No matter how much politics and politicking rattle and shake Mexico and the United States make, the only definite truth is that, like it or not and want it or not, we’re inseparable. Married by destiny if you will, but physically inseparable even at diplomatic crossroads.
But we are two different nations with definitely different political, economic and cultural systems. We too speak different languages.
This is something that distinguished visitors to Mexico and that U.S. secretaries of State and Homeland Security Rex Tillerson and John Kelly have to understand in order to go home to Washington and take with them a constructive message to President Donald Trump telling him that the only way to the future is unity.
At the present time, the raucous political campaign Mr. Trump ran is still irking Mexicans and the cries of “build that wall” echo loudly in the nation. But that was a campaign promise that — as it’s been through the history of all political campaigns — does not have to be kept.
Republican politicians Tillerson and Kelly should at this time recall their wonderful hero President Ronald Reagan, who in 1989 went to Berlin to shout the historical phrase: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall.” The only problem seems to be nowadays that in their quest to beat the Democrats, Republicans purposely developed a short-memory and forgot that walls have costly emotional distortions.
Beyond the promised wall, President Trump immediately pulled the United States out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal which made it collapse, at least partially because China is actively promoting its participation for lack of a U.S. one.
Right along with the discarding of TPP Mexico was expecting that The Donald would also sign an executive order cancelling the 23 year old participation of the United States in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Surprise: it did not happen.
Instead, talk of renegotiating it began and that’s just exactly where we’re at right now, and it should be the starting point for the future of trade relations between the two nations with distant Canada included. Canada does not pose a problem either for the United States or Mexico.
The one reality for both the United States and Mexico in beginning this “new” diplomatic and trade relation is the up-front participants.
First of all, Mexico does not have an ambassador in the United States at the moment — the appointed Geronimo Gutiérrez has not been confirmed either by the Mexican nor the U.S. Senates — and the outlook for current U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, is uncertain, as she’s not been either confirmed or replaced by the new administration. And definitely, it will be Mr. Tillerson who will be calling that shot.
Needless to say, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray and U.S. Secretary of State are also new to the diplomatic world with all the immediate shortcomings that may create, but both have long negotiating expertise in finance and in the end, that’s what NAFTA is all about: jobs for all, production and trade.
The turmoil caused by Donald Trump in Mexico has had worldwide repercussions and Mexico — with or without NAFTA — now holds a very different position than the one it had in 1994 when the treaty went into effect. In that lapse of time the different Mexican government administrations have made it a point to increase the number of trade agreements now with 46 nations.
Upon seeing that the United States may pull out of NAFTA — definitely currently the world’s most famous and successful trade agreement — many a nation sees that as an opportunity to trade with Mexico. For instance, and this is a fact, Argentina is offering to replace the important bulk purchase of yellow industrial corn Mexico now buys from the United States at the right price. Other nations are offering their trade partnerships as a cushion and trade expansion of the nation, creating a unique situation, which Mexico did not have in 1994. Times have changed, dear gringos.
Definitely this visitation by secretaries Tillerson and Kelly is ground breaking, because about the only stumbling block for a fruitful agreement might just be President Trump whose mind and moods seem to be prone to rapid change. For peekers, we just saw it last week while Vice President Pence was offering his full support to NATO, Mr. Trump was tweeting clashing statements.
But in the end Trump has, among all his defects, one talent, and that is being a chief executive officer. As such, delegating delicate tasks is the core of the success of all negotiations, and definitely Tillerson and Kelly have proven careers at successful negotiating.
Should they fail let’s just keep in mind that neither Mexico nor the United States is going anywhere, not one without the other.
Together we look better.