This week, the United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, visited Mexico and also met with the President and Cabinet members of the Mexican government. Much was said and speculated about what was the agenda and topics of discussion held during this meeting, in reference to the most important issues in the bilateral relationship (eg immigration, security, energy, etc.). The truth is that we don’t know for sure what the tone, message, and topics were covered during these meetings, but I think what we saw was a lesson in political realism and international politics in its most pragmatic form.
Let’s see why: in the end, reality prevailed in the interaction between the two delegations. If we take a closer look, each party focuses on what matters most to them. On the part of Mexico, there was talk that there would be a position regarding the settlement of disputes on the issue of energy during national holidays, which was reconsidered, and on the part of the United States, the position is appreciated by the State Department (and thus the White House) with a conciliatory tone, Without fussing over points of contention and seeking high-level agreements in order to—certainly—advance on what matters most to him.
Both parties can act differently. Both sides at the negotiating table could have ignored calls for caution and acted urgently, for no good reason. But in the end, strategy was more important and real politics prevailed and the most realistic and beneficial way to make things work between the two countries. I think this needs to be acknowledged, because in the end we are both mutually dependent on each other in this interaction.
So, if the outcome is ultimately positive, why has there been so much speculation about the strength of the relationship? As we indicated a few weeks ago, this is because every delegation and every government speaks to its audience. There are two types of fans, one inside and one outside (this is valid on both sides of the Rio Grande). They each have different interests, understanding, and ideas and anticipate things that may not be applicable in reality, but which are well heard in discourse. In that sense, I think we’ve seen a master class in real politics: speaking to an audience that someone is listening to, but so finely woven that speech and action are directed respectively to our situations and interests. It is a lesson worth learning.
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