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National Mexico States
National Security Affairs Country Brief, Mexico
The purpose of this National Security Affairs paper is to provide you with a better understanding of Mexico’s current state of affairs and how it impacts other nation states. These writings cover Mexico’s strategies and operational factors and how these impact their Foreign Policy.
This includes how Mexico has made concerted efforts to strengthen its economy and unemployment by being one of the world’s most open trade regimes, but still maintains its world non-intervention posture. With the ongoing presence of terrorism and insurgency in the world, The United States and its military is continuously exerting efforts to eliminate these issues with efforts by Mexico.
Mexico, geographically speaking, is located in North America and is bordered on the east and west by the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean, respectively. Land borders exist in the north and south; the United States of America and Guatemala, also respectively. Mexico consists of 49,510 sq. km of water and 1,972,550 sq. km of land, totalling 1,972,550 sq. km’s. This is slightly less than three times the size of the great state of Texas.
As with Mexico’s size, its National Purpose is also a large task to manage. Since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, Mexico’s national purpose has been to:
- Increase international competitiveness
- Strengthen the economic condition /Reduce Poverty levels
- National Non-intervention
Mexico plans to increase international competitiveness through free trade with other nations to reduce the dependency on the US. Reducing crime and drug trafficking will provide strength in the economic condition. Finally, expanding Mexico’s trade agreements into Europe and Latin America is a crucial target, but still maintaining their national non-intervention is essential. These were challenges faced by former President Fox and the newly elected president, President Calderón.
Mexico has no major adversary or minor adversary. US influence and impact on Mexico’s National Purpose is fundamental to US interests. US relations with Mexico have a direct impact on lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans. (*USDofS) This is observed through Mexico’s free trade, economic reform, homeland security, drug control, migration or democracy. (*USDofS)
Mexico’s governmental function is based on a federal republic. The government power is broken into three separate branches; the independent, executive and the judicial. This government was established from the Mexican Constitution in 1917.
The president holds the head of state and the head of government, which this vested power allows the executive branch to be the dominant branch in Mexico. Congress delegates power to the president to execute decree in certain economic and financial areas. The president also executes the laws of Congress. Unlike the United States, the Mexican president is elected to a six-year term and cannot hold a second term. In addition there is no vice president to back the current president and Congress will step in to handle matters if necessary.
The second branch executed in Mexico is the legislative authority consisting of the Bicameral National Congress, also known as the “Congreso de la Union”. The Union consists of 128 seats, 96 are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms and 32 are allocated by each party’s popular vote. (*Country Watch) The other half of the Legislative branch consists of the Federal Chamber of Deputies, which the 500 seats allocated, serves a three-year term.
The final branch, or judiciary, is divided into state and federal court systems. There is no trial by jury, but rather by judge. Public defenders are available and defendants also have the right to counsel. The Senate approves the Supreme Court of Justice (Suprema Corta de Justica Nacional) that is appointed by the president.
Mexico has no major adversary or minor adversary. US influence and impact focus is on the establishing a democratic, free-market regime in Cuba or other nation states. (*Country Watch) The US and Mexico agree on these goals, but the tactics are unsettled.
National and conflicts of interests
Mexico has little involvement outside of its boundaries with regards to defence actions. Mexico’s military consists of close to 500,000 strong with population eligibility of 2.1 million. After September 11, 2001 Mexico declared full support to the United States. Border controls and increased security were enforced to prevent potential terrorism.
Even though Mexico pledged full support, the country provided no troop support and the public believes that the United States “War on Terrorism” was not their concern. (*Country Watch) This reaction is a prime result of Mexico’s desire to maintain its sovereignty. This agreement, very possibly, could create conflict between the US and Mexico.
Mexico’s economic wellbeing is focused on the reduction of the poverty level and the increase of wages. With Mexico being the 4th largest oil producer in the world, Mexico’s recovery is due to the strong export sector. Mexico’s Gross National Product (GNP) grew 3% in 2005 and continues to grow. Countries have built assembly plants in northern Mexico to accommodate the automotive industry in the United States and Canada. NAFTA is the primary factor for the increase in the overall economy in Mexico.
