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I have never considered the Washington Post to be a credible source for news on Mexico, having read far too many articles laced with outdated assumptions and simplistic jargon. That said, the recent article on drug war cooperation between Mexico and the U.S. is a credible piece of reporting. And although it still contains the aforementioned assumptions and jargon, it contains some very interesting points and is well worth reading.

A few observations:

First, Calderón’s willingness to cooperate with the U.S. seems to have been greater than previously thought. More striking still is the extent to which both sides seem to have seen counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan as a model for Mexico. Calderón’s paranoia and militarized approach to the drug war was apparently directly responsible for the use of drones in Mexico, and would have gone further if Calderón had his way:

As the Mexican death toll mounted, Calderon pleaded with Bush for armed drones. He had been impressed by the results in Iraq and Afghanistan, two former U.S. officials said. The White House considered the request, but quickly rejected it. It was far too likely to result in collateral damage, they said.

Second, that Peña Nieto’s team was apparently so wholly unaware of the forms and extent of U.S. involvement speaks to a striking lack of communication between the outgoing and incoming administrations last year. This, perhaps, may partially explain why Peña Nieto has been so egregiously slow in formulating any sort of public anti-drug policy.

Lastly, that Peña Nieto has failed to lay out an anti-drug policy has given rise to the perception that he might be planning a return to the Pax Mafioso, essentially offering a truce to the trafficking organizations in exchange for peace. That his administration has systematically limited information about drug violence and aggressively encouraged journalists to reduce reporting on killings and kidnappings provides further evidence that such a strategy might be in the works. According to the Post, that is a concern that exists in Washington as well.

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