Can Mexico's President-elect Peña Nieto and Obama set a new tone?
Peña Nieto travels to Washington today ahead of his inauguration. With Mexico’s growing economy and falling homicide rate, some see an opportunity to bolster US-Mexico ties.
As Mexico’s incoming President Enrique Peña Nieto visits newly-reelected United States President Obama today in Washington, he will try to set a new tone for the US-Mexican relationship that expands beyond drug war violence.Skip to next paragraph
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His predecessor, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, has been hailed in US government circles for taking on drug traffickers, a decision that moved the two countries closer than they’ve ever been in an era of “shared responsibility” of the drug war.
But, while Mr. Peña Nieto will attempt to reinforce his commitment to tackling organized crime, he will also highlight the growth and potential of Mexico today – much of that may surprise many Americans – which has occurred while grisly headlines of drug violence have captured the news.
It is a mistake to limit our bilateral relationship to drugs and security concerns.… We must build a more prosperous North America, on the basis of an alliance for a further competitive and productive integration of our economies.
“Peña Nieto is signaling that … he is not going to stop confronting organized crime, but that he wants to add the economic relationship with the world and the US in particular to the priority list,” says Eric Olson, the associate director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center For Scholars.
In many ways, Peña Nieto is in a strong position to push for a new agenda that goes beyond the perennial topics of drugs, immigration, and random but explosive trade conflicts. Mexico’s economy is growing robustly, there is a falling homicide rate after years of mounting deaths, and Mexicans are opting not to migrate to the US, with some experts putting cross-border flows at “net zero” (as we detail in this cover story here).