In an effort to head off the escalating tariffs on Mexican imports that US President Donald J. Trump has threatened to impose as of June 10, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) dispatched cabinet members to Washington for meetings to work through the complex issues surrounding migration flows from Central America.


If imposed, these US tariffs would have major near-term economic and political costs for the United States and Mexico. Over the longer term, they could cause serious damage to a bilateral relationship that has progressively become more important since the establishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.

There is plenty of responsibility to share for the immigration challenges being faced today on the US-Mexico border. 

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US President Donald J. Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom this week was always going to be controversial. His approval ratings in the UK are not as bad as in other countries of the European Union, but his divisive and disruptive character meant that a sizable minority questioned whether he deserved full state visit honors almost a year after he was hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.


Timing also became an issue, since by the time of the visit Theresa May, who originally conveyed the invitation two years ago, had become a lame duck prime minister. Moreover, Brexit, of which Trump is a big supporter and which was due to have taken place by March 29, remains unresolved and hugely divisive for both public opinion and politicians.

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US President Donald J. Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May praised the strong alliance between their two countries on June 4, while downplaying divisions on issues such as China and Iran.

Speaking at a joint press conference in London on Trump’s official state visit to the United Kingdom, both leaders used the upcoming 75th anniversary of the World War Two invasion of Normandy to highlight the historic bond between the two nations. “Our special relationship is grounded in common history, values, customs, culture, language, and laws,” Trump said, adding that both countries believe that “the defense of our nations does not begin on the battlefield, but within the heart of every patriot.”

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Russia’s support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria is just the beginning of Moscow’s designs on the wider Middle East, Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, warned on May 30.

“Syria is a prime example of Moscow’s efforts to influence world events for its own advantage and prestige in a manner that contributes nothing but additional instability to the region and beyond,” Wheelbarger said in remarks at the Atlantic Council in Washington. In addition to rebuffing US efforts to support the political opposition to Assad, Russia’s actions in Syria provided Moscow an “opportunity to reestablish its great power status in the region, assert its pragmatic brand of security cooperation and assistance, demonstrate and improve its military capabilities, and expand its access to hold NATO’s southern flank at risk,” she explained.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which opened an important chapter in efforts to dismantle gender- and sex-based discrimination. In the summer of 1969, as demonstrators took to the streets in New York to protest a police raid on a local gay bar, their voices joined past US activists who in similar ways strove to affirm human dignity and fundamental human rights. This work on behalf of social justice continues in acts of solidarity with victims of sexual abuse, immigrants, the unjustly incarcerated, and all who have lost their lives as a result of senseless violence and religion-based bigotry, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and the bombing of Christian churches.

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The dramatic economic and political challenges defining the 21st century for the United States call for a deepening commitment to our shared values and dedication to expanding the diversity of thinkers, leaders, and policymakers. Those values and ideals are enshrined in our founding documents: the belief that we are all created equal, endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They are more than a pinnacle to strive for; they are the values that millions of Americans are sworn to uphold. Living those values is what draws nations together. Openness to all Americans is one of the things that ensures enduring US leadership.

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It’s time to start worrying more about what could become the most profound geopolitical shift of the post-Cold War years. China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are deepening their two countries’ strategic alignment even as long-time democratic allies across the Atlantic grow more distant.

Some are going so far as to call it an autocratic alliance. Though it hasn’t been (and likely won’t be) sanctified by treaty, the Trump administration’s escalated pressures on Beijing and continued sanctions on Russia have helped drive the two sides more closely together than at any point since the 1950s.

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Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright knows that her famous description of the United States as the “indispensable nation” could be misunderstood as a boast of her country’s individual power. But in the word “indispensable,” however, “none of it means it has to be alone,” she said on May 30.

Delivering the Chicago Project on Security & Threats’ 2019 Hagel Lecture at the University of Chicago, Albright argued that the challenges of the 21st century require that people work together—both within their own societies and between nations. Whether it be technological change, international terrorism, global warming, or uneven migration flows, Albright said that they all “will require partnership” among people to address. Former US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who joined Albright on May 30, agreed, saying the United States “needs alliances. We need relationships. We can’t do it alone.”

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Despite touting its role as the pro-transatlantic alliance arm of the US government, Congress is threatening to undermine critical European partners with new legislation that would impose sanctions on key allies. The Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act would mandate sanctions on those involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. While there are strong arguments against the project, the imposition of sanctions on those involved (and effectively legislating European energy policy from Washington) is the wrong way to convince key allies to further diversify away from Russian-origin energy sources.

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US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on imports from Mexico until the surge of illegal immigration at the southern border stops will “be a devastating blow to the US economy,” according to Jason Marczak, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.


Trump announced on May 30 that his administration would impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods originating in Mexico. He further threatened to increase the tariff unless Mexico took steps to stop migrants from reaching the US border.

While Trump’s aim is to pressure Mexican officials to take more action on illegal immigration, these tariffs “will be most acutely felt by US consumers,” said Marczak.

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