The world order element is seen in the efforts of the Mexican government to establish relationships with multiple countries regarding trade agreements. Mexico participates in several international organizations such as United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), European Union and the founding member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Ironically Mexico declined membership to Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Conflicts with Venezuela on forcing free trade agreements have continued and resolution has still not been met. The other major interest on the world order issue is the efforts between the US and Mexico on controlling and coordinating the reduction of narcotics and illicit drugs into the United States.
Currently Mexico faces no major adversaries. The US could be considered a minor adversary due to the amount of trade and economic support provided to Mexico. If that trade would dissipate the economy would fold. US influence and impact is seen in their efforts that the US, Canada and Mexico have joined agreements on creating a free trade alliance. Mexico relies on the 86% imports from the United States. NAFTA has created that flexibility, assisting in improving Mexico’s economy.
Mexico focuses on six elements of National Power, which are geographic, demographic, political, military, economical and national will. National power for Mexico, since the decline of the Peso in 1993, has had to focus greater efforts on the economic element to re-establish the economy.
The first of the six elements, geography, is very diverse. The climate ranges from tropical to desert. That climate fosters various terrains consisting of high rugged mountains, low coastal plains, high plateaus and desert. The average rainfall is 762mm/30in and the average temperature in January and July is 13.3 degrees C and 16.7 degrees C, respectively.
These geographic conditions assist in producing the natural resources of petroleum, silver, copper, gold, timber and many others. These resources are eventually exported. The geographic element of Mexico, also possess threats of tsunamis along the pacific coast, volcanoes, massive earthquakes and hurricanes on the pacific and the Gulf of Mexico.
The demographics of Mexico, for 2006, consist of a population of roughly 107,000,000. This population is estimated to have a 1.16% growth rate in 2006. This increase is partly to due to Mexico’s reputation of undocumented immigrants to the United States. As a result, Immigration form Central America into Mexico is similar to the immigration from Mexico into the United States. The population of Mexico consists of three major ethnic groups.
The groups are 60% Mestizo, 30% Indigenous, 9% European descent and 1 % other. (*World Fact Book) Mexico is the home to the second largest Argentine population outside of Argentina. Mexico is also an excellent place for retirees and is considered to have the largest population of US citizens outside of US territory. This is a direct result of the growing economy and business interdependence caused by NAFTA agreements.
The political area of Mexico consists of several parties. They are the Convergence for Democracy, Institutional Revolutionary Party, Mexican Green Ecological Party, National Action Party, Party of Democratic Revolution, and Workers Party. Most recently the election of 2006 between Felipe Calderon (PAN) and Andres Manual Lopez Obrador (PRD) resulted in less than one percent margin of victory. Even with Calceron winning, Obrador did not observe Calderon as President and contested the election at first. Even with the change of leadership, the Mexican population continues to focus on two things: reducing poverty and increasing jobs in Mexico.
The Mexican Military consists of the Secretariat of National Defence and Secretariat of the Navy. The National Defence element consists of the Army and Mexican Air Force followed by the Navy consisting of the Naval Air and Marines. Individuals at the age of 18 must serve a 12-month obligation. Mexico’s military currently has 192,770 active soldiers and 300,000 reserves.
The economic element for Mexico has improved since the 1994-1995 crises. NAFTA has tripled the trading volume with Canada and the US. Mexico has entered the trillion dollar GNP class economically for being a free market economy. In addition, Mexico has 12 trade agreements with over 40 countries including Guatemala, European Free Trade Areas and Japan. (*Wikipedia) 85% of the trade is still being conducted with the United States, but allowing 90% free trade agreements will reduce the dependency on the US.
The automotive industry has improved economic stability by being located next to the world largest automobile market. Companies like Volkswagen have located assembly plants in Northern Mexico to accommodate that market. In addition Mexico is the fourth largest oil producer in the world.
Currently Mexico has no major adversary. Mexico’s minor adversary could be considered the US if illegal immigration from Central America through Mexico into the United States continues. US influence and impact involves the US and Mexican governments continuous negotiation for temporary workers. Mexico insists on regularization of immigration status of Mexican’s already in the US. The US recently deployed US soldiers to provide border patrols greater assistance in the illegal border crossings.
