1) Mexico's drug traffickers fight each other more than the government.2) The drug traffickers have no political agenda.3) Calderón's government is fighting for its life, but it hasn't lost (yet).
If you accept points one and two (and while not absolutely correct, I'd say they are more true than their opposite would be), than why is Calderón fighting for his life? Wouldn't the first two render the Calderón government's existence unchallenged? Whatever the case, it's occurred to me that all of the failed-state stuff is to a certain degree a natural byproduct of the grim rhetoric that the US used to sell the Mérida Initiative last year. If the Mérida Initiative was a matter or life or death a year ago, then it's only logical that a doubling of the drug murders, the attack in Morelia, and the extensive government-trafficker nexus discovered in Operation Clean-up would lead people to take their assessment to the next level of hysteria: Mexico is a failed state.
Brose also writes:
I would be interested to know what the counterinsurgency community's read of Mexico is: Does it fit the model of an insurgency? And if so, should Calderon be mounting more of a COIN campaign, focusing on population security as opposed to the largely seek-and-destroy operations his army seems to be waging?
I know next to nothing about counterinsurgency, so I remain open to the possibility of being shocked out how insightful the comment is, but this strikes me as an insane attempt to bang a round peg into a nonexistent hole.
One other bone to pick (and after all this complaining, I feel the need to reiterate that the gist of the post is pretty good): he hails Alma Guillermoprieto's "beautiful prose" in her New Yorker article on Mexico from last fall. Such a label in regard to a New Yorker article is rather cliched; you would never say the same about a comparable article from Newsweek or The New York Times Magazine. (For my money, I thought the Kurtz-Phelan piece was far more informative.)