Mexico: Prospects for a New Foreign Policy
November 15, 2012
Foreign policy is not an area where one wants or expects to see a lot of fireworks, unless it is Venezuela, Russia, or Iran. And even then, it is often an unhelpful sideshow of insults, snubs, and hidden agendas. Mexico is a country that went from a mild version of fireworks, a position of isolationism, support for Latin America's left, and a reliance on international institutions during its 71-year period of one-party government—to become more open to trade, to question previous assumptions, and to become an active player in regional and international diplomacy. During the last decade and a half, the quality of leadership among public officials and career diplomats has arguably improved.
With regard to the United States, Mexico has gone from a prickly neighbor to trade partner to collaborator on law enforcement issues, and it now pretyt much punches at its own weight as a leader in regional affairs. So far, in statements and deeds, President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto shows no signs of abandoning this trajectory, reversing the country's position on trade, shrinking from global politics, or distancing Mexico from the United States. In sum, the prospects seem dim for a return to the past.