Mexico Just Told U.S. ‘We Don’t Need You’! Guess Who’s Waiting To Step In?
Donald Trump is in the midst of scoring a real diplomatic coup. He’s driving Mexico straight into the arms of China.
While the administration is examining ways to withdraw aid to our neighbor and use the money to pay for Trump’s ill-conceived wall on the border, a Mexican official is busy transmitting a message that basically says: ‘Screw you, we don’t need your money.’ And he may be right.
On Friday, Mexico’s Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong took to the radio to deliver the message. He pointed out some stark facts for Trump.
Much of the money that Mexico receives from the U.S. comes from the Plan Merida program, approved by Congress in 2008. Of the $2.6 billion authorized, $1.6 billion — over 60% — has already been sent across the border. In his radio speech, Osorio Chong said:
When they realize what’s left of Merida, they will understand that it’s not even that significant. We don’t object to them moving these resources… Mexico now has its own capabilities.
According to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report, the remaining $1 billion isn’t even 4% of what it would take to build the wall. As Trump racks up tremendous expenses pursuing his conservative, racist agency, the U.S. might soon need to seek aid of its own. But will the country have any allies left?
In addition to Trump’s insistence that Mexico will pay for the wall, he has threatened to withdraw from or renegotiate NAFTA, to deport undocumented immigrants who are not Mexican to Mexico, to tighten immigration enforcement, to impose trade tariffs, and to negotiate bilateral trade agreements, between two countries, instead of multilateral agreements, between a group of countries.
Trump wants bilateral trade agreements? Mexico is likely to cooperate — with China. Many economists are predicting that the administration’s drastic trade measures will benefit China. Mexico’s appeal as a trading partner with the world’s No. 2 economy has grown in recent years.
According to Bloomberg News, Mexico has the following advantages for the larger country:
The peso has depreciated 26 percent over the past two years, making Mexico’s goods more competitive; the country has undertaken past structural reforms on labor, energy and telecoms; and it has free trade agreements with 44 countries outside the U.S.
And Natixis, a global asset management company, released this assessment:
It seems clear that Mexico must turn to the rest of the world in its export policy and the rest of the world, today, cannot be seen as excluding China.
Trump has demonstrated nothing but limited vision in how he is governing and how he treats other countries. One thing he apparently fails to see is the fact that Mexico is the #2 consumer of American goods, after Canada. But the hostility he has created in Mexico is palpable. Panelists at an international affairs forum in Washington, D.C., expressed their dismay.
Rafael Fernandez de Castro, a professor at Syracuse University and a former government official in Mexico said that Trump had created “a perfect consensus” in his country:
From the far right to the far left, we all hate Mr. Trump. I have never seen this consensus in Mexico. Mexicans are rallying around it.
There are signs that such a consensus may be forming in the U.S., as well. Carlos Gutierrez, who was the commerce secretary under George W. Bush, could barely contain his horror, as well. He told the meeting:
I think what we need to understand – and I trust that our government here in the U.S. will understand this – we cannot humiliate a country to the bargaining table. Maybe in business you can, because it’s all about the bottom line. But you can’t quantify national pride. You can’t quantify national dignity, and that’s what’s at stake here. It’s going to be extremely difficult for Mexico to do anything but take a combative response.
Of course, Trump has been on the attack against China, too, criticizing the country’s trade policies. The administration apparently believes in burning bridges rather than building them, with the result that new bridges will be built between the alienated nations.
Feature photo, President of China Xi Jinping and President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, by Angélica Rivera de Peña via Wikimedia Commons.