How much of the historic prosperity of the United States of America stems from the development of territories originally inhabited by Mexicans and ripped away from Mexico through an invasion and a war of territorial conquest?Steve follows that up with an obvious question:
You know, there’s a pretty easy way to check: go to San Diego and then go to Tijuana next door.Robert D. Kaplan, world traveler and veteran correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, did just such a comparison in the late 1990s. His subjects, though, were Nogales, Sonora, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona, which adjoin each other across the international boundary. I quoted extensively from Kaplan's article (Travels Into America’s Future: Mexico and the Southwest, July 1998) in a 2015 VDARE.com blog entry, “Magic Dirt”: A Geographically-Precise Counterexample. Here's a sample from that sample:
I had crossed the Berlin Wall several times during the Communist era. I had crossed the border from Iraq to Iran illegally, with Kurdish rebels. I had crossed from Jordan to Israel and from Pakistan to India in the 1970s, and from Greek Cyprus to Turkish Cyprus in the 1980s. In 1983, coming from Damascus, I had walked up to within a few yards of the first Israeli soldier in the demilitarized zone on the Golan Heights. But never in my life had I experienced such a sudden transition as when I crossed from Nogales, Sonora, to Nogales, Arizona.The Nogales-Nogales contrast strongly suggests that the answer to Krauze's question—"How much prosperity ... ?"—quoted above is "Approximately zero."
Surrounded by beggars on the broken sidewalk of Mexican Nogales, I stared at Old Glory snapping in the breeze over two white McDonald’s-like arches, which marked the international crossing point. Cars waited in inspection lanes. To the left of the car lanes was the pedestrian crossing point, in a small building constructed by the U.S. government. Merely by touching the door handle one entered a new physical world.
The solidly constructed handle with its high-quality metal, the clean glass, and the precise manner in which the room’s ceramic tiles were fitted — each the same millimetric distance from the next — seemed a marvel to me after the chaos of Mexican construction. There were only two other people in the room: an immigration official, who checked identification documents before their owners passed through a metal detector; and a customs official, who stood by the luggage x-ray machine. They were both quiet. In government enclosures of that size in Mexico and other places in the Third World, I remembered crowds of officials and hangers-on engaged in animated discussion while sipping tea or coffee. Looking at the car lanes, I saw how few people there were to garrison the border station and yet how efficiently it ran.