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March 23rd, 2009
03:02 PM ET

The U.S. needs to unmix the message in Mexico

Editor's note: Tune in to our special coverage on Wednesday as Anderson reports live from Mexico on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles Times
Denise Dresser

Writing From Mexico City - As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton prepares for her trip this week to Mexico, she needs to pack not only goodwill but a consistent U.S. position.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow has compared Mexico to a porcupine because of the country's prickly nationalism, and right now its worst symptoms are on full display. After weeks of U.S. congressional hearings on Mexico's drug-related violence and front-page news stories focused on its many ills, the country is feeling badgered and bruised. Mexican President Felipe Calderon has even suggested that a concerted effort to discredit Mexico is taking place in the United States.

Mexico's quills are standing straight up, and Clinton will need to placate Mexicans with a good dose of public diplomacy. The best way to accomplish this goal would be to arrive with what has been lacking so far: a clear, unified message from the Obama administration regarding the sort of relationship it wants with Mexico.

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Filed under: Global 360° • Hillary Clinton • Mexico
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. David Rohn

    Mexico is in the same situation Columbia was in 2 decades ago. Their leaders might have learned something from it but coul;dn t see it for the huge amounts of money and corruption this engenders.
    To blame the US drug market (mostly kids) for this is dis honest- we hold Cigaret Companies responsible for smokers even tho this is legal -do you think drug barons engaged in activity that's illegal in their and our company might be responsible for what's going on?-tt's rediculous and insulting to pretend otherwise.
    The US must take responsibility for what is smuggled into it's country- we canot expect the Mexicans to police our borders (our job) than they can blame us for not policing theirs.
    So it seems dishonest to blame the US for the guns going into Mexico.
    In the case of the US we must take responsibility for the illegal activity: in people and drugs coming into the US .
    Clearly the US govt has not policed our border adequately for years.
    Many of us think the Federal Govt. didn t want to enforce immigration law (for economic reasons having to do with cheap labor and the fact that they ve spent the Social Security fund and need to somehow build it back up again), so they relaxed control. This allowed the drug trade to flourish too.
    Now we re all paying the price.
    Good fences make good neighbors- close the border until Mexico can re establish civil order and shut down the drug cartels.

    March 24, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  2. Ron Illinois

    I can only feel sorry for the Mexican people. Being from Illinois, I know how it feels to live with corruption in government and how it demoralizes its people.

    We have to keep two prisons open just for politicians.

    March 24, 2009 at 12:46 am |
  3. Ernest

    The blame goes to the two countries. Mexico ignore the problem 80's & 90's but also US can't stop the flow of drugs coming to US and weapons to Mexico. both countries are failures to our people on both sides. Now the President Calderon is showing lots of courage US need to jump on the ocassion and take ownership for their part. I stronglly belive thats the case, this time they will succeed on this war.

    March 23, 2009 at 11:47 pm |
  4. Tom Trimble

    I was wondering if the Rich and Shamless segment will also delve into the lives of members of congress who also live rich and shameless lives. For example, I have "heard" that Senator John Kerry lives a very shameful life style.

    March 23, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  5. Neo

    The only thing America can do for a foreign land is teach them how to be sustainable in their own land, so that they don't come to our land and commit crimes. We should have enough people in the army to make sure that all these drugs don't come to this country from Mexico.

    March 23, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  6. Jim

    Yes & You could liken the Drug cartells, dealers & smugglers to Skunks –
    Perhaps we sould use all our wonderfull technology to pin point these skunks and if Mexico is unwilling to deal with the problem, a few well placed MOABs should take out the problem. That is Why She is Secratary of State- I'm not a diplomat.

    March 23, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    Hopefully, Obama and Hillary have a clear unified message for Mexico. I'm more assured that Hillary will have what she needs because she is always so well prepared. While we have plenty of troubles of our own we need to be friends with Mexico and try to help them as much as they can with the instability in their country caused by the drug trafficking. Having an unstable country on your border is not a scenario that turns out well for either country.

