Mexico’s Future is Up for Grabs

During the next four years, Bill Clinton will face a transition in U.S. relations with Mexico more challenging than those encountered by any other president in modem memory. Washington has taken for granted a secure southern border since World War I, when General John “Black Jack’ Pershing commanded an expeditionary force against Pancho Villa, and Arthur Zimmerman-the kaiser’s foreign secretary-sought an alliance between Germany and the Mexican government that emerged from the 1910-17 revolution. Granted, occasional disputes have erupted, including President Lazaro Cardenas’s expropriation of seventeen American and European oil companies in 1938; Mexico’s adamant refusal to join an embargo against Fidel Castro’s Cuba in the 1960~; and the outrage of then president Miguel de la Madrid when Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) publicly excoriated corruption and drug trafficking below the Rio Grande in 1986 hearings.

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