Saturday, February 03, 2018

US Getting Closer to Mexico and That's a Problem

A few days ago I noted how Mexico's exports to the United States had actually increased during the Trump administration. Now Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray says Mexico's relationship with the United States is closer now than it was during Obama or Bush.

“I think in many ways the relationship today is more fluid, it’s closer than it was with previous administrations, which might be surprising to some people but that’s a fact of life,” said Mexico’s top diplomat.

Fluid, yes, no doubt. It's hard to pin down what the U.S. position is on many issues because they change with every tweet. As for closer, I would hazard the guess that given uncertainty and a skeleton staff at the State Department, Mexican diplomats have to work harder to develop personal relationships with Trump's top aides. In fact, Videgaray may be referring specifically to his relationship with Jared Kushner. From last October:

“Jared and Videgaray pretty much run Mexico policy,” the U.S. official told me earlier this year. “It’s all pretty much just between them. There’s not really any interagency relationships going on right now.” In the State Department, he explained, career diplomats were no longer kept informed: “U.S. officials sometimes learn the latest not from their own agencies but from their Mexican counterparts—especially Videgaray.”

The "closer" is therefore not a positive sign. It is not based on broad institutional relationships but solely on personal ones. That makes it weaker.


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