In more paranoid moments, I imagine that the US is planning to turn Mexico into its next semi-permanent war zone. What with us quitting Iraq and in the measurable future Afghanistan as well, and with the rest of the Middle East, for all its problems, not clammering for our presence, we've got to have someplace for the military-industrial complex to unload its goods. Obama has, if anything, been more militant, more anti-immigrant, more pro-weaponry in Mexico than George W. Bush. His secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, appears to knows zilch about Mexico, but supports the "drug war" as essential, no questions asked. I wish I knew how and from whom Obama and Clinton got their education on Mexico.
It sounds as if Obama and Clinton have rather strange information about the country. Perhaps they don't have any knowledge of Mexico's geography and think the northern region of Mexico is the entire country. Perhaps they think that Calderón is a very popular president, or even more, think that he's the one with his finger in the dike and if they don't support him, the country will drown. Perhaps they think that as in the US, almost everyone owns a gun, and perhaps they think that every other person is a narco. The whole thing has a Dr. Strangelovian smell to it. I'd love to get inside the mind of this man Obama who seems so intelligent, so calm, so controlled and yet who has had more Mexican workers in the US thrown into jails and prisons than his predecessor; who is going after their employers with a vengeance; who has done nothing to speak out strongly against the viciousness of the anti-immigrant crazies. Who, in spite of his public words of support for Calderón, according to Wikileaks, thinks little of him and his efforts against organized crime and can only imagine getting more militant, not less as a consequence. Obama doesn't talk about the underlying social and economic issues influencing crime: only about how to beef up US (and maybe Mexican) slaughtering abilities.
Perhaps the US is thinking to link the narco wars to international terrorism. Of course crime relating to drugs and weapons and human trafficking does exist at an international level. Maybe it isn't paranoid to think the Administraton plans to expand the use of techniques it has used in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq (and who knows where else) to Mexico and Central America and...Peru, Chile, etc etc etc. And then to southern Spain and Africa. One can mix drugs and Islam easily in those areas.
Since February, the US has been sending drone flights not just along the US border but far into Mexican territory with the approval of the Calderón government using Global Hawk drones which "can fly higher than 60,000 feet and survey more than 40,000 square miles a day." The Calderón government, according to the New York Times has also been turning a blind eye to other activities normally prohibited by Mexican law and the Mexican Constitution, including US agents carrying weapons inside Mexico and wiretapping. The Times says at a number of points in the story that this is all with the joint cooperation of both countries. It goes further, saying "The leaders emphasized the 'value of information sharing' a senior Mexican official said, adding that they recognied 'the responsibilities shared by both governments in the fight against criminal organizations on both sides of the border.'"
The Times article continued,
"A senior American administration official noted that all'counternarcotic activities were conducted at the request and direction of the Mexican government.'
"Mr. Calderón," it went on, "is intensely nationalistic, but he's also very pragmatic,' said Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. 'He's not really a fan of the United States, but he knows he needs their help so he's willing to push the political boundaries.'"
It's worth reading the whole thing.
On the other hand, Mexicans don't all see things in the same light. Having learned of the agreement between the US and Mexico to exchange intelligence from Wikileaks, Senator Francisco Labastida of the PRI said in Friday's La Jornada it "is a grave error and an affront to the sovereignty of Mexico." He continued saying that the difference in capital letters is whether or not it is fair and just, not just a deal which subordinates Mexico. He considers that the Wikileaks cables publicized by La Jornada accepted a unilateral obliigation on the part of Mexico to give the US government intelligence information which has to do with organized crime. This goes against international principles.
And just to add a bit of icing to the cake, Washington is apparently proposing John Earl Anthony Wayne to be the new ambassador to Mexico. According to La Jornada of last Wednesday, the 25th of May, Barack Obama asked for the goverrnment of Mexico's blessing for this nomination. Wayne is the present deputy ambassador to Afghanistan.
More to the point (my point), he has had various important positions in the area of antiterrorism and intelligence, including in Argentina where he was involved in some shady seeming stuff.
And a final postscript: Why is Obama so unyieldingly militaristic and domineering about Mexico when he isn't about anything else?