America’s “Three Amigos” are out of step

There are those who consider that the North American Summit Meeting To be held on Tuesday is an opportunity to develop a regional strategy for an era of new challenges, from the economy and geopolitics to the climate.

The president of Mexico, andres manuel lopez obradorsees an opportunity to promote the little-used airport being built north of Mexico City.

“For friendship and diplomacy We ask that your plane land at AIFA”, said López Obrador in one of his regular morning press conferences. Otherwise, “our opponents, the conservatives, were going to use that to say that The Felipe Ángeles airport was not reliablethat not even President Biden had agreed to go down there.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden.

Ambition speaks of what is unlikely we offer the summit: a great strategy.

Biden and López Obrador can profess to have lofty goals. But due to concerns about domestic political agendas, they have little time to achieve them.

They need to score some points. The Prime Minister of Canada, justin trudeauYou can talk about the “supply chain of electric vehicles” and enjoy the weather.

Leaving airports aside, Biden is decidedly the one most in need of the two. The Government is preparing for new attacks against its immigration policies by the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, including a possible impeachment against the secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorcas.

The United States will let in 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela

The president of the United States must not only offer some solution to a chaotic border overrun with asylum seekers and other would-be immigrants from across the Americas and beyond. He must also address the public health crisis created by fentanylmostly smuggled from Mexico, which in 2021 claimed the lives of more than 100 thousand Americans for overdose.

Last Thursday, the White House announced a new package of border control measures. In particular, he has the help of AMLO, who apparently managed to expand a previous agreement for Mexico to receive Venezuelans rejected by the US to also include Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans.

Biden, however, may need more: The announcement said that Mexico will accept up to 30,000 potential immigrants per month. In November (December statistics are not yet available), Border Patrol agents encountered almost 90,000 potential immigrants of these countries hoping to enter the US

Meeting López Obrador and Joe Biden 20220712
Meeting López Obrador and Joe Biden.

There are other pebbles in Biden’s shoe that also come from Mexico. These include AMLO’s protectionist energy policies, which the US and Canada have deemed to violate commitments not to USMCA discrimination, the trade agreement that binds the three North American nations. Also included is AMLO’s decision to phase out imports of genetically modified corn, as well as the glyphosate herbicideprobably starting in January 2025, a measure that could violate USMCA and would deprive corn growers in the Midwest of a major export market.

Comparatively, López Obrador is well established. It still enjoys solid popularity ratings. The odds are good that he can install his preferred successor to the presidency when his term ends in October 2024.

In recent weeks, he’s been offering grand, if implausible, thoughts about the future of North America: end imports and make America self-sufficient in everything it consumes, open USMCA to every country in the hemisphere. and embrace European Union-style integration with supranational government institutions.

Such ideas are accompanied by declarations of friendship towards the president of the United States, leavened in a confusing way with the dose of standard anti-gringo criticism which is always well received by the masses in Mexico.

The United States will almost double temporary visas for non-agricultural jobs

AMLO criticized Biden for welcoming him to Volodimir Zelensky to “America”, a term that actually encompasses the entire continent. After the Peruvian Congress removed the president pedro castle last month, he demanded that the US stop playing games with the sovereignty of Peru. (This occurred just as Castillo’s replacement, Dina Boluarteaccused AMLO of interfering with the sovereignty of Peru and expelled the Mexican ambassador in Lima).

Yet for all the blah blah, AMLO also has real and immediate concerns. He needs Biden’s help tooor at least his indulgence.

The US has softened its complaint against Mexico’s new energy policies, refraining from legal proceedings under the terms of the regional trade pact. But the White House is under pressure from agricultural and energy interests that have a lot of political influence; it cannot be contained forever.

What’s more, for all his popularity, AMLO has recently suffered some political blows. Last month, he failed in his attempt to make a constitutional amendment to change the system that oversees Mexico’s elections. And most recently, he lost his candidate for the presidency of the Supreme Court and the winner seems eager to press charges that the president’s energy policies violate the Mexican constitution.

However, even if he receives it very reluctantly, López Obrador could use it some biden love.

Trudeau presser foot
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In what some observers see as an attempt to defuse the energy dispute, AMLO has touted a grand plan with the US to paraca produce lithium, electric vehicles and solar energy in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, in part to serve semiconductor producers that Washington plans to attract to Arizona, across the border.

Ahead of Biden’s visit, Mexican authorities arrested the jailed drug lord’s son on Thursday Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmana major fentanyl trade, sparking violence throughout the state of sinaloa. (Guzmán Jr. had been arrested before, in October 2019, but was released on López Obrador’s orders, ostensibly to end the violence that sparked the arrest.)

Perhaps all of them, AMLO, Biden and Trudeau, share an understanding of the need for North America to have a strategy to participate in a changing world. AMLO surely understands that Mexico’s future prosperity depends on its economic relations with the US, which today buys more than three quarters of its exports. Biden understands how important Mexico is as a provider of cheap energy and labor to his plan to curb globalization and bring production closer to home.

The Secretary of State, anthony blinkand the Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, have been in Mexico to promote the opportunities offered there by the CHIPS Act. For his part, john kerry, The Weather Czar, has been in Sonora. There are agreements to ensure the resilience of critical regional supply chains in the region and things like that. And this summit opens something more of the same.

This week’s meetings, however, will be mostly about treading carefully. we will all be satisfied if they emerge politically unscathed once they finish. And AMLO will be able to boast of the good news that both Biden and Trudeau will be landing at their new airport.

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