In an interview on the Diane Rehm Show, Vanda Felbab-Brown discusses Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s state visit to Washington, D.C.. Felbab-Brown comments on what is at stake for both the United States and Mexico, and the prospects for improving cooperation.

Diane Rehm: Vanda Felbab-Brown, it sounds as though there are multiple problems, but Francisco mentioned removal of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Would you agree that that is at the top of Calderón’s list?

Vanda Felbab-Brown: Well, President Calderón was quite extraordinary in the way he personalized some of the difficulties between Mexico and United States in a public interview, not specifically mentioning the current Amb. Carlos Pascual. But, nonetheless, many interpreted lots of the remarks as pertaining to the ambassador. And, of course, for an ambassador to be effective, he needs to have a close and good relationship with the president. That said, I would urge Mexican officials to step back and see to what extent the relationship can be depersonalized.

Felbab-Brown: Amb. Pascual is one of the most brilliant and competent U.S. ambassadors, a dedicated public official. And, to a large extent, the concern that President Calderón has stemmed from the WikiLeaks for which, of course, U.S. ambassadors and U.S. officials were not responsible. There is a great deal of reporting that takes place in WikiLeaks, and one should not overemphasize that. So seeing how the meetings in Washington could tone down some of the personalized aspects that have kicked in for Mexican officials would be important.

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