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On-line version ISSN 2448-7228Print version ISSN 1870-3550

Norteamérica vol.6 n.2 Ciudad de México Jul./Dec. 2011




Mexican Anti-Americanism And Regional Integration in North America*


Brian Bow** y Arturo Santa-Cruz***


** Associate Professor of Political Science, Dalhousie University,

*** Associate Profesor and Director, Center for North American Studies, University of Guadalajara.


Recibido: 01/06/2011
Aceptado: 28/09/2011



Regionalization is a fact in North America, but regionalism has barely gotten off the ground. Several factors have been proposed to explain the underdevelopment of regional institutions in North America: divergent interests and priorities, concerns about sovereignty, nationalism, and, particularly since 9/11, the United States' preoccupation with policing its borders. One other important element has been largely left unexplored in government and academic studies: anti-Americanism. In considering the prospects for deeper North American integration, the persistence and effects of anti-Americanism in Mexico is definitively a factor. It is complex and subtle, with numerous currents spouting from a single wellspring: the U.S. refusal to recognize Mexico as an equal partner. This article takes a historical and contextual approach to tracking its evolution.

Key words: anti-Americanism, regional integration, U.S.-Mexico relations, North American identity.



La regionalización es un hecho en Norteamérica; en cambio, el regionalismo apenas si ha despegado. Se han mencionado diversos factores para explicar la falta de desarrollo de las instituciones regionales en Norteamérica, entre los que se mencionan las prioridades e intereses divergentes, las preocupaciones respecto de la soberanía, el nacionalismo y, en particular desde el 11 de septiembre, la inquietud estadunidense de vigilar sus fronteras. Ahora bien, un elemento que se mantiene inexplorado, en el gobierno y en los estudios académicos, es el espíritu antiestadunidense. Al considerar las perspectivas de una integración norteamericana más profunda, la existencia y los efectos de este antiamericanismo en México son un factor que es preciso tomar en cuenta, el cual es complejo, sutil y con numerosos ramales que se desprenden de una sola fuente: el rechazo de Estados Unidos a reconocer a México como un socio en igualdad de condiciones. Este artículo rastrea, con un enfoque histórico y contextual, la evolución de este elemento.

Palabras clave: espíritu antiestadunidense, integración regional, relaciones entre México y Estados Unidos, identidad norteamericana.


Regionalization is a fact on the ground in North America, but regionalism –that is, building institutions to solve collective problems– has barely gotten off the ground (Capling and Nossal, 2009). By 2006, 12 years after NAFTA's enactment, intra-regional exports had grown to about 56 percent of the three countries' total exports, about the same as for the European Union (Pastor, 2010: 3). Yet the institutional links among the three countries remain remarkably "shallow," and they were unable to develop a collective response to the financial crisis and recession that swept through the region in 2008 and 2009. A number of factors have been proposed to explain the under development of regional institutions in North America: divergent interests and priorities, concerns about sovereignty, nationalism, and, particularly since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States' preoccupation with policing its borders. There is one other important element, which is sometimes raised informally, but which has been largely left unexplored in government and academic studies: anti-Americanism. In considering the prospects for deeper North American integration, the persistence and effects of anti-Americanism as part of the never-ending process of collective identity formation that defines what it means to be Mexican or Canadian are definitively factors that should be reckoned with.1

Mexican anti-Americanism is one of the oldest and most consequential worldwide. Influenced by the elitist anti-Americanism common in Europe during the eigh teenth century, Mexican anti-Americanism transcended it to become a much more contentious and pervasive phenomenon since the early nineteenth century. Like all anti-Americanisms, the Mexican variant has its own characteristics, grounded in particular historical experiences and political claims. In Mexico's case, the leitmotif running through anti-American thinking is the bitterness stirred by a frustrated search for respect and recognition from its powerful northern neighbor.

Even before Mexico became a sovereign state in 1821, an envoy to Washington from independence leader Miguel Hidalgo received the first unseemly U.S. proposal from James Monroe, then secretary of state: the United States would support the struggle for independence if Mexico adopted a Constitution modeled after the U.S. one. The rationale: this could pave the way for annexation (Valdés Ugalde, 1999: 568). A few years later, the fleeting Mexican empire's first ambassador to United States noted, "The arrogance of those republicans does not allow them to see us as equals but as inferiors. With time they will become our sworn enemies" (Grayson, 1985: 31). Four decades after Ambassador Zozaya filed this affronted report, President Benito Juárez is reported to have complained to one of his closest advisors about the Americans' "disdainful haughtiness." He went on to remind his confidant of a letter from Abraham Lincoln which stated that "Mexico had the right of protection from the United States." "This," Juarez complained, "was the way in which the Roman conquerors talked to their tributary vassals" (Lerdo de Tejada, 1905: 45-46).

Similarly, over a century later, in 1981, Mexican President José López Portillo, in an oblique reference to the United States, bitterly pondered "what respect means to weak people," remarking, "It is not only to give, not only to help; the most important thing of all is to respect. He who gives without respect is usually offensive" (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 1981). Even after the bilateral relationship had gone through the diplomatic watershed of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico's ambassador to the United States grumbled, referring to the Americans, "The fact is that we will be neighbors forever, we are partners for the moment, and we will never be friends. For them, we lack the stature to be treated as equals. That is the difference when they look to the north and they find the Canadians [to whom] they offer the respectful treatment friendship requires" (Montaño, 2004: 71).

Following a conceptual template developed by Peter Katzenstein and Robert Keohane, we define anti-Americanism as "a psychological tendency to hold negative views of the United States and of American society in general" (Katzenstein and Keohane, 2007: 12; see also Bow, Katzenstein, and Santa-Cruz, 2007). They distinguish four main types (liberal, social, sovereign-nationalist, and radical) and two residual ones (elitist and legacy). Liberal anti-Americanism is critical of the United States for failing to live up to its own standards; social anti-Americanism finds fault with the United States' lack of a wider social net; sovereign-nationalist anti-Americanism is concerned about U.S. intrusion in a nation's domestic affairs; and radical anti-Americanism simply rejects U.S. values. Elitist anti-Americanism, for its part, is related to the tradition in certain upper classes to look down upon American culture, and legacy anti-Americanism arises from perceived past wrongs committed by the United States against the society in question. As in all societies, there have been manifestations of all of these various types of anti-Americanisms in different times and contexts within Mexico. But the predominant types in the Mexican experience have historically been sovereign-nationalist and legacy anti-Americanisms. However, anti-Americanism in Mexico goes beyond fear and resentment of overbearing U.S. power, to a broader preoccupation with recognition and respect. By recognition, we mean a social act that gives difference a particular meaning and constitutes an actor as subject; it is only through (external) recognition that actors acquire a stable identity (Wendt, 2003: 512; Ringmar, 2002). Thus, as Hegel explained, as long as one party denies recognition to the other, the latter's acceptance of the established order will always be partial and contentious (Hegel, 1996; Wendt, 2003: 513-4). We venture that it has been the failure to obtain such recognition from the United States that has historically informed Mexican anti-Americanism. Recognition, moreover, is a complex phenomenon, taking place on at least two different levels: thin and thick. The former implies being recognized as an independent person within a legal community: in the case at hand, it could be argued that Mexico was for practical purposes recognized as such by the United States only after the late nineteenth century. This kind of "thin" recognition is what makes all actors formally equal, and provides a basis for rule-governed relations between them. "Thick" recognition, on the other hand, also requires that whatever makes the individual (or state) unique be regarded as valuable in itself. It is the absence of this latter kind of recognition that fuels anti-Americanism in Mexico. Where there is reciprocal recognition of this kind, a sense of collective identity can emerge, allowing for a sense of community between societies (Deutsch et al., 1957: 36). Thus, the consolidation of "thin" recognition and the extension of "thick" recognition by the United States to Mexico could arguably break up the foundations for anti-Americanism in Mexico, and create an opening for deeper forms of regional integration.

