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For All Nails, #59:  Not-So-White Trash Nation

From the introduction to Russell M. Walters, "The British Roots of
Mexican Bellicosity," Shays University Press, 1974.

Mexico.  Expansionism.  Militarism. War.  The words run together in
the popular mind.  [1]  In the nineteenth century, Mexico launched
wars of expansion against Guatemala (twice), North America, New
Granada, Russia, and the Kingdom of Hawaii.  The exploits of General
Santa Anna against the Cruzob and Yaquis --- not to mention in the
Soconusco and Rocky Mountain Wars --- earned him a place in the
country's mythology rivaled only by Benito Hermión, himself a soldier.
 In the Hundred Days War, Mexico was attacked by France, but the war
did not end until the French were swept completely from the Western
Hemisphere, their possessions annexed, their citizens expelled, and
there is little doubt among historians that the Mexicans would have
crossed the Atlantic and pressed on to Paris had they possessed the
logistical capacity to do so.

In the Global War, a dispute over a Japanese blockade against Mexico's
trade with the Jeffersonista-controlled areas of China escalated into
a war aimed at the unconditional surrender of not only Japan but also
Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Taiwan.  Several times
the Mexicans could have ended the war in victory, had they only been
able to limit their goals.  Public opinion made that impossible.  In
fact, the 1950 presidential election was fought not over whether to
end the war, or what the definition of victory should be, but rather
_how_ to achieve the unconditional surrender of their enemies.  During
the 1940s, more than _five million_ Japanese civilians died as a
_direct_ result of Mexican bombing, half as high again as the total
number of Mexican combat deaths, and more than _sixty_ times the
number of Mexican civilian casualties suffered in the raids on Hawaii,
San Francisco, and the Kinkaid Canal Zone.

Civilian casualties in other enemy nations were lower than in Japan,
but only because Mexico was unable to mount a sustained campaign
against Australia, Taiwan, or the Philippines.  Nevertheless, civilian
deaths from Mexican bombing in all three countries were significantly
higher than the casualties suffered by Mexico, despite the fact that
their combined population was lower than Mexico's.  No prominent
politician or academic in Mexico, during or since the war, has ever
expressed the slightest remorse over these deaths.  (Compare this to
the orgy of guilt in North America over the Confederation's putative
"responsibility" for the Global War.)  Finally, Mexico's
constitutional order has twice been disrupted by military officers
seeking power.  If this record is not sufficient to link the words
"Mexico" and "militarism," then nothing could possibly be.

Academic and popular opinion outside Mexico is united in ascribing the
country's bellicosity to its Hispanic roots.  Robert Sobel writes of
Mexico in the 1940s:  "No people so honored military men and prized
militarism as the Hispanos and Mexicanos."  Other historians and
political analysts concur.  Meanwhile, in the North American popular
press the linkage between Mexican militarism and the country's Spanish
heritage is ubiquitous, unremarked upon, and unanalyzed.  After all,
have not all Spanish American countries (save New Granada and Chile,
but those major exceptions go unnoticed) suffered coups?  Have they
all not fought wars among each other?  The connection is obvious.  [2]
 In fact, some elements of popular opinion take the "logic" further,
into territory that should be (but sadly isn't) considered racialist,
ascribing Mexico's bellicosity to some quasi-genetic root in the
country's Mexicano population.  [3]

This book does not take issue with the popular characterization of
Mexico's attitudes towards the role of the military or its
perennially-strained relationship with the outside world.  The
historical record speaks for itself.  Rather, this book argues that
the roots of Mexico's bellicosity lie with neither the Spanish nor the
Mexica, but with _Great Britain_.  More specifically, it lies with the
Scotch-Irish settlers from the border regions between England and
Scotland and the Protestant colonies in Ireland.

