Update: President Obama articulates his plan for Mexico and the drug war! (ie, he spends 3 minutes saying absolutely nothing).
—- Original Post —-
President Obama has another challenging trip ahead of him.
The December inauguration of President Enrique Peña Nieto brought the nationalistic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) back to power after 13 years, and with it a whiff of resentment over the deep U.S. involvement in Mexico’s fight against narco-traffickers. [...]
U.S. officials got their first inkling that the relationship might change just two weeks after Peña Nieto assumed office Dec. 1. At the U.S. ambassador’s request, the new president sent his top five security officials to an unusual meeting at the U.S. Embassy here. In a crowded conference room, the new attorney general and interior minister sat in silence, not knowing what to expect, next to the new leaders of the army, navy and Mexican intelligence agency. [...]
In front of them at the Dec. 15 meeting were representatives from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the CIA, the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and other U.S. agencies tasked with helping Mexico destroy the drug cartels that had besieged the country for the past decade.
The Mexicans remained stone-faced as they learned for the first time just how entwined the two countries had become during the battle against narco-traffickers, and how, in the process, the United States had been given near-complete entree to Mexico’s territory and the secrets of its citizens, according to several U.S. officials familiar with the meeting. [...]
Also unremarked upon was the mounting criticism that success against the cartels’ leadership had helped incite more violence than anyone had predicted, more than 60,000 deaths and 25,000 disappearances in the past seven years alone.
Meanwhile, the drug flow into the United States continued unabated. Mexico remains the U.S. market’s largest supplier of heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine and the transshipment point for 95 percent of its cocaine.
Mexico Is Ready to End Failed Drug-War Policies—Why Isn’t the U.S.? — Conor Friedersdorf comments on the article:
Yet the fact that it completely failed plays basically no role in the rest of the article, in large part because everyone in the United States government apparently wants to preserve the failed status quo. American officials are very upset that Mexico’s new leader has decided to go his own way.
Look at the very next sentences:
No one had come up with a quick, realistic alternative to Calderon’s novel use of the Mexican military with U.S. support. But stopping the cartel violence had become Peña Nieto’s top priority during the campaign. The U.S. administration didn’t know what that meant. Some feared a scaling back of the bilateral efforts and a willingness to trade the relentless drive against cartel leaders for calmer streets.
Does anyone else think that “a willingness to trade the relentless drive against cartel leaders for calmer streets” just might be “a quick, realistic alternative to Calderon’s novel use of the Mexican military with U.S. support”? At the very least, it surely it doesn’t make sense to presume, as the article seems to, that the obviously failed status quo is the most “realistic” way forward.
In a letter to Obama, Human Rights Watch said the country’s public security strategy pursued by Calderon during the so-called war on drugs failed to address the corruption of police forces and “virtually zero accountability” for those who commit crimes. [...]
In a letter to Obama, Human Rights Watch said the country’s public security strategy pursued by Calderon during the so-called war on drugs failed to address the corruption of police forces and “virtually zero accountability” for those who commit crimes.
“Unfortunately, while the Pena Nieto government has taken the first step of recognizing the crisis at hand and the need to change strategies, your administration has been noticeably silent,” said the letter signed by Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the group’s Americas division.
Maybe the President can convince some of the Secret Service and DEA folks to get caught up in a prostitution scandal again to distract the media from paying attention to the issues.