Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent trip to Mexico (March 25-26) demonstrated, once again, the power of public diplomacy. The trip was a tour de force (with only one minor mishap) that opened a window of opportunity in a bilateral relationship that had become badly damaged. Prior to her trip, the mood toward the United States in Mexico was quite sour, the consequence of both Bush administration policies and recent developments.
“Poor Mexico“ the nation’s nineteenth century dictator Porfirio Díaz supposedly remarked, “so far from God and so close to the United States!” His lament continues to strike a chord today. Mexico remains fundamentally connected to its neighbor to the North both by economic and cultural ties. A substantial number of Mexicans work in the United States and the remittances that they send home play a significant role in the Mexican economy. American brands and popular culture are everywhere in Mexico.