The candidates, while vowing to continue to fight drug trafficking, say they intend to eventually withdraw the Mexican Army from the drug fight. They are concerned that it has proved unfit for police work and has contributed to the high death toll, which has exceeded 50,000 since the departing president, Felipe Calderón, made the military a cornerstone of his battle against drug traffickers more than five years ago.
The front-runner, Enrique Peña Nieto, does not emphasize stopping drug shipments or capturing drug kingpins as he enters the final weeks of campaigning for the July 1 election. Lately he has suggested that while Mexico should continue to work with the United States government against organized crime, it should not “subordinate to the strategies of other countries.”
It sounds like whoever wins in July is going to have to spend a chunk of their transition period spinning this for US government consumption. We propose the slogan, "Same High Quality, Same On-Time Delivery, Fewer Dead Mexicans." We know from focus-group testing that there's a pro-dead-Mexican constituency out there, but the "we demand you satisfy our insatiable desire for illegal drugs" vote is bigger (though the latter, being dopers, aren't as reliable on election day as the former, alas). The presidente-elect should consider buying a half hour on all three major networks for a televised address to the American people, assuring them the drugs will continue to flow, only with fewer dead Mexicans.
Of course, it's hard to stand up to a belligerent, hypocritical neighbor - particularly when that neighbor has nuclear weapons and a well-documented history of using them. And also when your neighbor's discourse is ruled by people like Representative Ben Quayle, scion of the remarkably inept Quayle political dynasty, who represents - wait for it - the Failed State of Arizona:
“Will there be a situation where the next president just turns a blind eye to the cartels, ceding Mexico to the cartels, or will they be a willing partner with the United States to combat them?” Representative Ben Quayle, an Arizona Republican, asked at a hearing this month in Phoenix. “I hope it’s the latter.”
Quayle - something of a party boy himself - never quite gets around to explaining how the US in involved in this "combat," apart from arming and funding the cartels.
A few weeks ago The Atlantic ran a great Drug War photo essay, much of which we do not recommend for the squeamish. These are the kind of images all three candidates for presidente would like to see less of over the next six years. Letting Uncle Sam deal with his own drug problem seems to us a reasonable way to achieve this.
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