Spanish is America’s second-most common language; English is in the second slot in Mexico. Family connections across the border are the most robust in the hemisphere. Based on how you run the numbers, Mexico is either America’s top or second-largest economic relationship – a position that will hold regardless of what happens with the global Order or
NAFTA. This economic relationship isn’t simply trade – this is integrated supply chains with products crossing the border multiple times. Retooling to adjust could be done, but it would take at least three years. Most important, Mexico borders
the United States. Trouble in bilateral relations are not a world away, but right next door.
may have its faults, but its economic success in Mexico has made net Mexican migration to the U.S. negative for a decade
because it gives Mexicans jobs
. Smash the agreements that employ Mexicans, and two results among many will be vast increases in drug flows and illegal migration as Mexicans find it harder to find a 9-to-5. A wall
would only encourage such behavior.
Hostility between the United States and Mexico impacts immigration, trade, financial stability, supply chains, manufacturing attractiveness, wealth levels, drug policy, water rights, agricultural markets, the works. If there is one country the Americans need to have a productive relationship with, it is Mexico. Texas is particularly vulnerable to everything that could potentially go wrong.
I’ve no doubt that the United States – under any president – can “handle” Mexico. But Mexico isn’t Paraguay. Mexico has 130 million people and is a $1 trillion economy. Whatever shape this and future administrations beat relations into will take time and effort. Time and effort that would be better spent on locations where partnership is not the best (and easiest) option.
Yet, unfortunately, for now all we can do is wait and watch. Both Trump and Orbrador are famous for their unwillingness to take advice from anyone. And for the next five months Orbrador has a lot of free time on his hands to play on Twitter with his American counterpart.