Gwynne Dyer on Security Fences
March 01, 2007, 11:50 PM
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Is the U.S. wall on the Mexican border (such as it exists and might exist) a unique case among the world's borders ?

Not at all, says Canadian columnist Gwynne Dyer , who, in a recent article[The Good Fences Epidemic Gwynne Dyer Jerusalem Post Feb. 14th, 2007 ], provides a handy summary of various countries building security fences to keep out unwanted intruders.

Thailand is walling off Malaysia, India is fencing off both Bangladesh and Pakistan, Pakistan is putting up a fence on its border with Afghanistan, China is walling off North Korea, Uzbekistan is fencing off Tajikistan, The United Arab Emirates is building a fence on its border with Oman, Kuwait has one on its border with Iraq, Spain has fenced off Morocco, and Morocco has fenced off Algeria, Saudi Arabia has been fencing off Yemen, and Israel has set up security barriers on its borders with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria and has been walling off the Palestinians. Dyer indicates that the most sophisticated security barrier is the one Saudi Arabia is setting up to wall off Iraq:

"The new wall will include buried movement sensors, ultraviolet night-vision cameras, face- recognition software and quite probably automated weapons in addition to the usual electrified fences, concertina wire, dry moats and mines."

"By comparison, the apparently endless debate about building a relatively low-tech fence along the 3,360-km. US border with Mexico to cut illegal immigration seems like an echo from an innocent past."

As for why we can't build a better one on the Mexican border, Dyer hits the nail on the head:

" The reason that the United States is incapable of controlling its Mexican border is political, not financial or technological: powerful domestic lobbies work to ensure a steady supply of 'undocumented' Mexican workers who will accept very low wages because they are in the US illegally. President George W. Bush has now been authorized by Congress to build a fence along about 1,125 km. of the Mexican border, but he will stall as long as he can while experimenting with a so-called 'virtual fence.'"