President Barack Obama made his first visit international trip as president on February 19, as he made a seven-hour visit to Canada’s capital city of Ottawa. The U.S. president was honored by a double line of Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Ottawa’s airport and was welcomed by Canada’s governor general, Michaëlle Jean, who escorted him inside the terminal. The governor general is the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in Canada.
Like most members of the Baby Boomer generation who grew up watching movies about space exploration and following our nation's quest to put a man on the Moon, this writer entered the 21st century somewhat disappointed that space had not become quite as familiar a place as was depicted in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek.
A report released this month by the U.S. Joint Forces Command is warning of the potential for “rapid and sudden collapse” of the Mexican government due to the corrupting influence of criminal gangs and drug cartels. The Joint Operating Environment 2008 document (pdf) also lists Pakistan as the other of two large and important states that “bear consideration,” explaining that these would be “worst-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world."
In a feature article, the December 22 issue of Forbes magazine reported that drug cartels are increasingly having their way in Mexico. Assassinations of policemen are on the rise along with kidnappings of the wealthy for ransom money and murders of innocent people for the hideous purpose of demonstrating power. Political leaders who haven't been corrupted have become customary targets. Profits gained by Mexico's drug lords add up to as much as $24 billion annually, most of the funds resulting from sales of cocaine and marijuana in the United States.
The escalating violence by Mexico’s various drug cartels has taken a heavy toll on Mexico’s police forces in recent months, with the month of May proving especially brutal. At least four high-ranking police officials were gunned down in May, along with many other police and soldiers. “Drug cartels are sending a brutal message to police and soldiers in cities across Mexico: Join us or die,” reported the Associated Press on May 19.