Washington bullies Mexico into supporting war against Russia

During recent weeks, as the US and NATO war against Russia in Ukraine spirals toward a nuclear “Armageddon,” as acknowledged by US President Biden himself, and drives inflation to historic highs, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has increased his administration’s appeals for a negotiated settlement, while condemning Russia, Ukraine, the US, the European powers and the UN for escalating the conflict.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico Marcelo Ebrard during the IX Summit of the Americas, in June 2022. [Photo by Gobierno de Mexico]

In his morning press briefing on Monday, AMLO called for a five-year truce and warned about the planned nuclear missile tests by NATO and Russia, stating: “Some of them don’t even have good aim, which is what worries me the most.”

He denounced those “sending weapons to countries where there are conflicts and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries…They already bombed a bridge. They already sabotaged a pipeline. There was already a statement that we are about to press the button.”

The UN is acting as a mere “ornament,” he said, while “it should be demanding a dialogue and peace every day. Have you heard anything from the UN? Nothing!”

López Obrador stressed, “Do not drag us in. We are not warmongers. We have ties with peoples from all over the world. Our policy is against war and for peace. Our policy is neutrality. No, we are not on the side of any hegemonic power in the world… In this case, we have acted and will continue to act in a neutral manner.”

These comments followed those he made during his Independence Day speech on September 16, when he denounced the war in Ukraine, Western sanctions and the massive shipment of weapons to Ukraine as “irrational.” He said in this speech seen by tens of million, “The large powers position themselves before the conflict only to serve their own hegemonic interests… and the interests of the war industry.”

Weapons shipments to Ukraine, he added, “have only served to exacerbate the conflict, create more suffering among victims, their families and refugees, worsen the shortage of food and energy and drive inflation globally—issues that harm the vast majority of people in the world.” After citing the invasions of Mexico by France and the United States, he concluded by calling for a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement mediated by Pope Francis, the far-right Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and UN Secretary General António Guterres.

Among other similar statements, on October 5, AMLO denounced the proposal by the European Parliament to nominate Ukrainian President Zelensky for the Nobel Peace Prize. “How could one of the actors of the war receive the Nobel Peace Prize?” he said incredulously.

That day, Zelensky spoke remotely to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States held in Peru and called on Latin American nations to support Ukraine, including through sanctions against Russia.

The following day, AMLO responded to Zelensky indicating that sanctions are “irrational” and only serve to exacerbate “the suffering of the people.” Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil then refused to sign a statement of the OAS summit that condemned solely Russia for the war.

While there is certainly an element of demagoguery and hypocrisy in the statements by AMLO, that the government of America’s neighbor and main trade partner openly blames the United States for escalating the war in Ukraine for its “own hegemonic interests” is a blow for the war propaganda of the United States and NATO, which argues that all would be well with the world if only Putin had not invaded Ukraine.

The same week that the Biden administration announced its National Security Strategy, which sets out a plan for waging world war against Russia and China to “win the competition for the 21st century,” the elected leader of Mexico, whose resources, industries and territory constitute a key pillar for the American economy and military, declared “neutrality.”

Under the headline “Foster Democracy and Shared Prosperity in the Western Hemisphere,” Biden’s strategy states: “Our priority is to work with Canada and Mexico to advance a North American vision for the future that draws on our shared strengths and bolsters U.S. global competitiveness.”

Following decades of integration of the North American supply chains to facilitate the competition by US and Canadian imperialism against its economic rivals in Europe and Asia, the initial shutdowns during the pandemic proved that all major US industries depend on Mexican suppliers.

After a US-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue in Washington D.C. on Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced AMLO’s statements on the war. “There is no neutrality when we are speaking about annexations,” he said. “What’s important is to ask oneself if the U.N.’s values are reflected in Mexico’s position.”

Undoubtedly, these comments give only a glimpse of much more severe threats and bullying behind the scenes. This was reflected in Mexico’s vote in support of a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of four new territories in eastern Ukraine. The Mexican ambassador to the UN, Juan Ramón, said in a speech that the annexation “represents an escalation of the armed conflict, including a nuclear threat or a nuclear accident” and called for an immediate truce. On March 2, Mexico had also voted in favor of a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a joint press briefing on Thursday, Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard also felt compelled to clarify that an agreement on space exploration with Russia that was announced last weekend was actually from September 2021 and is not in effect.

In a speech on Monday, the EU Foreign Affairs chief Josep Borrell denounced Turkey, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Indonesia as “swing states, voting on one side or the other according to their interests” and “creating this messy multipolarity.” Then, he singled out AMLO, declaring, “Look at Mexico’s President’s recent speech. Who is our Mexico delegate? Is he here? You heard what the Mexican President said about us recently.” He made these bullying remarks seconds before denouncing Putin’s supposed “imperialism.”

Walking the tightrope, AMLO then declared Wednesday that he had no problem with Ukraine’s president speaking to the Mexican Congress. As early as June 10, Mexico had signed a joint statement with the US and Canada condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Our coordinated responses to Russian aggression against Ukraine, including calls to establish a diplomatic path forward, demonstrate the importance of North American solidarity,” the statement said, vowing in the same paragraph to “strengthen our relations, which is key to our collective security and prosperity.”

At the same time, US and Canadian imperialism seek to further consolidate the North American supply chains as a platform to wage economic and shooting wars. Ultimately, this presents new profit opportunities to the Mexican ruling class that AMLO represents.

A crucial element of this process has been semiconductors and advanced chips, most of which are produced in Taiwan. The Biden administration has not only placed Taiwan at the forefront of its war provocations against China, but last week banned the export to China of advanced computer chips and equipment to produce them.

On September 12, Blinken and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo met with AMLO and other top Mexican officials to indicate that, handed major incentives to move production to the United States, semiconductor manufacturers “would like to see the rest of their supply chain in North America, Mexico specifically.” In other words, they want a greater access to Mexico’s cheap labor and resources.

At the meeting, AMLO responded positively to the announcement of investments in semiconductors, which is a blatant measure in preparation for war.

In the final analysis, the capitalist government in Mexico will seek to use geopolitical tensions to extract investments and other concessions from the US and Europe for the Mexican corporations and banks, which are entirely beholden to their imperialist patrons.

While it’s clear that AMLO’s statements reflect a very real concern that the conflict will spiral out of control into a nuclear world war, AMLO is mortally hostile to the only social force that can defeat the major imperialist powers and end their insane plans for world war: the international working class.

Like all other capitalist politicians, he is unwilling and unable to make an appeal to workers in the United States, Europe, Russia, Mexico and beyond to mobilize massively and politically against this existential threat to mankind. It is up to workers and youth to build this movement based upon a revolutionary and socialist program.