This article takes a historical, contextual approach to tracking the evolution of anti-Americanism in Mexico. As in any case of sovereign-nationalist anti-Americanism, the Mexican variant has been heavily influenced by state and elite discourses; accordingly, although anti-Americanism is also pervasive at the popular level, we focus on the former. We distinguish five historical periods in the bilateral relationship, which contributed to the actualization of different expressions of Mexican anti-Americanism: 1821-1860s; 1860s-1910; 1911-1930, 1930s-1982; 1983-present;2 in the final section we present some brief concluding remarks.



The story of Mexican anti-Americanism starts along with the foundation of the country. As noted, the first Mexican regime was short-lived: the Mexican Empire lasted only from 1821 to 1823. The ephemeral character of the inaugural regime, though, was bound to plague the country for at least the next half century, during it had over 50 different governments. Anti-Americanism thus started at home to a large extent because a weak, divided Mexico not only longed for external recognition, but also because it was easy prey for an industrious and ambitious neighbor. This fragility made of the nascent state fertile soil for resentment and fear toward a significant other, in this case the United States.

Furthermore, the faction that had emerged victorious in the independence struggle was not Miguel Hidalgo and José María Morelos's more liberally-inclined one, but the deeply conservative one of Agustín de Iturbide, the self-proclaimed emperor. But his government fell after only two years, and was replaced by a republic, with a Constitution modeled after that of the United States. The first republican government certainly looked up to its northern neighbor, as reflected in Guadalupe Victoria's 1827 reflection that "strong sympathies that are necessarily produced by the identity of the [political] system and form of Government" (Ampudia, 1997: 41). However, it is worth noting that, as Charles Hale observed, nineteenth-century Mexican liberalism "had a European bent" (Hale, 2002: 394). That is, the then-hegemonic liberal faction in Mexico was deeply imprinted with the more conservative European strand of liberalism, rather than the more "progressive" version associated with the United States. In this, Mexico was in synch with the rest of Latin America, which, as Paul Hollander has noted, "never overcame [its] Spanish contempt for the merchant and producing classes" (2004: 145). However, in Mexico, given the geographical proximity to the United States, the more salient connection was defined by ideological bonds and cleavages, even if those bonds were sometimes tenuous. The political fault line in Mexico during the nineteenth century, between conservatives and liberals, was thus in large part determined by their respective dispositions toward the United States. Though the Monroe Doctrine was favorably received by the liberals, who interpreted it as a safeguard against European imperial ambitions, prominent members of this faction, such as Juárez and, later, Justo Sierra, remained deeply suspicious of the United States. Juárez, for example, saw "the Anglo-Saxon people" as his country's "natural enemies" (Lerdo de Tejada, 1905: 45-6), and Sierra warned of the formidable "triple threat" (legal, economic, and cultural) that "Americanism" represented for Mexico (Hale, 2002: 394). Mexican elites were clearly aware of a cultural (and racial) divide, one reminiscent of the political-religious conflict that had beset Europe centuries before (Sullivan, 2005: 5).

Beyond the elitist, European component of the liberals' anti-Americanism lay the all-too-evident fact of the United States' territorial ambitions. As John Quincy Adams put it in 1819, "the world shall be familiarized with the idea of considering our proper dominion to be the continent of North America" (Adams, 1965: 36). That was no doubt the sort of statement which prompted Juárez to say that he was more fearful of an American with his hat in his hand than of a battalion of French Zouaves on the march (Lerdo de Tejada, 1905: 45-6). Hence, from early on, Mexican leaders were acutely aware of their neighbor's territorial designs, as reflected in Ambassador Zozaya's 1822 warning about the United States' "ambitious sights over the provinces of Texas" (SRE, 1995: 44-45). Furthermore, those territorial ambitions were often accompanied by racist overtones, something that further insulted the Mexicans. Thus, for example, Lafayette Foster, a Connecticut senator who would later become vice president of the United States, argued against his country's intervention in Mexico in part on the grounds that, "considered ethnologically," a large proportion of its population did not deserve the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution (Foster, 1860: 6-7).

In any case, after going to war with the United States twice, first over Texas in 1835-1836, and then again in 1846-1848, Mexico lost about half of its territory to its powerful northern neighbor. As twentieth-century Mexican liberal historian Daniel Cosío Villegas noted, "Mexico got in the way of the United States' Manifest Des tiny; its territory was in the middle, so when the avalanche came it swept it away" (Cosío Villegas, 1997b: 96). The war was bound to have a lasting impact on Mexico's collective memory (Langenbacher and Shain, 2010). The scale of Mexico's defeat spread fear of the United States across the country, and the evident injustice of U.S. claims spread anti-American sentiments from a relatively narrow elite to wider Mexican society (Ross and Ross, 2004: 2). Thus anti-Americanism in the familiar anti-imperialist sense was well-established in Mexico by the mid-nineteenth century, making it arguably the oldest example of this variant, and certainly the oldest in what we now call the Third World (Grandin, 2004: 22; O'Connor, 2006: 11; Grayson, 1985: 32). And this sort of anti-Americanism, tapping into both the legacy and national-sovereignty variants from Katzenstein and Keohane's typology, has been a key component of Mexican identity ever since (Morris, 1999: 371; Sweig, 2006: 99).