It is true that the core of the initial settlers who made the
Wilderness Walk were drawn from the cavaliers of Virginia or the old
"Yankee" populations of New England.  What goes unrecognized, however,
is how rapidly those settlers were swamped by migrants from the
frontier regions of Transylvania, the Carolinas, and Georgia.   [4]
Their way of life disrupted by rebellion, immigration, and
industrialization, [5] North Americans moved west in massive numbers
to the new and open frontiers of Jefferson, California, Santander, and
Durango.  [6]  CNA historians notice this western migration of
displaced backcountry settlers as little as Mexican historians note
the eastern migration of escaped slaves.

These settlers were a bitter and warlike people, with values formed
from centuries of conflict in Britain and Ireland.  Their ancestors
had came from colonies surrounded by hostile populations of Scottish
warriors and Irish Catholics.   From there, they migrated to the
American backcountry, where they were surrounded by hostile Indian
tribes and encroached upon by upper-class slaveowning cavaliers.  In
Mexico, perhaps, they could finally breathe free, but by then their
cultural attitudes had hardened --- and in Mexico their culture found
fertile roots among the Mexicano populations of México Central and
Chiapas.  Scotch-Irish culture proved the perfect anodyne to
hierarchical Spanish conceptions that sought to keep the "Indio" in
his or her place.  Mexicano tribes, clans, and extended families fit
perfectly into Scotch-Irish notions of family, tribal loyalty and
honor, wedded to the egalitarian ideologies brought by the country's
Jeffersonian conquerors.  This culture slowly and unstoppably spread
through the new country's southern regions, as did Protestantism.

Robert Sobel notes that only Jefferson maintained a Protestant
majority in 1971.  What he neglects to mention is that Protestants,
particularly evangelical Protestants, make up 45 percent of the
population of Chiapas and 32 percent of the population of México
Central.  Sobel also fails to note another significant characteristic
of Mexican Catholicism, which is that it is, in practice, Scotch-Irish
Protestantism.  Surveys continually show that large majorities of
Mexican Catholics deny that the Holy Church or its representatives
have any special divine authority, and strongly affirm a "personal
relationship with God."  The form may be Catholic, but the practice is
not --- and following the form in order to honor one's ancestors and
carry on tradition while altering the substance to suit one's
individual ambition is a deeply Scotch-Irish notion.  The revolt
against established denominations, Protestant and Catholic alike,
continues throughout Mexico today.  [6aa]

What are these values inherited from the British borderlands, and how
do they influence modern Mexico's politics and foreign affairs?  In
the rest of this introduction I do not wish the reader to assume that
the cultural attributes I describe emerged full-blown in 1819.  The
historical roots and slow development of each of these attitudes will
be carefully traced in the chapters that follow.  Here I only wish to
trace an outline of what evolved from the country's British base when
planted in Mexican soil, and show how they influence the nation's
bellicose foreign policy.

We must begin with the notion of honor, which does not quite mean the
same thing in Mexico as it does in North America.  Honorable people in
Mexico are self-reliant.  Receiving aid from family  and friends is
honorable, but one must repay that aid, and that means holding down a
job or running a business or otherwise putting oneself in a position
to repay favors or extend them to new people accepted into the folk
community.

Self-reliant folk, who follow through on their community obligations,
of course deserve to be treated with respect. North Americans often
find it difficult to adapt to what they perceive as an almost
aggressive informality that permeates most of Mexico, save a few
dwindling traditionalist Hispano enclaves in Guadalajara and Yucatán.
[7]  This informality to all but the aged shows not disrespect, but
respect.  One is treating the other individual as an equal.  Of
course, one must defend oneself against disrespect, or be prepared to,
if one is to expect respect. Dueling, therefore, persisted in Mexico
long after the aristocrats of Europe had abandoned the practice.  In
fact, informal "dueling" persists to this day:  many a jury in
Jefferson or Chiapas has let off a murderer on credible testimony that
the violent confrontation was pre-planned and agreed-upon by both
participants.

