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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Are the changes in US diplomacy real?

Por sumily

A former US ambassador to Mexico and Venezuela, Jeffrey Davidow, during the presidential terms of Democrats and Republicans said that in general terms, since the end of the Cold War there has been unanimity in politics. In his view, it is not clear to him if there is a regression in time in terms of what politics is concerned or if he simply does not care about anything that happens. The truth is that the position of the US president towards the region seems to be driven by national concerns or other reasons.

In the case of Cuba, Trump seems to be attending to his political base in Florida, which is opposed to relations with the communist government.In Mexico, the proposals to build a border wall and deport people respond to US frustrations about immigration and employment.

President Donald Trump's chief adviser, Jared Kushner, and also Ivanka's husband, his daughter, met with the president of Mexico just weeks after the failure of a meeting conceived between the leaders of both nations due to a telephone dispute over the wall border proposed by the American leader.

On this occasion, the meeting between Kushner and President Enrique Peña Nieto aims to calm tensions. Attempts for both presidents to meet have been abruptly canceled since Trump took office in 2016 and the relationship between countries is suffering its biggest regression in decades.

However, the meeting between Peña Nieto and Kushner shows the unfathomable change in the approach that the Trump government has had with Mexico and the rest of Latin America. The US side announced the visit less than a day before it happened, and did not offer details on the issues that would be addressed in it.

According to statements by a senior US official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue, Kushner also met with the foreign minister of Mexico and did not invite ambassador Roberta Jacobson to accompany him in the meetings, Jacobson being a diplomat with more than 30 years of experience in the region.

According to the professor at Columbia University, Christopher Sabatini, this is not the correct way to implement foreign policy by sending the president's son-in-law, a young man with no experience in US-Mexico relations, to meet with Nieto. For Sabatini, this is a real example of the lack of professionalism and personalization of diplomacy that will harm the interests and influence of the US government in the region.In what passes of 2018, three of the most experienced diplomats of the Department of State in Latin America have resigned: Tom Shannon, the third in the line of command of the department; John Feeley, the ambassador in Panama; and Jacobson, the ambassador in Mexico, who will leave office in May.

The suggestions for intervention in Venezuela and the departure of an important regional trade treaty, the public fights with Mexico, the Trans-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement and the proposals to end relations with Cuba are specific evidences of a fundamental change in what had been a consensus in Washington during the last two decades: a friendly approach with the region and the conviction that American interests would be better served through alliances.