Clinton Meets Calderon

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has been “courageous” and has taken “absolutely necessary” steps to fight drug cartels in his country according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She said the United States would continue to provide equipment and training to Mexico to help in the fight. In a press conference with her Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinosa, Clinton commented, “The drug traffickers are not going to give up without a terrible fight.” After meeting with Espinosa she flew to Mexico City for a chat with Calderon.

Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Jeffrey Feltman is in Tunisia to talk about an ongoing political crisis there. Yesterday, he had a sitdown with the Tunisian foreign minister, and today he will meet with a whole range of officials, politicians and civil-society members to underscore U.S. support for the people. According to State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, Feltman will touch on “ways in which the U.S. can be a constructive partner as Tunisia charts the course forward.”

Meanwhile, Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for Eastern Asian and Pacific affairs, is in Hawaii today heading up a delegation from various government agencies. And there’s a lot on his agenda: a trilateral security talk with Australia and Japan, discussions about Pacific island issues, an Asian Development Bank meeting, a trilateral talk with Australia and New Zealand, and a State of the Pacific Dialogue.

Back at home, the exodus continues. Carol Browner, a White House climate change adviser, is going to leave her post as coordinator of energy and climate policy. Unlike the position of chief of staff (now held by William Daley) or NEC director (now Jeffrey Immelt), the White House isn’t even sure they’re going to replace Browner. An administration official said that one question on the table is “what will happen to the position.” This is just one of many changes since the November elections and the Republican takeover of the House.

Even though former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s bid for mayor of Chicago was shot down by an Illinois court on Monday, President Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarret said Obama still believes Rahm can do it. As Jarret commented on Good Morning America, “I think that he believes that he is eligible, and that he believes that Rahm will pursue his appeal in the courts.”

And today, General David Petraeus, the commander of forces in Afghanistan, released a letter to troops today with an assessment of the war. He cited “impressive progress” over the last year but warned that “the year ahead is likely to be a tough one, too.”