Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mexican Cop Applies Sun Tzu to Drug War in New Book


Mexico will bring the criminal organizations operating there under control one day, but this will not happen during the term of President Felipe Calderon, who will pass on the problem to his successor, the author of a new book inspired by Sun Tzu’s classic “The Art of War” told Efe.

“The government has everything it needs to win,” the author and active-duty Mexican Federal Police inspector who writes under the pen name Tomas Borges said.

“El arte de la guerra para narcos” (The Art of War for Narcos) draws lessons from the classic Chinese text on military strategy that can be applied to Mexico’s war on drugs.

Sun Tzu points out that “numerical superiority does not provide an advantage unless the correct strategy is used,” Borges, who has worked undercover and currently holds an administrative post in the Public Safety Secretariat, said.

“El arte de la guerra para narcos” (Temas de Hoy, 2011) provides a series of “reflections” based on the Chinese text that can help Mexico “if not eradicate drug trafficking, then understand it,” Borges said.

The book “takes up classic texts to understand complex, current problems,” such as the war on drugs launched by President Felipe Calderon after he took office in December 2006, the author said.

The book was written amid Mexico’s war on drugs, which has claimed the lives of about 40,000 people and the author considers to be wrong.

“It caught my attention that they would use a military approach to eradicate organized crime, and that he (Calderon) would give the connotation of ‘war’ to a public safety problem that has affected regional and hemispheric security,” Borges said.

It is regrettable that a current problem “is being fought with strategies from the eighties and nineties, from the time of Ronald Reagan and George Bush senior,” the author said.

A reading of Sun Tzu, a Chinese aristocrat and mercenary, revealed that “many of his axioms, written 500 years before Christ, still apply” and should be taken into account in Mexico today, Borges said.

Organized crime groups are dealing with the government intelligently, applying Sun Tzu’s rule that you must know when to fight and when not to, Borges said.

“They are using common sense, not focusing so much on numerical superiority” and having a “bigger impact” than the government by making use of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to show “who is the most sadistic and who is most skillful at generating violence and uncertainty,” the author said.

Mexico is dealing with “a problem that could be resolved in a short time with a good strategy and good tactics ... it’s not a six-year” situation, Borges said, referring to the length of a Mexican president’s term.

“Calderon himself said at the beginning that he was going to take back the spaces that organized crime had grabbed from Mexican citizens ... and we see that he has not finished the problem of drug trafficking. On the contrary, he has made it worse,” the author said.

“Justice and legality will triumph in the long run,” Borges said, adding that he was not “in favor of the narcos.”

Mexico is living through “a dark stage” today and “the drug traffickers are not going to be exterminated, but they will be controlled,” Borges said.

“As long as we continue to be neighbors of the main consumer of drugs, there will always be suppliers who try to meet demand,” the author said.

Borges, born in La Paz, Baja California state, has been involved in the preparation of intelligence reports and participated in anti-crime operations in Sinaloa and other states in recent years.

The Federal Police officer, who has firsthand knowledge of the war on drugs, is also the author of “Maquiavelo para narcos. El fin justifica los miedos” (Machiavelli for Narcos. The Ends Justify the Fears).


  1. The Art of War has nothing to do with the criminal mayhem in Mexico. Crackhead sicarios are not the kind of soldiers Tzu and Machiavelli invisioned when they wrote about the nature conflict.

  2. funny how there is nothing concrete in this story other than the name of a famous author.

  3. I agree. The Art of War has little to do with a convulated, chaotic and dispered enemy. Sun Tzu's text didn't take into account, politics, corruption, terror, and black market forces and multiple rivaling factions.

  4. Such weak, pessimistic minds. Have any of you even read the new book? So fast to dismiss it. The Art of War principles have been successfully applied to modern warfare and business. The original principles taught in the book do not spell it all out, even for ancient warfare. BB readers have to be the most negative bunch of people I have ever seen.

  5. He would do better reading Kilcullen:

    Or Petraus

  6. “As long as we continue to be neighbors of the main consumer of drugs, there will always be suppliers who try to meet demand,” the author said

    is why the 'war on (some) drugs' will never be won...

  7. "politics, corruption, terror, and black market forces and multiple rivaling factions"

    jajjaa...sounds a lot like ancient china.

    even though it was written with set battles by rival armies in mind...some of the principles are universal...

    i am sure los zetas use the tactic of terror to seem greater than they are ...

    you first defeat the enemy in his mind..

    become unbeatable in the mind of your enemy and you become unbeatable in the field

    the prestige/face of the government of Mexico is so impinged that it will take a major effort to overcome

    to the citizens of Mexico, the DTO's have more prestige , power , and a greater presence

    the gob has been defeated in the minds of the people

  8. To: June 28, 2011 7:40 AM

    The BB crowd is pessimistic? Well hey Noble person, why don't you read the book and go over to Mexico and solve the problem yourself. You can apply the book's teaching and prove if it works or not. Please enlighten our pessimistic man you know it all.

  9. As long as US drug consumption is a 50 billion dollar a year industry for the cartels its never going to stop. Our drug consumption made all these criminal organizations just like Prohibition made the Mafia families in the US powerful.

  10. If anybody has a better idea run it out and try it. Mexico has muddled along for a hundred years with little organization or direction this "war" can be seen as a graphic change and attempt to upgrade Mexico in every sence. Such a beautiful country,such disorganized political turmoil,leadership and performance,needed.

  11. LOLOLOLOLOLOL.....I bet El Chapo, Vicente Carrillo, Lazca, and all the others are trembling in their boots over the Sun Tzu prediction as the sip their margaritas on the French Riviera and discuss business with all the richest business men and politicians of Mexico and around the world.
    Mexico is just like everywhere else. The wolf dresses in lambs clothing. Calderon isn't a lamb. I personally believe his agenda is as evil as any politician's in the world.


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