“Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States!”

There is a new blog post, entitled, “An invitation to violence.”


Migration

The words were true when Mexican President Porfirio Díaz spoke them. They remain true today, and never more so than with Donald Trump as U.S. president: “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States!”[1]

I’m not inclined to take the agreement between Mexico’s government and the Trump administration all that seriously. Mexico has promised what it cannot deliver. The claim that “Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks”[2] strikes me as unlikely: We’re talking largely about narcotics cartels and gangs here, with whom, Mexico’s recognized government effectively shares co-sovereignty in large parts of the country. If Mexico were capable of dismantling these organizations, it would have, long ago. It can’t.

The immediately preceding claim, that “Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border”[3] elides that Mexico has long served as an arm of U.S. migration policy. And the New York Times notes that Mexico had already agreed to this step “during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, the officials [from both countries] said.”[4] We are not talking about a rich country here; if the U.S. is serious about having Mexico keep these commitments, the latter country will need a great deal more money and resources than it has.

Which, of course, would be quite the inverse of Trump’s promise that Mexico would pay for the wall.

Mr. Trump’s decision to use trade as a bludgeon against Mexico was driven in part by his obsession with stopping what he falsely calls an invasion of the country and in part by a desire to satisfy his core supporters, many of who have grown angry at his inability to build his promised border wall.

Many of his top advisers, including those who oversee his political and economic agendas, were opposed to the tariff threat. But the president’s ire is regularly stoked by the daily reports he receives on how many migrants have crossed the border in the previous 24 hours.[5]

But Trump needed to appear to be bullying Mexico, he did bully Mexico to some extent, and this agreement sounds good, at least to Trump’s authoritarian populist base. And with Trump, this is what really matters. The agreement largely kicks the can down the road, saying “in the event the measures adopted do not have the expected results, they will take further actions.” It combines this with a promise of further discussions.[6] I expect nothing and if nothing happens there would thus be no call for “further actions.”

Finally, the agreement advocates “promoting development and economic growth in southern Mexico and . . . . promoting prosperity, good governance and security in Central America.”[7] But extreme poverty is only one of the push factors propelling migrants north. Central America, in large part due to U.S. policies, is an incredibly violent place. People are leaving for fear of their lives.

The poverty is also largely due to U.S. policies, especially including so-called “free” trade, which freed U.S. farmers to shaft Latin American farmers; and climate change, which even the neoliberal politicians refuse to take seriously.

Department of State, “U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration,” June 7, 2019, https://www.state.gov/u-s-mexico-joint-declaration/

Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Mexico Agreed to Take Border Actions Months Before Trump Announced Tariff Deal,” New York Times, June 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/08/us/politics/trump-mexico-deal-tariffs.html


Palestine

The ethnic cleansing will continue until morale improves.

Times of Israel, “US envoy says Israel has ‘right’ to annex parts of West Bank,” June 8, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-envoy-says-israel-has-right-to-annex-parts-of-west-bank/


  1. [1]José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori, quoted in WikiQuote, n.d., https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Porfirio_D%C3%ADaz
  2. [2]Department of State, “U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration,” June 7, 2019, https://www.state.gov/u-s-mexico-joint-declaration/
  3. [3]Department of State, “U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration,” June 7, 2019, https://www.state.gov/u-s-mexico-joint-declaration/
  4. [4]Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Mexico Agreed to Take Border Actions Months Before Trump Announced Tariff Deal,” New York Times, June 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/08/us/politics/trump-mexico-deal-tariffs.html
  5. [5]Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Mexico Agreed to Take Border Actions Months Before Trump Announced Tariff Deal,” New York Times, June 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/08/us/politics/trump-mexico-deal-tariffs.html
  6. [6]Department of State, “U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration,” June 7, 2019, https://www.state.gov/u-s-mexico-joint-declaration/
  7. [7]Department of State, “U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration,” June 7, 2019, https://www.state.gov/u-s-mexico-joint-declaration/

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