    March 23, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  8. Franky

    Anderson...what are you doing?? Anderson, just because I may sound cruel or evil sometimes doesn't mean I want you guys to get hurt, I care about you guys, as far when I told Lou about it the first time, watch out Anderson, just take it easy...

    You need help?? I'm telling you Anderson, I care, I don't wanna see that...

    March 23, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  9. Mari

    There is obviously no easy solution to the Mexican drug war. The fact that the drug cartels are buying weapons smuggled in from the U.S. is horrible. What would happen if our government would toughen up laws and enforce laws on weapons? What would happen if the U.S. put as many of the National Reservists on the border as possible to attempt to quell the flow of weapons into Mexico? So many questions....... so few answers.

    We, Americans can sit here in our safe homes and shake our heads about Mexico's drug war........... but we must be honest about WHO is supporting that war......... Americans with their drug habits!

    March 23, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  10. David (El Paso)

    With regards to our situation here in El Paso, TX I don't see anything being accomplished as long as the cartels go unpunished for their crimes. The Mexican military may only be able to detain and prosecute 10-15% of the people involved. Our city is at risk and The United States needs to intervene just like we did in Iraq to make sure things get done the right way. It hasn't spilled to this side of the border but it will, and when it happens what are we in a position to do in response? Unfortunately it may take something happening to a ranking government official in order for us to see some significant action on a growing problem that seems to only get bigger.

    March 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  11. Mike in FXBG

    The message should be: "keep your crooks at home, clean up your house."

    March 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  12. Fritz the Cat

    If we legalized drugs it would end the problem at the border almost overnight. Have'nt we already learned the lesson of Prohibition? The only winners now are the owners of the for profit jails, and of cource, the drug cartels and dealers. It's time to stop waging war on our citizens. It was supposed to be against the Constitution to wage war on the citizens anyway!

    March 23, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  13. Deidra

    Not to worry about Hilliary Rodham Clinton for she is making a very competent, sensitive and popular Secretary of State. After all, she came extremely close to being our first lady President and would have
    been a darn good one. She is extremely intelligent and knows how to work with and/or communicate with the world's leaders and will prove invaluable to President Obama. She has much charisma and the personality in dealing with people all over the world and of all the people the president picked for his cabinet, she is one of the best, perhaps THE best. The people of Mexico will love her.

    March 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  14. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    The US has spent billions on an attempt to win the war against drugs and all the vices associated with it--and believe Hillary Clinton is not even going to make a scratch on the surface or a dent in illegal drug operations of durg trafficking---as long as their is a demand--there will always be a supply.

    March 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  15. JC- Los Angeles

    Is Mexico planning on erecting a massive fence along the US boarder to keep out all the American white collar criminals?

    March 23, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  16. Isabel

    There is a letter “Una distancia insostenible” which the actor Gael García Bernal said six months ago on the theme, about the pain to live away from their country, and that he instead of he feeling relieved being outside, he feels sad and vulnerable knowing the situation of their country and thinking that their relatives and friends there are. I think the letter reflects much of this pain showing a Mexico conscious and fearful.
    This letter is very interesting and shows another side. Made me to analyze another angle view of the problem.

    The Mexicans are weary of the carnage without precedent, that is happening, while gangs of drug traffickers slowing a war against the authorities and against themselves.
    Ordinary people (Americans and Mexicans) are vulnerable in the midst of an urban war.

    This industry (the cartels) that generates profits of billions of dollars is strong and there is no interest in tackling it.

    Indeed, drug trafficking between Mexico and the United States is an old problem. However, during the last 8 years, the problem was relegated to the background. Issues such as immigration and trade were seen and treated as more important topics. Only last year it returned to the table in discussions with the same importance it had in the 80 and 90.

    This is a terrible situation: traffickers in a war, and people helpless in the midst of this war.

    March 23, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  17. Nick

    this relationship would be to stop the flow or drugs and illegal at all cost . renegotiate nafta . no nafta superhighway . no north american union ...that is the only relationship we need .

    March 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm |