President Bush hasn't even met with Mexican President Vicente Fox yet, but at the rate of the concessions he's already made, we'll be lucky if the Gadsden Purchase is still U.S. territory by the time he does meet him at the end of this week.
Two weeks ago, with bipartisan support and tacit administration approval, Congress began moving toward the repeal of the annual legal requirement for "certification" of the Mexican government's efforts to fight illegal-drug trafficking. Certification has long been a sore point with Mexico, and our unilateral abandonment of it throws away what diplomats like to call an important "bargaining chip." If Bush had retained the chip in his hand, what might he have gained from Mexico in return for giving it up?
Yet last week the administration again unilaterally gave in to still another Mexican grievance, a Clinton administration ruling that prevents Mexican trucks from hauling cargoes throughout the United States. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the trucks are supposed to have free access, but Mexican trucks and drivers fail to meet the safety standards required of American truckers. Some 41 percent of Mexican trucks fail U.S. safety inspections at the border. Not only will the Mexican trucks now compete unfairly with their American counterparts, but also they'll endanger American roads and highways.
The implementation of the NAFTA trucking rules was ordered by a NAFTA "dispute settlement panel," which under the treaty has the power to override American sovereignty and invalidate laws and regulations contrary to the treaty. As critics of NAFTA warned years ago, this is why NAFTA violates national sovereignty, but apparently we can't expect the Bush administration to care about sovereignty any more than the Clinton gang.
It is now clear that the president's meeting with Fox will accomplish nothing for the interests of the United States. But if Bush wanted to do get something useful out of the trip, here are a few items he might request:
— Mexican Foreign Minister Castañeda in his recent visit to this country virtually accused the United States of murdering Mexican illegals. "There are too many Mexicans dying on the border," he said. "Mexicans who die of exposure, dehydration, starvation; some, unfortunately, who die as a result of hostile action on the part of some."
The second "some" are U.S. Border Patrol officers who occasionally have to shoot some of the numberless Mexican criminals crossing the border. Bush can start off his meeting with Fox by demanding either an apology from Castañeda or documentation of his claim that Mexicans have been killed by our "hostile action."
— Castañeda's complaint about the deaths of so many Mexicans from exposure, etc., is valid. The United States spends millions every year trying to stop such illegal immigration and even to protect the illegals from crossing in dangerous areas. But in 1998, the head of the Mexican migration service announced, "At no time will we take any action that could discourage Mexicans from emigrating to the United States."
Bush should ask of Fox whether that policy still stands, and if so, he should emphasize to him that it is therefore his own government that is in part responsible for the deaths of illegal Mexican migrants. He should also demand that the Fox government do all it can to prevent Mexican citizens from violating U.S. laws and endangering American citizens by illegally crossing our borders.
— Fox's government has stated that it will "intervene" in American courts on behalf of a Mexican illegal immigrant, Bautista Ramirez, accused of killing a police officer in Georgia last year. Fox's predecessors have frequently intruded into U.S. domestic political issues and judicial proceedings. Bush should demand that these intrusions and similar violations of our sovereignty cease.
— There have been at least two reports last year — in March and October, 2000 — that Mexican military troops (or men in their uniforms) fired on U.S. Border Patrol agents and in one case even crossed the U.S. border to do so. Bush should demand that such acts of aggression cease and make clear that future such incidents will be met with lethal force by the U.S. military.
Of course, there is no indication that the president will say or do any of these things. It's more likely he will pursue further economic integration and more immigration from Mexico to satisfy Big Business demands and pander to the Hispanic lobby, and any emphasis on real national interests would be greeted with sneers from Mexico and its allies within this country.
The further globalization and integration proceed, the more difficult it is for us to disentangle ourselves from them, and the more elusive the very concept of "real national interests" becomes.
COPYRIGHT 2001 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
February 13, 2001