Monday, May 17, 2010

Jorge G. Castañeda: Can we reset U.S.-Mexican relations?

Mexican President Felipe Calderón meets with then-president-elect Barack Obama in January 2008.

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By Jorge G. Castañeda
Monday, May 17, 2010
The Washington Post

Mexican President Felipe Calderón will make his first full-fledged visit to Washington this week since taking office 3 1/2 years ago. Given the issues facing their countries, Calderón and President Obama might be tempted to nickel-and-dime their encounter. But the time is a ripe for a "big idea," not unlike what NAFTA -- warts and all -- was when it was proposed in 1990. Instead of narrowing everything down to drugs, security and how the United States can best back Mexico's war, the two countries should "de-narcoticize" their relationship and make their goal Mexico's development and transformation into a middle-class society.

Calderón has been battered by the effects of the international economic crisis at home (Mexico's economy shrank 6.5 percent last year); by 23,000 deaths in the drug war (257 deaths in early May constituted the highest weekly toll since 2007); by opposition intransigence to reforms and institutional gridlock; this past weekend, by the kidnapping and possible death of the most influential figure of his party for the past two decades; and by Arizona's new immigration law, which is seen in Mexico as to complete article

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