Mexico and the USA enjoy good relations for the most part right now, but that wasn’t the case in the 19th century when the two countries were fighting over territory. The two nations presently enjoy good trading relations, with Mexico being the fourth largest trading partner of the U.S. behind the European Union, China and Canada. Both cultures to some extent have crossed borders and permeated each country, but we see more Mexicans moving across the border to settle in the U.S. rather than the other way around. Today this is a divisive issue, culminating in the new President’s promise to construct a wall to keep out illegal immigrants. Nevertheless, in many ways the countries still have a healthy relationship. Today we’ll discuss what would happen if that was not the case, in this episode of the Infographics Show, USA vs Mexico.
An invasion, it would seem, wouldn’t be too hard as the countries share a border, which between Tijuana and San Diego is the most crossed border in the world. It measures approximately 1,989 miles (3,201 kilometers). On the American side sits a little more than 325 million people (325,324,315). On the Mexican side sits close to 130 million people (129,760,470). The USA is a much larger country, measuring 3.8 million sq miles (9,833,520 kilometers squared) while Mexico is close to 762,000 sq miles (1,972,550 kilometers squared or 761,610 square miles). They are the 3rd (some say the 4th) and 13th largest countries in the world, respectively.
Interestingly, if these two nations should go head-to-head, it’s worth noting that the Pew Research Center said in 2016 there were 5.6 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. Pew also said that in 2016, almost 36 million Mexican-Americans were legally living in the USA, accounting for a good portion of the nation’s population. According to an article in the Guardian published in 2017, approximately two million Americans have made Mexico their home, while USA Today states that thousands more Americans are living in Mexico on tourist visas and one year temporary visas. The Guardian writes, “Mexico is the country with the largest community of US citizens living outside the United States.” In terms of our comparison, it is important to take into account these numbers. More so the amount of possible Mexico sympathizers in the U.S. that could cause internal mayhem, than the Americans in Mexico – many of whom are retirees. 157,227 Mexican immigrants came into the USA in 2015, and over one million more are still on a waiting list; so in terms of where loyalty lies, we’ll let you decide.
The USA is the world’s biggest spender on defense by a long shot. Of its 19.4 trillion dollar GDP, around 3.3 percent of that cash is spent on the military. That number for 2016 was roughly 611 billion dollars. U.S. President Donald Trump has allocated around 587 billion dollars from the U.S. discretionary budget for 2017 for defense. Most of this goes towards the running of the military, but the U.S. is also a big spender when it comes to research and development and the creation of new military technology. In terms of troops, the US has 1.3 million active military personnel, and a further 811,000 acting as reserve personnel.
Mexico’s GDP is barely over 1 trillion dollars (1.046 trillion dollars). Of that in 2016, around 7 billion dollars was spent on the country’s defense budget, according to Global Firepower. We can find other sources that claim this number is lower. Still, Mexico is not considered to be a country that spends heavily on defense when compared to other smaller and larger nations. Mexico has 273,575 active military personnel and a further 110,000 acting as reserve personnel.
With all that money to spend, the USA has quite a cache of land artillery. According to Global Firepower, the country has 5,884 tanks, 41,000 armored fighting vehicles, 1,934 self-propelled guns, 1,299 towed artillery, and 1,331 multiple-launch rocket systems. Only two countries own more tanks than the USA, and they are China and Russia. Some of the U.S.’s land equipment is the best in the world, and that includes the extolled M-1 Abrams tank, as well as the M-109A6 Paladin self-propelled gun and the TOW Anti-Tank Missile.
Mexico is not quite so tooled-up. The country has to its name zero tanks, 695 armored fighting vehicles, 12 self-propelled guns, 375 towed artillery, and zero multiple-launch rocket systems. This does not bode well for a land invasion alone, never mind what might be coming from the air or by the sea.
America, in terms of equipment anyway, is no doubt king of the skies military-wise. Its growing fleet of F-35A Lightning IIs might be costing the taxpayer more than 11 billion dollars this year alone – much more than the entire Mexican defense budget – but it has much more waiting in reserve. We should note that the F-35s have been criticized and belittled as a waste of money by some critics, while it’s well-known they have faced many technical problems. Nonetheless, the USA also owns among its 13,444 aircraft, large fleets of highly touted F-22A Raptors, F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-15E Strike Eagles, McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornets and F/A-18E Super Hornets.
Mexico, on the other hand, owns 452 aircraft, but none of them are fighter aircraft. It retired its small number of Northrop F-5E and two F-5F Tiger IIs recently and doesn’t seem interested in buying any more fighters. The country now relies on its PC-9/7 and T-6C+ light attack trainers to protect its skies, which are no match for the US’s aerial firepower.
It doesn’t get any better in the water for Mexico, a country not known for its naval prowess. Not surprisingly, Mexico doesn’t have an aircraft carrier, nor does the country have its own destroyers. It has just 6 frigates, 3 corvettes, 131 patrol craft, and 11 mine warfare vessels. Its navy is more concentrated on Mexico’s huge drug problem and offering relief in times of natural disasters. Its small navy is reasonably well-equipped for those tasks.
The U.S. Navy is one of the largest and strongest in the world. It has a total of 11 aircraft carriers, 22 cruisers, 67 destroyers, 8 frigates, 75 submarines, 0 corvettes, 9 amphibious assault ships, 11 mine warfare ships and 55 patrol ships. It also owns a behemoth, in the Gerald R. Ford class super-carrier. Alone, this thing can be a deadly force.
Obviously the US military out-powers the Mexican military at perhaps a difference we have not yet seen in our military comparisons – and we haven’t even mentioned nuclear. However, as we have seen throughout history, power alone doesn’t always spell victory. What would happen internally in the U.S. if these two countries fell out is not something we would like to see, but all those Mexicans in the USA would make matters difficult for America.
So, what do you think of this hypothetical matchup? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called Average American vs Average Mexican?! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. Adios amigos!