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Mexican public warming to US military aid in drug war?

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Musadeq Sadeq/AP

(Read caption) U.S. soldiers board a U.S. military aircraft as they leave Afghanistan, at the U.S. base in Bagram, north of Kabul, July 14.

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Since the days of the Mexican-American War, US intentions south of the border are regarded with the highest degrees of suspicion. Today, as Mexico struggles under a barrage of violence related to drug trafficking, the idea of American military assistance is anathema to the public.

But that might be starting to change. A majority still opposes such a scenario. But according to a Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project survey released Wednesday, that opposition is shrinking. Of Mexicans surveyed, 38 percent favor US troop help today, up from 26 percent in 2010.

Seventy-four percent say they welcome US help to train police and the military, and 64 percent support more money and weapons for Mexican authorities.

Those changing views have not registered among politicians in Mexico, where the US stepping too hard is always an opportunity to appeal to the electorate.

Case and point is the brouhaha unleashed after the New York Times published an article in early August about US intelligence officers operating south of the border to help combat traffickers with the cooperation of the government.

Mexican opposition Senator Ricardo Monreal Avila put it bluntly to the local press: "Since the days of Santa Anna we have not had such a sell-out and unpatriotic government,” he said. Illegal, unacceptable, a violation of the constitution – the accusations went on.


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