Claudia Sheinbaum, the hand-picked successor of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will be the next president of Mexico.

Unfortunately, that means U.S.-Mexico relations remain on a dangerous course that has empowered drug cartels and brought skyrocketing overdoses and uncontrolled migration to the United States.

Sheinbaum owes her victory almost entirely to Lopez Obrador’s highly popular government, leaving little chance that she will distance herself from the man universally known as AMLO.

Under the incumbent’s government, U.S.-Mexico relations have seen a dangerous deterioration.

New threats have emerged on the border—ranging from fentanyl, weaponized mass migration, and terrorist networks—and important opportunities for collaboration, such as nearshoring supply chains from China, have been largely squandered.

Worse still, deepening narco-corruption adds a powerful force working against a necessary change of course in Mexico.

All this means that if the vital relationship between the U.S. and Mexico is to stabilize, the Biden administration must right the ship.

To date, Washington has largely been a passive observer of the relationship’s continued collapse.

This is best evidenced by the utter breakdown of counter-narcotics cooperation with Mexico.

Opioid overdoses, facilitated by the free flow of Chinese precursor chemicals to Mexico’s cartels, continue to kill over 100,000 Americans each year.

Nevertheless, the Biden administration has stood by as AMLO has repeatedly denied Mexico’s role in the fentanyl crisis.

Even when Mexico’s government terminated the longstanding Merida Initiative, upending counter-drug cooperation with U.S. law enforcement, President Joe Biden remained silent.

American permissiveness goes back years, through multiple presidential administrations.

In 2020, under President Donald Trump, U.S. law enforcement agents arrested former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos after uncovering his collaboration with the drug cartels.

Yet after substantial diplomatic pressure from Mexico, the U.S. released Cienfuegos, whom AMLO subsequently decorated with a medal honoring his service.

In 2011, the Obama administration dropped a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation revealing credible narco-corruption directly implicating Lopez Obrador, then a presidential candidate.

Originally published by the New York Post