Why the Status Quo with Mexico Isn't Working

Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. Flickr/Creative Commons/A. Davey

The United States can't afford to treat Mexico with benign neglect.

Strengthening the U.S. relationship with Mexico can fulfill several achievements in Trump’s first term. Mexico’s cooperation is necessary on immigration, public security and energy independence. As president-elect, Trump has been invited to visit Mexican President Pena Nieto in Mexico, whose historic reform efforts have rivaled President Salinas’s from the 1990s. Pena Nieto is risking his legacy and the success of liberalization to make this relationship a success. Trump, with his telenovela lifestyle and pragmatic business sense, might be uniquely suited to win over Mexicans wary of his rhetoric and punitive policy prescriptions. Soon he will have an opportunity to make Mexico an early foreign policy priority, which would signal a welcome statesmanlike approach to the region and the world.

Michael J. Ard is a former deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Western Hemisphere and the author of An Eternal Struggle: The Role of the National Action Party in Mexico’s Democratic Transition. He teaches international relations at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

Image: Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. Flickr/Creative Commons/A. Davey