Mexico is confronted with several threats, internally and externally, that are always a continuous battle. Mexico is confronted with continuous disagreements amongst is neighbours on the issue of illegal immigration with the decline of the Peso in 1993. Mexico’s population is searching elsewhere for jobs and a better standard of living. The biggest threat with this external issue is with the United States and Mexican Government and the illegal border crossings.
The internal threats that face Mexico are terrorism, insurgencies and crime. Currently, Mexico doesn’t face a direct impact of terrorist attacks on any known Mexican targets. In 1993, three Mexican citizens and six Spanish nationals were taken into custody for allegedly being affiliated with a Spanish terrorist organization, the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA). The suspects were found laundering money and forging documents to support their cause in the ETA. Mexico has interaction with all twelve of the international conventions and protocols pertaining to the subject of terrorism. (*Country Watch)
Related to terrorism, Insurgencies are a constant threat. Mexico’s present poverty level and the very indigenous population have brought to life the increase in violence. The Mexican government was faced with an insurgency uprising by a rebel group from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.
The fighting only lasted twelve days when the government and the militants negotiated a cease-fire. Even with minor clashes appearing in Chiapas, this agreement stayed in effect until 2004. Former President Vincente Fox made the promise to continue to improve the conditions of Chiapas and reduce the confrontations.
The final internal threat for Mexico is crime. One of the most notable enterprises in Mexico is narcotic trafficking. Narcotic trafficking, through Mexico, constitutes for about 70% of all cocaine that enters the United States. Mexico is the primary conduit from South America to the United States. Mexico also cultivates large sums of poppy, cannabis and distributes the drug called ecstasy. As a result of the drug production and distribution, crime has plagued Mexico. Unfortunately, money laundering, armed robbery and theft are on the rise. The government is focusing most of its concern on the larger metropolitan areas, such as Mexico City, Tijuana, and Nuevo Laredo.
A major adversary for Mexico is considered Afghanistan as a result of Mexico being used as a conduit to the United States regarding insurgency. Increased efforts on border entry support have been enforced to reduce these acts of terrorism. Mexico’s minor adversary is South America. South America continues to traffic illicit drugs into the country and eventually into the United States. US influence and impact has a strong partnership with Mexico to combat terrorism and the illegal drug trafficking. Demand reduction, narcotic interdiction and eradication continue with the cooperation of US and Mexican efforts.
Mexico continues its efforts to battle poverty, improve the educational system and strengthening their military. As a result they focus on four main Domestic factors. These factors are also highly agreed upon by the Mexican public. These Domestic factors are; protecting the interests of Mexicans living abroad, the promoting of Mexican exports, stopping the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, and combating terrorism or the opposition of war.
As a result of wide spread poverty levels with in Mexico, remittance of external incomes provide a main source of income for many Mexican families living in Mexico. By supporting a strong emphasis of Mexican exports, it will subside the increase the Mexican poverty levels and cease the increase in the unemployment rates.
Reducing or stopping the flow of illegal drugs into the United States will assist in the reduction of violence within Mexico and reduce the overall crime rate. The majority of Mexican’s believe that the responsibility of stopping drug trafficking lies heavily on the United States.
Finally, the effort to combat terrorism is highly supported by the Mexican population. A large percentage of the Mexican population is willing to allow the United States to assist or participate in the guarding of Mexican borders, ports and airports. Consequently, Mexico wishes to sustain its continued practice of non-involvement or its strong protection of their national sovereignty. (*CIDE 06) This is definitely a contradiction of practices and belief’s.
Mexico has no major or minor adversaries. The US influence is primarily focused on how involved Mexican government is willing to allow.
With the US security shield from the north, Mexico is encompassed with a safe and stable environment with no immediate security threat. As a result of these factors Mexico does not possess the typical military or force protection aspects involved with general commitments. These obligations of providing resources to other nation states are very limited or absent. Mexico’s non-intervention philosophy reinforces this practice.
This doesn’t mean that Mexico is not excused from other potential commitments. As a result of Mexico’s big brother, the United States, providing such protection and over-watch, Mexico has responded to world anti-terrorism effort and US disaster relief. The US expects the Mexican government to provide sanctions and controls to limit and defend against terrorist using Mexico as a conduit to the United States.
