Mexico: US backpedals on “failed state” claim

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Dennis Blair, speaking to reporters in Washington March 26, downplayed the notion (raised in a recent Pentagon report) that narco-violence has brought Mexico to the brink of collapse: “Mexico is in no danger of becoming a failed state. [Let me] repeat that. Mexico is in no danger of becoming a failed state. The violence we see now is the result of Mexico taking action against the drug cartels. So it is in fact the result of positive moves, which the Mexican government has taken to break the baneful influence that many of these cartels have had on many aspects of Mexican government and Mexican life.” Blair added: “The Mexican campaign is our campaign.”

Mexican President Felipe Calderón labeled talk of his country’s collapse as “false, absurd,” and challenged the US to clean up its own act by curbing drug use and arms trafficking.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also clearly had mending fences in mind on her trip to Mexico this week. “There are problems in any country. I spend my time thinking about the problems in my country as well,” Clinton told students and faculty in Monterrey on the campus of Universidad TecMilenio. “I think it has been unfortunate that the courageous fight that Mexico has waged against the drug cartels has gotten so much attention, to the exclusion of all the other issues.”

In Mexico City, at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, Clinton said: “We know very well that the drug traffickers are motivated by the demand for illegal drugs in the United States, that they are armed by the transport of weapons from the United States to Mexico. We see this as a responsibility to assist the Mexican government and people.”

Clinton also joined Public Security Secretary Genaro García Luna for a visit to the Federal District’s new Iztapalapa headquarters for Mexico’s Federal Preventative Police, where she witnessed a simulated hostage rescue and was briefed on missions undertaken by US-made Blackhawk helicopters, which were on display. (McClatchy, LAT, VOA, El Universal, March 26)

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