Page 2 of 2   <      

Clinton: U.S. Drug Policies Failed, Fueled Mexico's Drug War

In comments to U.S. reporters, Clinton called for a new approach to tackling the drug problem, noting that "we have been pursuing these strategies for 30 years."

"Neither interdiction [of drugs] nor reducing demand have been successful," she said.

Clinton's assessment appeared to be at odds with some conclusions by U.S. anti-drug officials. The Drug Enforcement Administration says that Mexican traffickers have had an increasingly hard time getting their shipments into the United States, in part because of U.S. military and law enforcement operations against their transportation networks.

"The seizure rates are off the charts for the last three or four years," Michael Braun, who recently retired as a senior DEA official, told a congressional hearing this month.

While emphasizing the U.S. desire to cooperate on drugs, Clinton said she wanted her trip to also illustrate the broad range of issues the two countries routinely work on together, including the environment and education. She announced $720 million in funding to modernize border crossings in an effort to promote trade, and said both sides are trying to resolve a dispute over allowing Mexican trucks into the United States that had led Mexico to place tariffs on dozens of U.S. products.

"The relationship we have with Mexico is much broader and deeper" than the drug issue, she said.

Clinton is planning to travel Thursday to Monterrey, Mexico's business capital, before heading back to Washington.

<       2

© 2009 The Washington Post Company