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La Jornada, Mexico

Calderon Displays Mexican Weakness in Meeting With Obama

 

"To take up the 'war on terror' pursued by the Bush Administration as our own, and to make matters worse, offer Obama the drafting of Mexican society into the enterprise, is a dual mistake … why involve Mexico in a 'war on terror' that has been completely alien to Obama?"

 

EDITORIAL

 

Translated By Paula van de Werken

 

January 13, 2008

 

Mexico - La Jornada - Original Article (Spanish)

A man who got on the wrong side of Mexico's Arellano Felix Cartel: Mexico's government is now engaged in a ferocious battle against organized crime, in part with funds provided by the United States. As Colombia has done, Mexico has begun sending some of their most dangerous outlaws to the United States.

 

BBC NEWS VIDEO: Eight Mexican soldiers decapitated by drug gangs, Dec. 23, 00:01:26 RealVideo

The interest President-elect Barack Obama has shown in Mexico and its affairs is encouraging - interest that was expressed yesterday during a meeting held with the chief of the federal executive [President], Felipe Calderon Hinojosa. Certainly, there are reasons to believe that relations with our northern neighbor will see an improvement, especially if a less destructive foreign policy is established toward the rest of the world, our country included, than the one supported during the eight years of George W. Bush’s government. The change, even if only nuanced, offers a valuable opportunity that Mexican authorities must take full advantage of, in order to introduce factors of rationality and mutual benefit to a bilateral relationship that is invariably dominated by the geostrategic and electoral interests of Washington’s political class and the transnational conglomerates of our neighboring nation.

 

One factor to consider in this analysis is the undeniable position of weakness of the Mexican government when holding a dialogue with the United States. There is a lack of legitimacy on the part of the Calderon administration as a result of its failure to ensure public safety and to battle crime. In addition, there has been a lack of foresight and a slow reaction by the president in confronting the current economic crisis. And after two years in office, there is an absence of significant reforms to address national disgraces like inequality, extreme poverty and corruption.

 

President-elect Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon:

off to a good start, Jan. 12. WATCH

 

Some of these weaknesses have led to such vulnerabilities that over recent days, members of the outgoing government of our neighboring country [the Bush Government] have referred to Mexico, with obvious exaggeration and bad faith, as a “failed state,” comparable to Pakistan in terms of violence and instability.

 

[Editor's Note: The author refers to the report Joint Operating Environment, 2008 by the U.S. Joint Forces Command. In regard to Mexico, the report says in part:

 

In terms of worst-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.

 

The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police, and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.

 

The section on Weak and Failed States begins on page 35 ].

 

The reality is different: Ours is a country with two centuries of institutional independence that has woven a tight web of identity, territory, social fabric and customs, and which looks to the future - notwithstanding the destruction inflicted on this framework by politicians of the ruling PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) and the previous eight years of “Panistas” (National Action Party) administration. By this logic, one could speak of failed governments, at most, by the degree that they have left intact or made worse national problems that they should have resolved: inequality, misery, corruption, impunity, the destruction of farmland and our productive base due to unfair terms of global trade, and the growth of powers, legal or not, that have infiltrated and eroded our society at an alarming rate. 

Posted by WORLDMEETS.US

 

Whether by geographic proximity or political design, the United States has been and remains a driving force behind several aspects of this problem. A clear example is the rise in drug trafficking to that country’s market and the immense criminal power accrued by its protagonists.

 

Considering all of this, it's surprising and worrisome that Calderon, instead of approaching Obama about the distortions and problems with the bilateral agenda, has offered him that which George W. Bush demanded of Mexico but failed to acquire for lack of time: a “strategic alliance” between the two countries to confront the “shared problem of security.”

 

There is now, however, no such “common problem.” The political class in Washington seems to equate the level of danger from undocumented immigrants with that from drug trafficking, and although it has made considerable investments in combating and persecuting the first, who are largely Mexican, it has been more than indolent in combating narco-trafficking. While Latin American nations like Mexico and Colombia bleed themselves to death fighting “wars on drugs” driven by the United States, the U.S. strives to deny the criminal problem on its own territory, and, despite its high-tech systems and powerful military and police, the illicit narcotics continue to pass through its borders on a massive scale. Meanwhile, U.S. authorities have been invariably slow to combat the voluminous trafficking in weapons toward the south of the Rio Bravo - benefiting one of its principal industries.

 

  'THE CONTRABAND ANT'

ANTEATER'S SHIRT SAYS: 'ARMS TRAFFICKERS'

ANTHILL SAYS: 'MEXICAN CARTELS'

ON THE GROUND THE WORDS SAY: 'U.S.-MEXICAN BORDER'

ANT TUNNELS READ: 'ROUTE FOR CONTRABAND'

 

With regard to terrorism and the major attacks planned by a range of fundamentalists which hold historic resentments against the United States, this has nothing to do with the criminal grenade attack that occurred on September 15 in Morelia [In Morelia, Michoacan, on September 15, two grenades were detonated amidst a crowd that was celebrating Independence Day in the town square. The attack left eight dead and over 100 wounded ]. To take up the “war on terror” pursued by the Bush Administration as our own and, to make matters worse, offer Obama the drafting of Mexican society into the enterprise, is a dual mistake, because it ignores the differences between the President-elect and his predecessor. Why unnecessarily involve the country in a conflict that has been completely alien to Obama? There is no need to conflate the acute public security crisis Mexico confronts with U.S. obsessions (or more precisely those of Bush) with national security.

 

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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US January 15, 8:47pm]