These efforts are observed by allowing US agents to collaborate with government authorities by helping to secure Mexican borders, seaports and air terminals. (*CIDE 06) Mexico has also provided support to the US by establishing blood banks and aid hot lines for victims of terrorist attacks and bombings.
In addition to anti-terrorism efforts, Mexico also must continue the efforts to manage the 2000-mile common border. Due to the close proximity of Mexico to the US and the noticeable difference in quality of life, it is no wonder why for many generations Mexicans have illegally crossed the border. They come to the US to achieve the American dream.
Mexico is making concerted efforts to provide assets and border patrols to minimize and eliminate illegal immigration into the United States. Mexican government officials are also enforcing the proper process to achieve valid Visa’s for work purposes or residency. The Mexican government has attacked this problem on its side by sending in military and federal police forces to take temporary control over security, and to purge and revamp local police forces in areas where the violence is acute. (*USDofS)
Mexico has taken its own measures to cease the flow of illegal immigrants on its southern border, which are people clearly headed to the United States. In 2005, Mexico deported approximately 235,000 people who had crossed its own border illegally. (*USDofS) The Government of Mexico has tightened its visa regime to require that nationals from countries that were sending large numbers of illegal immigrants apply for visas before entering the country. (USDofS)
Currently Mexico has no major or minor adversaries relating to its commitments.
Due to the size and population of Mexico, it could very well be a regional power. Since the end of World War II, Mexico has faced a safe, stable and benign regional environment with no immediate security threats. (*CIDE 04) As a result Mexico has not developed its military strength and has not sought to be in a leading role in the world. The biggest impact is the lack of military leadership, combat, and decision-making training.
Mexico also lacks the technologically advanced equipment to be in a leading role. The major reason for this is the financial support necessary from governmental negotiations. Mexican governmental officials have stressed the importance of military strength, but the Foreign Policy emphasizes internal strength rather than external. Mexico has basically separated itself from world affairs and has chosen how and when to involve themselves militarily.
Mexico has no major or minor adversaries regarding its military strategy.
Since the end of the reign of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 2000, Mexico’s leadership has turned its international focus in a slightly different direction. Mexico has emphasized its international strategies on its increase trade flow with European markets, strengthening its NAFTA networks, and continues its efforts of non-intervention.
Mexican leaders feel that there is too much economic dependence on the US. Mexico wishes to reach out to the European and Latin American markets to strengthen its economy. Mexican leaders believe that expanding trade efforts with Europe and Latin America will emphasize Mexico’s radical transformation as being a more open and internationally oriented economy. (*Foreign Policy Assoc.)
Even though this is an uncharacteristic aggressive measure, this philosophy is necessary to prevent Mexico from being left out of the global race. This effort will strengthen one of its unanswered Foreign Policies.
A second International strategy is the expansion of the NAFTA agreements. The NAFTA agreement primarily focuses trade agreements with the US, Canada and Mexico. Mexico believes that extending this agreement to other nations will assist in the flow back in foreign investments, jobs and potentially a stronger nation for Mexico.
Former President Fox stated that this is a necessary step “regardless whether we like it or not, whether or not it suits our interests”. (*Foreign Policy Assoc.) Former President Fox spent months traveling to Europe and Latin American to build stronger relations with those nations.
Finally, Mexico traditionally has sought to maintain its interests abroad and project its influence largely through moral persuasion and has championed the principles of non-intervention and self-determination. (*Conservipedia) Mexican leadership believes that staying out of other nation state domestic issues has worked well in the past and is highly influential of the Mexican public.
Mexico has no real major or minor adversaries impacting its international strategies.
As a result of profound government leadership changes in past decades, Mexico’s foreign policy is under current revision. (*Global View 04) Mexico faces dilemmas regarding their Foreign policy. These dilemmas are categorized into; deepening or renegotiating NAFTA, the degree of foreign policy activism, strengthening relations with the north verses the south, and a non-intervention principle. As a result Mexico’s policy is torn between its principles and its interests. Not only is the uncertainty present in the political leadership, but the Mexican public is also indecisive.
