Serious threat:

The War on Drugs may be fading from memory north of the Rio Grande, but south of the river, bloody battles are threatening to overwhelm Mexico’s democratically elected government. The timid assistance package proposed by the Bush administration and pared down by Congress suggests that Washington doesn’t grasp either the scale of the danger or its own responsibilities.

President Felipe Calderón’s decision to take on the traffickers shows great courage and a sound understanding of the threat they pose to his country. But he seems to be in over his head. More than 4,000 people, including about 450 cops, have been killed in drug-related violence since he took office.

Mexico cannot wage this battle alone. Its police forces are ill equipped, ill trained and riddled with corruption — and clearly no match for the drug barons, with their enormous wealth and firepower. The Bush administration is right to acknowledge the shared threat and the common responsibility. But unfortunately, rather than bolstering aid to Mexico, Congress is shrinking it. After years of blaming each other, the US and Mexico are finally ready to fight the traffickers together. Both governments need to work, urgently, to salvage the aid package and that cooperation. The threat to Mexico, and this country, is far too dangerous. — The New York Times