Monday, March 22, 2010

The Gringos Have Come, and Other Bilateral Doings

The US delegation that includes Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Michael Mullen, and Janet Napolitano is in Mexico. Presumably, they and their staffs are all kicking around ideas to make unprecedented rhetorical nods toward the bilateral security partnership, while keeping their commitments firmly in the realm of the precedented.

Obama called Calderón ahead of the visit earlier today, and offered whatever he can do to support Mexico in its security problems, provided that doesn't mean reconsidering the drug prohibition that is causing them. Calderón congratulated Obama for the health care reform, which evidently precipitated a strengthening of the peso, and asked him if he could borrow Pelosi for the next legislative session.

The US continues its assault on the Aztecas gang, which operates in Juárez and El Paso, arresting another 25 on the American side of the border earlier today.

Via Bajo Reserva, a Mexican army general responds obliquely to the criticisms of the army from Janet Napolitano last week:
"In the struggle against the drug trade and organized crime neither the army nor Mexico can confront the problem alone. International cooperation is required." As a sort of answer to Janet Napolitano --who declared that the army hasn't helped contain the violence in Juárez-- and a vaccine to any future objection from our neighbors, the general establishes that the axis of the problem of drug trafficking: consumption, financial resources, and guns. In each of them, the US is, at the very least, also responsible.
Lastly, the El Universal editorial speculates that what's to come is an announcement of greater cooperation between the two armies, or a Mexico-US joint anti-narco command. Somehow I suspect not; it would go against the recent tenor of the debate on both sides of the border, and there is, of course, the problematic history of US military operations on Mexican soil. On the other hand, times change, and the links between the countries' armies have grown enormously in the past few years, so some ratcheting up of American military participation is not out of the question. I guess we'll know soon enough.

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