Arizona Republic, 1/15/2009
Barack Obama’s meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderón on Monday was largely ceremonial. U.S. foreign policy toward Mexico needs to move to a much higher and more assertive level.
Calderón’s war against the drug cartels is a struggle to preserve Mexico’s progress toward democracy and rule of law. And things aren’t going well. Violent turf battles and cartel blowback against law enforcement claimed more than 5,300 lives last year – twice as many as the previous year. The turf wars won’t stay south of the border.
Mexico deserves top-tier foreign-policy attention for other important reasons, such as trade and immigration. But failing to help Mexico prevail over the drug cartels quite literally imperils Mexico’s stability and U.S. security.