Purcell, Susan Kaufman
December 1981
Foreign Affairs;Winter81/82, Vol. 60 Issue 2, p379
Academic Journal
This article discusses the foreign relations between Mexico and the U.S. following the discovery of oil in Mexico. Potential oil reserves of 200 billion barrels helped focus the attention of the U.S. and sparked interest in forging some kind of special relationship with its southern neighbor. Concrete proposals range from a North American Accord or Common Market to less dramatic package deals that would swap petroleum for increased Mexican access to U.S. markets. For years, Mexico hoped their nearly 3,000-mile shared border would bring it special benefits. Instead it brought invasions, four occupations and the loss of half its territory to the U.S. Now that Mexico has oil, its need for a special relationship with the U.S. is less compelling than ever before. Mexico may change its attitude as it gets accustomed to its new status, but in the meantime, U.S. initiatives for ambitious bilateral schemes are counterproductive. On the other hand, a prolonged oil glut may cause the U.S. to go too far in the opposite direction. Without an energy crisis, it may once again lose interest in Mexico. This would be extremely shortsighted since Mexico's importance to the U.S. transcends its oil. Mexico's problems have not diminished with its new oil wealth.


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