Can Mexico Embrace The U.S. At Arm's Length?

Seasoned geopolitician that he is, George Bush has his eye on much more than a fistful of pesos in his push for a free-trade agreement with Mexico. Although the basic aim of the trade deal is to cement the two nations' economies, Bush has another agenda: using trade as a lever to realign power in the western hemisphere. As a first step, he expects a trade accord to transform Mexico, historically an opponent of U. S. influence in the region, into more of an ally. "Mexico could turn out to be a kind of interlocutor with the rest of Latin America," says Viron P. Vaky, an expert on the region at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In fact, in Bush's vision of a new world order, Latin America seems likely to emerge as a test case much more quickly than the Middle East.

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