Obrador Seeks to Restore Mexican Sovereignty

For decades, the specter of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has haunted Mexico’s ruling elites. His triumph on Sunday could change the country’s domestic, regional, and international outlook, says Dan Steinbock.

By Dan Steinbock

International media touted the neoliberal reforms of President Enrique Peña Nieto for the past year or two. However, when the “reform” narrative proved hollow, Nieto’s approval rating plunged from almost 50 to barely 10 percent. So the establishment narrative changed: it shifted to a flawed portrayal of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as a Mexican Hugo Chávez who endangers Mexico’s future.

Perhaps that’s why before his landslide election victory as president on Sunday The Economist called Obrador “Mexico’s answer to Donald Trump” whose “nationalist populism” offers “many reasons to worry about Mexico’s most likely next president.” Similarly, U.S.-based economic hit men and political risk groups, including Ian Bremmer’s Eurasia Group, framed Obrador’s popular front as a “significant market risk.”

With few variations, the same narrative was replicated in establishment media. The Washington Post, The New York Times, TimeNewsweek and The Financial Times warned of a “firebrand leftist” whose biography is “replete with danger signals.”

What these ideologically-driven reports didn’t say is that Obrador is neither an overnight phenomenon nor Trump-induced collateral damage. In reality, Obrador’s movement is a belated triumph for Mexico’s popular will after decades of electoral fraud. 

In the past six years, Nieto’s administration has sold Mexico’s public assets to foreign bidders and opened financial markets to speculation, while loyally accommodating Washington’s policies. At the same time, corruption, crime, narco-violence and rising murder rates have soared. While neoliberal elites portray the past decade as that of rising competitiveness, market realities prove otherwise. Mexico’s real GDP growth has fallen significantly behind its BRIC potential during the years of Felipe Calderon (2006-12) and Nieto (2012-18).

Nieto: Loyally accommodated U.S. policy.

But change may be at the door. Obrador will be inaugurated in December. His coalition “Juntos Haremos Historia” (Together We’ll Make History) rests on popular will, not on the needs of the oligarchic economic and political elite, or what Obrador calls the “power mafia.”

He is pushing for the rejuvenation of the agricultural sector. In particular, he would like to develop the agricultural economy of southern Mexico, which has been hurt by cheap (and tacitly subsidized) U.S. food imports. In contrast to Nieto’s “energy reform” – which ended state-owned Pemex’s monopoly in the oil industry and brought foreign investors to Mexican energy markets – Obrador wants a popular referendum on the energy sector, knowing well that many Mexicans oppose or are highly skeptical of the sale of national assets to foreign speculators.

Book on Trump

After Trump’s inauguration, Obrador published a best-selling book called Oye, Trump, in which he takes a critical look at the American “Caligura on Twitter.” While he is politically too shrewd to challenge Trump head on, he is not an appeaser like Nieto. And unlike Nieto, Obrador also had no hurry to conclude the Trump talks about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Through the election campaign, he supported the delay of renegotiation of NAFTA until the elections, so he can have a say in the final outcome.

Obrador seeks increased spending for welfare, which he argues should be a central political objective in a large emerging economy. He is also a strong proponent of cutting the salaries of the political elite to avoid penalizing ordinary Mexicans. He is willing to walk the talk: he has cut his own public-service salary, several times.

Delfina Gómez, an Obrador ally running for Mexico’s senate, told The Guardian: “He finds it shameful that someone might be flaunting their wealth whilst others are dying of hunger.”

Instead of pushing elite educational objectives, Obrador seeks educational reforms through universal access to public colleges and proposes increases in financial aid to students and the elderly.

Having been mayor of Mexico City, he knows only too well how the ruling elite operates in the imperial metropolis. As a result, he is strongly in favor of the decentralization of the executive cabinet by moving secretaries from the capital to the states to be closer to the people that they should serve, and further from the lobbies they tend to collude with.

In contrast to ‘law and order’ candidates that in the past have colluded with the drug kingpins, he wants to restore genuine law and order and thus peace and stability, in order to focus on economic development. He might even seek to negotiate an amnesty for the key narco criminals.

Obrador’s platform reflects popular will. That’s why it has been marginalized by the oligarchic elites for decades – even with electoral fraud.

Decades of Electoral Fraud

Born in 1953, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, often abbreviated as AMLO, is everything but a new force or overnight phenomenon in Mexican politics. Starting his career in 1976 in the then-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Tabasco, on the Gulf of Mexico, he soon became the party’s state leader. In this capacity, Obrador saw intimately how PRI’s longstanding political monopoly began to crumble as domestic elites and foreign interests paved the way to Carlos Salinas’s presidency (1988-94).

