With ‘Friends’ Like Mexico’s Obrador, Who Needs Enemies Like Putin, Xi, Kim Jong Un and the Ayatollahs?

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador—who prefers to be known as AMLO for short—issued to the Biden administration blackmail demands that sounded more like existential threats.

AMLO warned the U.S. that the current influx of some 10 million illegal aliens through the southern border will most certainly continue—unless America agrees to his ultimatums.

One, Obrador says the U.S. must now send $20 billion in de facto bribery payments to Latin American nations, many of them corrupt and dysfunctional. Apparently, he thinks it is America’s fault that millions of Latin Americans are fleeing these failed states northward, not the inept and corrupt governments that create such misery.

Two, AMLO demands amnesty for vast numbers of Mexican illegal aliens currently unlawfully residing inside the U.S. He apparently also thinks there is no such thing as U.S. immigration law. Or, if there is, such statutes do not apply to citizens of Mexico. Can we ask Mr. Obrador to simply grant permanent visa-free, no-questions-asked residence to any American living in a vacation complex in Mexico?

Three, he also requires America to lift sanctions against anti-American Venezuela. That communist government currently is part of the new China/Russia/Iran strategic axis. It is sending thousands of its citizens northward to enter the U.S. illegally.

Many of them are criminals, as the recent murder of Laken Riley by a felonious Venezuelan illegal alien attests. Dictator Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuelan regime recently threatened to invade and annex oil-rich Guyana, its smaller neighbor to the east. Maduro’s “security forces” have routinely murdered hundreds of political opponents. This rogue state is apparently Mexico’s newest ally.

Four, AMLO further requires the U.S. to stop its long embargo of communist Castroite-controlled Cuba, a decades-long avowed enemy of the U.S.

And what, AMLO was asked, would happen if the U.S. were to refuse Mexico’s blackmail threats?

Obrador abruptly snapped, “The flow of migrants will continue”—an admission that Obrador himself has the power to stop or turn on illegal immigrant influxes into the U.S.

Translated, that means we can expect that another 2-3 million illegal aliens will leave Mexican territory to enter the U.S. unlawfully in 2024. Or if Joe Biden is attuned to the political disaster he has created by illegal immigration for his party in November, we should expect this cynical administration quietly—in the fashion on the eve of the last midterms of cancelling student loans, draining the strategic petroleum reserve, or currently slow-walking resupplies to Israel—to send cash to Obrador to limit inflows before the election.

In his long interview, AMLO also denied that Mexico is one of the most violent countries in the world, despite currently having the ninth highest murder rate among nations. AMLO claims further that there is no corruption in America, although Mexico also ranks among the world’s most corrupt nations.

As far as the nearly 100,000 American deaths per year attributed to Mexican cartel-produced and illegally imported fentanyl—often deliberately disguised as both illicit and prescription drugs to mask its toxicity and increase its usage—Obrador claims that the fault is solely on Americans who take the drug. He believes Mexicans simply supply the demand regardless of its legality and in such a way to ensure thousands of accidental overdoses.

AMLO adds quite dishonestly that there is no real drug use in Mexico. Consequently, the cartels supposedly do not threaten the stability of his government. He apparently shrugs that they are an American, not Mexican, problem, despite the cartels’ annual murdering of several hundred Mexican politicians and candidates.

Finally, under his “Mexico First” policy, AMLO warns he will not pass any law or adopt any policy that is American-inspired.

Much of AMLO periodic tough-guy rhetoric—in the past he has bragged of the huge expatriate Mexican community and the power it now exercises over American politics—is simply the bluster of an insecure, smaller neighbor overshadowed by its northern colossus, and both mindful and resentful of an often shared troublesome history.

In addition, Obrador is a radical socialist. He believes a nation’s prosperity is achieved through forced state, or indeed, international redistribution from the wealthier to the poorer—not by guarantees of free markets, individual freedom, consensual government, or the rule of law. Thus, Mexico’s problem is not its misuse of rich natural resources, lack of the rule of law, corrupt federal, state, and local governments, or the cartels, but simply exploitation by its northern neighbor. Obrador never asks himself why a resource-poor Japan or Switzerland is rich and a resource-rich Mexico is poor.

