In This Review

The United States and Mexico: Between Partnership and Conflict
The United States and Mexico: Between Partnership and Conflict
By Jorge Domínguez and Rafael Fernandez de Castro
Routledge, 2001, 184 pp

This timely book should be required reading on both sides of the border. The authors argue that the North American Free Trade Agreement and the dramatic shift in Mexican elite opinion have forged a new relationship in which the two nations must collaborate across a complex agenda of transnational issues. Important changes made this historic shift possible: the economic crisis in Mexico during the 1980s; the simultaneous accession to power of presidents Carlos Salinas and George H.W. Bush; the emergence of U.S.-trained Mexican neoliberal economists; and the end of the Cold War, which freed both sides from ideological straitjackets. Furthermore, the increasing importance of security led to high-level U.S.-Mexico consultation, particularly over drug trafficking, as well as deeper and broader personal contacts among top officials. NAFTA fortified this developing matrix of cooperation, with both countries fostering economic integration for the first time rather than opposing it. In short, the United States and Mexico moved closer across an array of sectors, such as business, media, and nongovernmental organizations. Despite this convergence, the most difficult issue remains how to manage the border. An essential background primer as presidents George W. Bush and Vicente Fox seek to define a forward-looking North American agenda.