Following a highly controversial electoral process and reported electoral fraud, Salinas, who had been groomed at elite U.S. universities, subjected Mexico to neoliberal reforms, which led to years of an economic rollercoaster climaxing with NAFTA. A series of other presidents took office—from Ernesto Zedillo and Vincente Fox to Calderón and Nieto – all promising economic reforms, a war against drugs and a better future. Yet, each, despite different parties, shared a common denominator: neoliberal economic policies, which were predicated on the continued embrace of NAFTA, the expansion of cartels, and jumping on the bandwagon of U.S. policies.

Those were never Obrador’s political objectives. He resigned from PRI years before NAFTA and joined the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), a social-democratic coalition that was formed after the contested election of 1988. Although early results in that election suggested a clear win to Cuauhtemoc Cárdenas, the corrupt Salinas was declared the new president.

Obrador: Hope for Mexico’s poor.

In the 1990s, Obrador succeeded Cárdenas in the new party’s hierarchy. In 1994, he ran for Tabasco’s governor but lost to the PRI’s candidate. After the election, a supporter informed Obrador the PRI had spent $95 million dollars on an election in which half a million people voted. In 2000, Obrador became Mexico City’s mayor. After more national exposure, he entered the 2006 presidential election, representing a PRD-led coalition of center-left parties. Obrador’s “Coalition for the Good of All” appeared to be winning until he was declared to have lost by 0.58 percent. That led to a massive takeover of Paseo de la Reforma and the Zocalo plazas in Mexico City, where protests endured for months.

A Victim of Nieto’s Hackers

In the 2012 election, Obrador again represented a coalition of PRD and various labor and citizen movements. However, Peña Nieto’s domestic and foreign supporters took a more proactive stance against Obrador’s popular movement. Despite mass popular opposition to Nieto’s perceived “corruption, tyranny and authoritarianism,” printed and televised media, particularly the pro-Nieto Televisa, downplayed or left unreported much of the criticism. A few years later, Bloomberg discovered that hired Colombian hackers had been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Nieto’s PRI to undermine his adversaries and manipulate social media. The election was contested, but despite post-electoral protests, claims of fraud and Obrador’s formal request to invalidate the election, popular will was discounted – once again.

So Obrador left the PRD and founded the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) creating his current coalition “Juntos Haremos Historia.” He concluded that to win in Mexico, an alternative candidate needs a broader popular front. So he tailored his platform accordingly. As a result, this time around, his pre-election ratings were almost twice as high as his closest rivals.

While Obrador’s success has been augmented by Trump’s protectionism and immigration phobias, his electoral success in 2018 appears to be the direct result of personal integrity and political resilience.

Restoring Mexico’s Sovereignty

As Mexicans chose a new president until 2024, they also elected 128 members of the Senate for six years and 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies for three years.

If Mexico opts for a new direction, the consequences could be historical, domestically, regionally, and even internationally. Not only the White House, but Mexicans may well review the role of NAFTA. Moreover, the drug trade that is maintained mainly by U.S. demand will be under new scrutiny as well. It is time: the cartel violence has taken the lives of more than 200,000 Mexicans.

With more than 122 million people, Mexico is the world’s 15th largest economy and its 11th most populous democracy; a large, emerging economy that could morph into one of the leading global economies by 2050. To win the future, one has to know where one comes from. Having written half a dozen books about Mexico’s history, Obrador is acutely aware of his country’s past, and the territories that were lost following U.S. interventions in the 19th century.

Unlike his modern-day, elite peers, Obrador’s political idols reflect Mexico’s decades of industrialization and modernization. He has written particularly warmly about Benito Juárez who had poor, rural origins but rose to national power and the presidency (1858-72). Juárez won the War of the Reform and beat the French invasion. He was not an ideologue, but smart, pragmatic and – when necessary – ruthless. Despite his charm with the masses, Obrador’s nickname is El Peje, which refers to Tabasco’s freshwater gar – an ancient fish with an alligator’s face.

Ultimately, Obrador seeks economic development. In his world, “Mexico First” would be a poor match with a global economy. Yet, unlike Nieto and the neoliberals, he does believe that a sovereign Mexico belongs to the Mexican people.

This original commentary was released by Difference Group on July 1, 2018.

Dr. Dan Steinbock is an internationally recognized strategist of the multipolar world and the founder of Difference Group. He has served at the India, China and America Institute (US), the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore). For more, see https://www.differencegroup.net/

image_pdfimage_print

76 comments for “Obrador Seeks to Restore Mexican Sovereignty

  1. July 13, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    To change the policy of combatting drugs in Mexico, it is necessary to combat money laundering. Only last year was washed in the Mexican financial system (dominated by 85% by foreign banks) 56 billion dollars. More than one billion dollars per week. And to attack money laundering, it is necessary to change the banking secrecy law. Banks in Mexico and the United States gladly wash the profits of drug trafficking and organized crime in general. The bad news is that López Obrador has already promised the bankers that he will not modify any law that could affect his business.

