Voices of Mexico no. 55

Our Voice

Last February 16, President George Bush made his first visit abroad soon after his inauguration to Mexico, a clear good will gesture, breaking a long tradition of U.S. presidents who usually reserved that distinction for Canada. Undoubtedly, it was a sign of recognition of our country, today the United States’ first trade partner. Guanajuato and all of Mexico celebrated. However, an unfortunate coincidence clouded matters: during his visit, Bush ordered a military attack on Irak. In our last issue of Voices of Mexico, my article on the U.S. elections pointed to the fact that the sharply contested, relatively unclear election results brought with them the risk of giving rise to a weak president. I expressed my concern that there is a clear temptation for weak U.S. presidents to rely on confrontation and war as a foreign policy strategy because of the public’s tendency to support their presidents in times of international crises. Nevertheless, I did harbor the hope that my prediction would not come true. Long before I could have imagined, however, the new U.S. president sent a clear message to the international community about who holds the reins of world power: despite its crisis of democracy, the United States is the world’s leading power, and make no mistake about it. Bombing one of the U.S. people’s “traditional enemies” had the desired effect not only internationally, but also on the domestic political scene.

Even if it did put a cloud over Bush’s visit to Mexico, this does not mean that U.S. relations with its most important trade partners should be affected. That was why Bush emphasized his commitment to the hemisphere, and, concretely, his desire to support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and to promote the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA). This is the main message that should be remembered because it may make for greater growth in the region as a whole, with possible comparative advantages for Mexico given its being part of the NAFTA region. However, it remains to be seen if it can be translated into actions. We should not forget that the U.S. Congress is sharply divided, which could mean serious obstacles for any attempt to get fast track treatment for the FTAA. In addition, if his message is not going to be mere discourse, Bush should show that, now that North America is going through an economic slowdown, he is willing to share the solutions with the other two countries in the region, Mexico and Canada. This could be interpreted, undoubtedly, as a positive sign for all the countries of the continent in advancing toward the FTAA.




Our Voice
Paz Consuelo Márquez Padilla


Abortion in Mexico, Year 2000
Myriam Brito Domínguez

Abortion and Politics
Marta Lamas

A Glimpse of Cuernavaca
Leonardo Sepúlveda

Archaeological Sites in Morelos
Barbara Konieczna

The Monasteries of Morelos
Alfonso Toussaint

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