The United States has not had an ambassador in Mexico City for four months. Despite being tapped for the post six months ago by the Obama administration, Roberta Jacobson has had her nomination held up by the U.S. Senate, largely based on her role in the normalization of relations with Cuba as Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere.
In a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed, Pacific Council Board member Michael C. Camuñez argues that Washington needs an ambassador to Mexico - and needs one now. The post, he explains, is vital to U.S. security and commerce:
“The U.S. ambassador and her team coordinate the entire national security and commercial apparatus of our government at post in Mexico. Each of our security agencies - from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the CIA - are represented at the embassy in Mexico City. So are the departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Transportation, among others. The ambassador participates in binational joint planning and other coordinating meetings that directly affect the border. She is also plugged in to national security briefings in Washington on an almost daily basis.”
Blocking Jacobson's nomination harms one of the most productive economic partnerships in the world.
Mexico is the second-largest market for U.S. exports, accounting for more than $550 billion in trade in 2013 alone. Camuñez argues that blocking Jacobson’s nomination harms one of the most productive economic partnerships in the world. Furthermore, he says, whatever political capital the blockers gain on Cuba policy comes at the expense of the U.S.-Mexico partnership:
“Delaying an up-or-down vote sends an unfortunate message to Mexicans that the U.S. neither values nor prioritizes its relationship with them - an official corollary to all the offensive, disrespectful rhetoric thrown around by Republican presidential hopefuls.”
“From Donald Trump's insulting characterization of Mexicans as criminals and rapists to Ben Carson's endorsement of vigilante-style enforcement of the border, the message heard in Mexico is clear. We could do without you. Or even: We want to do without you.”
Read his full article here, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Pacific Council.