  2. July 6, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    “International media touted the neoliberal reforms of President Enrique Peña Nieto for the past year or two. However, when the “reform” narrative proved hollow, Nieto’s approval rating plunged from almost 50 to barely 10 percent. So the establishment narrative changed: it shifted to a flawed portrayal of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as a Mexican Hugo Chávez who endangers Mexico’s future.”

    That is misleading, I’m sure. Of course, the nominally rightwing political sector in Mexico (and elsewhere) will say that Obrado isn’t going to be good for Mexico. They say the same things, everywhere, about any rightwing politician who they label ‘socialist’. Remember anti-journalist, anti-whistleblower, pro Guantanamo Bay, drone assassin Obama?

    That’s the ‘ratchet’. (All politics move Right and the people are pushed there also, but liars who call fakers like Sanders ‘socialists’. The establishment’s finger-wagging at Obama, for example, is actually finger-wagging at the people who stood behind him, as he knew and knows. We are not to get the idea that socialism can be for all, rather than just the 1%.) The very few sentences of Steinbock’s article get at the truth best, in my view. It’s time, from the Mexican establishment’s standpoint, to tamp down any revolutionary impulses being squeezed out of abused Mexicans by neoliberal politicians and policies. Time for another (fake) people’s champion, like Obama, like Ocasio-Cortez, like Justin Trudeau. Did Obrador takes pains to assure business interests that they needn’t fear a government led by him or not?

    • July 6, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      That should have been “The very first sentences of Steibock’s article.” Sorry.

  3. Bill Goldman
    July 4, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Obrador’s purported “difference” from its recent Presidents remains to be seen. NAFTA was a fraud to begin with; part of the Thatcher/Reagan mantra of “globalization, privatization, deregulation” imposed by international entities like IMF, BIS, etc. and benefiting only the elites. Investment capital, intellectual property, and the Mexican Generals shared the nation’s resources. The working class and environmental protection received short shrift. Mexico is in the throes of an austerity dilemma comparable to other third world economies. If Obrador is to succeed, he will have to fill the shoes of Cuba’s Castro brothers and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and lead as they did. Conspiracies of the wealthy will confront him with a perilous journey. Good luck to him.

    • July 6, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      Raul, reportedly, is selling out.

  4. Berna
    July 4, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    “Obrador flies coach, and travels from town to town in a two-car caravan, with drivers who double as unarmed bodyguards; he has no other security measures in place, except for inconsistent efforts to obscure which hotel he is staying in….”; He better step up the security..
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/06/25/a-new-revolution-in-mexico

  5. Berna
    July 4, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Hope springs eternal. Mexico is in dire need and I hope AMLO is up for the task. If he does intend to fight against the drug cartels and reverse privatization of Mexico’s resources (PEMEX, etc.) he had better have some top notch security protecting him or he’ll go the way of JFK.

  6. dhinds
    July 4, 2018 at 7:10 am

    AMLO is the antithesis of both Trump and Peña Nieto but will deal with both amicably.

  7. Chumpsky
    July 4, 2018 at 1:52 am

    For Obrador to have survived this long on the national scene indicates some form of tacit accommodation with the narcoterrorists/drug lords and their foreign meddling sponsors. Everyone knows that nothing of economic consequence happens in Mexico without the approval of the cartels.

    With Moreno of Ecuador bowing to his CIA handlers, we now see how Ecuador has been blackmailed over Assange’s asylum under Correa. The same will happen to Obrador as well – if he hasn’t already been compromised by the oligarchical NWO.

    Obrador is no Mexican Bernie Sanders or even JFK by any stretch, but his economic nationalist message has kept hope alive for those who live in a fanciful world of unification over Mexican labor suffrage. His first few months in office should be interesting as we will see how this thorn-in-the-side bends.

    • dhinds
      July 4, 2018 at 7:08 am

      That’s bullshit.

      (Resident of Mexico since 1974)

    • July 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      Wow! Your comparisons are dead wrong.

  8. Kalen
    July 3, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Not only author is misleading but is followed by most overly
    optimistc commenters.

    It sad but It use to be a thoughtful blog under Robert now is too often peddling false hope.

    Obrador, leftist, Mexican people candidate, populist against poverty will end brutal war on drug eradicate corruption.Right?

    So what this champion of Mexican people did after opponents conceded? Met with those masses of people who elected him to share happiness and bring hope?

    Yea, according to Bloomberg TV citing info obtained from AMLO campaign, he met first with we the “people” whose minimum wealth was above $100 millions assuring them that they have nothing to fear as nothing will change, their profit and criminal theft of Mexican national treasure will continue undisturbed and even more profitable. Oh, he said one thing, paraphrasing the meaning “Do not believe anything what I am going to say publicly to tens of thousands of stupid. gullible and desperate proles tonight in the main Mexico City square.

