In This Review

Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead
Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead
By Shannon K. O'Neil
264 pp, Oxford University Press, USA, 2013

In delightfully entertaining yet fact-filled prose, O’Neil sketches a persuasively optimistic portrait of Mexico, one at odds with the crime-drenched media reports and alarmist warnings of nativists in the United States. Mexico is indeed marching forward, consolidating its multiparty democracy, growing its middle class, and integrating its factories into global supply chains. A rapidly modernizing Mexico City stands as one of the world’s great metropolises. Moreover, some underlying social trends are moving in the right direction: for example, fertility rates are decreasing, which over time tends to correlate with rising wages and falling crime. U.S. policy has responded to these changes (albeit sometimes too timidly, in O’Neil’s view), most notably through the successful North American Free Trade Agreement, recent plans to upgrade border infrastructure, U.S. assistance to Mexican law enforcement, and, if the Obama administration prevails, immigration reform. O’Neil stops short of endorsing the kind of comprehensive regional integration advanced by Robert Pastor in his seminal 2011 book, The North American Idea, but argues cogently that the two countries “will now rise and fall together, two nations indivisible.”