Why is the United States backing Mexican drug gangs?

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I wrote the following piece on the U.S. role in Mexico’s security challenges for foreignpolicy.com.

President Calderón is fighting America’s third war, and America’s backing his enemies.

By Shannon O’Neil

When President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in next week, he’ll become the proud owner of several wars. There is the familiar mayhem in Afghanistan and reluctant optimism in Iraq. And then there is America’s forgotten war: the war on drugs. That battle’s newest front is its southern neighbor Mexico, whose president, Felipe Calderón, Obama met on Monday. If Calderón speaks his mind, he could put it simply to Obama: We are fighting your war, and you are supplying our enemies — with demand for their drugs, money for their cartels, and guns for their violence.

Mexico is fighting for its life, and Calderón has ratcheted up the battle since becoming president in 2006. Still, the picture remains grim.

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