AMLO is frequently provoking Biden. His rejection of the Democratic Party and his warming relations with Russia and China.
A year after finishing his tenure as the ambassador of the United States in Mexico, Jeffrey Davidow wrote a book in which he described a fable about the relationship between the two countries. Entitled Â‘The Bear and the Porcupine' (Grijalbo 2004), he described the United States as the bear and Mexico as the porcupine. Davidow plays with the image of the bear, who because of his size sometimes acts awkwardly without noticing what is around him, but taking care to not step on his neighbor the porcupine, which has spikes on his back to defend himself in that case.
This is the dialectic of a difficult and complex relationship between the two countries, which has had ethereal and miserable moments, but which has not experimented with a relationship such as the current one, in which, as an American Republican politician said, the porcupine is biting the bear too much, and in which a strike in response cannot be discounted.
This is true. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is frequently provoking President Joe Biden, accusing his government of interventionism and repeatedly calling him a "coup plotter". Lopez Obrador's mentality is rooted in the 1970s, in which he is obsessed by the possibility that the United States will provoke a coup against him. This happened in Chile, where the military toppled President Salvador Allende in 1973, with the support of the Democrats and the military-industrial complex.
Those analytical categories are obsolete. That doesn't exclude the United States from having a hegemonic vision that favors its interest, but the manner that Lopez Obrador understands it is wrong, from its origins. The coup against Allende was not done by the Democrats, but by Republicans in the government of Richard Nixon.
The concept of a military-industrial complex was formulated by another Republican, President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961, although it was worn out by a globalization in which the Pentagon was losing its supremacy during the Cold War and was adjusting to a new order led by the private sector. This entered the defense field when Google bought Boston Dynamics in 2013, taking away the military's domination over technology and robotics.
Lopez Obrador does not these substantial changes as a result of his prejudices, a lack of information and, above all, his lack of understanding of the functioning of the real world. The phobia he has against the Democrats is one he does not have against the Republicans, as was notable during the victory of Biden in last year's elections. Lopez Obrador declined to congratulate him, even when 180 world leaders did, and kept supporting Trump until after he left the White House.
He doesn't like the Democrats, which led to give the Mexican embassy in Washington a recess, with a representative that doesn't have experience or direct access to him. With the arrival of Biden to the White House, he changed his strategy with regards to the United States and radicalized his position. This was the central reason that led Ambassador Martha Barcena, the political aunt of the President and a four-decade member of the foreign services, to retire prematurely as it was impossible for her to explain or justify the actions of Lopez Obrador in Washington.
As he moved away from the government of the United States, Lopez Obrador became closer to that nation's natural and historic enemies: Russia and China. Both nations were quick to answer Mexico's call for Covid-19 vaccines, the distribution of which they turned into a political and soft power strategy to increase its presence in Latin America in the white spaces left by the United States. The Chinese and Russian doses, although they sometimes face production delays, have not stopped arriving in Mexico, helping Lopez Obrador maintain his vaccination levels and accelerate immunization to return to classes and begin re-opening the economy.
He asked for three million vaccines from Biden - which he received - but he has not spoken about what he has done to thank Putin. In the case of the Russian president, Lopez Obrador went further, inviting him to travel to Mexico and be his guest of honor on September 27 next year, when Mexico celebrates 200 years since Agustin Iturbide's Army of the Three Guarantees entered Mexico City, cementing the independence and birth of a nation. A spectacular parade will mark the occasion.
The differences that Lopez Obrador has had with Putin, he hasn't with Biden, who is also at a disadvantage when it comes to the treatment given to China and President Xi Jinping. One of those moments was clear in mid-May, when the Mexican President offered an apology to China for the massacre of 300 citizens in Torreon, in the north of the country, who were killed as a result of the Mexican racism and xenophobia. The apology included the gift of an enormous Tree of Life, a beautiful work of art full of religious images that included a Chinese dragon and an Aztec eagle.
Lopez Obrador is a political of symbols and subliminal messages. But in the case of his approach to Russia and China, he has been explicit, even about his disdain for Biden and the Democrats. He thinks that Biden won't get involved with him, through pressure and declarations that corner the Mexican President. He confides in those close to him that he "knows how strong he is", due to his high approval ratings. In his mental scheme, he doesn't have 30% approval - as Allende did at the time of his death - but 60%, which armors him against Biden.
What Lopez Obrador doesn't understand is what Davidow wrote about, where the bear and porcupine live together without mutual damage. Today, as the number of time the Mexican President pricks Biden grow without answer, and without taking into account the relationship he is building with America's principle enemies, Russia and China, will not have a future while the depend on the Mexican economy, its country and its government, in 80& of the US productive apparatus.
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