Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead

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9780199898336: Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead

A lawless border shootout with American guns in Mexican hands. Tragic stories of immigrants dying in the desert while heading north. Decapitations, kidnappings, and body counts. These sorts of grim tales dominate the media, infiltrate movies and TV shows, and ultimately shape Americans' perception of Mexico as a dangerous country, overrun by brutal drug lords. 

Without a doubt, the drug war is real. In the last six years, more than 60,000 people have been murdered in narco-related crimes. But there is far more to Mexico's story than this gruesome narrative would suggest.
 
Hidden behind the headlines is a more hopeful Mexico, one undergoing rapid and widespread social, political, and economic transformations. It is one of a globally competitive economy, a rising middle class, and increasingly influential pro-democracy voters. It is a thriving Mexico whose people, communities, companies, and commerce are intricately tied to the United States.
 
In her groundbreaking book, Two Nations Indivisible, Shannon K. O'Neil argues that the United States is making a grave mistake by focusing on the politics of antagonism toward Mexico. Rather, America should wake up to the revolution of prosperity now unfolding there. 

This is the Mexico Americans need to get to know. Now more than ever, the two countries are indivisible. It is past time for the United States to forge a new relationship with its southern neighbor. In no uncertain terms, America's future depends on it.

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Review:

Q&A with Shannon K. O'Neil, author of Two Nations Indivisible

Q. Why should we care about Mexico?

A. Perhaps no other country affects the United States on a day-to-day basis as much as Mexico. The two nations have always been linked by their shared two thousand mile border, but the nature of this relationship has broadened and deepened over the last three decades. Today energy, the environment, corporations, supply chains, people, communities, and security bind the two nations together, making them truly indivisible, and Mexico’s path forward matter more than ever for its northern neighbor. The challenge ahead is for Mexico and the United States to work together to strengthen the good and diminish the bad in this close but still unequal relationship.

Q. So what is happening next door?

A. Mexico has transformed over the last three decades, mostly in good ways. It is now a vibrant, if at times messy, democracy. It has an open and globally competitive economy, and it has a growing middle class. Yet alongside these many positive trends, Mexico faces a crisis of violence. Over the last six years newspaper counts put the drug related death toll at over 60,000, and some independent analysts estimates tens of thousands more. The question now is where will Mexico head – what path will it take in the twenty-first century. Can Mexico reach its real potential – becoming a top ten world economy, a market-based democracy, a strong ally for the United States and a leader among emerging countries; or will it be consumed by instability, corruption, and crime.

Q. What can the United States do?

A. Working together means not just a new set of policies but also a larger shift--to a true partnership. It should start with people, and reforming immigration laws to support rather than shun the binational individuals and communities that already exist¬ and link the two nations. It means embracing and deepening economic ties, recognizing that a rising tide can lift all boats. And it requires shifting U.S. security cooperation to move beyond drug trafficking to focus on reducing the general crime and violence afflicting Mexico’s people. In this the United States will need to take a hard look at its own drug, gun, and money laundering policies, and consider the bilateral effects of domestic decisions.

Q. How will Mexico affect the United States?

A. Whether we like it or not, the direction Mexico takes now affects not just Mexico’s citizens but also Americans. And while there is much to lose, there is much more to gain. In fact, Mexico is less a problem and more an answer for the economic, security, and diplomatic challenges the United States faces today.

From the Author:

Growing up in small town Ohio wouldn't naturally lead you to write a book on Mexico and U.S.-Mexico relations, though the happenings south of the border strongly--albeit indirectly-- influence middle America everyday. But having caught the international bug early on, I got the chance to move to Mexico City right after college. During my nearly three years there, I experienced first hand the wrenching upheavals of the 1990s, as Mexico opened up its economy and its politics. I returned to live in Mexico City in 2002, and much had changed during my absence: the economy was stable, the government was run by the opposition, and even the capital city itself was transformed, bigger and cleaner than a decade before. Since then I have been a frequent visitor, and I am struck by the difference between what I hear and read about Mexico in the United States and what I see on the ground. Yes, Mexico faces serious challenges, but it has also changed dramatically in just a few decades, in most ways for the better. Two Nations Indivisible tells the story of these dramatic transformations, and what they mean for the United States. 

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