Later came the French invasion of 1862-1867, which to a large extent displaced outward-directed resentments toward the invading army. Thus, although popular support for the liberal cause was more difficult to sustain than before the 1848 war, the liberals' attraction to the political institutions of the United States' as a model was virtually undiminished (Ross and Ross, 2004: 2; Cosío Villegas, 1997a: 245-246; Krauze, 2001). Hence, after returning to office in 1867, President Juárez noted, "We keep the same relations of good amity with the United States that existed during the struggle of the Mexican people against the French republic. The constant sympathies that the people of the United States and the moral support that its government provided to the cause of the Mexican nation deserve the sympathy and consideration of the people and the government of Mexico" (Ampudia, 1997: 52). Similarly, after the Grant administration commended the government of President Lerdo de Tejada on the proclamation of the progressive Reform Laws, which had been passed in the late 1850s and were the cause of a civil war between liberal and conservatives, the latter was so pleased that he ordered the congratulatory message be read by the foreign minister in Congress (Foster, 1909: 49-50). Political affinities aside, Mexico continued to be a deeply divided country, as the war that followed the passage of the Reform Laws made clear. Hence, following a pragmatic strategy, including the signing of the 1859 McLane-Ocampo treaty, which granted the United States passage be tween the Atlantic and the Pacific through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the liberals managed to keep Washington on their side, and anti-Americanism at bay.3



Whereas the administrations of Juárez and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada maintained their ideological affinities to U.S. liberalism, their successor, Porfirio Díaz (who over -threw Lerdo de Tejada in 1876), felt closer to the French, and ostensibly disliked the United States. Indeed, the famous phrase "Poor México, so far from God and so close to the United States," is attributed to him. Accordingly, Díaz had as his foreign minister during most of his tenure a seasoned anti-Americanist diplomat, Ignacio Luis Vallarta (Vázquez and Meyer, 2003: 104). But of course these gestures did not prevent Díaz from establishing a pragmatic relationship with Washington after his first term (Benítez Manaut, 2006: 141). The keys to this achievement were Diaz's promotion of U.S. investment in lucrative economic activities, such as oil and mining, and his iron-fisted control over Mexican society. The resulting three decades of political stability (the Porfiriato) led U.S. policy-makers to see Mexico as a stronger, more consolidated state, and became the basis for a new self-restraint in U.S. relations with its southern neighbor.

It appeared that both countries had finally found common ground in maintaining stability in the region. It should be noted, though, that it was not easy for the first Díaz administration to secure U.S. diplomatic recognition, because U.S. officials were reluctant to confer this kind of legitimacy on a government that had come to power unconstitutionally. Díaz's first government was thus forced to negotiate aggressively to achieve recognition without losing face. The Mexican foreign minister instructed his envoy to Washington to insist that his country would not accept "any humiliating condition" in order to be recognized, and to argue that U.S. insistence on judging the legitimacy of the new government not only meant undue interference in Mexico's domestic affairs, but was also inconsistent with traditional U.S. foreign policy (Cosío Villegas, 1999: 136). Díaz finally achieved U.S. recognition, but not until 18 months after seizing power (Vázquez and Meyer, 2003: 102).

Of course, popular anti-Americanism was not wiped out by the tacit agreement between Washington and Mexico City, but became much more subdued, at least among the general public. Mexicans had experienced U.S. imperialism in a very direct and painful way in the early part of their national history, so what they saw during the late nineteenth century, mainly increased U.S. economic activity in their country, was not that appalling. U.S. interests, political representations, or nationals were not targets of anti-American sentiment in Mexico during this period; intense anti-Americanism was limited to some traditionalist enclaves, mainly in Catholic circles and the conservative press (Bajpai, 2005: 235). Thus, for instance, in 1889, the Catholic newspaper El Tiempo (The Times) referred in a derogatory way to "the people who in 1847 took away half of our territory; who have always looked upon us with hatred and envy, and that at any opportunity treat us with ... sovereign disdain; that people cannot bestow even the least good upon us" (Cosío Villegas, 1999: 235).

U.S. expansionism in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific at the turn of the twentieth century rekindled anti-American sentiments in Mexico, as in the rest of the hemisphere, but this time not only among the masses and conservative elites. Now even the liberals turned their backs on the United States, disgusted by the blatant hypocrisy they saw in the discrepancy between its liberal discourse and its imperialist policies (Krauze, 2001). But there was also a deeper and more personal bitterness in Mexican anti-Americanism at large, stemming from the treatment Mexicans received from Americans during this period. As Frederick Turner has noted, Mexican anti-Americanism at the dawn of the twentieth century was imbued with "resentment against American feelings of superiority [and] dislike of the treatment given to Mexican citizens in the United States" (1967: 502). Thus, despite the important changes in the bilateral relationship over the preceding century, the question of recognition and respect still fueled anti-Americanism in Mexico. An Argentinean writer traveling in Mexico in 1900-1901 noted that "among the people... and especially among the younger men, there was a feeling of keen resentment and marked hostility against the gringo. In hotels, cafés, and theaters could be noticed an obvious antagonism which was arising as great collective sentiments do arise, without logic or reflection from confused memories and instinctive perceptions" (McPherson, 2006: 15).

However, most active manifestations of anti-Americanism in Mexico were stirred up by specific events, and were generally short-lived. Thus, for instance, five days after a Mexican was burned at the stake in Texas in 1910, a mob marched through the streets in several cities, desecrating the U.S. flag and attacking U.S. commercial interests and political representations (Turner, 1967: 504-506; Cosío Villegas, 1999: 299). The conservative press took advantage of these incidents, of course; El País (The Country), for example, published a diatribe against Americans, condemning them as "insatiable coveters" and "modern Phoenicians" (Cosío Villegas, 1999: 343). An alarmed U.S. consul in Guadalajara informed his superior in Washington that "anti-American sentiment is almost universal among rich and poor alike" (Turner, 1967: 502). This wave of anti-American rallies not only reflected the depth of popular resentment against the United States, but also the increasing salience of popular resentments against U.S. interests' control over economic sectors such as railways (Vázquez and Meyer, 2003: 123).

Popular anti-Americanism, though, was displaced at least temporarily by the revolutionary movement started by Francisco I. Madero that same year. While not pro-American, Madero was not anti-American either; in fact, his call to depose Díaz, the Plan de San Luis, was written while he was in exile in the United States. From that time on, Mexican anti-Americanism started to be redefined in terms of opposition to big U.S. capitalists' interests and their interventions in Mexican society. Thus, in an interview with the New York Times at the start of the revolutionary struggle, Madero declared, "I will be a friend of the American people, but I will be an enemy of the trusts of any country. At present only a few Americans profit by concessions from the Government of Mexico. I desire to make it so that any American may profit by it, so that the people of all the world may profit by it, not the few, but all" (Martin, 1911: 3). Meanwhile, the leader's brother, Gustavo, offered further clarifications to the press in Washington, asserting that the government's attempt to portray the revolutionaries as anti-American was false, and that their armed struggle was "directed against the personal and despotic Government of Gen. Diaz, the Dictator, and his oligarchy, by an outraged, betrayed, and plundered people, whose sole desire and purpose are to establish in Mexico a republican form of government, a Government of law and order, such as is maintained in the United States" (New York Times, 1910: 2).