The potential need to defend one's honor explains Mexicans'
near-reverence for firearms, which has no parallel in North America.
Owning and caring for firearms is an essential part of life.  The
constitution protects the right to bear arms, and universal military
service means that most Mexicans know how to use them.  North American
visitors to México del Norte or Durango are often surprised to see how
commonly people openly carry firearms:  what they fail to realize is
that California, Chiapas and México Central only appear less armed
_because concealed weapons are legal in those states_.

Pistols are commonly referred to as "equalizers" in Mexican speech,
and the term shows the importance of equality in Mexican culture.  All
Mexicans must have an equal start, even if they do not necessarily
have to end up in the same place.  Mercator may have expanded the
country's universal education system to include university and
graduate education, but it should be noticed that Jefferson's
extensive public schools were established back in the eighteenth
century, and the federal government made an extensive push to make
education universal in the first half of the nineteenth.  That is not
to say that Mexicans are radical Neiderhofferians at heart.  They are
not.  When they think that the rules of the game are fair, they
believe that the winners deserve respect.  That is why Bernard Kramer
is still a folk hero in the United States, while the company he
founded, Kramer Associates, is vilified.  That is why President
Moctezuma lauds Mercator's Estate Law, while receiving popular
accolades by attempting to streamline the tax laws to allow the
wealthy to retain more of their _own_ income.  It also explains why
Mexicans, unlike North Americans, will proudly trumpet their own
accomplishments to all who will listen, while playing down the social
position or achievements of their ancestors.  Andrew Jackson has many
descendants, as does Alexander Hamilton, and many are active in
politics, but none make an issue of their ancestry.  Only in Yucatán,
where Hispano culture survives more strongly than elsewhere, do people
routinely make reference to their ancestors' social position.

In 1877, Mrs. Agatha Sandstrom was forced to leave Britain due to her
husband's debts and live in Mexico for two years.  She went to Mexico
City at first, which was still recognizably Hispano, and her diary
records generally pleasant experiences.  From there, she moved to the
mining town of Pachuca, México Central, which while Spanish-speaking
(even today Spanish still predominates there) was beginning to be
infected by the Scotch-Irish culture brought by Anglo miners and
permeated among the Mexicanos of the region.  She wrote:

"The theory of equality may be very daintily discussed by Hispano
gentlemen in a Mexico City dining room, when the servant, having
placed a fresh bottle of cool wine on the table, respectfully shuts
the door and leaves them to their walnuts and their wisdom, but it
will be found far less palatable when it presents itself in the shape
of a hard greasy paw and is claimed in accents that breathe less of
freedom than tequila and tortillas.  The Mexican hidalgo is more and
more a stranger in his own land, and would be more at home in a London
drawing room than here a few kilometers from his home.  A warning to
all who might choose to travel here from my fair island:  strong
indeed must be the love of liberty in an English breast if it can
survive a tour through the United States."  [7a]

Respect in Mexico belongs to those who can demonstrate a basis for it
in their own accomplishments, or the elderly.  That Mexicans believe
that the elderly deserve respect may surprise North Americans
unfamiliar with the country, who see only the popular culture that the
country is exporting to the world.  The misperception comes about
because foreigners, particularly North Americans, see that Mexican
mass culture is increasingly popular among their own youth, and is
quite  "wild" according to North American or European norms.  They
fail to realize that neither statement is true in the United States.
Youth is expected to sow its wild oats, and most Mexicans have done
so.  Older people identify with younger people's wildness, and mothers
and daughters alike listen to the music of Juan Bailleres or Tania
Monroy.  [6a]

Grown-ups have to take on responsibilities, gain more responsibility
as they age, and deserve respect for it.  Andrew Jackson was 53 when
he became president, and remained in office until we was 71.  Vincent
Mercator may not be popular as a political leader, but he is
respected, and his weekly television variety show has only gained in
viewers as Mercator has gained in years.   Benito Hermión's programs
to provide a dignified old age for Mexicans were put in place by a
nation that had an even younger age-structure than today's.  Mexicans
may not always obey the elderly, but they find it very important to
care for them.

