Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, has begun a state visit to Washington. According to the news reports, immigration is at the top of the agenda for him and President Obama and other officials of both countries. But what's more important, and what the lower-level military and State Department officials will talk more about will be the drug trade and the violence inside Mexico that is overlapping the border and has its roots on this side as well. Arizona's immigration law is a side-show. The real problem is the flow of drugs northward, the flow of weapons southward, and the growing power of the criminal sindicates inside Mexico and other Central American and Latin American countries.
Until those problems are addressed at the root, state dinners and political shows won't mean much. Real reform of the drug laws and the gun laws in this country and in other consumer countries will need to be openly debated, including the legalization of drugs as the only way to undercut the power of the cartels by taking the criminal element out of the traffic, and strict controls on automatic and high-caliber weapons.
Calderon also will visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. It's just another sideshow, but symbolically important. Good Washington Post story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/18/AR2010051805200.html