They don’t know what the Chancellery is for

Although it is not new that the holders of the Executive in Mexico do not understand or know what to do with foreign policy, at least the Mexican diplomacy and the Foreign Ministry officials managed to maintain good forms in our relations with the rest of the world. Even the Ministry of Foreign Affairs managed to put on the agenda of the presidents issues of international interest, although they were not the most popular for the national audience.

The foreign policy of any country serves to support national development plans; It is the tool that governments have to go out into the world to pursue or leverage national objectives. Foreign policy, for this reason, is formed in accordance with the narrative that the government in turn has adopted as a development plan. Dissociating foreign policy from national policy inevitably leads to the failure of the former because of lack of congruence and, also, to lose great opportunities for international actors to influence national development.

After months of constant dismissals at the Foreign Ministry offices, it seems that few officials are able to maintain the good forms of Mexico’s foreign policy and understand, for example, how to organize high-level meetings with officials of the main power worldwide . But we could leave a little earlier. It is public knowledge that the presidential elections in the United States are approaching dangerously. Since Mexico was Trump’s favorite “piñata”   in the last campaign, one could imagine that both the Foreign Ministry and the Presidency would already have a risk analysis and calculated the possible blows that Mexico will suffer for Trump’s intention   to re-elect.

The problem is that, if in the past government there was never a plan to protect Mexico from a possible triumph of  Donald Trump and his arrival at the White House took the federal government by surprise, without any contingency or containment plan crisis, this government is even worse prepared. The threat of putting 5% tariffs on Mexican exports is only the beginning of the attacks that seek to boost Trump’s re-election  . If we can not handle the first sign that we will be his “piñata” again, I do not see how we will navigate favorably to the presidential campaign, if it does not even begin.

But this situation is normal. A Foreign Ministry already in itself come down by the constant budget cuts, for several six years, and now subject to mass layoffs, can not be a pressure actor within the cabinet. Gradually, it ceases to be the agency responsible for the country’s foreign policy to become a simple protocol office.

Remember that the power poles, in the international system, are in a process of transformation. Only countries that are prepared to contain crises from the perspective of how foreign policy can support and support national development policies will be able to cope with the turbulence ahead of the international system. Mexico, as you can see, is not prepared or intended to be.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.

Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/06/04/no-saben-para-que-sirve-cancilleria/.

Photo by Alejandro Barba on Unsplash

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