Academic journal article Military Review

SECURITY IN MEXICO: Implications for U.S. Policy Options

Academic journal article Military Review

SECURITY IN MEXICO: Implications for U.S. Policy Options

Article excerpt

SECURITY IN MEXICO: Implications for U.S. Policy Options, Agnes G. Schaefer, Benjamin Bahney, K. Jack Riley, RAND Corporation, 2009, 78 pages, $29.50.

The U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship is among America's most important. The problem is how to manage it, especially in light of the ever-worsening security situation in Mexico, encapsulate the critical issues from a binational security perspective, and offer recommendations on new approaches to some old problems.

While immigration and trade remain at the forefront of the bilateral agenda, in a concise but effective monograph, several RAND analysts focus on three priority security threats-organized crime, a category that includes narcotics trafficking and arms smuggling; illegal migration and trafficking in persons; and terrorism. What is new in this mix are the unprecedented levels of violence and audacity displayed by criminal organizations, particularly the drug trafficking organizations, which the authors contend are increasingly emboldened-committing more acts in public, targeting Mexican police forces without hesitation, and even hiring ex-special forces members from the Mexican military. These developments are well known, having prompted increasing outrage and public condemnation, as well as a call to action from both heads of state.

In response to these burgeoning threats, the authors recommend three broad policy options for consideration by the Obama administration: increased engagement with Mexico, maintaining current levels of aid and support, and retrenchment from the status quo. …

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