Clinton in Mexico: The Truth about the Drug War

by Dan Aspan*
Special to iVoryTowerz

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is making some interesting statements as she gets comfortable with her new job. On Wednesday, March 25, Clinton did something that generally isn't done in the arena of United States foreign policy — she blamed the United States for being a part of the drug trafficking problem that has crippled the Mexican government. She also said the United States has a responsibility in helping the Mexican government crackdown on drug trafficking and violent drug-related killings which have spilled across the border and affected both Mexico and the United States. Additionally, Clinton suggested that the United States would be interested in actively supporting their southern neighbor, saying the U.S. will stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Mexico in the battle against major drug cartels.

Clinton’s comments came on the same day in which she boarded a plane bound for Mexico, as part of her effort to work with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and other Mexican officials in resolving the problem. I do not want to sound naïve; it is quite possible that Clinton’s words are just the regular political blabber that Mexicans have become accustomed to hearing from Washington, without seeing any action to support those words. However, there is evidence that Clinton’s words may amount to something more. On the same day Clinton set off for Mexico, the Mexican military caught a man labeled as one of Mexico's major drug traffickers.

After doing so little for so long, it is refreshing to see the U.S. take an active interest in a country other than itself. With every newspaper and TV station inundated with deflating details about the United States economy, I can at least find some solace in the fact that the United States recognizes the problems of other nations (especially neighbors) as well. The real challenge lies in the weeks ahead, to see if these comments from Clinton amount to more positive progress for Mexican authorities and more active involvement from the U.S. government. The economy and Wall Street are not going to be any different tomorrow morning than they were today. The situation will take months, probably years, to improve. But with a few more days like the one Clinton steered this week, Mexican and American law enforcement, citizens, and leaders can reap the benefits of a safer place for their countrymen and families.

*Dan Aspan is the producer of Latinocast, a weekly podcast about Latin America.

For more background on the War on Drugs and Mexico, please see these archival posts:

(The graphic was created with the aid of the Despair, Inc. Parody Generator. The photo in the graphic is from *CliNKer* of Mexico City via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license. To see a background report on Mexico's Drug War from LinkTV's Global Pulse, please check below.)

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