The problems in Mexico, with thousands of people being killed in horrific drug-related gang violence, much of which is occurring in towns bordering the United States, is a real concern. Such violence could easily spill over into the U.S., or cause more Mexicans to come illegally into the U.S., or both.
For many years, I think, people haven’t paid much attention to Mexico as a subject of foreign policy. We’ve lived with illegal immigration and the drug trade issues for decades, and Mexico therefore hasn’t been as high a priority as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, North Korea, the Mideast peace process, a resurgent Russia, and an increasingly powerful China. I think the Obama Administration is properly recognizing that our attitude needs to change. Close proximity should magnify concerns. Common sense tells you that your next-door neighbor’s problems can have a more immediate impact on you than the problems of a person who lives five blocks away.