Friday, September 24

Blame it on the Tlaxcalans

How could it be, the classical historians asked themselves over and over again as they began their Roman histories, that something as small as a miserable village founded by a foundling should grow into something as large as a tricontinental Empire? This routine proem simulated amazement and admiration at an ancient enigma for which his only answer was to be the narrative that followed. Two millennia later, greater astonishment would pretend when noticing in this panorama the use of the Latin alphabet and of a language that, a foundling of Latin, nevertheless became an imperial language. The Castilian came to more in America by the work of the Iberian conquerors, who founded their viceroyalty of New Spain on Mexican soil. Historiography reversed the classic question of Rome for Mexico. How could something as small as some seven hundred armed Spaniards take over something as large as the Aztec Empire? The question was repeated on Friday the 13th, when it was 500 years since the fall of the imperial capital of Tenochtitlan, today the DF. And an answer was also reiterated: “The fault lies with the Tlaxcalans.” An Indian nation that joined the landed Europeans, a woman, La Malinche, collaborator, translator, lover of the cruel conqueror Hernán Cortés, some Indian troops who fought against the Indians. In the genesis of Rome there was a fratricide: when drawing the borders of the new city that they founded, Romulus killed his brother Remus; at the origin of the Kingdoms of the Indies there was a betrayal.

Also today, like five centuries ago, Tlaxcala is small, the smallest of the 32 Mexican states. The Spanish conquest and its episodes continue to be a singular process, of neither settled nor conventionalized significance, in the history of Mexico, and it is alternatively or simultaneously considered as a moment of national trauma or as the founding act of the nation. Less plural is the consideration of the Tlaxcalans; sometimes when they travel to other parts of the country, they are insulted as traitors by their compatriots. There is an ongoing revisionism, in which the federal State, various academic institutions and research units, disseminators and the media collaborate. Under the new lens, betrayal is transfigured into release: fight of Davides against the Goliath Mexica, of subjugated peoples against the central metropolis. An analogous version of events, richer in complexities and double bottoms, managed to prevail in Bolivia, where it is accepted that the Spanish conquest interrupted the total subjugation of the Aymara (the nation of former president Evo Morales Ayma and current vice president David Choquehuanca Céspedes) by the Inca Empire.

Good Morning, Vietnam!

“La culpa es de los Tlaxcalacas” (1964) continues to be one of the best Latin American stories, and in that title and in that catchphrase offered as a key in the dialogue of the “treacherous” women who star in it, Elena Garro It alludes to one of the values ​​of the cliché, that of assigning responsibility for negative events to tribes or groups or interests so distant and alien as not to have any connection with them. This is what Democratic President Joe Biden has done, by getting rid of all blame and, even more so, by dissociating himself from any causal chain, in the military and humanitarian catastrophe and the hecatomb of violence of all kinds that followed the fulfillment of his orders to withdrawal of US troops and weapons from Afghanistan. The longest war that the US has fought in its history, twenty years of troops fighting in a terrain in which they never managed to defeat the Taliban and in which they are now going to be defeated and expelled by them, than in a rapid advance without a A day off and without a skirmish lost, they reached thirty kilometers from the capital Kabul, which they will besiege, assault and subdue in the coming days.

Washington’s message to Afghans facing attack has been that their survival is in their own hands. While there is consensus that the failure of leadership and unity in Kabul has played an important role in the domino downfall of defeats, there is also consensus that the attempt to blame Afghans for all the blame obscures US share of responsibility Throughout the 20-year US war in Afghanistan, it is clear that the capabilities of the Afghan Armed Forces (ANSF) were constantly exaggerated by a succession of defense secretaries and US military commanders, who were enthusiastic about the progress made – or so they said.

Biden wanted to be a Lyndon B. Johnson without Vietnam, a social reformer who would recreate a State, if not a Welfare State, at least a social one, benefactor and wasteful in its expenses, aid, incentives, extensions of evictions and educational and health debts, campaigns of vaccination, extension of free medical, extra subsidies for Afro-Americans and communities chronically disadvantaged and systematically victimized by racism. The vote by Congress for a trillion dollar state aid package was a policy achievement the Democratic president knows how to do. Domestic politics. This professional senator, who in 1972 was the youngest to sit on Capitol Hill (as today he is the oldest to occupy the White House), is ideal for gathering votes among his peers and discussing consensuses and concessions. In foreign policy, it only accumulates paralysis or mistakes, according to former CIA director Robert Gates, who aim that Biden has the merit of knowing how to choose between several options the worst.

On Friday, the press, until now monotonous in soft flattery, but bordering on flattery, was unison in its reproach. The newspapers illustrated their arguments with photographs of the traumatic helicopter abandonment of Saigon in 1975 by the last diplomats and military men defeated by anti-colonial Vietnamese militias. Now he is desperately negotiating, with threats of withdrawal of future collaborations never agreed, that the Taliban forces do not attack. the US Embassy in Kabul, in order to complete the airlift for the evacuation of personnel and collaborators. In the New York Times some people slogan: ” Biden was able to stop the Taliban. He preferred to give them Afghanistan. ” The Wall street journal think that Democratic policy in Afghanistan has ended “in a strategic defeat and a moral debacle.” The Washington Post, for once, is more concrete: “The lost Afghan lives are an inheritance that Biden can never compensate, and that will be with him forever.”

A War is Better than a Wall

Friday marked the 70th anniversary of the erection, clandestine and nocturnal, of the Berlin Wall by the East German authorities. It was August, it was hot, many Berliners were out of town, many had looked for parks or outdoor places to celebrate Children’s Day with picnics and games. Aware of the erection of the Wall late, the Catholic JFK spoke with one of those homophonic puns that made the fortune of postwar politicians, A Wall is better than a War. Too late, because the wall is from 1961, and his phrase from the summer of 1963, in the fall of that year he was going to be assassinated in Texas. He feared that any offensive, beyond the verbal, could detonate an atomic war. Declassified documents reveal how wrong the Democratic president was: apparently, a mobilization of American tanks from West Berlin near the border would have slowed the cement construction.

In July of this year, more migrants than ever before in history crossed, clandestinely and without papers, the binational boundary that marks the Wall that most reveals and most resists the best intentions of the Catholic Biden. The shameful Wall that he promised to demolish on the first day of his edifying rule. The Wall that his predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, erected and fortified on the Southern Border of the United States, so that the migratory currents coming from Mexico would attack it, as against a breakwater. Biden seems to have calibrated that the removal of the disgrace would be followed by a deserved mitigation of the problems for which this disgraceful and immoral solution had been arranged; it was not so. The only war that he now seems willing to wage is the one that frees him from the need for the Wall – Mexico as close as Afghanistan is far away – that lethal victory that once discouraged the desperate caravans of violence, poverty, corruption and inclement weather. of an increasingly hostile nature in Central America: A War is a hell of a lot better than this Wall.