A new report released by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) examines the drug war in Mexico, where more than 34,500 organized crime killings have occurred since President Felipe Calderón took office in 2006. President Calderón visits Washington, D.C. for a high stakes summit with U.S. President Barack Obama this week on March 2-3, amid recent tensions in the U.S.-Mexico relationship in the wake of the killing of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer Jaime Zapata in Mexico last week.
The CFR special report, authored by Trans-Border Institute director David Shirk, outlines the dynamics of Mexico’s recent security crisis and argues for greater U.S. support to address this shared challenge. Although some U.S. analysts have described Mexico as a “failed state,” this report cautions against such characterizations and notes the relatively higher levels of violence found elsewhere in the region. The 48 page report, released yesterday, contends that the United States has a direct interest in preventing a further deterioration of Mexico’s security situation.
Specifically, the report recommends that the United States should make a greater overall commitment to combatting Mexican organized crime networks on U.S. soil (including illegal gun trafficking and money laundering), increasing rule of law, economic development, and social assistance to address the underlying conditions contributing to recent violence in Mexico, strengthening regional security cooperation to combat transnational organized crime, and promoting more serious consideration of the potential merits of legalization in reshaping international drug policy. The report also points to the limits and hazards of current approaches, including the massive deployment of Mexico’s military to combat drug trafficking and U.S. interdiction efforts along the border.
The “Drug War in Mexico” report forms part of the series of Council Special Reports published by CFR’s Center for Preventive Action (CPA), a think tank based in Washington, D.C. The Center’s mission is to help prevent, defuse, or resolve deadly conflicts around the world and to expand the body of knowledge on conflict prevention. Orders for a printed version can be placed on the CPA website.