The Jan. 12 story Obama and Mexican president meet in Washington goes into the security threat posed by mounting drug violence in Mexico and the United States.
It also notes that both leaders realize that this common threat necessitates a joint effort to combat the drug-trade industry and the widening crime wave associated with it.
But the mere fact that the incoming U.S. president and President Felipe Calderón scheduled a pre-inauguration meeting does not automatically signify the level of importance each country places on a common security agenda and commitment to strengthening U.S.-Mexico relations overall.
It could only mean that not to stage this pro forma meeting could bring more pressure than pain. Even though Mexico is in a period of unremitting economic strain and hardship, as well as experiencing drug-gang violence spawned by cartels, dealing with such issues could prove distracting.
However, such agenda items must be dealt with squarely because drugs and gangs have brought horrific levels of bloodshed and chaos throughout Mexico. The problems are systemic and must be placed on the front burner of U.S.-Mexican policies, where they belong.