Analysis by William R. Wynn | TULSA, OK
In February of 1848, Mexico, outgunned and out of options, was forced to surrender following an illegal and immoral attack on its sovereignty by the United States. In June of 2019 history repeated itself.In February of 1848, Mexico, outgunned and out of options, was forced to surrender following an illegal and immoral attack on its sovereignty by the United States. In June of 2019 history repeated itself.
This past weekend it was announced that Mexico, faced with the prospect of crippling trade sanctions, capitulated to the demands of its neighbor to the north – or more accurately, to the demands of the United States’ neighborhood bully of a president, Donald Trump.
What could López Obrador do? If he failed to comply with Trump’s extortion demands, the Mexican people would surely suffer economically, and in fairly short order. A new tax on Mexican goods coming into the U.S. would mean cancelled orders and lost jobs, not to mention a halt or slowdown of American and other foreign investment in Mexico at a time when the Mexican economic recovery remains tenuous.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, barely a year in office, was faced with an impossible dilemma when Trump tweeted on May 30 that he was imposing a 5% tariff – incrementally increasing to 25% – on all goods sent from Mexico to the United States if the Mexican government failed to stem the tide of central American refugees now massing at the southern U.S. border.
“Mexico is the 12th largest exporter in the world,” a January article posted on the investment website thebalance.com pointed out, noting that, “In 2017, the United States received 79 percent of Mexico’s exports.”
A huge amount of money is at stake should tariffs be imposed.
But by acceding to Trump’s wishes, the Mexican president affectionately referred to by his constituents as “AMLO” suffers a blow to his nation’s dignity while potentially creating even more problems for himself as he struggles to combat political corruption and violent drug cartels.
It’s clear that López Obrador could not afford to place his country in such financial jeopardy.
“I question whether Mexico will get any benefit from this at all,” Mexico City attorney Diego Castillo told La Semana. “Mexico has taken on a lot of burden but gets nothing except – maybe – no new tariffs.”
The Mexican people, while acknowledging that AMLO did what had to be done to lessen the pain on his countrymen, largely see the “deal” struck with the Trump administration as one-sided and not in their favor.
By agreeing to send 6,000 members of the newly created Mexican National Guard – ten percent of the total – to police Mexico’s southern border, López Obrador now has a dramatically weaker force with which to fight the cartels, which was why the Guard was established in the first place. This could have a detrimental and dangerous impact both on Mexico and on the United States, but nuances such as this matter little to the would-be King Midas who seems to turn all he touches (except for his hair) not to gold but to something else entirely. And while the so-called “deal” may have averted a crisis for the time being, the future is still very much in question. There are, however, two things that are certain: Mexico can only do so much to lessen the flow of fleeing and desperate Central American migrants, and a blackmailer, once the ransom has been paid, will always come back for more. (La Semana)