Naturally, the focus will be on the bilateral talks between Presidents Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico and Joe Biden of the United States.
The 10th North American Leaders’ Summit that kicked off on Sunday night in the Mexican capital is an example of the problems and advantages of growing regional integration.
Naturally, the focus will be on bilateral talks between Presidents Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico and Joe Biden of the United States on issues such as migration, border security, drug trafficking (especially fentanyl), trade and climate change. The differences are in the position each adopts and it could be said that there is nothing new under the sun: migration, drug trafficking and security are, and have been for years, the dominant issues.
But this time there is a change in emphasis. For the U.S., the subject matter includes issues such as the need for cooperation on climate change, symbolized now by the brutal drought plaguing the western U.S. and northwestern Mexico, and the disagreements and possibilities for agreement on energy and clean energy investments and their aftermath.
And this shows that even in disagreements, the enormous integration between the two countries is present, directly, and between the three North American nations indirectly. For Biden, for example, migration and border security — specifically fentanyl trafficking — are priority issues because they are an important part of the U.S. domestic political agenda, and there is no doubt they will be an important part of the arsenal of his Republican adversaries in the imminent 2024 presidential campaign.
In one way or another they represent the impact that problems linked to Mexico, and the negative views which accompany them, have on U.S. policy.
For Lopez Obrador the agenda is similar to that of other years: arms trafficking, migration and borders.
To what extent other political differences will play a role remains to be seen. Mexico’s abstention on issues such as Ukraine and aid to Cuba through its hiring of doctors, as well as economic interaction with China, may have some impact.
But whether they want to or not, the needs of neighborliness and growing regional integration are overriding. In other words, geopolitics.
Lopez Obrador would be wrong not to take advantage of the opportunity created by the current international economic situation and the trend toward nearshoring or friend-shoring to streamline and facilitate production chains, even if this translates into greater integration with the United States and Canada.
But we should remember the recent statements made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the effect that the solution to the political trade dispute over the energy industries may be the key to Mexico’s development.
This is a point that, based on different visions, has been made by Latin American leftists, who are today devoted to the dream of South American integration under the leadership of Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
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