    The Info quoted came from Obrador campaign, under moniker of assuring stability of Mexican financial market while peso was collapsing precipitously.

    Obrador assured so called independence of Mexican Central Bank hence upfront surrendered his power to extortionist bankers and Wall Street dictate.

    It was Bloomberg TV repeated MORENA campaign message to calm down foreign and domestic investors including Slim AMLO met privately before elections. Bloomberg TV and all US business channels gave Obrador supporting election coverage, no serious attacks, no hysterics, pointing out his noble anti corruption efforts and collapse of support for PRI , he was called leftist but not socialist not to scare US oligarchs.

    Read fast before new thought police of this blog removes my comment again.

    • anon
      July 3, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Who do you expect to believe that the Obrador campaign stated a quote that he would betray his base?

      • Kalen
        July 4, 2018 at 5:03 am

        Believe what you want.

        They met in Mexico city Hilton Hotel, supposedly for “friendly chat only” or reassuring them he is harmless while Mexican markets were collapsing.

        And his series of meetings before elections with Mexican and global oligarchy was just a friendly chat.

        Not for first time Great nations of United States of Mexico have been betrayed and not the last time either.

    • New Squirel
      July 3, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      I think AMLO deserve all the support we can offer him and you make good points but knowing Mexican politics and the way the elites behave (all elites, not only Mexican ones) his way seems the best one for now.
      I remember reading one some web site something like:
      “I would become the president:
      – the first day: I would … (a first very good move)
      – the second day: I would … ( a second very good move)
      – the third day: I would … (a third very good move)
      – the fourth day: I would be shot.”

      I think AMLO wants to live more that three days as president.
      In the 1995 Mexican presidential election campaign, Luis Donaldo Colosio, the candidate for the PRI (the “official” party that won all elections for 70 years) was getting very popular for leaning toward the left. He belonged to the OFFICIAL PARTY, the establishment, and he didn’t make it to the final. There are many streets in Mexico called “Avenida Colosio” and hopefully AMOL will be more than a street name.

      • New Squirel
        July 3, 2018 at 10:19 pm

        (sorry, 1994 presidential elections)

  9. Nancy
    July 3, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    This is a very promising development. U.S. voters should follow the example of Mexican voters and cut ties with the two ruling parties. Don’t vote for them unless you want to betrayed and screwed every which way you can imagine.

  10. Jose
    July 3, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    There are so many things that Mr. Obrador could begin addressing that it’s mind boggling. I have one suggestion for him, though. Star by getting Mexico out of NAFTA. A very harmful treaty that was rammed down Mexicans with deceit and lies. That’s what I would if I we’re Obrador.

    • Seamus Padraig
      July 3, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Good call. Actually, killing NAFTA would benefit bothMexico and the US.

    • dhinds
      July 4, 2018 at 7:13 am

      That won’t happen.

      NAFTA will be modified.

  11. RickD
    July 3, 2018 at 11:57 am

    The Redhead and I had watched this campaign with some interest, heading to central Mexico this fall intending to by a home there to spend a part of the year in a heritage city there .

    AMLO, as Obrador is known, certainly provokes interest for us, being a confirmed Trump opponent as are we. For those interested in more information about this rather charismatic character the June 25th issue of the New Yorker magazine contains an in depth article about him.

  12. July 3, 2018 at 11:35 am

    We took land from Mexico, the Spanish took it from the Aztecs and other cultures, and on and on back into the past. But the present borders are what they are and should probably stay. What the new President of Mexico can do is to point out to our President that it is in the US interest to strengthen Mexico’s economy, to remove the incentive for the Mexican people to try to get into the United States. In addition, a strong partnership with Mexico could prevent people intent on coming to the US illegally to transit Mexico. It is not too far fetched that a strong Mexican economy might be able to absorb hardship cases. I hope our President sees it this way.

    • Skip Scott
      July 3, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Herman-

      I wish it mattered how our president sees it. The only kind of economy allowed to exist anywhere without constant harassment from Capitalism’s Invisible Army is one that serves the Corporate Globalist Empire. The President has not had any say in the matter since Nov. 22, 1963. The welfare of the common folk on both sides of the border matters not a whit to them.

      • July 3, 2018 at 2:13 pm

        Skip, why is the day Kennedy was assassinated significant as it pertains to Corporate Globalist empire.? I am honestly curious.

