Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

And, on the other hand...

The observation by one journalist that Mexico was nearly a failed state, has created an ongoing journalistic and diplomatic debate. Here are two more bits of that debate.

In Drug War, Mexico Fights Cartel and Itself

"The nation has begun a war, but it cannot fully rely on the very institutions — the police, customs, the courts, the prisons, even the relatively clean army — most needed to carry it out.

"The cartels bring in billions of dollars more than the Mexican government spends to defeat them, and they spend their wealth to bolster their ranks with an untold number of politicians, judges, prison guards and police officers — so many police officers, in fact, that entire forces in cities across Mexico have been disbanded and rebuilt from scratch...

"This was a war started by Mexico, but supported — and in some ways undermined — by the United States...

"At the same time, American drug users are fueling demand for the drugs, and American guns are supplying the firepower wielded with such ferocity by Mexico’s cartels...

"With the prospect of a quick victory increasingly elusive, a rising chorus of voices on both sides of the border is questioning the cost and the fallout of the assault on the cartels..."

Analysis: Mexico a failing state?

"The Mexican establishment shuddered at the dispatches from Washington: the two failing states most worrying to the U.S. defense department, they said, are Pakistan and Mexico.

"Since such reports began appearing in January, Mexican officials have sternly denied that the drug cartel armies destabilizing the United States’ southern neighbor can be compared to the terrorist groups threatening to undermine the Islamic republic.

"'It’s totally disproportionate and clearly mistaken,' a rattled-looking President Felipe Calderon told reporters in Davos, Switzerland. 'To me it seems important that whatever doubts be cleared up, and I will do it personally.'

"His position has been supported by many of the nation’s pundits and intellectuals, who have pointed their fingers at the international press for misreporting the problems. While Mexico has some serious issues with organized narco-crime, they say, it is ludicrous to compare it to crumbling states in Africa and Asia..."

What You Need to Know -- a study guide for AP Comparative Government and Politics

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