Although there’s a growing minority of Mexican citizens who support greater U.S. involvement, including intervention, the Mexican public is largely opposed to the idea. In 2011, worsening drug violence and discussions of a greater U.S. intervention helped contribute to a nadir in U.S.-Mexico relations. The Wall Street Journal reported that Mexican officials were “enraged” by the suggestion of sending U.S. troops. For criticizing the effectiveness of the Mexican military, the former U.S. ambassador, Carlos Pascual, was thrown out of the country. The $1.6 billion Merida Initiative, which provides U.S. aid for Mexico’s military, has more political support but has faced intense opposition from academics, journalists and human rights activists.
What’s more, killing El Chapo may also not have the same effect as killing Bin Laden. It wouldn’t stop the drugs flowing north, as there would likely be someone ready to take his place.
“The Obama administration has a policy to disrupt transnational criminal organizations as well as improve security in Mexico,” James Bosworth, a Latin American crime and security analyst, tells Danger Room in an e-mail. “How much does getting El Chapo really contribute to those goals? It certainly has some effect, but El Chapo is no bin Laden, symbolically, ideologically or organizationally.”