Miguel Angel, thank you always.
Mexico and the U.S. are obligated to a daily coexistence and permanent negotiation. In the last 10 years, we have seen that the results of our political relationship depend on the quality, promptness and characteristics of the decisions taken. In some cases they have been positive, and in others they have not. Today, the bilateral relationship isn't active, constructive or dynamic. It maintains a single-minded security agenda.
It's necessary to know up to what point it's possible to respond to national interests and, at the same time, collaborate actively with the U.S. A comprehensive proposal is required now more than ever. Today, the relationship is set with various limits that nullify its scope. Let's focus on three: a lack of coordination between government officials and interbureaucratic crisis, the 2012 elections and the lack of a comprehensive agenda.
As no coordination exists between countries, there is no unified position between the bureaucratic apparatuses. Let's look at some examples: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks about a co-responsibility, while Secretary of the Interior Janet Napolitano* says that the fight against drug-trafficking in Mexico is a question of internal policies for the U.S. At the same time, Barack Obama contradicts them with his comments when he supports Felipe Calderon. For Mexico, the attitudes of the embassy in Washington, the Foreign Affairs Department and the Security Cabinet are three different things. They don't speak the same language. They speak without communicating with one another. Both sides of the border act as if the other doesn't exist, not even responding to a domestic concern that is, in turn, bi-national. This causes uncertainty, unrest and chaos in both systems. While U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress that he was unaware of the information from the Fast and Furious operation, the same Congress confronted him with contradicting information. The former spokesman of National Security, Alejandro Poire, denied the facts of this operation, while the Center of Research and National Security and the secretary of Public Security in Mexico confirmed the opposite. In this sense, we have questions but wrong answers, like how the Mexican Congress demands answers from Chancellor Patricia Espinosa on issues like that of U.S. drones in Mexican territory. Those who must respond are the Security Cabinet representatives who are responsible for these decisions and actions — not the diplomats or the chancellor. The lack of consensus on foreign policy issues reduces bilateral reach. Coordination and leadership between both governments is imminent.
As for the two elections, there won't be any significant change before 2013, the year in which the governments change. And still, the candidates will criticize the other country if it will win them votes. However, there is work to be done now: defining where we are headed and what our objectives are. We require clear national interests. Actions will continue on the same course for now. Until we know whether the next U.S. president is a Democrat or a Republican, or which party wins in Mexico, and until we know the formation of the congresses, we'll define the room for maneuvering in our foreign policies as a response to internal decisions. In a forum at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Ambassadors Olga Pellicer and Mauricio de Maria y Campos discussed how the U.S. has never experienced a crisis like the current one. In addition to the economic crisis, the U.S. is experiencing social and political ones as well. Obama hasn't been able to pass his domestic policy proposals, as was the case for the budget, much less any policies related to bilateral relations like immigration. All of them have been blocked by the House and Senate. The issues with Mexico aren't far behind. Bilateral relations have been met with complaints and without strategy. Without a new bureaucratic structure, this dynamic will remain the same.
Finally, Mexico and the U.S. require a comprehensive agenda. Focusing [single-mindedly] on security issues, the consequences have been adverse. In part, the image and perception that our neighbors have of our country is very negative. We get more and more criticism from across the border, which creates a worrisome anti-Mexican sentiment. We blame the Americans for not lowering their drug consumption or their sale of firearms: "They are guilty of what we live in Mexico." One way of changing this image is rescuing the idea of a comprehensive agenda and getting away from a single-minded one. Like Ambassador Anthony Wayne says, there are many issues on which we should build bilateral or trilateral institutions with Canada [and the U.S.]. They are the historically traditional issues of commerce, immigration and security that have, in the moments of Mexico's greatest negotiating capacity, been the axis of action. There are also many others on a second level. Let's resuscitate the priorities: energy, environment, health, water, social development, education and human rights to name a few. All are of bilateral interest. Let's construct a proposal from society's local, federal, private and academic spheres. Let's not waste more time consolidating a North America.
*Editor’s Note: This sentence was accurately translated from the original. However, Janet Napolitano is the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security (Ken Salazar is currently the secretary of the Interior).