The dictator fled the country the following year, and Madero's faction took power. Although he emerged victorious in a subsequent electoral process, his government was short-lived: a plot that U.S. ambassador Henry Lane Wilson helped orchestrate brought an end to Madero's movement –and his life.



The period covering the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath was characterized not only by constant confrontation between the series of brief governments alternating in Mexico, and between those governments and the United States, but also by renewed anti-Americanism throughout Mexican society. The United States' overt –and offensive– intervention in Mexican politics, and then its refusal to recognize the regime that emerged from the armed conflict, were used by the contending Mexican factions to gain political support by exploiting the anti-Yankee sentiment latent in the country. As a 1927 New York Times article put it, "In Mexicans... there is a latent internal something which, responding easily to external irritants, swells up with astonishing readiness into active dislike of the United States" (Ybarra, 1927: SM5, 23).

During this period, incidentally, "Yankeephobia" became a popular subject in Latin American writing (McPherson, 2006: 4). In 1925, Mexican public intellectual and politician José Vasconcelos published The Cosmic Race, which exalted Mexico's interbreeding and stated that "the days of the pure whites, the winners of today, are numbered," and that "the white person will have to put his pride aside" (Vasconcelos, 1983: 22). Statements like this had a clear anti-American subtext, within the context of the enduring cultural and racial divide alluded to before.

Anti-American sentiments were also promoted during this period by conservative and Catholic groups, who had traditionally opposed the United States mainly on cultural or ideological grounds (Bajpai, 2005: 235). Furthermore, among the lower and middle classes, and even in some intellectual circles, such as the National University of Mexico, anti-Protestant, anti-Masonic and, more generally, Anti-American sentiments were quite widespread. It should be noted, on the other hand, that the Cristiada War (1926-1929) to some extent ameliorated the image Mexicans had of their northern neighbors, especially that of their fellow Catholics.4

At the level of the state, the Carranza administration (1916-1920) more fully articulated the more sophisticated discourse developed by Madero, this time to distinguish between the U.S. population and U.S. leaders (Britton, 2006: 41). Along the same lines, Plutarco Elías Calles (1924-1928), put the onus of the contentious bilateral relationship during those years on "American capitalists" (Britton, 2006: 42). Thus, as John Britton has noted, by the end of the 1920s the revolutionary regime had developed a discourse in which "a new dimension [had been added] to the definition of 'intervention': the condemnation of U.S. government and corporate policies intended to impede Mexico's efforts to carry out domestic social and economic reforms" (Britton, 2006: 43). Mexican post-revolutionary leaders thus infused Mexican nationalism with statism, a new component of Mexican nationalism. In this understanding, a strong Mexico, capable of standing up to the "colossus of the north" (Berbusse, 1958: 236) was unthinkable without a strong state, one which actively inter vened in key areas of the economy. Thus, in post-revolutionary Mexico, nationalism and statism were closely associated with one another (Morris and Passe-Smith, 2001: 126), and with elite and popular anti-Americanisms.

However, this emphasis on the threat that U.S. economic interests posed for the post-revolutionary regime did not necessarily mean direct confrontation with Washington (Morris, 1999: 381). The Obregón administration (1920-1924), for instance, developed a sophisticated lobbying strategy to gain U.S. sympathies and diplomatic recognition, which he obtained only three months before leaving office (Velasco, 1999). Similarly, Obregón's successor and Mexico's strongman until the mid-1930s, Plutarco Elías Calles, allowed the U.S. government and U.S. prelates to play an instrumental role in bringing the Cristiada to a close (Meyer, 2008: 295). It was in this context that, in 1930, Mexico articulated the Estrada Doctrine, which holds that Mexico does not make any pronouncement regarding the granting or withholding of recognition to other governments, because that practice "hurts the sovereignty of the nations" whose regime is being granted (or denied) recognition. Frustrated efforts to obtain proper recognition from the United States remained a crucial component of Mexican anti-Americanism at the level of the state throughout this period.



After the turbulence of the 1920s and 1930s, state-level anti-Americanism in Mexico would be generally subdued, at least until 1970. The beginning of this phase coincided with Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy, which did indeed help change perceptions of the U.S., not only among Mexican leaders, but also among political elites throughout Latin America. The much-awaited U.S. acceptance of the doctrine of non-intervention in 1936, for instance, contributed to a receding of anti-Americanism in the region. Similarly, after President Lázaro Cárdenas nationalized the oil industry in 1938, severely affecting American economic interests, the U.S. government, for a variety of reasons, adopted a rather measured response (Vázquez and Meyer, 2003: 173-176). This new sense of self-restraint on Washington's part also contributed to the assuaging of (sovereign-nationalist) anti-Americanism in Mexico. Developments like these drive home the point that anti-Americanism is not necessarily an irrational, pathological behavior, unrelated to the purposes to which American power is put (Griffiths, 2006: 105).

The start of the Cold War in the late 1940s also contributed to the convergence of U.S. and Latin American policies and discourses, though of course this had little to do with good neighborliness, and more to do with U.S. hegemony (McPherson, 2006: 19). Thus, with a few exceptions (such as its 1962 decision not to support the expulsion of Cuba from the Organization of American States, and the subsequent maintenance of diplomatic relations with the island), Mexico generally adopted and supported U.S. anti-communist strategies. Mexican elites seemed to have reached a tacit understanding with their U.S. counterparts: in exchange for acceptance of its right to disagree on secondary matters, Mexico would support the U.S. on the fundamental issues. Thus, during the 1962 missile crisis, the Mexican government decisively sided with the Kennedy administration, arguing that the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba constituted "a threat to the peace and security of the hemisphere" (U.S. Department of State, 1997). President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz (1964-1970) articulated what had been a tacit agreement, telling Lyndon Johnson, "There will be a considerable advantage [to both nations] if Mexico is able to continue demonstrating its political independence, disagreeing with the United States on relatively minor affairs" (Memorandum of Conversation between Johnson, Díaz Ordaz, and Carrillo Flores, 1964: 3).