        • Skip Scott
          July 3, 2018 at 4:08 pm

          Kennedy was seen by Allen Dulles and others as weak on fighting communism, both with Cuba and with Vietnam. Anything other than a global capitalist empire is not to be permitted. If you read “JFK and the Unspeakable”, and “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” you can get a really good idea of who really controls US foreign policy. Kennedy was killed because he was in favor of independence for former colonies, and didn’t buy into the Domino Theory. No president has challenged the global capitalists in any significant way since his assassination. Trump’s platform of seeking detente with Russia was infuriating to those same powers; thus we have RussiaGate, and a near complete turnabout on Trump’s campaign positions regarding foreign policy. The CIA is the enforcement arm of Empire.

          • July 6, 2018 at 4:53 pm

            That’s sad, sad Camelot propaganda.

          • Skip Scott
            July 7, 2018 at 10:23 am

            Arby-

            I have read extensively on both sides of this issue, and have come to believe Douglass’ and Di Eugenio’s take on the JFK assassination. Both of their books have a lot of research behind them. I would advise Herman (and you as well) to read them and judge for yourself. I don’t see anything sad in having an open mind and coming to your own conclusions after hearing all sides of a story.

    • Desert Dave
      July 3, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      True enough. But it is not all Mexicans who are escaping northward. There are many asylum seekers in desperate straits from Honduras, Venezuela, Columbia, etc. So in addition to allowing the Mexican economy to recover, the US would need to pull back on its interventionist policies.

    • Ken
      July 3, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      Is it indeed in the interests of the US to “prevent people to try to get into the United States”?
      I doubt many industries including California’s agricultural industry would agree with that pt.
      On the other hand, yes a stronger Mexican economy could be a lifesaver for poorer Mexicans, saving them the travails of entering the US in search of work – through territory that was once theirs.
      Unfortunately AMLO has his work cut out for him on that one given the likely opposition he’s going to face from the Mex. oligarchy and from Washington.

      • July 3, 2018 at 6:07 pm

        Ken, you are right. They are hard workers and they make a great contribution. They don’t crowd out workers because the work they do either nobody wants to do it or the Latins do it better We need a system that continues to allow them to come to America legally and if they are seasonal, to go home when their work ends If the Democrats would cease trying to undo anything Trump wants, good or bad, and work in a bi-partisan way to produce a good plan, we might get some where.

        So, no it’s not in our interest to prevent entry into the United States. But it is in our interest to decide who and under what conditions people should enter. That would not be limited to seasonal workers.

  13. Rob
    July 3, 2018 at 11:01 am

    People, it’s time to get real. Is there any reason to believe that if Obrador follows an agenda of economic populism that he will not be mercilessly tormented by the U.S. regime change machine? No, he will face the same treatment as Chavez in Venezuela and Lula in Brazil. It’s fall into line or else.

    • RickD
      July 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      The trend seems clear; more and more world leaders are standing up to Trump’s bullying stupidities.

      • Nancy
        July 3, 2018 at 1:55 pm

        The U.S. bullying of Latin America (and the rest of the planet) started long before Trump.

      • Luke
        July 3, 2018 at 1:56 pm

        Americans: please stop using the word Trump where USA or more specifically US government is obviously the appropriate term. The suggestion that American policy would improve if Trump were removed is as incredulous as the assertion that we should read the New Yorker to become more well informed.

        • Nancy
          July 3, 2018 at 3:45 pm

          Ha! Good one!

        • July 6, 2018 at 4:54 pm

          Yes, But they want us to “Look! Over there!”

      • Rob
        July 3, 2018 at 5:41 pm

        Take a look at Brazil and Venezuela, and you will see the consequences of defying the neoliberal world agenda.

  14. July 3, 2018 at 9:41 am

    A candidate who promotes “give away” programs is always the candidate expressing the “popular will”. What member of the poor would not want a “give away” programs? But is a candidate who expresses “give away” programs really doing the best for his country and his countryman? Wait until a few “economic hitmen” come to see him. Is he going to say “no” to millions of bucks. . I would like to be a fly on that wall.

    • RickD
      July 3, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Obrador is not promoting giveaways, he is saying the ,by stemming the corruption rampant in Mexican political life, there will be more funds for public works, job creation and the like.

  15. July 3, 2018 at 9:36 am

    In contrast to ‘law and order’ candidates that in the past have colluded with the drug kingpins, he wants to restore genuine law and order and thus peace and stability, in order to focus on economic development. He might even seek to negotiate an amnesty for the key narco criminals.

    Does the author realize that the above sentence does not make a lick of sense. Is he trying to suggest that granting amnesty to “narco criminals” is truly a “law and order” government?

    • July 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      Its called pragmatism. And ‘give aways’ is a loaded term. Try popular. The only paramater that matters in a democracy. Although you guys obviously struggle with these concepts.

    • Sam F
      July 3, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      I would guess that amnesty would seek to avoid making warlords into powerful enemies to be recruited by the US. When power is consolidated, and the economy improves, reducing recruits available to warlords, he could put them out of business.

