Mexican President Felipe Calderón is under pressure to overhaul a U.S.-backed anti-narcotics strategy that many political leaders and analysts said is failing amid spectacular drug cartel assaults against the government, reports the Washington Post. There are sustained calls for a change in tactics, even from allies within Calderón’s political party, who say the deployment of 45,000 soldiers to fight the cartels relies too heavily on the blunt force of the military to stem soaring violence and lawlessness.
U.S. officials believe Mexico faces a longer and bloodier campaign than anticipated and is likely to require more American aid. U.S. and Mexican officials draw comparisons to Colombia, where from 2000 to 2006 the U.S. spent $6 billion to help neutralize the cartels that once dominated the drug trade. While violence is sharply down in Colombia, cocaine production is up.