Last week in Reno, Hillary Clinton replayed, for the umpteenth time, one of the only cards she seems to have in hand. She reiterated her contention that her opponent has built his campaign on “bigotry” and “hate”—including and especially on anti-Hispanic or anti-Mexican “rhetoric.”
Yesterday Donald Trump made an excursion to Mexico. That’s right: Trump boldly paid a visit to the country whose every last citizen (we’re told) has been and will forever stay offended and enraged by the “rhetoric” he has employed in his discussions of illegal immigration.
But the statement Trump made in Mexico City on a stage he shared with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto belies all this conventional un-wisdom on which Hillary’s campaign depends. And while the most unserious and irresponsible sort of liberal can of course be counted on to dismiss Trump’s statement and Trump’s visit as merely a “stunt” (thus sparing himself the trouble of thinking anything through), let us, for our part, dare to suppose that Trump said what he meant and meant what he said south of the border.
“No one wins in either country,” Trump declared, “when human smugglers and drug traffickers prey on innocent people, when cartels commit acts of violence, when illegal weapons and cash flow from the United States into Mexico or when migrants from Central America make the dangerous trek…into Mexico or the United States without legal authorization.” This identification of a common Mexican-American cause flies in the face of Hillary’s claim that Trump owes his success to his pitting of Mexicans and Americans, and of Mexican Americans and non-Mexican Americans, against each other. More importantly, the statement makes good sense. To destroy the drug cartels that wield such power in Mexico and routinely display that power in barbaric ways would doubtlessly improve conditions there. And the better Mexico’s political and economic conditions become, the less compelled ordinary, peaceable Mexicans will feel to take upon themselves all of the risks and hardships involved in making the illegal “trek” to the United States. In other words, the destruction of these cartels would contribute greatly to “a strong, prosperous, and vibrant Mexico;” and, as Trump also said yesterday, “a strong, prosperous, and vibrant Mexico is in the best interests of the United States.”
The power of these cartels, the part they play in our present immigration crisis, is the elephant in the room that neither of our political parties cares to acknowledge. Perhaps this is because our leaders fear these cartels and ignore them in the hope that they will someday, somehow go away without any exertion on their part. Perhaps democrats in particular see Mexico’s ongoing crisis, just as they apparently see Syria’s ongoing crisis, as their party’s opportunity.
However this may be, Trump’s visit to Mexico illustrates the tremendous difference between our two presidential candidates. Hillary continues to do little more than emerge from her den once in awhile to remind us not to take Trump seriously because of his supposed bigotry and his supposedly “dark” vision of the present and the future; Trump, meanwhile, displays a talent for diplomacy that many lifetimes of experience in office could never confer upon a mediocrity like Hillary. She and liberals like her would have us all believe that to promote the alleged common interests of the so-called “global community” must be America’s first order of business. Trump, by contrast, maintained yesterday that the mark of leaders like himself and President Pena Nieto is an abiding love for one’s own country and a corresponding concern to promote its best interests first and foremost. And what is more, Trump demonstrated that the frank acknowledgement by leaders of this concern for their own countries by no means precludes their cooperation on matters of common interest. On the contrary: such an honest acknowledgement puts their negotiations on solid ground, and so encourages the kind of diplomatic feats that promise a brighter future for all parties concerned.