Dear Mexico: Stop thinking about Trump
Let's add Jorge Castañeda, Mexico’s foreign minister (2000 to 2003) and current professor at New York University, to the growing list of Mexicans who are just thinking too much about Trump.
Can we come to our senses, people of Mexico?
Mr. Castañeda, who is generally a good guy but talks too much, posted this over at the New York Times:
This year, for the first time since Ronald Reagan assailed the Soviet Union in 1980, an American presidential candidate actively campaigned against another country’s national interests.
By threatening to deport all undocumented immigrants, about half of whom are Mexican; to build a wall on the Mexican border; and to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is far more important for Mexico than for the United States, Donald J. Trump made Mexico one of the central issues of the campaign.
How should Mexicans respond now that Mr. Trump has been elected?
How should Mexicans respond? They can start by not taking Mr. Castañeda too seriously.
First, candidate Reagan assailed the USSR in 1980 because it was a threat to the U.S. and Mexico. It was only sensible that the man running to be the leader of the free world would campaign against the old Soviet Union. Are you kidding me with that comparison?
Second, deporting undocumented immigrants is what Mexico does every day. Is Mr. Castañeda calling on Mexico to stop enforcing its immigration laws?
Third, building a wall is an option. It is an option that a sovereign country has to defend itself. Hasn't Mexico spoken of building a "muro" on the Guatemala border?
Fourth, Mr. Trump has not called for ripping up NAFTA. He wants to renegotiate it, again an option for a sovereign country to exercise.
Let's get real, please.
Mexico and the U.S. have huge mutual interests. I'm sure Mr. Trump knows that and wants nothing to do with hurting a neighbor with one of the top 20 GDPs in the world.
At the same time, most of modern Mexico's problems have nothing to do with the U.S. PEMEX, the national monopoly, was made and corrupted by Mexicans. "El campo," as Mexicans call their countryside, is inefficient because of politically motivated policies intended to control farmers rather than grow food. It is these farmers' sons who pack up and leave because there is no future in Mexico.
So my advice to Mr. Castañeda is simple: stop thinking about Trump, and start thinking about making Mexico into the economic powerhouse that it can be. Mexico has great resources and a wonderful people but too many "politicos" like Mr. Castañeda, who always look north to point fingers.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.