Mexico: Neither a Failed State Nor a Model

Manuel Perez Rocha, Foreign Policy in Focus, 2/23/2009

Mexico faces two serious challenges: the deepest economic slowdown in Latin America and an explosion of drug-related violence. To the extent that these crises are getting any attention at all in the United States, the views are widely divergent.

On the one hand are those, including the U.S. military, who claim that Mexico is at risk of becoming a “failed state,” a label typically reserved for truly “ungoverned spaces.” Think Somalia. At the other extreme are those, like the members of the Washington Post editorial board, who hold up the country as an economic model for the rest of Latin America. Both views are wildly off-base, shaped less by facts than a desire to justify — and perpetuate — mistaken Bush-era policies.

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