An unusual amount of diplomatic eyewash passed
between President George W. Bush and his counterpart
from Mexico, Vicente Fox, at last week's summit
meeting in San Cristobal, and Americans are probably
lucky that that's all that changed hands.
Beneath the platitudes, courtesies and outright lies
the two presidents told each other, the unmistakable
tone was one of American guilt, uncertainty and simple
As I indicated in earlier columns, Mr,. Bush started the meeting off with two major American concessions. First, he supported Mexican complaints about the legal American requirement that Mexico's anti-narcotics enforcement be annually certified by the U.S. Congress, and he acknowledged that Americans are at fault for providing the demand for illegal drugs in the first place.
He is partly correct about that, but it is Mexicans who founded and continue to run the vast transnational empires of drug production and smuggling that corrupt their own government and poison our people. It is Mexican criminals — in and out of Mexico's government — who bear the major part of the blame for the drug trade, and it is the Mexican government that should be trying to prove to us it is serious about controlling that trade — not we who need to prove to Mexico that it's all our fault.
As for American demand for drugs, this country has been trying to control that since at least Nancy Reagan's crusade of the early 1980s and the first President Bush's ill-conceived "war on drugs" later on. What has Mexico done to try to control the supply?
The second major concession Mr. Bush granted was his agreement to comply with NAFTA trucking rules that permit access to all U.S. highways for Mexican trucks. The trucks are simply and notoriously unsafe, and even the Clinton administration refused to let them blaze across American roads.
Of course, Mr. Bush might have made these concessions expecting to receive some important U.S. diplomatic goals in return. But Mexico conceded virtually nothing. As for immigration, the major issue before the two countries, they mainly agreed to use weasel words to disguise what they're up to.
Thus, Mexico agreed to drop the use of the word "amnesty" when demanding that the millions of Mexicans who violated U.S. laws by invading our country be granted legal residency here. In the written statement both presidents released, the word "migration" rather than "immigration" is used, "as if," The New York Times commented, "the waves of Mexicans crossing the border were like flocks of birds flying north." Just so. "Immigration" tells us people from outside are coming into what is ours; "Migration" tells us nothing; it carries no implication that those who don't belong here are coming into territory that is not theirs.
"Migration," the weasel-words claim, "is a tie that binds us, not divides us." No, it doesn't. Mexico and the United States are two separate nations, with profoundly different and separate peoples, cultures, and histories, not to mention economies. The mixture of the two peoples through immigration may eventually "bind" them together, but in so far as either people takes its nationality and cultural identity seriously, immigration will only divide us. As the Latino population inside the United States continues to grow because of uncontrolled immigration and to evolve its own distinct identity and subculture, it will serve only to destroy the national unity of this country.
Mr. Bush and Mr. Fox agreed to appoint a special panel, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, to consider immigration issues, but Mexico is still insisting on amnesty for the millions of illegals already here, regardless of what word they use for it, and avows that it's serious about improving the treatment of Mexicans inside the United States and protecting the safety of Mexicans trying (illegally) to get in. Of course, the assumption seems to be that the bad treatment and lack of safety is all our fault, just like the drug traffic. If Mexico is serious about helping and protecting illegals, let it do something to control the flood from its own side of the border. Yet nothing at all was said at San Cristobal about controlling illegal immigration or returning illegals here to their rightful country.
What was said — or at least communicated non-verbally by Mr. Bush — was that the United States is not willing to insist on its rights as a sovereign nation or to voice legitimate concerns about the security of its borders and the safety of its citizens. It may be too early to tell whether this message comes from Mr. Bush's own weakness, his inexperience, or from some agenda unperceived by the rest of us, but whatever its source, it was not what America needs to be saying or the Mexicans need to be hearing.
COPYRIGHT 2001 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
February 22, 2001