The result of this strange (to North Americans) mix of attitudes ---
individualism and self-reliance wedded to a strong sense of reciprocal
responsibility and a love of equality --- means that Mexicans draw a
strong line between those who are members of the "gente" and those who
are not.  Within the gente, among those bound by the code of honor,
there is equality and respect.  Outside it, there is coldness and
chaos.  Unlike anywhere else in the Western world, Mexico widely
accepts the routine use of deadly force to prevent crimes against
property and has no hesitancy about using the death penalty ---
neither of which are accepted in _any_ other "Hispanic" country.
[7aa]

This folk culture derived from the British borderlands --- which has
next-to-no connection with Spain and only the most tenuous connection
with the nation's pre-Hispanic traditions --- has profound implication
for the foreign policy of the United States.  The primary goal of the
Mexican _gente_ is not commercial or industrial development (although
that is a good thing), the support and diffusion of moral values
(although that is also a good thing), or even the expansion of liberty
(which is, yet again, a good thing).  Rather, the popular attitude in
Mexico --- an attitude which encapsulated by Andrew Jackson, not
Alexander Hamilton or Thomas Jefferson or Agustín Iturbide --- is that
government exists to promote the welfare and security of the Mexican
people.  Any means are permissible in the service of this end as long
as they don't violate the moral principles or essential freedom of the
_gente_.

The folk culture derived from the Scotch-Irish tradition holds that
the political and moral instincts of the Mexican people are sound.  If
the gente  want something, and feel that it doesn't violate their
principles or remove their freedoms, then they must be right.
Constitutional safeguards that infringe the will of the majority,
therefore, are secondary.  For a political minority to use the
Constitution to subvert the will of the majority is an abuse of
process.  If the people want prayer in the schools, or the death
penalty, or an end to parole hearings, or whatever, then the
opposition has no business using administrative, legislative, or
judicial "subterfuges" to stop them.  This cavalier attitude towards
checks and balances is what permitted Mexico's interregnums of
extra-constitutional rule in 1881-1901 and 1950-65.  The populist
attitudes which enabled both episodes, however, were born in the
political culture of a certain part of the British isles and were
nurtured in the frontier areas of the Southern Confederation.  They
derive from neither Andalucía nor Tenochtitlán.

The Mexican people simply assume that government will suffer from
corruption and inefficiency.  It is the inevitable cost of having a
government.  Career politicians are particularly suspect.  In the
words of Alfonzo Macleod, "If it keeps buzzing around the outhouse,
then it's probably a fly."  Of course, the citizens of other nations
will say that Mexicans have the luxury of this relaxed attitude
towards corruption because they have never really experienced an
absolute dictatorship.  During Benito Hermión's rule as "chief of
state," for example, Congressional elections were held regularly, and
even under Mercator both the federal judiciary and state governments
continued to operate as before.  To these arguments the
Mexican-in-the-street would shrug and reply, "That's the point."

Under both Hermión and Mercator, the "dictator" knew that there were
certain limits beyond which he could not step --- because doing so
would violate the moral principles or essential freedoms of the
Mexican gente and lead to his inevitable downfall, as Hermión himself
discovered.  Some of Mercator's measures (such as the Income Laws)
came very very close ... but close is still no cigar.  The properties
that he nationalized were paid for at fair market values and financed
by selling government bonds on the open market, and no Mexican
government has ever defaulted on its debts, foreign or domestic, since
to do so would be dishonorable under the folk honor code.  [7b]

