Friday, February 03, 2017

Mexico Wants To Get Out Of Headlines

There are differing accounts about whether Donald Trump said/joked that the U.S. might send troops to Mexico to fight drug cartels. We may never know. We do know for sure that he actually said "bad hombres" to the Mexican president and probably pronounced it "hambres" which in Spanish means he said "bad hungers." But I digress.

What's more interesting to me is the Mexican reaction. Mexico wants to get relations out of the headlines, which has been bad both for getting anything constructive accomplished and for Enrique Peña Nieto personally.

This interview (yes, I am linking to Anderson Cooper, perhaps a first) with Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray is instructive in this regard. Not only does he try to smooth things over, but he also discusses his personal relationship with newly confirmed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who knew Videgaray when he was Finance Minister. The best scenario for Mexico--and indeed likely for the U.S. as well--is to shift the bulk of diplomacy to these two establishment figures.

Whether this actually happens depends on a) whether Tillerson ends up with influence in the administration, which we just don't yet know; and b) whether Trump is willing to stop tweeting/saying inflammatory things, which to this point has been an impulse he's been unable to control.


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