Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Decade of US-Mexican Relations

President-elect Barack Obama and Felipe Calderón met exactly ten years ago. We can see how little we have accomplished.

  • Obama said he wanted an "upgrade" of NAFTA. Mexican officials said they had no idea what he meant.
  • A U.S. senior aide said Obama was also concerned about how the flow of U.S. guns to the south was exacerbating the drug war. You don't hear that anymore.
  • Obama said he wanted to have a "comprehensive and thoughtful" strategy for immigration that would benefit both countries. Obama was blocked at every turn on that and of course it has now blown up.
  • Obama said he wanted more cooperation with Calderón on climate change. Now that's all unraveled. 
For many presidents, U.S.-Mexican relations are an afterthought, or develop only in secondary manner. Trump changed that by directly linking bilateral relations to the well-being of the U.S. on a constant basis, but in a negative way. What I want to see is a U.S. presidential candidate turning that on its head by making U.S.-Mexican relations a priority and showing that we are all better off by working in a mutually beneficial way. 

As we gear up absurdly early for the U.S. presidential race, I will be looking for U.S.-Mexican relations in the Democratic candidates' platforms. Talking about immigration without putting the issue in a broader context is a mistake.


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