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Two Nations Indivisible

Mexico, the United States and the Road Ahead

By Shannon K. O’Neil
15-minute read
Audio available
Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States and the Road Ahead by Shannon K. O’Neil

Two Nations Indivisible (2013) tells the story of the United States’ relationship with its neighbor to the south: Mexico. These blinks explain the profound connections between the two countries as well as the misunderstandings that keep them apart, with an emphasis on political and economic relations.

  • Policy makers who want to understand more about the US-Mexico relationship
  • Educators and students interested in world politics
  • Americans and Mexicans hoping to understand each other better

Shannon K. O’Neil is a specialist in Latin America at the Council on Foreign Relations, an American NGO and think tank that endeavors to educate the public on issues of foreign policy. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. Two Nations Indivisible is her first book.

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Two Nations Indivisible

Mexico, the United States and the Road Ahead

By Shannon K. O’Neil
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States and the Road Ahead by Shannon K. O’Neil
Synopsis

Two Nations Indivisible (2013) tells the story of the United States’ relationship with its neighbor to the south: Mexico. These blinks explain the profound connections between the two countries as well as the misunderstandings that keep them apart, with an emphasis on political and economic relations.

Key idea 1 of 9

US news coverage of Mexico focuses on drug-related crime while ignoring positive developments in the nation.

In 1997, Amado Carillo, an infamous drug lord and head of a major drug cartel in Juárez, Mexico, died in hospital while undergoing cosmetic surgery to disguise his identity. You can easily imagine what a juicy news headline this made and, of course, the US media ate it up.

In fact, US news coverage of Mexico is primarily focused on drugs and crime. The city of Juárez is central to this narrative and the news of Carrillo's death is just one example of the American media’s obsession with the city.

The focus on Juárez might be a result of the city’s location right along the border with the United States, just south of Texas and New Mexico. But it’s also a product of the city’s ludicrously high rates of drug-related crime.

For instance, in 2009, there were over 2,500 violent, drug-related deaths in the city, the highest drug crime murder rate in all of Mexico. Just one year later, the number had risen to 3,000 deaths, making Juárez the most violent city on earth. Between 2007 and 2011, over 9,000 people were murdered by drug lords and dealers in the city.

The American media is especially skilled at depicting all the tragedy and violence of the Mexican drug wars, but it misses the fact that the country has come a long way toward prosperity. While drug violence is still an issue, it shouldn’t overshadow the rapid progress Mexico is making in other areas.

For example, Juárez is growing quickly, with new buildings and factories from well-known multinational companies, like Siemens and Bosch, emerging all the time. The city’s economic development has even been mentioned by Foreign Direct Investment magazine, a journal of the Financial Times Group. According to the journal, Juárez is a city with future prospects and a per capita income that’s above average for the country.

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