A Mexican Monkey Wrench

Now let’s talk about trade. Negotiators from the US, Canada, and Mexico are meeting in Mexico City this week for Round 7 of the heavyweight fight over the rewrite of NAFTA. It’s not the various stories coming out of the White House that matter most for the deal’s fate. It’s the looming July 1 presidential election in Mexico that might just change everything.


There’s a good chance Mexican voters will elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as president. AMLO doesn’t much care for Donald Trump, and he doesn’t care for NAFTA — though he knows he might have to live with both, and he’s been careful in his public comments. Those now at the bargaining table want a new deal done before the election gives AMLO a chance to complicate matters further.

Maybe the deal will be done before Mexico votes. Maybe it won’t, but an AMLO victory will focus minds on finishing things before he can be inaugurated president in December. Or maybe, AMLO becomes president, swaps out the entire Mexican negotiating team, says many things that make Trump mad, and the bargaining gets more complicated than ever.

A lot of people in all three countries want NAFTA to survive, but that guarantees nothing. Stay tuned.

The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace launched in 2018 with the commitment of signatories to stand up to cyber threats like election interference, attacks on critical infrastructure, and supply chain vulnerabilities. Last week, on the first anniversary of the call, the number of signatories has nearly tripled to more than 1,000 and now includes 74 nations; more than 350 international, civil society and public sector organizations; and more than 600 private sector entities. These commitments to the Paris Call from around the world demonstrate a widespread, global, multi-stakeholder consensus about acceptable behavior in cyberspace.

Read More at Microsoft On The Issues.

What changes now that the U.S. softened its position on Israeli settlements?

Well, I mean, not a lot. I mean, keep in mind that this is also the administration that moved the embassy to Jerusalem, from Tel Aviv. Everyone said that was going to be a massive problem. Ultimately, not many people cared. Same thing with recognition of Golan Heights for Israel. This is just one more give from the Americans to the Israelis in the context of a region that doesn't care as much as they used to about Israel - Palestine.

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Bolivia's polarizing interim president: After Bolivian president Evo Morales and his deputies were pushed out of office for rigging last month's presidential election, little-known opposition Senator Jeanine Añez took office as interim leader. Añez has promised to guide the country toward a "national consensus" ahead of new elections in January, but she's already risked deepening political divides. On day one, she lugged a giant bible into office, in a perceived swipe at Morales, who had elevated popular indigenous traditions that the ultra-conservative Ms. Añez once called "satanic." She's also abruptly reoriented the country's foreign ties toward Latin America's conservative governments. On her watch, at least eight pro-Morales protesters have been killed by the authorities. Morales himself, exiled in Mexico, says he's the victim of a coup and wants to run in the elections. Añez says he's barred, but his MAS political party still controls both houses of congress and has to be a partner for any smooth transition. Some compromise is necessary, but things don't seem to be going that way.

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2,887: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now broken a century-old record to become the longest serving PM in Japan's history, at 2,887 days. It's a stunning feat for a premier who made a political comeback after quitting in 2007 due to a series of embarrassing scandals.

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