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"The entry into force of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil profoundly changed the economic, security, and diplomatic reality between the United States and Mexico. Since then, for the past two-and-a-half decades, every new governmental term in either nation provides an opportunity to explore how both nations can deepen their coordination on a range of global and regional issues. It is only natural that two neighbors and partners with an almost 2-thousand-mile contiguous land border and that are so strategically salient to each other’s security and wellbeing should always be on the lookout for ways to engage and cooperate in the international arena, when and where— given the significant and relevant power asymmetry between both countries—our national interests coincide.

This is even more relevant given that our bilateral relationship has become over the decades truly “intermestic”: that is, all foreign policy issues in our agenda are domestic policy issues, and moving our diplomatic agenda forward, whether bilaterally, regionally, and even globally, requires that we address the domestic policy triggers, constraints, and Gordian knots on either side of the border. Moreover, all the issues of the U.S.-Mexico bilateral agenda are globally relevant."

This policy brief discusses opportunities and challenges for regional and global U.S.-Mexico collaboration, as well as the need for a deeper and wider U.S.-Mexico regional and global dialogue.

This policy brief is part of our series "Re-Building a Complex Partnership: The Outlook for U.S.-Mexico Relations under the Biden Administration." The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in early 2021. 

About the Author

Arturo Sarukhan

Arturo Sarukhan

Global Fellow;
Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center; Former Mexican Ambassador to the United States; Founder & President, Sarukhan + Associates
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more