Mexico-US Relations: ‘It Takes 2 To Tango’

Finally, after a long period of waiting, Roberta Jacobson was confirmed as ambassador of the United States to Mexico; she faces a task befitting her tremendous capabilities.

No one doubts the capabilities of Jacobson, who is reputed as the U.S. official with the greatest knowledge of Mexico, nor does anyone doubt her professionalism or good intentions.

And few doubt the importance of one country to another in the context of the birth of an increasingly powerful American region that is nevertheless still contradictorily weak.

However, it cannot just be the job of Jacobson or her counterpart, the new Ambassador of Mexico in Washington Carlos Sada.

It is not going to be easy. As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango.”

What is certain is that the relations between the two countries is good and complementary in general. However, the relationship must be nurtured, and Mexico has not taken care in doing so, as shown by the acceptance from some groups of the rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In real terms, Mexico’s image leaves something to be desired in the United States; and no matter how much the American image has improved in Mexico, pseudonationalistic attitudes that find an easy target in the United States are being renewed.

In the case of Ambassador Jacobson, with all the sympathy that she might have from and for Mexico, her main job is to defend and represent the interests of her country. And yes, it is true that part of the U.S. ambassador’s job in Mexico is to inform about and interpret the country for the White House.

However, it is also to let the Mexican government know about Washington’s interests, and even though we might believe that they are “lip service,” or even hypocritical, or motivated by domestic policy, these interests include human rights, legality and the environment.

The challenge is for the Mexican government. There is a limit to what public relations and image projections can do.

It is true that it can be argued — rightly so — that there are no miracle formulas that will lead the country to the unattainable Eden that promotes nongovernmental organizations and our laws and, lastly, denies our actions, especially those from our authorities.

However, it is also true that while the growing social and economic integration has shown huge advantages and left a trail of problems, it has also put on the table the internationalization of local and national problems on a binational level.

And that does not work in favor of Mexico’s government, which can suddenly become subject to the demands and pressures of citizens with dual nationality through the U.S. judicial or political system.

Jacobson knows this and is aware of both the country’s shortcomings and the need to strengthen its governmental and justice apparatus.

However, of course, this can also be interpreted as “interventionism”…

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