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Tom Friedman Gets Mexico Right

The ongoing success story in Mexico is one of the most important that the American press has missed in the last few years. We keep seeing Mexico as nothing but trouble—drug cartels, illegal immigration—when in fact a new reality is taking shape. In his most recent must-read column for the NYT, Friedman sheds some much-needed light on Mexico’s remarkable turnaround:

Something happened here. It’s as if Mexicans subconsciously decided that their drug-related violence is a condition to be lived with and combated but not something to define them any longer. Mexico has signed 44 free trade agreements — more than any country in the world — which, according to The Financial Times, is more than twice as many as China and four times more than Brazil. Mexico has also greatly increased the number of engineers and skilled laborers graduating from its schools. Put all that together with massive cheap natural gas finds, and rising wage and transportation costs in China, and it is no surprise that Mexico now is taking manufacturing market share back from Asia and attracting more global investment than ever in autos, aerospace and household goods.

Read the whole thing. For the US, there is nothing but good news in Mexico’s revival, and we hope the Obama administration will listen to Friedman on this one. There’s a lot going on in Asia but North America—with abundant energy, a large and growing market, no territorial disputes by land or sea—may well be the continent with the brightest future. Certainly the US needs to revisit our relations with Mexico and develop a positive agenda for the next stage.

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