Foreign meddling? Mexican ex-envoy urges Mexico to sic Trump's US political opponents on him
That's the threat we read from Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. who wrote in an op-ed in the Financial Times Sunday stating that while Mexico was "the adult in the room" for placating Trump over his threat to impose tariffs if Mexico doesn't halt the border surge of late, he wanted to see Mexico get a lot tougher on the U.S. over the agreement it made. Quite explicitly, he asked Mexico to use President Trump's domestic political opponents against him if Trump gets any tougher on Mexico for failing to keep up its end of the bargain, as the latter has vowed to do.
Mr López Obrador should not blink and kowtow as both countries ascertain whether Mexico’s efforts to deter Central American transmigration have worked. But if Mr Trump does return to the warpath, Mexico needs to hold the line and work with its many allies and stakeholders in the US to pile political pressure on the White House.
"Many allies and stakeholders in the U.S."? Does the writer of this, the Mexican ambassador from the country's previous conservative administration (2007–2013) mean registered foreign agents? Because he's certainly calling on Mexico's current president to ask these people to do Mexico's bidding. Sounds like a real interesting one for the lawmen to look into, now that they are busting people on that rap for not registering these days, as Tony Podesta and Paul Manafort can attest.
Or does he mean activating and working with House speaker Nancy Pelosi? Look how cozy he is with her, in this 2009 Cinco de Mayo celebration photo posted on one of Pelosi's own Flickr sites.
He ends his op-ed with a warning to Trump that he won't like the result if he gets any tougher with Mexico in trying get it to keep its end of the bargain in trying to halt the border surge:
In the coming weeks and months, while Mr Trump plays checkers, Mexico will need to play chess. The US has had the luxury of an ally nation at its southern border for decades. Wrecking the new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, and its political and economic foundations, will have a hugely detrimental impact on the bilateral relationship that has been built so painstakingly since the creation of Nafta and in the aftermath of 9-11. Mr Trump should be very careful what he wishes for.
Careful what he wishes for? What we are reading here is a threat, from a foreign power, to activate Trump's domestic leftist enemies (and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) against him, all in the name of advancing Mexico's interests.
Sarukhan is not a Mexican official now, but as a former senior diplomat, he remains a pretty influential person linked to Mexico. It's not far-fetched to ask if he remains in contact with the Mexican government. We know he has some impressive buddies on that front — as well as some impressive ones over here, given his long exposure to life in the states.
The Chinese often will use someone outside government to state what they really think, while maintaining a cover of deniability. It's quite possible Mexico is using Sarukhan through this tactic, too.
Sarukhan also is an experienced professional diplomat. He knows how to choose his words precisely and avoid gaffes, which is the bottom-line work of diplomacy. There is no doubt he meant to write what he wrote with that threat.
In making a statement like this, it's quite possible to think Mexico has effectively announced that it will work to oppose the elected president to advance its own national interests. One can only wonder what exactly they have in mind.
Whatever it is, it's foreign meddling. So where are the Democrats' howls? Don't hear them, at least not yet, and given that Democrats are clearly the people Sarukhan is talking about getting the help from, don't expect we will. But it doesn't make the matter any less outrageous to voters here, who'd like to be able to choose their president for what he says he will do for them without foreign powers placing their interests ahead of them and using local pawns to get it all done. Sunlight is about the only tool we have for now. They're coming for our president.
Image credit: Nancy Pelosi via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.