President Barack Obama apparently thinks that respect for rule of law is only important north of the Rio Grande. In a desperate attempt to help Mexico´s President Felipe Calderón with his "drug war," Obama has authorized the U.S. military and other government agents to violate the Mexican constitution.
U.S. agents both actively participate in the wiretapping of drug-trafficking suspects in Mexico and carry their weapons when they travel south of the border, according to The New York Times. As of last month, U.S. military-intelligence drones similar to those deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq began to operate in Mexican airspace. Such actions are entirely unprecedented in the history of U.S.-Mexican relations and could easily backfire as the Mexican population rejects such a blatant attack on its sovereignty.
Imagine armed Mexican agents tapping phone lines and flying military planes over Texas and Arizona in search of gun-shop owners and straw-buyers responsible for arming the drug cartels in Mexico. Such actions would not be tolerated by the American people and any suggestion that this were taking place would lead immediately to a high-level congressional inquiry. Although international coordination and support is always helpful, the U.S. legal framework correctly conceives of law enforcement as an eminently domestic affair.
The same is true in Mexico. Mexican law explicitly prohibits foreign agents from carrying weapons or being directly in charge of wiretaps or criminal investigations on Mexican territory. The Mexican constitution also requires the president to gain approval of its senate before allowing foreign military operations in domestic airspace. The general outcry in Mexico against these actions is therefore not a result of backward "nationalistic elements in the political elite," as one expert has claimed, but a healthy defense of fundamental constitutional principles. This Thursday, Mexico’s foreign secretary, Patricia Espinoza, received a well-deserved shellacking at the hands of leading senators from all of the major political parties, including the sitting government’s Nacional Action party....
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