Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, currently in Mexico in advance of the President’s scheduled trip next month, made some candid and rather surprising comments on Wednesday. As reported in the Los Angeles Times:
Clinton said the U.S. has a duty to help since it is a major consumer of illicit drugs and a key supplier of weapons smuggled to cartel hit men.
“We know very well that the drug traffickers are motivated by the demand for illegal drugs in the United States, that they are armed by the transport of weapons from the United States to Mexico,” Clinton said during a news conference with Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa. “We see this as a responsibility to assist the Mexican government and people.”
This is a truly meaningful first step toward altering the current problematic relationship between the United States and Mexico. Both Clinton and Obama should be commended for it.
I don’t pretend, however, to think it will represent a fundamental shift in that relationship–one plagued by the vestiges of economic and cultural imperialism (which is, itself, a two-way street). She is there to tout the Merida Initiative, and the thrust of her public “admission” was to contextualize the U.S. support of Mexico’s continuing war on drugs and crime. But this acknowledgment is something significant for the moral legitimacy of the many sustained efforts to nurture a more equitable and humane condition of life on both sides of the border.