The New York Times Editorial Board spent over 1,800 words this Sunday to analyze President Barack Obama’s foreign policy approach over the past five years, highlighting the situations in Syria, Ukraine and the Middle East. They were eager to come to his defense saying that Obama isn’t all that bad and trying to perpetuate the notion that “At least he’s not George W. Bush” is a valid foreign policy agenda. Click here to read the article.
While the conflicts in Europe and the Middle East deserve thought and attention, it is tragic and telling that a certain country and region went unmentioned. Specifically unmentioned and underrepresented is the country we share a border with. The same country we face critical immigration challenges with and our second-highest goods export market failed to gain even a passing acknowledgment in a foreign policy editorial.
The fact that Mexico and Central/South America don’t even register as a minor component of the NYT’s foreign policy outlook is not only a tribute to East Coast elitism and snobbery, but it is also a clear message they don’t really consider these countries as important strategic global issues for the United States.
The continued low expectations of Mexico and Central/South America harm not only their countries, but ours as well. It is a lost opportunity of how to approach the immigration and infrastructure problems facing the U.S. and Mexico, with Arizona holding the ability to spearhead serious reforms.
It is time for true leaders step to the front of the stage to articulate how our relationship with Mexico is the most relevant foreign policy challenge facing our nation today. Mexico/U.S. relations can no longer stand as a colonialist era leftover.
We need our political leaders to start addressing immigration as an opportunity to enact critical infrastructure improvements that will improve trade and raise the economic development of both the U.S. and Mexico. We must have candidates who will dare to make the case that improving the economy of Mexico through better transportation and customs practices would be a win-win for both countries. And we really would like an honest broker who will talk about Mexico’s outrageous income disparity between Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world making up 7% of Mexico’s GDP, and those who travel thousands of miles across dangerous terrain to find jobs here.
The conflicts of Syria and Ukraine make for good intellectual discussions on Meet the Press, but fail to have a large scale impact on the daily welfare of our country. On the other hand, our relationship with Mexico directly impacts Arizonans and Americans every day.
Foreign policy is much more relevant when discussed as an issue impacting jobs and the economy. The first Arizona gubernatorial candidate to address Mexico and immigration as such instead of using it as a political wedge will develop a clear contrast between their campaign and that of their opponents. And a campaign that addresses issues in terms of jobs and the economy will be a winning campaign in August and November.
It is time for our political leaders to rise to the occasion to inform the NYT and others about our foreign policy secret.