– Arturo Sarukhan, a career diplomat, has been Mexican ambassador to the United States since 2007. Ambassador Sarukhan was President Calderon’s chief foreign policy adviser and international spokesperson during the 2006 presidential campaign and headed his foreign policy transition team. The views expressed are his own. —
On January 12th, President Felipe Calderón and then President Elect Barack Obama held their first working meeting in Washington, DC, reflecting their commitment to strengthen the bilateral relationship. The conversation between the two leaders made it abundantly clearly that designing a framework that will simultaneously ensure the common prosperity and the common security of both our peoples remains the central conundrum our two nations face in a post 9-11 world.
Mexico is fully aware that a threat to the security of the United States will profoundly affect the bilateral relationship, and therefore common border security has been and will continue to be a top-priority. In this regard, a clear and present threat we both face is transnational organized crime.
From the outset of his administration, President Calderón committed himself to spearheading a battle aimed at dismantling drug trafficking organizations. These efforts have yielded significant results, including world-record seizures of narcotics, cash and weapons, as well as unprecedented levels of cooperation with the United States in the area of extraditions. As a result, on the U.S. side of the border, there are positive indications of decreased cocaine and methamphetamine availability, and a consequent increase in the retail price and decrease in the purity of these drugs.
These advances have not come without a steep human and financial cost for Mexico. Yet President Calderón is fully committed to continue this fight. But the transnational nature of this phenomenon makes it difficult for our country to successfully confront this threat on its own.