The result is a deep-seated belief that government should be simple
and straightforward.  If government is simple, then government is
controllable, with no need for Byzantine constitutional maneuvers to
keep it in check.  (Which does not prevent Mexicans from worshipping
their much-violated Constitution as a document second only the Bible
in sanctity.)  "Complicated" is a highly negative term.  Mercator
could no longer resist the pressure to restore the Constitution in
1965 because his policies had become "complicated."  Ending the civil
disorders and eliminating Kramer's influence was simple.  Creating a
"progressive" utopia was complicated.  Once that happened, the "simple
soldier" had to restore the Constitution or face a violent revolt.
[8]

The above set of political attitudes deeply colors the nation's
foreign policy.  Mexicans draw a sharp distinction between the members
of their community and others.  The nation is an extension of the
clan, which is an extension of the family.  There is one set of rules
for those within the community, who enjoy rights and respect
responsibilities, and another for those outside of it.   Since the
outside world is viewed as anarchic and dangerous, Mexican policy must
therefore be forceful and unscrupulous.  The Mexican people are far
more likely to censure a leader who fails to employ vigorous measures
against outsiders than one who fails to act in order to satisfy a some
sort of universal morality.

Mexicans believe that there is an honor code among nations, just as
there was an honor code in the clan warfare in the English
borderlands, and nations which violate that code deserve no more
consideration than vermin.  For example, the Japanese sank a
Mexican-flagged ship.  Therefore, the subsequent slaughter of millions
of Japanese civilians was fully justified.  Japanese apologies counted
for little.  Mexicans may be tolerant of breaking formal rules, but
once one informal rule is broken, then they all can be broken.  That
was the spirit that animated the North American Rebellion (the British
parliament had broken the unwritten rules of government, however
small), and that same spirit drove the ferocity of the Global War.

A corollary is a deep sense of national honor.  Honor is a vital
national interest.  You can deal with a bully only by punching him
back, as hard as you can.  In fact, the best way to deal with a bully
is to punch him _first_, before he's tried to steal your lunch money.
Appeasement is dishonorable and futile.  Wars must be won.
Preventative wars are regrettable, but justifiable.  It is bad to
fight an unnecessary war, but unconscionable to lose one.  Reputation
is everything --- if we are seen to be strong and aggressive and ready
to fight to the death over the slightest provocation, then no one will
provoke us. The idea of a limited war, therefore, is an oxymoron.  You
hit the enemy as hard as possible as quickly as possible with as much
as possible.  This was Oliver Cromwell's strategy in Ireland, and it
was Alvin Silva's strategy in the Pacific.  Violence has no rheostat.
 The War without War is a unique period in Mexican history, and not
one that fits the nation's character particularly well.  President
Moctezuma's peace initiatives, therefore, are probably genuine.
Mexicans are not warlike by nature, but they do not adapt well to a
situation which is neither total war nor absolute peace. This attitude
is _not at all_ Hispanic, but very Scotch-Irish. [8a]

Once war occurs, therefore, the only legitimate objective is to impose
the gente's will on the enemy with the minimum of Mexican casualties.
War is not sport, and it is not a gentleman's game.  The Mexican way
of war, then, is fundamentally unlike either the Spanish or Aztec
approach.  [9]  It is also, for that matter, fundamentally unlike the
North American way of war, which derives from an entirely different
English tradition.  Mexico would never assault Puerto Rico, fail, and
give up.  If the goal were important enough to risk any Mexican lives
at all, then it would be important enough to gain at any cost.  Mexico
would have attacked again and again, blockaded the island, called in
strategic bombing, and done whatever was necessary, the fear of
retaliation be damned.  [10]

That is not to say that Mexico has never fought a war for limited
_goals_, simply that it does not fight wars with limited _means_.  The
goal of the Rocky Mountain War was not to conquer the CNA.  Nor was
the goal of the often-forgotten Soconusco War to conquer Guatemala.
(Although it should not be forgotten that Mexico would do just that
over a half-century later.)  [11]  The goal was, however, to fix
Mexico's claim over Belize, the Petén, and Soconusco, and the campaign
succeeded easily.  Had Santa Anna needed to occupy Guatemala City,
however, there is little doubt that he would have done so with Andrew
Jackson's blessing.  Had he needed to press on to the New Granada
border, there is little doubt that he would have done so, again with
Andrew Jackson's blessing.  And it is quite likely that had such
drastic measures been necessary to obtain the war's limited aim, and
had Andrew Jackson decided that the disputed provinces were not worth
the cost _after_ the war had begun, then it would have been the
_Anglo_ population which would have denounced him and removed him from
office.

