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Trump plunges into the world

For Mexico, it is favorable not being included in Trump's first foreign trip, given his negative speech; but his selection of countries for this journey sparks uneasiness
Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
20/05/2017
19:30
Luis Ernesto Derbez
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We Mexicans should appreciate that nor our government invited U.S. President Donald Trump, nor he thought of coming to our country on his first international tour. It is predictable that an official visit from Trump to Mexico would hinder NAFTA renegotiation, increase the abuse toward our fellow countrymen in the U.S. and empower the negative debate in relation to his proposal to build a border wall between our nations. Until our authorities do not have a firm plan of concrete and feasible actions to face this attitude, it would be best that Trump does not visit Mexico and that the relations between both governments are carried out by officers with a lower rank than that of the President.

During Trump's first tour, giving his attitude, Mexicans should be grateful for the fact that Mexico is being forced to reevaluate its foreign policy, looking beyond the NAFTA trilateral integration which, while being positive, has limited our technological development and our geopolitical influence worldwide. With his threat to the treaty, Trump taught us that, in order to guarantee our economic stability, we must apply a commercial policy of diversification of products and markets. His disdain towards our fellow countrymen has shown us that, to guarantee our national sovereignty, we must design a scientific and technological development policy which frees our productive system from the yoke of foreign dependence. Finally, due to his authoritarian impulses, reflected on the publication of discriminatory presidential decrees against the entry of people because of religious matters, they reminded us that our foreign policy must be oriented toward the defense of international structures which guarantee free trade, peace amongst nations, and, above all, the validity of international law to resolve conflicts between nations.

Although it is favorable for us that he does not come to Mexico, the geographic orientation of his first foreign trip gives rise to apprehension concerning the effect he will have on international stability. The visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican are worrisome. His tour in Saudi Arabia includes, inter alia, presenting a speech in which he will refer the role of the Islamic religion in the world. In just four months of his administration, the circumstances which Trump faces have changed. Threatened by the FBI investigation in relation to his campaign and Russia, Trump's probabilities of feeling tempted to use this trip as public distraction have increased substantially the risk of turning the tour into a harm to the region visited.

In an attempt to clear his name, Trump could improvise statements and offer actions which could aggravate the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two nations whose rivalry affect the solution to the existing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, which represent one of the greatest risks for world stability and peace.

Just as risky will be what Trump comments and does during his visit to Israel. Any wrong declaration concerning Jerusalem's role and its integration to Israel could have relevant consequences in the delicate equilibrium of the conflict lived by Israeli and Palestinian communities, in addition to that of Israel and Iran as stability factors in the Middle East.

His famous desire of renown, his ignorance about the history of the religion and his evident laziness to properly prepare could result in declarations which, far from serving as mediation for the regional dispute, could heighten the animosity between Israel and Iran, or Israel and the countries led by Saudi Arabia.

In respect of his meeting with Pope Francis, the noted difference of opinions of the two leaders about the solutions which should be taken regarding world peace, justice, ecology, migration and poverty problems, could lead to offensive commentaries to a great proportion of the global population.

Lastly, his participation in the NATO could undermine the Russia-U.N. relation. Peace and geopolitical equilibrium in issues like Russian presence in Ukraine and the invasion of Crimea could weaken the transatlantic alliance which has been crucial for peace and stability between Europe and Russia.

The risks of Trump's trip are real. It would have been best for the world if he had inaugurated his foreign tours following the traditional rule: first visit Mexico or Canada.

Former Ministry of Economy and Foreign Affairs, Headmaster of the University of the Americas Puebla

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