The decision by the Peña Nieto administration to channel the U.S.-Mexico security agenda through the Interior Ministry is not designed to negatively affect the close ties established over the past years in intelligence sharing and cooperation. Rather, it is the result of the Mexican government’s decision to bring all the official agencies involved with that agenda domestically under a single umbrella.
The previous Public Safety Ministry and Federal Police are now coordinated from the Interior Ministry, so it is logical to have counterpart U.S. agencies use that same channel. There is no reason to believe that this change will negatively affect the bilateral relationship on security or drug trafficking issues since President Obama clearly concurred with this new approach during his visit to Mexico and during conversations with Mexico’s president and his cabinet.
Aside from the security agenda, which is still an important element in the relationship, the two presidents indicated that other priorities will characterize the agenda going forward, especially economic ties, business facilitation, border infrastructure and educational exchanges. This is a positive development in my view as it moves the U.S.-Mexico agenda back to the issues that have historically brought our two countries together and de-emphasizes the monothematic nature of the relationship over the past six years.
I think some people are overreacting — the people who say, oh this is the end of the U.S.-China relationship as we know it. That’s not necessarily true. They could be lenient to Trump and treat Taiwan differently. We need to know a lot more and we shouldn’t pre-judge the situation but we shouldn’t trivialize it either.
I think the scratches on the oracle bone suggest that they may be more lenient with Trump than with Tsai Ing-wen. We have already seen examples of ways that Beijing is pressuring the Tsai administration because it has not complied with Beijing’s demands about the 1992 consensus.