The Rocky Mountain War dragged on and on inconclusively, and the loss
colored Mexican attitudes towards North America far more than did the
aftermath of the Rebellion of 1775.  Had the Mexicans won the Rocky
Mountain War, which was by no means impossible, it is quite possible
that the two nations would have become fast friends thereafter.  [10a]
Once the Yaqui were defeated on the battlefield, the USM accorded them
all sorts of special privileges in both Durango and México del Norte.
The Russians were an evil threat until they were defeated in the Great
Northern War, after which they became almost idealized.  France was
decisively thrown back in 1914, and Mexico's hatred soon faded.
(North Americans forget that one of the biggest issues against Silva
in the 1950 election was the charge that he had sold out France and
Russia to Germany --- his brutal sneak attacks against Japan were
universally admired.  Silva's defense was that neither France nor
Russia never formally surrendered to Mexico, and selling them out to
Germany was a necessary tactic to win the war.  It is hard to imagine
such frankly amoral statements being openly trumpeted in a North
American political campaign, even by the redoubtable Lennart Skinner.)

In conclusion, Mexico is a bellicose nation, but its unwritten
constitution is stronger than many North Americans realize, and that
unwritten constitution derives from the same British roots as its
bellicosity.  Our neighbor to the west is dangerous and strong because
it taps into a long-suppressed part of our own cultural tradition.

Chapter One turns to the origins of that cultural tradition in the
English-Scottish borderlands ... [11]

[1a]  Note to all readers:  Walters's interpretations may be as wrong
as any others.

[1]  Walters is, of course, referring to the _North American_ popular
mind.

[2]  Which may be why North American newscasters and commentators
almost universally pronounce the Secretary of War's last name as
"Mer-cah-TOR," when most Mexicans pronounce it "Mer-KAY-ter."  He's a
military dictator, and so his last name must be Hispanic …which
prejudice might explain Sobel's strange tendency to put accent marks
on names like "Conceptión," where they do not belong.

[3]  Having pretty much exterminated the Native Americans east of the
border, North Americans are perfectly willing to believe all sorts of
awful and ridiculous things about the large Native American
populations west of the line.  In a country with no recent civil
rights movement, amazingly enlightened (by OTL standards) attitudes
about blacks coexist quite well with the most atavistic attitudes
towards Asians, Latin Americans, and Native Americans.

[4]  By "Transylvania," Walters is referring to the trans-Appalachian
portions of the province of Virginia, which in OTL comprise West
Virginia and Kentucky.

[5]  North Americans forget just how bloody their nineteenth century
was, riven by genocidal Indian wars, rural rebellions, and urban riots
far worse than anything that occurred in OTL.  In addition,
industrialization got started earlier and included much of the south,
especially northern Kentucky and western Georgia and North Carolina.
These disruptions encouraged a steady stream of migration _to_ Mexico,
although the migrants were rapidly replaced by immigrants from western
and northern (and later southern and eastern) Europe to the CNA. More
cavaliers, fewer rednecks.  Lennart Skinner might not realize this,
but his political style would actually go over better west of the
border than east of it.

