Democracy and political stability in Mexico are vital to the United States, writes Francis Fukuyama. Dismissing the notion that Mexico is becoming a “failed state” as overblown rhetoric, he stresses that the drug trade has deeply corrupted its basic political institutions, particularly its judicial system:
“Mexico like the United States is a federal state, and responsibility for dealing with drug trafficking is split between federal, state, and local jurisdictions, writes Fukuyama, a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy. “During the years when the dominant PRI was in power, many state governors and local officials came to have cozy relationships with drug lords.”
He recommends beefing up the Merida Initiative, patterned on Plan Colombia, but cautions that enhanced security and police cooperation are not enough. The U.S. must help reform Mexico’s judicial system, drawing on extensive experience with rule-of-law reform efforts in other parts of the world.