At the popular level, though, the story is substantially different. Catholic anti-Americanism was still widespread (although once again, North American Catholics, with their solidarity and active support of their fellow Catholics who migrated to the United States contributed to softening it) (Demers, 2010). Furthermore, the global reach that the United States acquired after World War II fueled anti-Americanism throughout Latin America; it was indeed only at this time, one could argue, that anti-Americanism became a widespread phenomenon in the Third World (Rubinstein and Smith, 1985: 20). Partly as a response to this emerging phenomenon, in 1961, the United States launched the Alliance for Progress regional development initiative. Mexico's request for funds was the largest submitted, but, at least partly because the threat of Soviet/Cuban influence was seen to be remote there, Mexico was ultimately given less than half of what it asked for, and less than what smaller states like Chile received (New York Times, 1962: 78; Szulc, 1964: E5). If this new assistance had a tempering effect on Mexican anti-Americanism, then it was modest. At least in left-leaning circles, popular anti-Americanism continued to be fueled by what was still seen to be U.S. imperialism (O'Connnor, 2004: 81; McPherson, 2006: 20); for them, the Alliance for Progress was little more than U.S. propaganda. Important segments of the Mexican nationalist movement had close affinities to a leftist discourse, sensitive as they were to what they perceived as undue U.S. economic intervention. Thus, for instance, the same year the alliance was initiated, former President Cárdenas read in Mexico City the "Declaration of the Latin American Conference for National Sovereignty, Economic Emancipation, and Peace," which stated that "the fundamental force...blocking Latin America's development [was] North American imperialism" (Aguilar, 2006).

However, as noted, Mexico managed to develop an independent foreign policy that allowed it to lessen popular anti-Americanism at home, and gain respect abroad. Mexico continued to be a staunch defender of the principle of non-intervention and played an important role promoting multilateralism in global and regional contexts (Sweig, 2006: 99). Thus, during this period, Mexican official discourse on revolutionary nationalism was a veiled critique of U.S. imperialism, mainly for domestic consumption (Bajpai, 2005: 236). This rhetoric had its ups and downs, depending on both the domestic and international contexts. Thus, for instance, in contrast to Díaz Ordaz's fierce anti-communist discourse, President Echeverría's (1970-1976) was much more left-leaning. This shift was driven by the recognition of a loss of legitimacy of the post-revolutionary regime among important sectors of the population (such as students, after the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre), and by the rise of the left within Latin America more broadly (Morris, 1999: 381). Thus, especially after the 1973 Chilean coup, Echeverría became much more vocal in his criticism of imperialism without naming any specific country, but clearly referring to the United States (Riding, 2001: 411).5 Asked in 1975 if his speeches aroused anti-Americanism sentiments in the population, he replied, "Or rather... my speeches have emerged from a general feeling from which I take my thoughts" (Cowan, 1975: 18). Elite promotion of anti-American discourse during this period was facilitated by the continued perception of racism against Mexicans in the U.S., as reflected in the Environmental Protection Agency's 1975 decision to use Mexicans instead of U.S. citizens as guinea pigs for an experiment on the effect s of fungicides known to produce cancer in animals (Grayson, 1985: 38).

President López Portillo (1976-1982) could therefore complain that his country could not "work and be organized only to have its life blood drained off by the gravitational pull of the colossus of the North" (Grayson, 1985: 41). What seemed to be increased governmental anti-Americanism, however, coincided with a period of deep economic and social crisis in Mexico. For at least a decade, it had become evident that Mexico's development model had reached its limits. In 1976, the peso was devalued for the first time in 22 years, and then devalued twice more in 1982, along with a moratorium on payments of the country's foreign debt. This economic crisis was a "critical juncture" for Mexican elites, forcing them to rethink the country's national identity and priorities (Golob, 2003: 374). In this context, focusing the public's attention on the specter of the United States was not enough to sustain the regime's legitimacy. Since the key economic sectors in Mexico (e.g., oil, electricity, railroads) were under government control, moreover, fears of U.S. investment had not only diminished, but had apparently stopped being a contributing factor to anti-Americanism. At a time when foreign investment was associated with economic growth –and therefore employment– the government's effort to demonize and restrict it were not only counterproductive economically, but also failed to rally the public by appealing to anti-American sentiments (Tai, Peterson, and Gurr, 1973: 481-2).

Discursive strategies to gain domestic legitimacy aside, though, anti-Americanism on the level of the state continued to be fueled in part by the perception of continuing disrespect and manipulation by the United States. That was certainly the subtext of López Portillo's words when, playing host to President Jimmy Carter in Mexico City, he referred to the recent discovery of significant oil reserves in Mexico, and observed that

Mexico has thus suddenly found itself the center of American attention –attention that is a surprising mixture of interest, disdain, and fear, much like the recurring vague fears you yourselves inspire in certain areas of our national subconscious.

You and I, Mr. President, have the task of dealing with the problem, of rationalizing realities and prejudices, and fulfilling our responsibility to our nations by keeping insensitivity, ambition, fear, or self-seeking manipulation of illusions from casting a shadow on a relationship founded on friendship or eliminating any possibility of understanding.

Let us seek only lasting solutions –good faith and fair play– nothing that would make us lose the respect of our children. (American Presidency Project 1979)

Recognition and respect were thus still the leitmotif of Mexican anti-Americanism at the end of this period. As López Portillo put it in his farewell annual address to the nation, "For Mexico, maintaining good relations with the United States is the cornerstone of its foreign relations. This is a matter of realities, not of choice or whim. However, there can be no good relations with the United States if they are not based, first of all, on respect" (Ampudia, 1997: 177).



Over the last 30 years, anti-Americanism in Mexico has changed substantially. Attitudes toward the United States at the state, elite, and popular levels have become more pragmatic. As noted, the severe economic crisis of the early 1980s forced the government to rethink its development strategy, a fundamental part of which involved the United States. Thus, the De la Madrid administration (1982-1988) not only resorted to the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund to sort out the economic crisis, but also pursued membership in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, carried out an ambitious privatization program, and actively pursued foreign investment. At the political level, the relationship with the United States during this period was troubled by drug-related issues (such as the assassination of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, and increased narcotic smuggling), and by political events (such as the case of an all-too-evident electoral fraud in the northern state of Chihuahua that reached the Inter-American Human Rights Court). Yet De la Madrid moved decisively away from his two predecessors' anti-American rhetoric. This strategy was deepened by the administration of Carlos Salinas (1988-1994), which, as noted above, presided over an epochal change in Mexico's relations with the United States, through the negotiation and signing of NAFTA. For Mexico, the trade agreement represented something perhaps even more revolutionary than the 1988 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement had been for Canada; for Mexico, NAFTA represented not only a re-invention of economic policy, but also of the country's foreign policy tradition (Golob, 2003).

The existence of an authoritarian regime, in which the president controlled his party, both chambers of Congress, the judicial system, and all the state governors, made it possible for Salinas to get this audacious proposal passed. This is not to say that there was not a great deal of criticism from the left, the most nationalist sectors of his party (as well as from those who had recently broken from it to join with the left and form a new party), and from some militant unions, but perhaps to the surprise of many, entering into a free trade agreement with the United States was a popular proposal: according to polls, about 80 percent of the population supported it (Pastor, 2001: 159).

