Trump now faces a southern neighbor largely united in its anti-U.S. sentiment. This sentiment is not primarily moved by his intention to renegotiate NAFTA; or his racist, anti-Mexican rhetoric; or even by the idea of the wall itself, which anyone who has actually been to the U.S.-Mexico border knows is patently absurd given the topography along the 2,000-odd mile length of the border—not to mention the large swathes of protected or privately owned land there. The sentiment, which led every single political leader in Mexico to demand that President Peña Nieto cancel his trip to Washington, comes from the indignity of the notion that Mexico will somehow pay for the wall.
.. Gratuitously bashing Mexico and Mexican immigrants plays well with Trump’s base, and in his ignorance, he seems to believe he can do it without consequences.
.. As Mexico prepares for a presidential election in 2018, every candidate worth his or her salt will try to outdo the competitors in anti-U.S. posturing. They will promise to expel armed U.S. law-enforcement personnel from Mexico, to legalize drugs, to allow Central American migrants to reach the U.S. border, to stop sharing water with drought-ravaged border states.
.. From an early age, every Mexican is taught that Mexico lost half its territory to its imperialist northern neighbor. Ask any Mexican child and they will name all six “Niños Heroes,” young cadets who died defending Chapultepec castle from the invading U.S. forces in 1847.
.. We will just as soon suffer hardship, or even death, than be submitted to humiliation from the U.S.
.. When Trump attacks Mexico, when he blithely says that Mexico will pay for the wall, he is not pre-conditioning a negotiating counterpart. Instead, he is undoing years of patient diplomacy and riling up a long-dormant Mexican nationalism
.. In essence, Trump is limiting the Mexican president’s range of negotiation, because any concession will now be seen as a sign of weakness, a loss of pride, an attack on our sovereignty.
.. even if both presidents meet and smile and agree to work together, the sentiments of nationalism and mistrust wrought by Trump will permeate throughout the bureaucracy and will be hard to eradicate. Expect less bilateral cooperation in the future, less information-sharing, and less goodwill, all because of Trump’s wall. Mexico would just as soon suffer economic hardship than pay for something so stupid, so offensive, and so useless. If you don’t believe me, go to Mexico and see the monuments we erect to the Niños Heroes for giving up their lives resisting the U.S. invasion.