  16. RnM
    July 3, 2018 at 5:32 am

    This is a very encouraging development.
    Let’s all hope that he begins by building a secure wall of loyalist, gun-toting guardians around himself and his allies in their efforts to rid Mexico of the deep corruption.

  17. July 2, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Congratulations to Obrador and the Mexican people, and hopefully the agricultural sector can be brought back after NAFTA. As for the CIA usual plots to take down a leader such as Obrador, it’s not so easy as in earlier days since more people worldwide are onto the rogue nation US, which is now occupied with trying to stave off China’s ascendance. Interesting to compare Obrador’s lengthy political career with the short one of Barack Obama, what a difference!

  18. Drew Hunkins
    July 2, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Absolutely nothing at all wrong with a nation-state practicing a little bit of ECONOMIC nationalism. It almost goes without saying, but as long as civil liberties are upheld for all citizens including vulnerable minority subsets and the militarist impulse is put under civilian democratic control (and the corporate-owned-militarist media aren’t vilifying every single independent foreign head of state across the globe) some sane and well thought out economic nationalism is probably the way to go.

    Never forget, much of the “trade deficit” that’s all the rage isn’t something done in a malevolent fashion by China, Japan or whomever, no, much of the trade deficit is due to United States transnationals shipping the production process abroad and when those corporations’ products come back into the U.S. market for sale that drives up the “trade deficit.” In a sense, the U.S. Fortune 500 is largely the culprit behind it all.

    For some reason economic nationalism offends the sensibilities of certain factions in our domestic population. Perhaps the solution out of this mess is some semblance of economic nationalism melded with a heavy dose of leftist populist-progressivism.

    Congrats to Obrador!

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 2, 2018 at 10:25 pm

      Drew you are in line with Paul Craig Roberts where he states the sanctions should be put on Apple, Levi, Nike, as among other U.S. corporate powers who manufacturer their products in China, then bring that product into the U.S. thus adding to our nation’s trade deficit. It’s like using your neighbors gun to shoot yourself, and then you blame the shooting on your neighbor, because you used his gun to commit suicide. Not necessarily the best metaphor, but you get my point, right Drew. Joe

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 3, 2018 at 10:31 am

        Good points Joe. In solidarity.

    • Brad Owen
      July 3, 2018 at 3:34 am

      Yes we’ve gotten away from the tradition of “localism” wherein a community strives to support itself from local sources as far as feasible. We 330 million Americans should strive to support ourselves from our 3 million plus square miles of territory. Trade is only for trading our abundant surpluses for whatever we have in short supply. Trade is complimentary activity, not a substantial activity. Trade is a condiment, NOT a staple. Jane Jacobs book, “Cities and the Wealth of Nations” gives useful insight into what I’m talking about. The World is in the grip of a Trans-Atlantic Oligarchy that controls the World like a Global Empire, for their own enrichment, at our expense. “Power Mafia” is a perfect description of it, as it is basically Organized Crime writ large. Hurrah for Obrador, the “Bernie Sanders” of Mexico. We, too, shall have our inning, have our turn-at-bat. They can’t keep us locked out forever.

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 3, 2018 at 2:44 pm

        I love your thoughts Brad! In solidarity.

      • Skip Scott
        July 4, 2018 at 7:14 am

        Brad-

        Great comment. “Localism” is a very powerful concept, both politically and ecologically. It is estimated that the meals in the United States travel about 1,500 miles to get from farm to plate. When I am home, I participate in a community garden, and do a bit of canning. The difference in quality alone makes it well worth the effort, and we also feed the beast of commercial agriculture a lot less as a result. That, trading labor, and avoiding debt, are big ways to fight the Oligarchy. Small self sufficient communities are the way to go. With the breakthroughs in solar power technology, and energy efficient building design, “localism” is becoming more doable all the time. It’s also a lot of fun.

    • Skip Scott
      July 3, 2018 at 6:15 am

      The reason economic nationalism offends certain factions is it cuts into the profits of the 1%. They get offended when they have to share with us common folk. The ascent of the forces of globalization and ever widening income inequality fit “hand in glove”. The trade deficit is meaningless when your allegiance lies with the Global Empire.

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 3, 2018 at 10:32 am

        Excellent comment Skip Scott. In solidarity.

  19. jaycee
    July 2, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    The 2006 Mexican election was blatantly stolen.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2006/07/07/anatomy-of-a-fraud-foretold/

    Calderon, the fraudulent new President, soon implemented a “war on drugs” in partnership with the US military which transformed the country into a charnel house of extreme sadistic violence and vast corruption – a transformation which had all the appearances of a deliberate strategy. Certainly as the problems worsened year by year the political leadership refused to reverse the failed policies. It is not hard to conclude that after it was acknowledged that Obrador’s popularity was unassailable by the actual results in 2006, a cruel decision was made by the country’s right wing to ruin the prospects of Mexican civil life.

