Issue 10, August 2009
|Prospects for the Future|
Many expect NAFTA’s critics and protectionist attitudes to gain ground during the current recession as protectionist sentiment increases around the world.
Jeff Faux of the Economic Policy Institute has summed up the sentiment of most experts looking ahead by saying:
Put bluntly, if the NAFTA model could not create enough jobs for Mexico during fifteen years of extraordinary consumer boom in the US, it is unlikely to deliver more growth in an era in which the US must consume less, save more, and substantially reduce its trade deficit.
Domestic politics are a prominent place where the love/hate relationship between the US and Mexico play out.
A recent symbolic battle has recently been waged following the release of a US Pentagon report that named Mexico as a potential “failed state.” The outrage at the use of this label, usually reserved for places like Afghanistan and Somalia, has been intense on the Mexican side of the border and has diminished the impact of the Obama Administration’s conciliatory overtures.
Despite the criticism of many domestic constituencies in both countries, there is considerable goodwill between Presidents Obama and Calderon. Notwithstanding which, both walk a fine line in professing their support for one another, lest they invite further domestic ire.
Council on Hemispheric Affairs expert Larry Birns has said that Obama’s task is nothing less than “to rehabilitate a relationship that has been terribly wounded by neglect and abuse.”