Two further questions arise in response to Obrador’s unhinged hostility. One, why is AMLO now so emboldened to threaten the United States with even more millions of illegal aliens leaving Mexico soil to enter the U.S. unlawfully?

And two, how will America answer such a belligerent neighbor?

Obrador is feisty and full of anti-American venom now for a lot of reasons. One, he was easily able to transit from his country 10 million illegal immigrants into the United States. He believes that with the existing 50 million foreign-born American residents, America is rapidly becoming a country of enough Latin American ex-patriates to ensure Mexico’s influence over American policy.

In projectionist fashion, Obrador also believes that the American melting pot is dead, replaced by the tribalist salad bowl, in which ethnic groups form large, permanent, and unassimilated blocs and vie for government money and influence against rival ethnicities.

In such a Hobbesian U.S., Latinos, Obrador believes, will come out on top and thus greenlight Mexico’s agenda. The idea that Mexican immigrants will likely quickly assimilate, integrate, and replace their Mexican identity and allegiance with an American persona, he believes, is now passé.

More disturbingly, AMLO assumes that Biden deliberately destroyed the U.S. border in order to welcome in the world’s poor and needy en masse. Biden, he believes, is engineering the new demographics. He has enticed a constituency that will repay de facto amnesty with fealty at the polls, and in the next census, he will thus help redefine dozens of congressional districts to favor Democrats. Thus, Obrador thinks his open-border policies synchronize with the open-border wishes of the Biden administration.

Two, Obrador sees the U.S. decoupling from China. Billions of dollars in American overseas investment are leaving China and being rerouted to Mexico. Hundreds of new factories producing everything from cheap consumer items to cars are now appearing in Mexico entirely for U.S. export.

Obrador assumes that without such outsourcing and offshoring to Mexico, the U.S. would suffer supply chain disruption, higher consumer prices, and shortages of vital goods—and thus be forced to return to its unhealthy dependence on China. So he believes Mexican labor in the U.S. and Mexican factories at home are indispensable to the U.S. economy, and thus he can say or do what he wishes to any president he chooses.

Three, while Obrador was for a while scared of Trump, he has utter contempt for the bumbling Biden administration in general, and, in particular, for an enfeebled Joe Biden himself. On a recent Biden trip to Mexico, Obrador beamed as he was filmed personally propping up a shaky Biden as he descended from the stage.

In Obrador’s view, any country that would open wide its border, welcome in 10 million foreign nationals, without legal sanction, without audit, without even processing, deserves the contempt he extends to it.

Just as he scans the world stage and sees Biden’s humiliating exit from Afghanistan, its passive response to serial Iranian-fueled terrorist attacks on American installations in the Middle East, and its passivity when China launched a spy balloon over the U.S., so too, like other American belligerents, Obrador feels Biden’s America is now there for the taking. Thus his emboldened threats that no Mexican president of the past has ever leveled.

Finally, what can the U.S. do to reestablish its sovereignty and remind Mexico that its belligerency, its export of deadly fentanyl, its deliberate sandbagging of U.S. immigration law, its alliances with America’s worst enemies, and its greenlighting of the Mexican cartels’ anti-American, transborder mayhem all have existential consequences?

So what should the next president do to restore mutual respect and cooperation between our once amicable two countries? Five easy steps.

  1. Quietly finish the wall across the entire border.
  2. Begin deporting to Mexico the ten million illegal aliens who have unlawfully entered and resided in the U.S. over the last three years. Let Mexico disperse them to their countries of origin.
  3. Tax at 10% the $60 billion in remittances that annually flow into Mexico from the U.S. Remittances are Obrador’s largest source of foreign exchange and made possible only by American state and federal governments’ subsidization of Mexican national residents, that in turn frees them to send billions back home to Mexico.
  4. Declare the cartels international terrorist organizations. Begin sanctioning all Mexican banks, corporations, and known Mexico officials that traffic and do business with the cartels.
  5. Deploy the U.S. military to the border, not merely to create deterrence and aid the border patrol, but to end all cartel entry into the United States and to stop all unauthorized cross-border intrusions by Mexican paramilitaries.

