Thursday, January 26, 2017

Donald Duck Diplomacy: How Mexico will make America pay for the wall

The headline is a second version of the story. Greg Sargent (Washington Post/Plum Line) has the first, most common, version and I will start there.

“We’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico … that wall will cost us nothing. I’m just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form.”

“A complicated form.” Translation: I’ll come up with some kind of convoluted lie to explain this away later.

Now here is the other version. reports on an interview with former Mexican president Vicente Fox in which he says that Mexico will not pay for “the fucking wall.” Fmr. Mexican President Vicente Fox to Trump: We Can Live Without NAFTA, “You Can Not”

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the current president of Mexico, Peña-Nieto, should consider canceling his plans to meet with President Trump. Or, if he does meet Trump, that he should walk out of the meeting if Trump insults Mexico.

Fox repeated his pledge that Mexico would not pay for Trump’s border wall on Twitter, after President Trump signed an executive order to begin construction on the border wall today.

Sean Spicer, I’ve said this to @realDonaldTrump and now I’ll tell you: Mexico is not going to pay for that fucking wall. #FuckingWall
— Vicente Fox Quesada (@VicenteFoxQue) January 25, 2017

Rumors spread Wednesday that [Mexican President] Peña-Nieto is “considering” cancelling his meeting with Trump.

That was Wednesday. This is Thursday morning. Meeting cancelled. The NY Times reports that Mexico Cancels Meeting With Trump Over Wall.

The president of Mexico said on Thursday that he was canceling his scheduled meeting with President Donald J. Trump in Washington next week, rejecting the visit after the new American leader ordered a border wall between the two nations.

The move by Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, brings to a head the simmering tensions that have been building for months between the two leaders. After calling for dialogue in the face of Mr. Trump’s vows to build a wall, Mr. Peña Nieto ultimately bowed to public pressure in Mexico to respond more forcefully to his northern neighbor.

The decision to cancel the meeting was the result of a remarkable back-and-forth between the two sparring leaders, much of it delivered on Twitter.

On Wednesday, the new American president signed an executive order to beef up the nation’s deportation force and start construction on a new wall along the border.

Adding to the perceived insult was the timing of the order: It came on the first day of talks between top Mexican officials and their counterparts in Washington, and just days before the meeting between the two presidents.

… In a video message delivered over Twitter on Wednesday night, Mr. Peña Nieto reiterated his commitment to protect the interests of Mexico and the Mexican people, and he chided the move in Washington to continue with the wall.

“I regret and condemn the United States’ decision to continue with the construction of a wall that, for years now, far from uniting us, divides us,” he said.

In Mexico, Mr. Peña Nieto had little political room to maneuver. With Mr. Trump’s order to build the wall, the perceived insults Mexico had endured during the campaign had finally turned into action. Decades of friendly relations between the nations — on matters involving trade, security and migration — seemed to be unraveling.

Calls began to come in from across the political spectrum for Mr. Peña Nieto to cancel his visit, and to respond with greater fortitude to the perceived menace from President Trump. On Twitter, Mr. Trump’s action was referred to by politicians and historians as a “an offense to Mexico,” a “slap in the face” and a “monument to lies.”

Historians said that not since President Calvin Coolidge threatened to invade a “Soviet Mexico” had the United States so deeply antagonized the Mexican populace.

“It is an unprecedented moment for the bilateral relationship,” said Genaro Lozano, a professor at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City. “In the 19th century, we fought a war with the U.S.; now we find ourselves in a low-intensity war, a commercial one over Nafta and an immigration war due to the measures he just announced.”

Yes, elections have consequences. The Donald Duck Dynasty has just demonstrated its Donald Duck Diplomacy.

*UPDATE - Thursday afternoon*: The New York Times has this breaking news. Trump Plans 20% Tax on Mexican Imports to Pay for Border Wall.

President Trump plans to make Mexico pay for his border wall by imposing a 20 percent tax on all imports into the United States from Mexico, raising billions of dollars that would cover the cost of the new barrier.

The proposal, which Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said the president discussed privately with congressional Republicans before giving remarks at a party retreat here, would be a major new economic proposal that could have far-reaching implications for consumers, manufacturers and relations between the two governments.

The new tax would be imposed on Mexico as part of a tax overhaul that Mr. Trump intends to pursue with the Republican Congress. Mr. Spicer said the tax initially would apply only to Mexico, but that the president supports imposing a 20 percent tax on all imports.

Mr. Trump would need new legislation to enact such a comprehensive tax on Mexican imports.

It’s no longer a “low intensity war”. Trump has started throwing economic bombs at the world.

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