For most Mexicans, signing a trade agreement with the northern neighbor meant first and foremost more investment and more jobs. This pragmatism would of course not have been possible if a sort of pathological anti-Americanism were widespread in Mexico. Mexicans at all levels –state, elite, popular– were in general now willing to enter into trade-offs with the United States involving issues as dear to them as sovereignty and national identity (Morris, 1999: 378). And there might have actually been something more than pragmatism behind this new receptiveness to cooperation with the U.S. Thus, for instance, a 1986 New York Times poll found that most Mexicans had a generally favorable opinion of the United States (in Morris, 1999: 373). At some levels, a real convergence of values seems to have been taking place. For example, the mostly U.S.-educated technocrats who had dominated the higher levels of the Mexican government since the early 1980s were certainly no strangers to U.S. political socialization and norms.6 Moreover, at least rhetorically, the Salinas government was prepared to set aside old grievances in explaining its new attitude toward the northern neighbor. As Salinas put it in his third annual address to the nation, the United States' "attitude of respect" for Mexico made it easier for the latter to adopt a "new disposition, free of myths and prejudices" (Morris, 1999: 388).

The Zedillo (1994-2000) and Fox (2000-2006) administrations, moreover, sought to extend and deepen Salinas's new approach. In the absence of a popular backlash against closer links with the United States, and with no alternative at hand, Fox's first foreign minister once colloquially noted, there was no point in trying to "suckle and at the same time kick the crib" (Milenio Diario, 2001). That the transformation in the relationship with the U.S. would endure was made evident, for instance, in the "NAFTA-plus" proposal the Fox administration made to its U.S. and Canadian counterparts. Fox hoped to deepen and further institutionalize integration among the North American neighbors, based on loose parallels with the European experience. And he persisted with that effort even in the face of indifference and criticism from the U.S. and Canada.

Even if this were mere pragmatism, the fact that a 2010 Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE) poll found that 52 percent of Mexicans were willing to consider forming a single country with the United States if that would bring a higher standard of living, suggests that popular aversions to the U.S. cannot be that deep-seated or irrational (González et al., 2011: 34). This is further corroborated by another finding in the same poll: the United States was the country with the second highest rating (right behind Canada, which scored 68.1) Mexicans expressed a favorable opinion about (with 67.5 points). However, only 37 percent said that they trust their northern neighbor (González et al., 2011: 73). This ambivalent feeling toward Mexico's significant other is further illustrated in the same survey by the respondents' answer to the question, "Of the following words, which best describes your feelings toward the United States?" Forty-two percent chose "admiration"; 22 percent, "disdain"; and 29 percent, "indifference" (González et al., 2011: 79).

Regional differences are also telling: those with less interaction with Americans seem to be the ones with higher levels of anti-Americanism. An earlier (2006) CIDE-Comexi survey found that, whereas in Mexico's South and Southeast, 37 percent of people had a relative living abroad (most of them presumably in the U.S.), in the North the percentage was 61 (González and Minushkin, 2006: 20); accordingly, whereas 42 percent of people living in the former region said they "feel disdain" toward the U.S., only 18 percent of those living in the latter did so. Furthermore, that poll found that 37 percent of the northern population distrusts the U.S., versus 60.5 of the southern and southeastern one (González and Minushkin, 2006: 63). Similarly, whereas in the North, 72 percent think the country's proximity to the U.S. is more an advantage than a disadvantage, in the South and Southeast only 40 percent do (González and Minushkin, 2006: 65).7

Interestingly, there is a wide divide between "leaders" (i.e., politicians, entrepreneurs, and academics) and the general public. In the 2010 poll, 66 percent of leaders thought it was an advantage that their country is next to the U.S., while only 52 percent of the general public did (González et al., 2011: 79). There are also some interesting divides regarding foreign investment. A 2008 CIDE poll found that although most Mexicans generally view foreign investment favorably, 60 percent of the general public is opposed to it with respect to electricity generation, and 70 percent opposed it in the oil industry. Mexican leaders, on the other hand, are much more receptive to it, with 65 percent welcoming foreign investment in electricity generation and 56 percent favorable with respect to oil (González, Martínez i Coma, and Schiavon, 2008: 31).

In the aftermath of 9/11, almost half the respondents to a national telephone poll –which over-represents high-income people– believed the Fox administration would support the U.S. government if it launched a military attack against terrorist targets; however, both the group that believed Mexico would support the U.S. (49.5 percent) and the one that thought it would not (35.5 percent) agreed (86.1 and 54.4 percent, respectively) that Mexico should not support the Bush administration (Consulta Mitofsky, 2001). This widespread opposition to U.S. military action seemed to prevail at the government level. Thus, there was intense bureaucratic infighting between the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of the Interior over the position the country should adopt. Whereas the former adopted a more pro-U.S. stance, the latter took a more traditional anti-U.S. position (Davidow, 2005: 27, 31). As the U.S. ambassador in Mexico at the time wrote later, "The Mexican government had stood out internationally for not organizing public solidarity events" (Davidow, 2005: 31).

Nevertheless, it seems that Mexicans are able to differentiate between government policies, on the one hand, and the American people or the United States in general on the other. Yet, in a number of recent episodes, U.S. foreign policy choices have been interpreted by Mexicans as signs of disrespect or indifference. The Bush administration's rejection of President Fox's migration agreement proposal was construed by many as a sign that the U.S. still does not consider Mexico an equal partner. And many Mexicans saw the United States' delays in following through on its Mérida Initiative commitments as evidence that the U.S. does not care about Mexico's problems, even when those problems can be traced back to the northern side of the border (that is, U.S. demand for narcotics and weak gun control regulations). The continuous eruption of bilateral friction like this and the persistence of misunderstandings and mistrust between the two societies means that anti-Americanism will be kept alive in Mexico for some time.



Proponents of regional integration in North America have long presumed that anti-Americanism in Mexico (and in Canada) has been and continues to be a formidable obstacle to deeper forms of policy coordination among the three countries.8 During the NAFTA negotiation process, for instance, Octavio Paz noted the risk of a "wave of anti-Americanism" in Mexico if the opportunity was not taken in the U.S. Congress and the agreement was not passed (Paz, 1994: 257). Even enthusiastic regionalists like Robert Pastor concede that much of the momentum that followed from NAFTA has dissipated since 9/11, yet there are still enough genuinely regional challenges out there to create pressure for more ambitious forms of trilateral coordination further down the road. Anti-Americanism is an obstacle to further regional integration, but it is not so much a uniform and free-standing barrier as it is a series of deep, cross-cutting ruts in the road. Even the most skillful political drivers will be shaken by them, but the signing of NAFTA proved that it is possible to navigate through the worst of them, and to reach new agreements with the United States.

