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Column 012317 Wall

Monday, January 23, 2017

President Donald Trump, the USA and Mexico - What lies Ahead?

By Allan Wall

Well, it’s finally come to pass.  Donald Trump is President of the United States, having been installed in the traditional inauguration ceremony on January 20th, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

My 17-year old son was able to attend as part of a youth organization, and he had a great time.

Meanwhile, I was at work at school and showed it in my classroom. 

Of course, the campaign and election of Donald Trump was fraught with controversy.  After all, the candidate was a real outsider who shook up the establishment of his own Republican party.  But, Trump was triumphant in the election.

Bernie Sanders, a Democratic party senator and candidate in the Democratic primary, summed it up this way: “Trump took on the Republican establishment, he took on the Democratic establishment, took on the media establishment, and he ended up winning the election to become President of the United States. And that is an extraordinary accomplishment. And it talks about perseverance, it talks about very strong political instincts, it talks about a way to connect with people.”

Now Trump is president, and the real test begins as a man who has never held public office before starts at the top.  Of course, Trump has plenty of executive experience, but in the business world, not the political arena.

In Mexico, Trump has been excoriated since he entered the race in June of 2015.  And really, the hysteria in the Mexican media and among the political elite has been over the top and counter-productive.  How much of the so-called “Trump Effect” on the Mexican peso has been caused by this hysteria, which implies that Mexico is powerless to protect its currency against a foreign politician?

Some Mexican intellectuals have called for a scorched-earth policy. 

Enrique Krause said that Mexico shouldn’t even negotiate with Trump.

Jorge Castañeda, who served for a time as Vicente Fox’s Foreign Minister, counsels the government to refuse to accept deportees unless American officials can prove they are Mexican citizens.  Castañeda also says Mexico should use Central American immigration through Mexico as a bargaining chip against the United States.

But what sense does that make?  If the Trump administration walls off the border, all those Central American illegal aliens will be stuck in Mexico, and the Mexican government certainly doesn’t want that.

Of course, neither Krause nor Castañeda really has to answer to the people over their policies.

Nor does former president Vicente Fox, who is probably the Mexican politician most like Trump.  Fox has gone on one hysterical anti-Trump rant after another.  Once he was filmed standing in front of the Trump tower railing against The Donald.  What does Fox gain with this?  Well, certainly a degree of media attention. 

But the Enrique Peña Nieto administration is attempting to deal with the issues by congratulating Trump on his inauguration and then negotiating with him.

And that team includes Luis Videgaray, who as of January 4th is back in the government.  

Videgaray, as may be recalled, was pressured to resign as Finance Minister after arranging the visit of candidate Donald Trump back in September.  Videgaray did that by negotiating with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
(See
After Trump's Visit Mexican President Sacks Finance Minister).

So Videgaray is not only back in the Mexican government, but he now holds the Foreign Ministry portfolio.

President Peña Nieto stated on the day Videgaray was named Foreign Minister that, “With the change of government in the United States on 20 January, the instructions for Secretary Videgaray is to accelerate dialogue and contacts so that from the first day the bases for building a constructive work relationship can be established.”

Videgaray is not losing any time, planning to visit Washington (along with Economics Minister Ildefonso Guajardo) and to speak with U.S. officials.

In this ambitious meeting, the plan is for Videgaray and Guajardo to meet with Reince Priebus (Chief of Staff), Jared Kushner and Stephen Bannon, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and others. 

Then, on January 21st, a day after Trump’s inauguration, it was announced that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will meet in the White House on January 31st with President Trump himself.

I hope these negotiations will be successful, and I hope that the Trump team will keep in mind that having a prosperous Mexico as a neighbor is in the best interests of the United States of America. 

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Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info.

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