Friday, May 21, 2010

Embracing Calderón

Leo Zuckermann and Ana María Salazar both focused on the US's apapacho (something like spoiling affection) of Calderón. Here's the latter:
This visit can be considered a vacation for the president because in the US they embrace him, they congratulate him, and above all they recognize his efforts in combating organized crime. Whether because of differences of politics, ideas, or simple pettiness, the support and recognition of President Calderón, who leads a country in crisis, is obtained abroad and not among his compatriots.

Despite the critics that will say that the visit was a fiesta of rhetoric and empty words, which is to say, without concrete results, for those of us who know the details of how these official visits are put together can say that it is unusual for these events to translate into immediate or fundamental change in the relationship.
Given that last point, it's worth repeating that Salazar has worked in the White House. Here's Zuckermann, writing before the speech to Congress (and to whom Salazar may have been responding):
As we saw yesterday from the beginning of the visit, they are going to embrace Calderón in a big way. And boy does the president need it, because he's had some unhappy days. His party's candidate was killed in Tamaulipas, one of its historic leaders was kidnapped, and, to top it off, it lost the mayoralty in Mérida, one of its electoral bastions. I suppose that shows of friendship and warmth that he will receive in Washington will do Calderón well.

Beyond that, which always helps, the Mexican president will surely want to unclog a handful of issues that are presently stuck in the bilateral agenda, as well as sending a forceful message regarding the contemptible Law SB 1070 in Arizona.

All of that easily justifies the state visit to Washington. Nevertheless, those of us who are convinced that Mexico and the US must deepen their economic integration are left with certain frustration because, in this realm, everything indicates that there won't be any big announcements.
Indeed there were not. And the harsh reaction to Calderón's speech from the Republican side indicates that if anything, Calderon's words merely solidified the sticking points. Of course, Salazar says that we shouldn't have been expecting grand new initiatives, which is logical and understandable, but one would also respond that if we can't expect some kind of visible advance, what is the purpose of these visits? If it's just a success because nothing major went wrong, what kind of success is that?

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