Anti-Americanism in Mexico is a complex and subtle phenomenon, which consists of numerous currents running from a single wellspring: America's refusal to recognize Mexico as an equal partner. Specific grievances come and go over time, but it is this preoccupation with recognition and respect that makes Mexican anti-Americanism so persistent and pervasive. One current or another may acquire greater political salience, but all have been important in defining Mexicans' attitudes toward the United States and the American people.

As in many developing countries, the dominant streams are the sovereign-nationalist and legacy types identified by Katzenstein and Keohane, stemming from the perception of the U.S. as a threat to the very existence of Mexico as a sovereign state. This anxiety was apparent from Mexico's first moments as an independent country (Taylor, 2001: 64), but was much more deeply imprinted on Mexican society after the disastrous wars of the early nineteenth century and the forced concession of nearly half the country to the U.S. conquerors. This fear has of course receded since the last U.S. invasion (during the revolution), but it is still a potent historical memory that continues to color Mexicans' interpretations of U.S. trustworthiness and intentions. There is also an economic stream, which reflects U.S. economic predominance and the developmental gap between the two countries. This anxiety was most acute in the early years after the revolution, when condemnation of Díaz spilled over to the U.S. economic interests that were seen to support him, and Washington was talking tough to deter any Mexican move toward nationalization of U.S. investments. It faded after the nationalization of the oil industry in 1938, but we still see echoes of this kind of fear and resentment in criticisms from both the left and the right of NAFTA and subsequent economic ties with the U.S. And there is a cultural stream as well, though it is not very vigorous or politically consequential. The cultural differences between the two societies are great enough to "insulate" Mexico against cultural assimilation, and the strong sense of cultural identity gives them a feeling of self-confidence that tempers such anxieties. Nevertheless, at the elite level, nationalists evidence recurring apprehension and resentment about perceived deleterious effects of exposure to U.S. culture. Thus, for instance, after the 1960s counterculture movement spread from the U.S. into Mexico, both conservatives and the traditional left were concerned by the threat of "Americanization."

The multiplicity of expressions of anti-Americanism in Mexico means that a variety of triggers exist for potential opposition to cooperation with the United States. Whereas in Canada anti-Americanism often comes into play due to concerns about economic autonomy or cultural assimilation, in Mexico it is more likely to be fueled by perceived affronts to national dignity or threats to sovereignty. Trilateral talks have therefore deliberately avoided issues that could generate this kind of friction, such as border control, immigration, and organized crime. Yet these issues are increasingly recognized as inherently transnational challenges, which require some kind of coordinated response, and they are precisely the sorts of issues that must be tackled collectively if a meaningful regional regime is eventually to be built. The U.S. and Mexico have practiced some bilateral cooperation on border controls and crime, but, despite the recognized urgency of these problems, it has been limited and made contentious by anti-Americanism, sometimes at the popular level, but more often among Mexican bureaucrats and members of Congress.

Anti-Americanism in Mexico is also a multi-tiered phenomenon. It manifests itself differently and with different levels of intensity at different political levels: popular, elite, or state/governmental. Yet anti-Americanism is a key component of a background or common knowledge that all Mexicans share. As a Mexican businessman put it in the mid-1970s, "Every Mexican has two attitudes toward the United States. One is by heritage, the other by his own experience." And that experience often serves to temper prejudices and resentments among ordinary Mexicans. Thus, as a New York Times report put it in 1975, anti-Americanism is "not a blatant, daily feature of life in Mexico" (Cowan, 1975: 18).

Among members of the Mexican elite, the United States has always elicited ambivalent, even contradictory sentiments. As Francisco Valdés Ugalde observed, the United States "has repeatedly figured as an alternative cultural and political system that might be a model to follow or a threat to the survival of a distinctive Mexico" (1999: 569). Yet Mexican elites know full well that the United States cannot be a real model, because Mexican society is rooted in different (Western) traditions and faces different challenges. As Carlos Fuentes writes in Artemio Cruz, "What pains you even more is knowing that no matter how hard you try, you cannot be like them. You can only be a copy, an approximation, because after all, say it now: was your vision of things, in your worst or your best moments, ever as simplistic as theirs? Never. Never have you been able to think in black and white, good guys versus bad guys, God or the devil" (2000: 27).

At the state level, finally, realpolitik has typically prevailed over anti-American sentiments. In the words of Flora Lewis, "Every politician knows that when he makes the change from office-seeker to officeholder, his country's obvious self-interests will demand that he get along with the United States, so the tendency, while the campaign was on, was to soft-pedal [subjects that were potentially] explosive" (1952: SM10, 30). Thus, the old quip, "Mexico talks revolution but practices evolution" (Rockefeller, 1979: 27). To be sure, politicians will at times make use of anti-American sentiments for instrumental political reasons. As a New York Times correspondent noted in the late 1920s, "President Calles and his colleagues do not like us. And they lose no chance to try to make that latent something inside Mexicans swell up into active dislike for the United States" (Ybarra, 1927: SM5, 23). At the end of the day, however, realpolitik almost always prevails.

In the past, Mexico's undemocratic political system made it easy for political leaders to strike anti-American poses to play up their revolutionary credentials at home, but still pursue "quiet diplomacy" and pragmatism in their relations with the U.S. The ongoing process of democratization could, in the long run, do much to further regional integration in North America by fostering the growth of the middle class in Mexico and encouraging them to seek economic gains through closer ties with the U.S. But in the short run, it is likely to complicate this connection between domestic politics and diplomacy: leaders are more likely to try to rally supporters by playing the anti-American card, and the fragmentation of power within the system might mean that they are sometimes pressured to actually follow through on their confrontational rhetoric. However, the ambivalent and temperate nature of popular anti-Americanism in Mexico and the incompleteness of the democratization project mean that it will still be possible for political elites to maintain their traditional duplicity about relations with the U.S.

The persistence of anti-Americanism in Mexico over nearly two centuries and countless political and social changes can be explained with reference to two inescapable structural features of the bilateral relationship: the sheer asymmetry of power and the two countries' different historical experiences and cultural values. The enormous power gap reinforces and sustains each of the different streams of anti-Americanism outlined above and intensifies Mexicans' preoccupation with matters of recognition and respect. The cultural divide between the two countries has been summarized by Edmundo O'Gorman as "the great American dichotomy" (1977). Both were formed as offshoots of the great European ideological and cultural upheavals, but history has made them, in Octavio Paz's words, "two distinct versions of Western civilization" (1985: 140). And in fact the two societies have been divided even by the ideas that they have in common, such as liberalism, which has informed their respective political conversations in very different ways. Quite a bit of research has been done lately that seems to show that the basic values of the two societies are gradually converging at the elite and/or popular levels with the expectation that this might facilitate regional integration (Basáñez, Inglehart, and Nevitte, 2007). There may have been some meaningful convergence in North America on basic societal values like deference to authority and the role of the state in the economy, but that convergence cannot facilitate integration in the absence of trust between the members of the societies.

