Guadalajara International Book Fair analyzes global challenges

North American countries have different security priorities; expert says worst threat is climate change
Juan Ramón de la Fuente (center) was the moderator of the Mexico-USA bilateral relations roundtable - Photo: Juan Boites/EL UNIVERSAL
Yanet Aguilar Sosa
Guadalajara, Jalisco
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Economy, racism, security, and the different languages spoken in Canada, Mexico and the United States are topics common to North America and were analyzed by Alan Bersin, Rafel Fernández, Juliette Kayyem, Michael F. Kergin, and Patrick Schaefer during the “Mexico-USA bilateral relations” roundtable, moderated by Juan Ramón de la Fuente, as part of the conferences and talks of the Guadalajara International Book Fair.

Organized by The Aspen Institute Mexico – of which Juan Ramón de la Fuente is the chairman of the Executive Board – and in collaboration with the University of Guadalajara, last night Alain Bersin, former public official during the Barack Obama administration, said we all must recognize ourselves as North American.

“I hope everyone realizes we're all North Americans, not just Americans but all of us, and we all need to think like North Americans. We will respect sovereignty but the flow of merchandises, thoughts, images, ideas, they came from the North and the South. They are more important than the lines which divide us. We have to change the attitude of the people and all the countries,” said Bersin.

For his part, Rafael Fernández said he's concerned about public insecurity, claiming violence and insecurity are the “number one” concern of the Mexican population.

Juliette Kayyem said the threats affecting global security have no borders, and for this reason, several nations have to realize what they need to do, whether against terrorism, cybersecurity, public health pandemics, or climate change.

“I have more nightmares about climate change than terrorism, and because these are threats not limited by borders, we need multinational actions without borders. Of course, every country is going to have its own focus on security, but the global challenges we face are not at a national level,” she added.

Talking about security, Juan Ramón de la Fuente agreed with Rafel Fernández that when talking about a safe North America, every country thinks of a different problem.

“Analyzing the agenda of security we can see the priorities of the United States and Canada are not exactly the same as ours,” said De la Fuente, who, as moderator of the roundtable, brought up the issue of the prevailing racism in the United States.

Kayyem said not all the people who voted for Trump is racist yet racism encouraged many of his voters given Trump's campaign against Mexico, Islam, “or whatever else, but I think the biggest surprise was the reach within the United States of how forgiving we were about racism, because it wasn't hidden, everybody saw it, they listened to his speeches and they all forgave him. They said: 'It's fine,'” she explained.

For Patrick Schaefer, national problems are transnational threats. “From my point of view, this is all about market competitiveness; it's a battle to dominate the control of the land,” he said.

The 2017 Guadalajara International Book Fair is taking place from November 25 to December 3.


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