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BAD HOMBRES: Federal Agents Arrest Over 600 Members of Mexican Cartel

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On March 11, 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that over 600 arrests were made against members of Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG).

The campaign conducted against this cartel was called “Project Python.”

Per the DEA’s report, federal law enforcement officials have been monitoring the activities of the accused during the last six months.

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The operation involved over 600 arrests nationwide, 350 indictments, and “significant seizures of money and drugs,” according to the agencies’ accounts of the operation.

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“Project Python marks the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski declared in a statement.

Benczkowski alluded to an executive order President Trump signed off on shortly after Trump was inaugurated in 2017. The order condemned cartel operations in America and instructed federal law enforcement to use the Threat Mitigation Working Group, which the Obama administration enacted in 2011.

“When President Trump signed an Executive Order prioritizing the dismantlement of transnational criminal organizations, the Department of Justice answered the call and took direct aim at CJNG. We deemed CJNG one of the highest-priority transnational organized crime threats we face,” he declared. “And with Project Python, we are delivering results in the face of that threat for the American people.”

According to the DOJ, CJNG has a presence in major American cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Houston and Atlanta.

The DOJ and DEA also announced an indictment the same day on charges of alleged continuing criminal enterprise against Nemesio Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, better known as “El Mencho,” the CJNG kingpin.

In the previous month, Oseguera Cervantes’s son was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. on drug trafficking charges. Two weeks ago, on February 26, 2020, federal authorities arrested his daughter for financial crimes.

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Will Josh Hawley be the Next Champion for an America First Foreign Policy?

America First May Have its Next Leader to End Wars Abroad

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Does America First have a new non-interventionist champion?

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has been viewed by many as one of the figures who could potentially lead a Trumpist movement after Trump, should Joe Biden end up being installed as president on January 2021.

Hawley has made a name for himself as a champion of Middle America and questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy on immigration and trade. Lately, Hawley has made a pivot towards  questioning the interventionist conventional wisdom on foreign policy. 

In early October of this year, the Missouri Senator called for the American government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Hawley tweeted, “Almost 20 years now in Afghanistan. Long past time to draw this war to an end.”

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Hawley’s foreign policy has been a work progress over the past two years. During a 2019 speech Hawley gave at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), he questioned the nation-building policy prescriptions of previous administrations, demonstrating some degree of skepticism towards non-stop interventionism abroad on the part of the Senator.

That said, it remains to be seen if Hawley’s legislative record will fully match his rhetoric.

Hawley is a staunch China hawk, who fears the rise of China and is a strong voice against China’s expansionist efforts. Hawley’s track record shows that his foreign policy views are rough around the edges. Daniel Larison of The American Conservative is not as optimistic about Hawley judging by his votes on the Yemeni Civil War. Larison cited several of Hawley’s votes that may be cause for concern:

Sen. Hawley voted against the Senate’s resolution of disapproval that opposed the president’s effort to circumvent Congress with a bogus “emergency” to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. More important, he voted with the president and most Senate Republicans against the antiwar Yemen resolution that would have cut off all U.S. support to the Saudi coalition.”

Nevertheless, Hawley’s comments on Afghanistan are a good sign that Hawley is catching on to the fact that Americans are tired of foreign wars. Politicians can change their views and behaviors. Hawley is likely recognizing that the America First movement is exhausted by the endless wars and wants candidates and elected officials who offer withdrawal plans. 

After looking at the list of people who have been tapped to join the Biden administration, Hawley tweeted, “What a group of corporatists and war enthusiasts – and #BigTech sellouts.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a fierce interventionist skeptic, maintained cautious optimism about Hawley. In a tweet, he commented, “All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting.”

The jury is still out on Hawley. Regardless of flaws in his voting record, America First advocates should continue to push him and other America First leaning Republicans in the right direction. We should never forget that politicians are still receptive to political pressure and the grassroots holds the keys to political change. 

Young senators like Hawley are the future of American politics and it makes sense for foreign policy restrainers to lobby them and push them in a direction that favors non-interventionism.

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