Unequal Partners: The United States and Mexico

Unequal Partners: The United States and Mexico explores the relationship between two neighboring countries—one highly dependent on the other.

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.