Do all that, and paradoxically, Obrador will begin praising the U.S. and ask once again to cooperate in restoring a secure border.

Like so many passive-aggressive bullies, Obrador respects the strong adversaries he slanders but he has utter contempt for the weak leaders he praises.


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36 thoughts on “With ‘Friends’ Like Mexico’s Obrador, Who Needs Enemies Like Putin, Xi, Kim Jong Un and the Ayatollahs?”

  1. Professor Hanson, these are excellent suggestions, and I ask that you contract President Trump and offer these to him.

    I suggest once more that you offer yourself as an advisor to Trump in an attempt to calm his rhetoric and thin skin.

  2. Why “tax” at 10% the 60 Billion US Dollars in remittances to Mexico? Tax them at the same rate as US commercial tax rates. Why keep enriching our adversaries? China and Mexico are our adversaries. Our country’s biggest adversary is none other than Joseph Biden.

    1. Thomas O'Brien

      As I posted a comment after listening to a recent VDH podcast, tax them at 80, 90, or even 100%, since the source of these monies is often U.S. subsistence payments.

  3. Our government agencies appear to be complicit by allowing the flow of both people and drugs across the border indiscriminately. The consequences are too easily foreseen for this to be just poor judgement, therefore it can only be intentional. Globalism/corporatism? Psychological and asymmetrical warfare? I’d say, most likely, affirmative on all counts.

  4. Typo? Paragraph that starts with “Translated, that means we can expect that another 2-3 illegal aliens will leave Mexican territory to enter the U.S. unlawfully in 2024.” Shouldn’t that be 2-3 million?

  5. “Translated, that means we can expect that another 2-3 illegal aliens will leave Mexican territory to enter the U.S.”
    Pretty sure you meant “2-3 *MILLION* illegal aliens”…

  6. Mexico ‘s intentions were painted on the wall between turnstiles going into Tijuana for at least 10 years. I don’t if it was Poncho Via or the leader of the country then or some other hero of the Mexican fight with America but it was there as if to say “you may have won the battle, but we’ll win the war.” It reminds me of what Longshanks said; “if we can’t run them out, we’ll breed them out.”
    I don’t mean to be an uppity little nail driver but it do seems as if he has America over a barrel. What? Do you think ‘shakes’ has the energy to do much more than to wipe his own azz? If he had a spine or any integrity, a squadron of A10’s would be down there strafing snakes. But doesn’t and he won’t and Amelo will get what he wants so Pedo can win or steal the election.

  7. This doesn’t sound like Professor Hanson. I believe someone else wrote this essay. Noticed several typos and mis-worded phrases. Definitely not up to his regular sterling standards.

    Just my opinion.

  8. Is mass deportation even possible?

    What would it take?

    1. Make sanctuary states, cities, etc., illegal. Or, just cut off all funding to these rogue entities.
    2. Repurpose DHS to carry out the mass deportation.
    3. Complete the wall.
    4. Transport them all back to Mexico.
    5. No exceptions for women or children.
    6. Change “anchor baby” laws forever.
    7. Create NGOs that are trained specifically to locate, round up, and transport illegals back to Mexico.
    8. Establish rewards, bounties, and other similar incentives to make this happen.
    9. Establish and enforce severe penalties for anyone who aids and abets illegals.

    So I ask once again, is mass deportation even possible?

    Without the decisive action as described above, it is clearly not possible.

    Do we just quit and say “It is just too damn hard”?

    And then say goodbye to America.

    Or are we toast already?

  9. My suggestions are even stronger:

    Give AMLO a choice, either seal the border and accept all the illegals back there (which ones he keeps and which ones he returns to country of origin is up to him) or….

    – We immediately close the border to ALL commercial traffic
    – We close the border to ALL northbound traffic in 30 days (to give Americans in Mexico time to come home)
    – We stop ALL financial transactions with Mexican banks and other institutions

    And wait for their economy to collapse….

  10. DJT should, likely will, use this threat in a campaign ad. DJT should privately thank AMLO for it and should Trump win in November offer a public thank you to AMLO; right before he issues his first EO on the afternoon of 20 January 2025, outlining every one of the 5 steps VDH suggests.

