News, features, and commentary from the biggest city in the Americas, Mexico City.

The Do-Nothing Summit


(TOLUCA) — He came, he had lunch, he said a few empty meaningless words, and he left.

All within the space of eight hours and 25 minutes.

That sums up the visit of US President Barack Obama to Mexico.

Officially, the occasion was the now somewhat regular “Three Amigos” Summit, which reunites the leaders of Canada, the United States, and Mexico on a periodic basis.

But for all the summits thus far, this one easily has to rank as the biggest waste of time and money.

What did the leaders agree to? Immigration reform? Ease of travel between the three countries? A further deepening of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now marking 20 years of existence?

No, the leaders said a few fancy words about “strengthening our ties”, “security”, “prosperity” and other such meaningless drivel which politicians have an innate ability to spout whenever questioned, without offering cold hard specifics. And, they posed for an official photo. This was a major achievement!

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, to his credit, arrived in Mexico City on Monday, laid a wreath at the Niños Heroes monument, and then spent the day Tuesday in one-on-one meetings with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto. Unfortunately, there was still no announcement of the elimination of travel visas for Mexicans visiting Canada, but at least progress was made, and other business was discussed, including an open skies agreement eliminating any remaining barriers for airlines operating between the two nations.

But Obama could spare nothing more than a lousy eight hours and 25 minutes in Mexico before jetting back to Washington, which says a lot about the White House’s regard for its neighbors — it has none.

Obama had nothing to offer Mexico (zero on immigration reform), and he had nothing to offer Canada (zero on the Keystone pipeline approval).

Some summit. Add up all the expense put into it, and for what?

Will Washington ever put any importance on relations with its neighbors in the Americas?

Twitter: @mexdfmagazine

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This entry was posted on February 20, 2014 by in Commentary, politics and tagged , , .
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