Poilitico, 06/17/2012

Managing the relationship with Mexico

Obama’s visit to Los Cabos comes less than two weeks before Mexico’s presidential election, giving him one last sit-down with President Felipe Calderon, a counterpart with whom he’s developed a good relationship.

As they often do ahead of foreign elections, officials in Washington worry privately that Calderon’s successor won’t be as strong an ally, but Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said he expects that “whichever government comes next will follow similar policies” and be cooperative with the United States.

While border issues are always the top priority in U.S.-Mexican meetings, and that will again be the case as the two leaders meet on Calderon’s home turf, the fact that Mexico is hosting the summit reflects its emergence as an economic power. “Mexico hosting the G-20 shows that it’s playing on a different field, that it’s able to play as one of the elite economies of the world,” Selee said.

And that’s clear in Calderon’s ambitions for the summit, which last week included calls for Europe to move quickly to resolve the eurozone debt crisis. The action plan for the summit, he said, will include “measures to confront and resolve the European crisis, which is ultimately an economic crisis” as well as “concrete measures on public policy in key areas in the realms of tax, finance and monetary policy, which will help to boost global growth in the long term.”