    One change I would make regarding the 10% tax on remittances. I would make it a 25% tax on remittances being sent from all illegal immigrants, to all nations. That may induce many to self deport.

  11. Great analysis and recommendations again from you. To do what you suggest we need Trump or a Trump-like figure to carry out the measures you suggest. A weak Biden won’t do so.

  12. Hoi Polloi Boy

    AMLO is bluffing, just looking fir a grift. He has no, zero, nada control over the cartels capitalizing on transporting people into the US.

  13. Mexico is the enemy of America and US citizens.
    Mexico murders more than 100,000 US citizens every year with Mexican manufactured drugs,
    and Mexico facilitates and implements the INVASION of America with millions of illegal aliens, creating huge burdens for the US taxpayer.
    Mexico is more an enemy of America and US citizens than Russia and China.

  14. We need to Annex Mexico. Make it a part of the union. That gives us the ability to hunt down and kill all of the narcos and the most corrupt government members during the war. Then we’ll have a much smaller border to deal with. So we can put a canal there or something. I suspect that in general, the Mexican people would be very happy with becoming citizens and the decrease in crime.

  15. “AMLO claims further that there is no corruption in America”

    That should say “Mexico” not “America”

  16. Obrador will act like a well-trained puppy when Trump become president. All Trump has to do is threaten to stop cash remittances from being sent to Mexico from Mexican nationals living in the US. Without those remittances, the Mexican economy would nearly collapse.

  17. Should, “AMLO claims further that there is no corruption in America, although Mexico…” actually read, “AMLO claims further that there is no corruption in Mexico, …”?

  18. Typo: “AMLO claims further that there is no corruption in America, although Mexico also ranks among the world’s most corrupt nations.” should read “AMLO claims further that there is no corruption in Mexico, although Mexico also ranks among the world’s most corrupt nations.”

  19. I don’t see how America can meaningfully survive all these various crises. No leader is strong enough to override the dysfunction of Congress and the bias hatred of the media.

    We will succumb to disaster or worse, give in to a Frankensteinian transformation.

  20. “AMLO claims further that there is no corruption in America, although Mexico also ranks among the world’s most corrupt nations.” Shouldn’t that sentence read that AMLO claims there is no corruption in MEXICO?

  21. I would add two more steps. First, invade Mexico, take over Baja and move the rest of the border south to Monterey. The border would be less than half as long as it is now, and a border wall would be much cheaper to construct and maintain . Second, capture all of Mexico’s deep water oilfield operations and keep the oil as reparations for the illegal alien invasion and fentanyl influx that’s been facilitated by Mexico.

  22. Great article as always. It amazes me that people will still vote for this disastrous Administration. Not 1 positive policy or 1 competent leader.

  23. Jacqueline Frazier

    Since the number of illegals entering this country, we should offset that cost from the aid sent to their countries of origin, with Mexico receiving the largest cut in aid.

  24. This is all due to the feckless Biden administration. I literally cannot understand how his base could even be 10% of the population, let alone what may end up being 45-55%. What are these people thinking? By the way, if it were 1840 or 1880 his words would have been considered a declaration of war. Now we just respond with “…oh well, Mexico being Mexico”.

  25. Roger Hutflesz

    This should be of interest to all you folks.
    Contact your congress reps if you don’t like that our government is giving Mexico.

     The United States provides aid to Mexico. Over the past five years, the U.S. has given Mexico approximately $234.79 million in assistance, which averages to roughly $46.9 million per year. The aid covers various areas, including:
    1. Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Programs: This category receives the largest share of the 2017 assistance package, with $78.9 million allocated. It supports civic institutions and promotes democratic values.
    2. Peace and Security: Approximately $43.8 million is dedicated to counter-narcotics operations and combating transnational crime.
    3. Environmental and Climate Change Programs: The smallest portion of the 2017 aid package, totaling $11.9 million, focuses on environmental initiatives1.
    Additionally, since 2008, the U.S. has provided over $3 billion in assistance to Mexico to address crime, violence, and enhance the country’s rule of law.  Furthermore, as of September 2022, the United States has offered nearly $200 million in humanitarian assistance through international organizations and NGO partners in Mexico and Central America

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