Mexican leaders must ask the question, will seeking a closer relationship with the US strengthen the economic partnership into a strategic alliance or will it result in the loss of its identity and sovereignty? Mexicans have an increasingly positive view of NAFTA and most believe that being the United States’ neighbour is advantageous.
But, leaders believe that self-reliance could start with the involvement with its allies to the South. Finally, the continued focus of non-intervent is a value highly protected. Mexican leaders believe, based on the United States Military dominance, that deepening relations with the United States will open up Mexico to break that prominent practice.
Currently Mexico has no major or minor adversaries. Mexico’s foreign policy revolves around the primary factor of geographical positioning. It lies on the shoulders of Mexican politicians based on whether or not Mexico will or should take advantage of their next door neighbour and seek special relation and strategic alliances.
National Security affairs
Mexico currently has no immediate threat by a foreign power. There are affairs that have or could result in US military involvement. The main affair facing Mexico is illegal immigration, drug trafficking and trade agreements with Cuba. Increasing numbers of illegal immigrants have crossed the borders of the US and this consists of approximately 8% of the Mexican population. In late 2005 and early 2006, the United States deployed National Guard soldiers to patrol the 2000 mile border of Mexico.
This effort was to assist in the reduction of illegal immigration and provide needed assistance for the US border patrol. Drug trafficking is on the decline since the 1997 BI-national alliance called the “U.S. –Mexico BI-national Drug strategy”. This alliance was agreed upon by the US and Mexican governments to interdict on drug shipments and extradition of drug traffickers. Still, 70% of the cocaine entering the US is crossing over from Mexico.
Finally, Mexico has expanded its trading focus with 12 trade agreements with over 40 countries including Guatemala, European Free Trade Areas and Japan. The trade agreements are on rough terms between the US and Mexico. They have agreed on the ultimate goal of establishing a democratic, free-market regime in Cuba, but disagree on the tactics on reaching that goal. (*Country Watch)
A major adversary would be Afghanistan and a minor adversary, would be South America. US influence and impact would also impact the reduction of drug trafficking.
Since 1994, Mexico’s common National Purpose has been to increase international competitiveness, strengthen the economic condition (reduce poverty levels) and national non-intervention. Since the end of the end of the reign of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 2000, Mexico’s leadership has redirected its international focus in a slightly different direction. Mexico has emphasized its international strategies on the increased trade flow with European markets, strengthen its NAFTA networks, and continue its efforts of non-intervention.
Growth and improvements have occurred year after year with the help of former President Fox. Mexico’s new president, President Calderón is expected to continue with the foreign policy started during former President Fox’s term. This policy is known as the Castañeda Doctrine, thus allowing the abandonment of the Estrada Doctrine. (*Wikipidia 2006)
Factors that have assisted Mexico in its economic strength is that it has no real major adversaries to mention and the only a few minor adversaries. Continuous efforts are made between US, Europe and The Latin Americas to support Mexico’s Strategies of economic growth, advanced trade capabilities and ultimately continued nation sovereignty.
Central Intelligence Agency, various authors. “CIA – The World Factbook”. Mexico.
15 Aug, 2006. http://www.cis.gov/publications/factbook/print/mx.html
CIDE & COMEX. “Mexico and the world 2006”. Public opinions and Foreign Policy in Mexico.
30 Jan, 2008. http://www.ccfr.org
CIDE & COMEX. “Global Views 2004”. Foreign Policy. 15 Aug, 2006.
Denise Youngblood Coleman. “Country Watch”. Mexico, 2006 Country Review. 15 Aug, 2006.
Pearson Education, Inc. “Infoplease”. Mexico. 28 Jan, 2008
Public Communication Division. “US Department of State”. Background Note: Mexico.
5 Aug, 2007. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35749.htm
Unknown Author. “Foreign Policy Association: Mexico”. Mexico, Recently In Focus.
10 Oct, 2006. http://www.fpa.org/newsletter_info2498/newsletter
Various Contributors. “Conservipedia”. Mexico. 17 Sept 2007.
Various Authors. “Wikipedia”. Mexico. 15 Aug. 2006