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Resistance from Within: Why Mexico’s Attempt to Advance an Active Foreign Policy Failed
Review of Policy Research (2005)
  • David Mena, Policy Studies Organization

After becoming the first opposition candidate to win since 1910, President Vicente Fox kindled expectations at both national and international levels. He claimed he would enhance significantly the scope of the Mexico’s foreign policy and engage the country in international politics in a way more befitting of its newly acquired democratic status. Nevertheless, little consideration was given to the fact that for many decades foreign policy in Mexico had been deployed to create an area screened-off from domestic politics where conflicting factions were brought together and a policy consensus worked out. That consensus was sufficiently ample for the authoritarian elite, given its foreign policy goals and principles. It would, however, fail to suffice for any political leader willing to step outside the box of tradition. Fox did just that. In consequence, widespread reactions of disapproval from key political actors and the media led the president to settle for a more modest international agenda in 2002. This article explores the key processes that triggered so much internal resistance to Fox’s foreign policy designs. I argue that these processes underpin what continues to be the essentially autarchic nature and scope of the Mexican foreign policy tradition. Such an autarchic approach is glorified in Mexican political rhetoric, yet has led to many lost opportunities for Mexico. Most importantly, I stress that the Mexican foreign policy tradition discourages and forecloses the kind of engagement in the international arena that seeks to share in rather than to free-ride the collective efforts of the international community to procure security and peace. So despite its new democratic status, Mexico remains more of a spectator than an actor on the international stage.

  • Foreign Policy
Publication Date
September, 2005
Citation Information
David Mena. "Resistance from Within: Why Mexico’s Attempt to Advance an Active Foreign Policy Failed" Review of Policy Research Vol. 22 Iss. 5 (2005)
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