Video On Demand

Unequal Partners: The United States and Mexico

April 12, 2010 • 12:30 – 2:00 pm EDT

There are other determinants of national attitudes between Mexico and the United States, but historically, dependency/dominance has been a significant influence in the bilateral relationship among these nations.

The importance of each country to the other is not symmetrical; consequently, their responses to each other’s policies have varied substantively and in intensity.

The substance of Mexican public policy and the behavior of individual Mexicans have been powerfully shaped during the past 150 years by the country’s political-economic dependence on the United States. U.S. public policy and the behavior of individual Americans also have been shaped by U.S. dominance over Mexico.

Mexico has had to endure many humiliations from the United States: the loss of about half its territory under the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848 following its defeat in the Mexican-American War; the interference of the U.S. ambassador in the overthrow of  Francisco Madero in 1913 following the Mexican Revolution in 1910 (what is known in Mexico as the Pacto de la Embajada (referring to the U.S. embassy);  and the incursions into Mexico during the administration of President Woodrow Wilson.

Both countries would benefit if this pattern of economic, social, and political asymmetries could be reduced and eventually eliminated. In the interim, making the adverse consequences of dependency/dominance more transparent may have a positive policy effect, because it would make clear how thoroughly this phenomenon affects the behavior of the governments and people of the two countries.


Ambassador Peter DeShazo
Director, Americas Program
Center for Strategic & International Studies
Introductory Remarks
Ambassador Carla Hills
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Hills & Company, International Consultants
Ambassador James Jones
Manatt Jones Global Strategies, LLC
Panel Discussion
Andrew Selee
Director, Mexico Institute
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Peter Hakim
Inter-American Dialogue
Antonio Ortiz Mena
Head of Economic Affairs
Embassy of Mexico
Question and Answer Session
Dr. Sidney Weintraub
Holder of the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy
Center for Strategic & International Studies