If gangs and cartels are insurgents, it would follow that the proper response would be counterinsurgency (COIN). The term refers to the process of regaining government control over territory and populations in zones controlled by anti-state movements. While it includes civilian elements, COIN is ultimately a military strategy.
... It is unclear from her remarks whether Secretary Clinton is, in fact, implying that Mexico needs a classic counterinsurgency campaign or a beefed-up military offensive. If so, then she is recommending the wrong course for Mexico... Sept. 10, 2010, Just the Facts, a collaborative project of the Center for International Policy (the sponsor of the Americas Program), the Latin American Working Group and the Washington Office on Latin America