Calderon Calling: Mexican President Prods U.S. on Drugs, Guns


But, experts say, given the political climate in Washington, including widespread concerns about the federal deficit and a conservative GOP majority in the House, there is little chance U.S. policy will change.

"Unfortunately, on a lot of these issues there is very little President Obama can deliver," said Vanda Felbab-Brown, an expert on U.S.-Mexico relations and counter-narcotics policy at the Brookings Institution. "Calderon can complain, but the reality is that fixing this will take a long time."

Felbab-Brown said the United States should not receive a significant portion of the blame for the growing violence south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Ten years ago, Mexico was not this violent, though demand for drugs was greater and weapons were flowing south," she said. "At the core of this war is the collapse and hollowing out of Mexico's law enforcement. Calderon started a full blown, all out effort against the cartels without having the tools for it."

The United States has pledged $1.4 billion to support Mexico's efforts to combat drug cartels. Obama today said the administration is seeking to expedite implementation of that agreement.

The president's budget, released last month, also allocates $10 billion for reducing drug consumption in the United States.

"Drug use in America drives crime, violence, addiction, and instability throughout our nation and our hemisphere," White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday.

"As a major drug-consumption nation, we recognize that we have a responsibility to drive down our demand for drugs here at home to ensure the health and safety of our citizens and to support the brave efforts of President Calderon and our foreign partners in their courageous efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations."

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