Relations between the U.S. and Mexico remain on thin ice in the wake of President Donald Trump’s incessant belligerence. Now, following Trump telling disgraced former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that he was anticipating formally designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has insisted that he will not consider an “intervention” tactic from the United States. Instead, he said, he’ll only accept “cooperation.” In other words, yet another world leader has batted down Trump’s dream of treating the world like his personal domain.
On Wednesday, at his daily press conference, López Obrador declined to go into details, but he did tell reporters:
‘Just to say – cooperation yes, interventionism no.’
Previously, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard already shared that “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that it has contacted U.S. authorities to understand the meaning and scope of the remarks.” More specifically, he also apparently promptly requested a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a bid to understand what the Trump administration’s next bright idea regarding Mexico might be.
The latest burst of confusing tension comes after nine members of a U.S. Mormon group were killed when they were caught in a firefight between drug cartels. Trump had told O’Reilly that he’d “actually offered [López Obrador] to let us go in and clean it out and he so far has rejected the offer.”
Prominent Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) has already been among those also advocating for considering direct military intervention in Mexico. Recently, he insisted:
‘In the real world, when the bad guys and cartels have .50-caliber machine guns, the only answer is more bullets and bigger bullets. And if Mexico can’t protect American citizens in Mexico, then we may have to take matters into our own hands.’
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), who represents the McAllen, Texas, area right along the southern border, suggested a slightly more level approach of direct, on the ground cooperation with Mexican security forces. He said:
‘I’m curious what the red line is going to be what needs to happen for us to either do it uninvited or for them to just allow us in. I understand all the sovereignty arguments, but they need to get over it… I think we should embed our people with the Mexicans, to make sure you keep everybody honest and have a plan and when the plan is finished, then we leave. And it could be in the form of military or it could just be in the form of American law enforcement going in there.’
Trump has long sought to use violence in Mexico as an excuse for ostracizing the country as a whole, although to be clear, it’s not spilling over the border en masse like Trump claims with his baseless “invasion” fearmongering. At present, rather than attempting some kind of further cooperation with Mexico, he’s sticking to plans like putting up a wall along the southern U.S. border in response to a still definitely utterly baseless threat of “invasion.”