In This Review

Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together
Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together
By Andrew W. Selee
PublicAffairs, 2018, 336 pp

In this breezy, well-crafted primer, Selee marshals overwhelming evidence of the mutually beneficial economic and social integration of Mexico and the United States. Extensive industrial supply chains and a booming two-way trade in agricultural products bind the two countries’ economies together. Mexican filmmakers, athletes, and celebrity chefs enrich U.S. popular culture. And national law enforcement agencies cooperate to suppress criminal organizations that operate on both sides of the border. Within Mexico, a large, prosperous middle class has emerged. The two countries are no longer “distant neighbors,” as the journalist Alan Riding dubbed them in the pre-NAFTA 1980s; they are “intimate strangers—deeply connected to each other yet with few of the tools [they] need to understand [their] growing intimacy.” Before the rise of U.S. President Donald Trump, many Americans and Mexicans viewed their countries’ strengthening bonds favorably. But as a candidate, Trump successfully played on the fears of voters in small towns and rural areas. Despite Trump’s victory, Selee is confident that the irresistible forces of integration will only accelerate and Trump’s anti-Mexican posture will prove a mere footnote to history.