Today Felipe Calderon addressed the U.S. Congress. As has become the Mexican custom, he castigated the United States for its unreasonably liberal gun control laws, unreasonably harsh treatment of illegal immigrants, and the alleged U.S. role in his country’s troubles with drug kingpins and violence.
He said, for example regarding Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, “It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree but also introduces a terrible idea using racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement.” Note the multiple layers of presumption and moral judgment. First, he is criticizing a law democratically enacted by a U.S. state designed to address a massive flood of people caused by his government’s policy of encouraging illegal immigration (complete with “how to” pamphlets.) Second, he is fearless in his condemnation of the U.S., even though his country is many times weaker militarily and economically, and even though he is our guest. Finally, he is a hypocrite of the first order, as Mexico aggressively intercepts and deports illegal immigrants to Mexico and passing through Mexico from other parts of Central America, and Mexico’s human rights records leaves a great deal to be desired whether we’re talking the Cristeros War or more recent events such as the massacre of students in 1968.
I did a little digging. The last US President to address the Mexican Congress was Jimmy Carter in 1979. While foreign presidents can mingle and engage in pseudo-aristocratic diplomacy, the Mexican Congress has long been a a hotbed of the traditionally ambivalent Mexican view of the United States, a combination of envy, fear, and contempt. Carter’s speech presaged the devolution of American self-respect we’ve seen fully flower under President Barack Hussein Obama, whose various speeches in Berlin, Cairo, and Moscow cement in place the new era of American powerlessness and paralyzing guilt.
While today the Mexican President presumes to lecture the United States on illegal aliens and gun control, in 1979 Carter spoke in soothing and subservient tones, and he did so in Spanish. He pleaded, “My friends, I have come to Mexico to listen. This is a time to appreciate the mutual benefits of our historical friendship as neighbors. But it is also a time of exciting changes within our two countries and in our relationship with each other.” Listening, that’s good–welcome and appropriate, in fact, in a foreign nation’s legislative halls. Such gestures of faux equality are unobjectionable standing alone, as mutual respect goes a long way in relations between nations.
Felipe Calderon didn’t get the memo; or, rather, he got the version with the editor’s notes, notes which reveal that there is one set of rules constraining the United States that demands we treat unequals as equals, and these editor’s notes make it plain that these inferiors can make demands and control policy among their military and economic superiors. This is the tone and tenor of all leftist foreign policy: the objective destruction of Western and American power recast as the advance of universal justice.
Much like Obama’s various humiliations of America–their America, the land that oppressed his ancestors–Carter also took things too far, noting, “Our friendship has at times been marred by mistakes, and even by abuses of power.” Carter’s literal text was ambiguous, but rest assured, the Mexicans acknowledge no Mexican abuses of power vis a vis the United States. In 1979, they understood the meaning and were pleased, or rather emboldened, and ever since the U.S. has weakly appeased them, even though Mexico as a nation has done literally nothing for the United States. It has sent no soldiers to fight in any of our wars–unlike smaller neighbors Honduras and El Salvador. Mexico in fact abrogated the Rio Treaty shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The Mexican Congress even found it difficult to have a moment of silence to mourn the Americans killed in those attacks, as this was considered unduly subservient.
Weak people make bad friends, and the same thing is true among nations. Weak people and weak nations take all they can get, as they have not learned the restraint and magnanimity that comes from success and strength. The Mexicans are weak and insecure, not least because American prosperity, in a nation that emerged some 120 years after theirs, is a daily indictment of the Mexican social and economic system, their culture, and their vaunted La Raza Cosmica.
Mexicans still smart over things Americans have forgotten, like the Treaty of Gudalupe Hidalgo or U.S. boycotts in the wake of the nationalization of the Mexican oil industry in 1938. Mexicans are also undoubtedly ashamed that so many of their citizens are leaving, in many cases forever, to the North, where even the lowliest and least educated can make a living impossible to achieve in Mexico. In short, Mexico is a pesky, fragile, and envious little country that is the chief source of its own problems. Unfortunately, our politicians all the way up to our President seem to think that they will somehow expiate America’s sins by doing Mexico (and the rest of the Third World’s) bidding. As we have seen in Calderon’s latest insults, the more likely result is that Mexico will become further emboldened and more demanding as the U.S. loses its self-respect.
During the Cold War, Mexico, for all of its leftism and socialism, never dreamed of going Communist. They knew America would strike back. In Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback, the Mexican government knew to tread lightly in dealing with America’s internal affairs, as much as it may have filled their so-called Revolutionary Party with resentment. Today, when our impositions on Mexico are so minimal, that resentment, and that demandingness, has reached an all time high. And these demands are enabled by a domestic fifth column, fueled by multicultural ideology, that is willing to let everyone but native-born Americans play by rules of tribal aggrandizement. The only silver lining of Calderon’s visits is for patriotic Americans to realize that these foreign leaders have contempt for them and their way of life, and that they are arm-in-arm with leftist American elites that share that contempt. In short, the insults of a President Calderon can ignite a nationalist reaction that would be muted if its authors were solely, at least technically speaking, American statesmen.