    Politics in our region have been dysfunctional for some time. There were at least two North American “summits” held after Calderon came to power which featured heads of state with questionable mandates: Calderon (election fraud), W. Bush (election fraud), and Harper (minority parliament).

  20. George Lane
    July 2, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    With regards to the so-called Pink Tide, this is a heartening result, that México, a country that, at least in the century, has never elected a “left” leader, has now with AMLO; taken together with the Gustavo Petro’s rising popularity in Colombia (right-wing neoliberal Ivan Duque, who some say is essentially a puppet of former right-wing president Álvaro Uribe, won the recent elections against Petro, but nonetheless the fact that a left candidate made it past the first round of voting is indicative of a slow but steady change in Colombian civil society), is hopeful for the region of Latin America given the “soft coups” against Rouseff and Lugo in Brasil and Paraguay, the voting in of neoliberal Macri in Argentina, Lenín Moreno in Ecuador (who has invited the US military back in the country and has, as we know, cut off Assange’s communication with the outside world for 100 days so far), and so on, that have shifted the entire region back to US-hegemonic friendly interests.

  21. F. G. Sanford
    July 2, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Dick Morris provides some interesting insight into the “right wing” mind of America. Mind you, I don’t agree with any of his political philosophy, but he is an impeccable predictor of Republican right wing strategy. For all the folks who thought President Trump could never defeat Hillary, Morris was dead-on accurate every step of the way. His analysis of the campaign progress from the primaries all the way through to the election was really uncanny. This youtube video is worth watching for a likely preview of American foreign policy toward Obrador. It ain’t pretty folks, but I’d bet my bottom dollar that it’s accurate.

    Mexico Falls Off The Left End! Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gloif1vVru0

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 2, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      After listening to this Dick Morris commentary F.G., I think Skip (comment below) is even more spot on. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador AMLO sounds as though he is the real deal, and that means the long knives of Wall St will be sure to mark him a dead man. AMLO will more than likely follow in the footsteps of Chávez, and Fidel Castro, whereas not a single good word in the U.S. MSM will be spoken of his leadership, nor his character. This means that most Americans won’t like him, as he will be blamed for much of what is out of his control.

      Wow, just contemplating what AMLO is up against makes him a long shot choice. AMLO will need to outdistance himself from the NGO/CIA goons who will be sure to hunt him down if he is ever to have that chance to succeed. I personally hope AMLO is the real deal, and that is legacy for the Mexican people, and the rest of Central & South America, will be a historically monumental event, and an event which will benefit the Mexican people for a few generations to come. Joe

      Here is a Mexican town where the people threw out the politicians, and life finally became bearable.

      https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-02/mexican-town-overthrew-their-local-government-and-things-are-going-great

      Here is what AMLO & we the people are up against.

      https://changemaker.media/feature/war-profiteers-vs-the-people-of-the-united-states/

      • Jeff Harrison
        July 2, 2018 at 10:05 pm

        Joe, I think the NGO/CIA goons are the worst of many country’s problems. You’ll notice that Putin solved his problem with them by simply kicking them out or hogtying them. Who needs the “Endowment for Democracy”‘s CIA operatives when the US embassy is rife with CIA operatives?

        • Joe Tedesky
          July 2, 2018 at 10:18 pm

          Jeff right on. The Putin method of dealing with outside interference from instigating NGO’s is in my mind the only way to handle this corruption of the state. Joe

        • Joe Tedesky
          July 2, 2018 at 10:20 pm

          Here’s an article where the author describes just how violent this election cycle has been in Mexico.

          https://www.globalresearch.ca/massive-victory-for-andres-manuel-lopez-obrador-in-mexican-elections/5646148

          • Jeff Harrison
            July 3, 2018 at 10:55 am

            Thanx, Joe. What do you suppose would happen if we had that kind of violence here? I mean political violence, not the garden variety of violence that seems to be washing over the country fueled by people who are pissed off about something.

          • Joe Tedesky
            July 3, 2018 at 11:24 am

            Jeff what I fear most about our governments reaction to anything is to how much more of our civil liberties will disappear at the slightest mention of anything which is considered irregular. It would be one thing if the government responded by merely squashing an uprising of any kind, but it’s totally another matter when the government responds with draconian legislation to take away more of our god given rights. Jeff, it’s an empire which is in decline, and like dealing with an egomaniac on the verge of their collapse they become dangerous to everyone around them, due to their controlling nature, and desire to hold onto their inescapable power. Jeff I do believe this is what we are now living through. Keep low, or shout from the highest mountains, but please know whatever it is you do, big brother is watching, and securing their status amongst us unimportant plebes. Joe

          • Joe Tedesky
            July 3, 2018 at 11:43 am

            AMLO is scaring the day lights of out of the energy sector, read how….

            https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Mexicos-New-President-Has-The-Energy-Sector-On-Edge.html

      • Skip Scott
        July 3, 2018 at 7:02 am

        F.G. and Joe-

        Thanks for the links. They were all very enlightening. BTW, the changemaker website was under attack, and it took a while to load it. But that link is absolute dynamite. As soon as I can get back to living at home again, I am going to take their recommendation and start working on self sufficiency. I’m going to go to solar power for my well, and tack a combination green house and aquaculture room on the back of my place while my money is still worth something.