[6]  The USM's California has a cultural "feel" far more like OTL's
Texas than OTL's California, down to the much easier and more fluid
mixing of Anglo and Hispano cultures.  Yes, Stetsons are a common
sight on San Francisco's streets in the OTL, although the roots of the
style are from Guadalajara, not Jefferson.  But that's just like OTL,
apologies to all you Texans out there …

[6aa]  Are there Turnerites active in the USM?  In OTL, the Mormons
are the fastest-growing religion in Latin America …

[6a]  I write this in a Barnes and Nobles on Court Street, in
Brooklyn, listening to a middle-aged mother sing Red Hot Chili Peppers
lyrics along with her two pre-teenage daughters.  Get on that Love
Rollercoaster while you dream of Californication, and yes, I know the
Chili Peppers didn't write the former.

For Juan Bailleres, think Elvis Presley.  For Tania Monroy, think
Britney Spears.  Both Juan and Tania are controversial figures in the
CNA, but not in Mexico.  In OTL, BTW, Bailleres's father founded ITAM.

[7]  The ones in Yucatán are far-from-dwindling, but Walters has
Guadalajara pegged about right.

[7a]  This is based on an actual 1827 quote by Fanny Trollope
concerning the United States of America rather than the United States
of Mexico.

[7aa]  If ever there were two nations bound to misunderstand each
other, it is not Mexico and North America, but Mexico and _Quebec_.
FANTL Quebeckers often expect the two nations to be quite similar
(Catholic roots, Anglo influence) and are shocked to find out how
different they are.  FANTL Mexicans, I must sadly admit, don't think
about Quebec at all.

[7b]  North American holders of Mexican dólar-denominated debt might
not feel that way, but the USM has continued to make payments on its
pound-denominated debts through the worst of the devaluation.
Thankfully (for Mexico, if not the Broad Street bankers) most of
Mexico's debt was denominated in dólares and was, in fact, held by
Mexicans.  In fact, the USM was and remains a net foreign creditor as
of 1974.

[8]  Please note, gentle reader, that this is Walters's opinion, and
not necessarily correct.

[8a]  You can easily guess Walters's opinion about the desirability of
Mexico obtaining the Bomb.  Let's just say that he doesn't vote for
the PJP.

[9]  Walters's opinions on this topic are NOT my own.

[10]  See above.

[10a]  Ob-DBWI.  Of course, a Mexican victory in the Rocky Mountain
War might have been impossible:  it all depends on whether Britain
would have actively come to the aid of a colony losing a war, or
whether London would have preferred to hold back and broker a peace.
That makes two DBWI possibilities:  (1)  Mexico wins on the
battlefield early , and Britain decides it's better to gain goodwill
with Mexico by giving up pieces of unpopulated Vandalia (probably in
exchange for a good chunk of California gold) rather than get involved
in a pointless border war, or (2) Britain rides to the rescue of its
colony, and Mexico discovers what its like to really LOSE a war.  Not
that the British will have an easy time of it, but they will win.
Worst case scenario:  after a significantly shorter but much much
bloodier war, the British Empire takes California and most (if not
all) of México del Norte and gives it to the CNA --- although they
might have to fight all the way to Mexico City to force the Mexicans
to the negotiating table, not unlike OTL's Mexican War.  Thoughts?

[11]  Sobel neglected to mention the border campaigns against
Guatemala.  This is a lack he shares with most FANTL Mexican
historians, who also do not consider the campaigns particularly
important. They only receive a prominent mention in biographies of
Santa Anna.
 (The OTL border skirmishes are equally neglected, although they were
less one-sided in their eventual result --- Mexico got most of
Soconusco but lost most of Petén, and the disputes allowed the British
to establish a foothold in Belize.)

[12]  This is "metadiscourse."  The editors at OTL's Stanford
University Press would never allow it.  The editors at Shays are
evidently more lenient, or Walters is just a much bigger academic
macher than I am.  Actually, both.

P.S.  All of the foregoing is written with apologies to Walter Russel
Mead and his book "Special Providence."  Ironically enough, the
biggest strain of CNA public opinion is what Mead would call
"Jeffersonian"...