It is crucial to remember that while Mexico's anti-Americanism is exceptionally persistent and pervasive, it is not especially visceral or intense, and, again, there are two main reasons: geographic proximity and the resulting richness of personal experiences and the deep cultural divide noted above. The density of interactions between Mexican and U.S. societies has tempered Mexican prejudices and resentments, leading to a more "common sense" view of the U.S. and its people. This is reflected, for example, in the aforementioned fact that those living in northern Mexico are much more likely to say that they trust the United States than are those living in southern Mexico. Further evidence of this tempering of anti-Americanism in Mexico can be found in the scale of the anti-U.S. demonstrations there during the diplomatic crisis leading to the 2003 Iraq War. Though between 60 and 70 percent of Mexicans opposed the war (Moreno, 2006: 229), their public demonstrations against it, like those in Canada, were much smaller and less forceful than those in Western Europe and other parts of Latin America. The February 15, 2003, worldwide protests brought two million people into the streets in Rome, and three-quarters of a million in London, but only about 15 000 in Mexico City (whose population was twice that of Rome and London combined) (La Jornada, 2003: 1).

As noted above, the cultural differences between Mexico and the United States are so well defined that, despite the northern neighbor's overwhelming power, Mexicans generally do not feel threatened by the U.S. culturally. Mexicans' strong sense of cultural identity provides them with a sense of cultural self-confidence that deflects resentments and insulates them from the fear of creeping assimilation that plays such a prominent role in Canada's anti-Americanism. Thus, Flora Lewis could argue that "Mexico is not that Anti-American. Nevertheless, there remains a long way to go before Mexicans feel the friendship and admiration for the States that most Americans would wish" (1952: SM10, 30).

Because anti-Americanism in Mexico is not just a generic sovereign-nationalist version as found in other developing countries, but is more specifically rooted in the perceived denial of recognition and respect, its intensity at any given time has much to do with what the U.S. does or does not do. Equally important is the way that U.S. choices are interpreted by Mexican audiences, and that interpretation may be actively shaped by elite manipulation of historical memories and political symbols. Carelessly chosen words and gestures provide fuel for the fire, which Mexican elites may choose to stoke for domestic political purposes. President Echeverría, for instance, was adept at manipulating popular anti-Americanism in order to pursue his domestic political agenda.

The eruption of xenophobia in the U.S. after 9/11 led to a series of provocations within the bilateral relationship, especially but not only with respect to immigration. Support for Mexico's ongoing "war" against organized crime has created an opportunity for the U.S. to build trust with its southern neighbor, but in practice it has often reinforced old resentments. Long delays in the delivery of military aid through the Mérida Initiative and unguarded talk in Washington about Mexico as a "failing state" have been seen to reflect Americans' continuing refusal to recognize its southern neighbor as real partner. And the ongoing economic crisis seems to have made the U.S. even more self-centered and neglectful of its international commitments.

Leaders of all parties in Mexico clearly recognize the way the political landscape has shifted since the 1980s. Whereas globalization has stirred up more aggressive forms of anti-Americanism in some parts of the world, in Mexico it seems to have suppressed those impulses by shifting the incentives facing political leaders. Through most of the twentieth century, Mexican leaders needed nothing more from the U.S. than to be left alone, and therefore felt free to fan the flames of anti-Americanism to deflect opposition at home. Since the debt crisis in the early 1980s and the subsequent effort to internationalize the economy through membership in GATT and NAFTA, however, successive Mexican leaders have put a much higher priority on positive relations with the U.S. and recognized that anti-Americanism was more of an obstacle to them than an asset. Thus, the old post-revolutionary formula has been inverted: instead of playing up anti-Americanism to further their domestic goals, Mexican leaders now have strong incentives to play it down in order to further their diplomatic (i.e., external) goals, which are now much more tightly tied to their domestic agendas. The Fox and Calderón governments risked a great deal by relying on close relations with the U.S. to deliver concrete political achievements at home and were often let down, but on balance, they have presided over major improvements in the bilateral relationship, secured significant concrete gains, and reaffirmed the revolutionary strategic shift undertaken by De la Madrid and Salinas in the 1980s and 1990s. Thus, Mexico is likely to stay on the same path, and the prospects for further integration will depend mainly on choices made in Washington.

In addition to weighing various policy proposals on pragmatic grounds, policy-makers in the United States must (still) be attentive to the diverse and enduring prejudices on both sides of the border and to the various symbolic markers that go with them. Yet the complexity of anti-Americanism in Mexico is belied by the fundamental simplicity of its psychological core: a thirst for recognition and respect. The European experience suggests that it is possible to forge ahead with regional integration even where there are historical grievances and profound cultural and developmental differences, but it also highlights the profound importance of trust, mutual identification, and a sense of common purpose. All of these things are intimately tied to the question of recognition. Thus the prospects for further regional integration will depend in large part on whether Americans are prepared to treat Mexico as a partner, rather than just a neighbor.



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* We greatefully acknowledge the financial support provided by Colegio de México's Inter-institutional Studies Program on the North American Region (PIERAN) to carry out this project.

1 For a recent study of anti-Americanism in Canada and its impact on U.S.-Canada relations, which builds on the same theoretical foundation, see Bow (2008) and Bélanger (2011).

2 Here we are largely following historian Alan Knight's periodization of the bilateral relationship (quoted in Bajpai, 2005: 234).

3 The treaty did not go into effect, as the U.S. Senate failed to ratify it.

4 We thank an anonymous reviewer for bringing this point to our attention. See Meyer (2008).

5 It should be noted, though, that to some extent Echeverría's thirdworldism was posturing for domestic and international consumption, with tacit support from the United States. It has recently been made known, for instance, that Echeverría warned Nixon he was going to deliver a strong, anti-imperialist message in order to try to take Third World leadership away from leftist international leaders such as Castro. See National Security Archive (n.d.). Furthermore, it has also been recently disclosed that both Díaz Ordaz and Echeverría had been Central Intelligence Agency informants in the late 1960s. See The Herald (2006).

6 Although one could argue, returning to the issue of American polyvalence, that the technocrats had not really become "Americanized" by their experience in the United States. As leftist intellectual Carlos Monsiváis put it, "They certainly go to the American universities... but they don't know anything about American culture. They don't read Walt Whitman....They're worshippers of methodology. So they know only a fraction of American culture" (Thelen, 1999: 616). Or as John Gray (2002) put it, "America is too rich in contradictions for any definition of it to be possible....There is no such thing as an essentially American worldview....The most important fact about America... is that it is unknowable."

7 The national average was 52 percent.

8 In this section, we draw on Bow, Katzenstein, and Santa-Cruz (2007).

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