  22. John Kirsch
    July 2, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    I live in Mexico City and Steinbeck has gotten it exactly right: AMLO is a reformer who wants to focus on helping poor Mexicans instead of enriching the elite, a change that is long overdue.

    • Sam F
      July 2, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      Good to hear that; are you sure that he is not a hopey-changer as some claim?

      • New Squirel
        July 2, 2018 at 8:33 pm

        I also live in Mexico City and can tell you he seems to be one of the most incorruptible politicians there has ever been. And he has enormous popular support, and has had it for many years considering that he had very likely won the presidential elections in 2006 and 2012 if it hadn’t been for major fraud. He was also very popular as mayor of Mexico City, almost 20 years ago.

  23. Skip Scott
    July 2, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    I’m sure everyone who read “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” knows what’s coming next. It seems, unlike Nieto, Obrador isn’t going to go for the carrot. Next come the Jackals. I wish the guy all the luck in the world, but since he is obviously not going to be a willing servant of Empire, he’ll be a target. And since he’s right next door, he’ll be a priority.

    • F. G. Sanford
      July 2, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      You’re exactly right. But on the bright side, maybe the piranhas will leave Venezuela alone for a while. Pundits keep offering up Venezuela as a model for the failure of “socialism”, but they never mention the incessant attempts by the US to destabilize Venezuela’s currency, industry and politics.

      • George Lane
        July 2, 2018 at 8:58 pm

        As the WikiLeaks State Department cables show, the US never really leaves any country alone for a while, the diplomatic and NGO machinery keeps moving; but yes, hopefully it will ease the pressure a little bit, although I doubt it, given the escalating belligerence towards Venezuela since Trump’s election, which is saying something given that of the the previous two administrations.

    • Sam F
      July 2, 2018 at 7:38 pm

      If so, it will be amusing to see the twists of logic necessary to portray the familiar Mexicans as a diabolical security threat requiring more than a border wall. Where they provide low-cost labor here, and offshored jobs, and have no Mideast connection, the US politicians and mass media will have to claim that taking care of the poor elsewhere directly threatens the US, despite reducing economic refugees.

      Both are fortunate that the border areas are mostly wasteland, without contested resources.

      • Skip Scott
        July 3, 2018 at 11:08 am

        I am currently stuck in South Jersey caregiving an elderly uncle, and we are in the heart of blueberry country. It used to be all the pickers were Hispanic, but the last couple years I’ve noticed a lot of Africans as well. I’m not sure what country they’re from, but they are obviously migrant laborers. It would be interesting to know the logistics behind getting farm labor nowadays. It is still mostly Hispanic, but now maybe 20% African, at least here in South Jersey.

        • Sam F
          July 3, 2018 at 6:20 pm

          Best wishes to you and your uncle. If the Mexican migrant laborers are getting competition from Africa (or the Caribbean) there must be strong demand. One would want full employment elsewhere as well as here to ensure fairness. Perhaps the Repubs will at last allow social democracy in Mexico as a self-sufficient US lower class.

          • Skip Scott
            July 4, 2018 at 6:59 am

            I believe we have laborers from Puerto Rico as well. It would be interesting to find out more about the racial and ethnic makeup of migrant farm labor, but I think their employers get a little nervous when anybody starts asking questions.

            Thanks for the best wishes. It is a tough row to hoe. Dementia is a very cruel disease. I’ve spent 4-1/2 of my last six years away from home caregiving- first my parents, and now my uncle.

    • Sam F
      July 2, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      Obrador’s security may depend upon
      1. Finding peace and work for the cartels, otherwise set upon him by US secret agencies;
      2. Yanking the mass media from oligarchy or US control, to universities or public utilities;
      3. Keeping primary and sufficient ties with US business, so they oppose disruption;
      4. Having little foreign policy until power is consolidated;

    • New Squirel
      July 2, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      The say about Mexico “So far from God and so close to the US” may save Mexico: does Trump really want to have a Venezuela style mess right across the border ? (and then who will pay for the wall :). I believe AMLO is smart enough to avoid being hit

    • LarcoMarco
      July 2, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      The just-past electoral season was the most violent in Mexican history, featuring the highest-ever number of assassinated politicians,136. Stay low, AMLO!

Comments are closed.