The New York Times reports: For decades, the United States and Mexico have expanded their cooperation and increasingly entwined their fortunes. Now the relationship between America and one of its most important allies and trading partners is being rewritten — on Twitter — culminating in a remarkable back-and-forth as the world looked on.
It began with Mr. Trump’s proclamation to build the wall. Next came a diplomatic response from Mr. Peña Nieto, urging unity, accompanied by suggestions from his aides that the meeting might be scrapped over the offense.
Mr. Trump followed on Thursday morning with a threat to cancel the meeting himself. Soon after, Mr. Peña Nieto officially announced that he would not attend, effectively beating Mr. Trump to the punch.
The exchange offered insight into the evolution of Mexico’s president, who began his term with great fanfare in 2012, only to be hounded by scandal, the violence engulfing his nation, a steady decline in the polls and, now, perhaps the worst period in Mexican-American relations since President Calvin Coolidge. [Continue reading…]
Jorge Guajardo writes: Trump now faces a southern neighbor largely united in its anti-U.S. sentiment. This sentiment is not primarily moved by his intention to renegotiate NAFTA; or his racist, anti-Mexican rhetoric; or even by the idea of the wall itself, which anyone who has actually been to the U.S.-Mexico border knows is patently absurd given the topography along the 2,000-odd mile length of the border — not to mention the large swathes of protected or privately owned land there. The sentiment, which led every single political leader in Mexico to demand that President Peña Nieto cancel his trip to Washington, comes from the indignity of the notion that Mexico will somehow pay for the wall. The Trump administration is basing its entire approach to the bilateral relationship with Mexico on a ludicrous and arrogant proposition: that it can make another sovereign nation foot the bill for its own xenophobic construction project.
Trump has recklessly and needlessly ushered in a dark era in U.S.-Mexico relations. Gratuitously bashing Mexico and Mexican immigrants plays well with Trump’s base, and in his ignorance, he seems to believe he can do it without consequences. With the possible exception of Canada, there is no other country with as many areas and levels of cooperation with the U.S. as Mexico. Issues of trade, transportation, national security, organized crime, water, the environment, health, and immigration that affect both countries rely on extensive bilateral cooperation and goodwill.
As Mexico prepares for a presidential election in 2018, every candidate worth his or her salt will try to outdo the competitors in anti-U.S. posturing. They will promise to expel armed U.S. law-enforcement personnel from Mexico, to legalize drugs, to allow Central American migrants to reach the U.S. border, to stop sharing water with drought-ravaged border states. Some of them, if elected, may even want to emulate Trump and follow through on their most ridiculous campaign promises. The voters, for sure, will be egging them on to stick it to the United States.
From an early age, every Mexican is taught that Mexico lost half its territory to its imperialist northern neighbor. Ask any Mexican child and they will name all six “Niños Heroes,” young cadets who died defending Chapultepec castle from the invading U.S. forces in 1847. One of them is said to have wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and jumped to his death rather than be captured by the Americans. His story might be as apocryphal as George Washington’s cherry tree, but it nonetheless remains a powerful symbol of Mexican nationalism: We will just as soon suffer hardship, or even death, than be submitted to humiliation from the U.S. [Continue reading…]
Meanwhile, as the Washington Post reports, British Prime Minister Theresa May appears to have few reservations about ingratiating herself through obsequious overtures she is now making to Trump: May’s loyalty is being rewarded this week with a plum designation: On Friday, she will be the first foreign leader to meet Trump in the Oval Office. The meeting will give her a prime chance to pitch Trump on a U.S.-Britain free-trade deal, an agreement that May has signaled will be a top priority of her premiership as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.
But as she was winging across the Atlantic on Thursday, she also faced a wicked backlash in London from lawmakers who say her courting of the new U.S. president has gone too far.
The criticism came after Downing Street released excerpts from a speech May intends to deliver Thursday at a retreat for Republican congressmen in Philadelphia. Trump is also due to address the gathering.
In her speech, May seems to endorse Trump’s view of himself as a turnaround artist who can restore America to lost greatness. Both the United States and Britain, she is due to tell the Republicans, are “rediscover[ing] our confidence.”
“As you renew your nation just as we renew ours — we have the opportunity — indeed the responsibility — to renew the Special Relationship for this new age,” May will say, according to the excerpts. “We have the opportunity to lead, together, again.”
May’s office also said she would be bearing gifts when she meets the Trumps: “a hamper full of produce” from the prime minister’s country retreat, Chequers, for first lady Melania Trump; and for the president, “an engraved Quaich” — a two-handled cup that is an ancient Scottish symbol of friendship.
But back in London, May’s friendship mission was falling flat, as lawmakers wondered how their leader could seemingly ignore Trump’s more extreme positions and actions, include his advocacy of torture, his promotion of protectionism and his proposed ban on Syrian refugees. [Continue reading…]
The White House accuses the press of being part of a campaign to delegitimize Trump. In truth, Trump delegitimizes himself on a daily basis.
The only question anyone — foreign leader, cabinet secretary, federal official, or journalist — should be asking themselves is whether through their words an actions they are lending legitimacy to a man who would otherwise have none.
The United States now has at its helm an imbecile, a naked emperor, a national embarrassment.
This charade is only being sustained by those who are willing to afford Trump respect which he has done nothing to earn.