administration’s willingness to engage in dangerous brinksmanship over the migration issue.
If the caravan – which, as you’re probably aware, is currently stuck on a bridge that connects Guatemala and Mexico – is allowed to make it to the U.S. border, it could be seen as a sign that America’s southern neighbor is no more inclined to help Trump on immigration than they were a year ago.
It would also put Trump at odds with the incoming government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Here’s what Obrador’s undersecretary in charge of immigration, Alejandro Encinas, had to say late last month:
We are not going to chase migrants. We are not going to criminalize them. We have to stop looking at immigration as an issue of public security or national security, or the national security of the United States.
There is exactly nothing about that assessment that is consistent with Trump’s position.
This week, Trump floated the idea of sending the U.S. military to the border should the migrant caravan make it that far. “I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!”, Trump shrieked on Thursday, before effectively threatening to pull out of “new” NAFTA:
The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA.
Fast forward to Saturday and the President reiterated that notion while speaking to reporters in Nevada. Here’s the clip:
Obviously, Trump has no idea who is “in the caravan.” The conspiracy theories you’ve heard are unfounded at best and outright lies, at worst. He’s just doing what he always does when asked about Central American immigrants: Playing to his base by trotting out the “very bad people” narrative in order to polarize sentiment and whip everyone into a xenophobic frenzy.
But more to the point, if that caravan makes it to America’s doorstep and Trump does send in the military to seal off the border, it is highly likely that somebody (and probably several somebodies) will end up getting shot by accident. It would likely turn into a scene straight out of Hungary in 2015, and suffice to say that would be a PR nightmare for the administration.
Or maybe not. Because Trump is clearly using this as a campaign weapon, going so far as to say, at a rally in Montana, that the midterms are about “Kavanaugh, the caravan and common sense.”
One wonders, then, if a little part of Trump is actually hoping for an excuse to send U.S. troops to the border.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.