As an East Asia specialist by training, I’m not supposed to be terribly interested in Latin America, except perhaps to note the wonderfully wine-stained Chilean trade agreements with South Korea, the cultural elisions of Japanese immigrant communities in Brazil, or the spread of Chinese “soft power” and economic influence into the region.
But traveling recently to Los Angeles and Orange County has kept Mexico closer to my mind than is usual. And the North Koreans are all of a sudden signing contracts in Mexico City with the country’s Ministry of Health about traditional (read: inexpensive) medicine.
Most of all, there is an immense and grinding drug war going on right now in Mexico. President Obama has got his work cut out for him in East Asia, but south of the Rio Grande there are rumblings of a failed state. Do yourself a favor as a human living on planet Earth, particularly if you inhabit North America, and check out the L.A. Times‘ indispensable page on the ongoing war, entitled “MEXICO UNDER SIEGE.”