Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 2009
Source: San Antonio Express-News (TX)
Copyright: 2009 San Antonio Express-News
Bookmark: (Opinion)


In what has become a tradition, the president of Mexico was the first
foreign leader to meet with the U.S. president-elect.

And after Mexican President Felipe Calderon met with President-elect
Barack Obama lastweek, the American leader signaled that he
understands why the tradition is important symbolism and must be far
more than symbolic.

Terrorism understandably diverted President Bush's attention from
issues with Mexico, but in recent years drug wars have made violence
along the Mexican/U.S. border a crucial security issue in its own right.

"The more secure Mexico is, the more secure the U.S. will be," the
Associated Press quoted Calderon as saying after the meeting.

The Hearst Washington Bureau reported that Obama spokesman Robert
Gibbs said the president-elect vowed to find ways to work with Mexico
to reduce drug-related violence and stop the flow of guns from the
United States to Mexico. And Gibbs said Obama applauded Calderon's
efforts to battle drug cartels, which has included using military troops.

Hearst reported that drug violence claimed some 5,400 lives in Mexico
last year.

The solution will require the efforts of leaders on both sides of the

Obama also pushed his misguided effort to tinker with NAFTA, but the
drug issue is far more crucial.

Calderon has shown admirable resolve to stamp out the drug cartels and
has been facing considerable pushback from lawless drug kingpins.

U.S. officials must show determination on this side of the border as
well. The violence has spilled across the Rio Grande on occasion and
looms as a serious threat to both nations.

Mexico's efforts to battle the cancerous drug problem have been

Obama must recognize that truth as well as the gravity of the

Obama said the right things after meeting with Calderon. Now, he must
follow through.

Helping eliminate the Mexican drug cartels should be a U.S. priority.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake