U.S. POLICY TOWARD MEXICO ADRIFT
(*La Jornada*, 9/15/96)
[Abbreviated translation by Conspiracy Nation]
The Clinton administration seems at present to lack high-level
personnel able to evaluate and define political responses to
current challenges in Mexican relations.
"Our question is, 'Who is in charge? Who is monitoring policy
(toward Mexico) at the highest levels?'" said a frustrated member
of the U.S. government interviewed by *La Jornada*. The answer,
according to various bureaucrats and analysts consulted this
week, is "no one."
The foreign policy of the United States is frequently the result
of a chaotic equilibrium amongst bureaucratic interests which
only reach consensus at the highest levels at a time of sharp
crisis, and whose dynamic is especially present during an
"What we question," commented a U.S. government official who
requested anonymity, "is who is offering general leadership and
asking the hard questions?"
Another source added, "I simply don't believe that anyone is
paying attention." Various legislators already have begun to ask
the White House who is in charge of policy toward Mexico.
The Wall Street Journal, in an article on the EPR [Ejercito
Popular Revolucionario, Army of the Popular Revolution] at the
beginning of September, commented that, "the United States is
singularly ill-prepared to give to this latest crisis the
attention it deserves."
Robert Pastor, Director for Latin America at the Carter Center in
Atlanta, pointed out that in an election year the focus of White
House personnel gets distracted by politics.
In fact, the only sustained focus regarding Mexico at the moment
is the effort to assure that it, or any other of the themes
connected to the bilateral relation, does not get converted into
an election issue. With this in mind, the highest levels of U.S.
government are working all-out to ensure that Mexico does not
default on what it owes the U.S.
The Wall Street Journal has pointed out that, "none of the
high-level foreign policy team of the Clinton administration have
focussed their attention on Mexico, while many of the senior
experts on Latin America have recently left the State Department
and the intelligence services."
Therefore, according to some experts on bilateral relations, "no
one is minding the store" regarding Mexico at this moment.
Others limit themselves to hoping that nothing important, or
worse, difficult for the Clinton campaign, will occur in Mexico
until after November 5th.