Man Bites Dog! Mexico's Ambassador Suspends Reflexive Bleating
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Maybe it was just a burst of gaffes as defined by Michael Kinsley— moments when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Or maybe it was tactical chicanery. (See below.)

But it makes for interesting reading: Washington Times reporters (and formidable immigration specialists — see here and here) Stephen Dinan and Jerry Seper, along with some Times colleagues, recently interviewed Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico's ambassador to the U.S., and distilled the result into a punchy article, Mexican envoy hits own policies (July 20, 2007).

VDARE's Allan Wall has contributed a few blog entries about Sarukhan (examples here and here) that give little encouragement for any hopes that the new ambassador will be different from the sorry run of meddlesome Mexican "diplomats" who have been in our faces over the last couple of decades. (See Heather MacDonald's classic "Mexico's Undiplomatic Diplomats," City Journal, Autumn 2005. Sample sentence: "Diplomacy may be the art of lying for one’s country, but Mexican diplomacy requires taking that art to virtuosic heights.")

However, in this outing, at least, Ambassador Sarukhan lays off the blarney. Here's the article's opener:

"Mexico's ambassador to the United States yesterday said previous Mexican officials made a 'dumb mistake' by issuing comic books to aid illegal aliens crossing the border, and said his government cannot criticize U.S. treatment of illegal aliens as long as Mexico has harsh laws on its books.

"'It's very hard for Mexico to preach to the north what it does not do to the south,' Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan said in a meeting with editors and reporters at The Washington Times, referring to Mexico's felony penalties for, and sometimes cruel treatment of, those caught crossing its southern border.

"'Unless we correct the fundamental challenge of the violation of human rights of Latin American or Central American migrants crossing the border into Mexico, it's very hard for me to come up and wag a finger and say you guys should protect the rights of my citizens in this country,' he said, adding that changes to the Mexican law are now pending."

That's quite refreshing, since one could reasonably conclude that "Do as I say, not as I do" is the sole content of Mexican foreign policy, at least with respect to the United States.

A bit further along in the Dinan/Seper article, we read:

"But Mr. Sarukhan said Mexican officials understand Americans' trepidation and desire for a secure border, and he said they are well aware of the consequences if a breach of the U.S.-Mexican border were to be involved in a future attack on U.S. security.

"'The day that happens, this relationship as we have known it, is over,' he said. 'I would say Mexico and the United States are working extremely well in trying to ensure that border is not used to underpin or challenge the national security of the United States.'"

The explosion of introspective frankness continues to the article's conclusion:

"[Sarukhan] said remittances are not the long-term solution for sustained growth in Mexico, particularly because it's an indicator that many of Mexico's best workers have fled the country to find jobs.

"'No country can grow if it is not able to hold onto its women and men. Some of them, I don't know if they're talented or not, but they're certainly bold,' he said."

So is an era of Mexican glasnost upon us? Let's hope Allan Wall will weigh in on the question.

In the meantime, we would do well to be skeptical. As the same WashTimes article reminds us, after the thumping the amnesty-and-comprehensive-capitulation-to-Mexico bill took in the U.S. Senate late last month, "[Mexican President] Calderon called the bill's failure a 'grave mistake.'" Thus Sarukhan's recent burst of adult behavior might simply be the rarefied diplomatic equivalent of suppressing Mexican-flag waving at those in-your-face mass rallies of those in-the-shadows illegal aliens: No change of heart, just a tactical adjustment to snooker the gringos.

But it would be nice if Sarukhan's surge of public maturity doesn't subside and, instead, spreads. Then the southern California friend who, a few years ago, announced "I didn't hate Mexicans until they organized to take over my homeland" would have reason for some rethinking, as would many of us.

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