After days of indecision and mixed messages, Mexico’s laughably ineffectual president Enrique Peña Nieto announced that he will cancel his meeting with the US’s terrifyingly effectual president Donald Trump. The announcement comes on the heels of a vaguely threatening tweet from President Trump’s personal account, in which he suggested that a scheduled January 31st meeting between the two heads of state was contingent upon Mexico agreeing to pay for The Wall™.
Even before President Trump’s tweet, Peña Nieto was experiencing growing pressure to cancel the meeting as a gesture of defiance toward the POTUS’ anti-Mexican rhetoric. But Mexico’s spineless cardboard cutout of a president opted instead for a balanced tone, stressing the importance of dialogue without submission rather than outright confrontation.
Nevertheless, as writer John M. Ackerman points out in a trenchant piece for The Atlantic, Peña Nieto’s deferential treatment of Trump has been submissive since the days of the presidential campaign; and he further suggests that Peña Nieto’s notoriously repressive and corrupt administration has found a convenient ally in the US’s tangerine nightmare. That would certainly account for Peña Nieto’s inexplicable accommodation, but apparently – even with a 12% approval rating at home – he is still capable of feeling pressure from the same citizens he has so shamelessly abandoned.