The United States and Mexico Enhanced Military Cooperation

Article excerpt

This article identifies synergies between Mexico and the United States and potential areas of cooperation using the instruments of national power. The U.S. Joint Warfare of the Armed Forces focus on analyzing relationships among countries using instruments of national power, to include diplomatic, informational, military and economic. These instruments of national power are used in this article to describe the current and potential relationship between Mexico and the United States. In so doing, the reader will recognize that the economic instrument supports and is supported by the other three instruments of power. After describing our relationship using the instruments of national power, this article concludes with a way ahead to enhance military cooperation.


The Japanese attack on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor was one of the defining moments in United States' history leading to a declaration of war against the Axis Powers. Canada declared war against Japan, and Mexico broke off relationships with the Axis, stopping short that year of a declaration of war. However, after numerous Axis submarine attacks on Mexican ships, and the sinking of a Mexican oil tanker, the Potero de Llano, in June 1942, Mexico declared war against the Axis. The war led to greater trade, with Mexican oil fueling the U.S. war machine; and it led to significantly enhanced military cooperation for mutual defense of North America. This cooperation resulted in the training of Mexican fighter pilots in the United States, and the creation of a Mexican P-47 Thunderbolt fighter squadron nicknamed "The Aztec Eagles." The 201st Mexican Fighter Squadron of the Fuerza Aerea Expedicionaria Mexicana of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force (MEAF) flew fighters providing close air support for U.S. forces in the Philippines, resulting in the defeat of the Japanese in 1945. (1) This represented one of the most successful international military education and training (IMET) partnerships in the history of United States and Mexico relations.

Security for the Western Hemisphere was further enhanced through the Inter-American Reciprocal Defense Treaty (Rio Treaty) when it was established in 1947. Members pledged to defend one another from external attacks. The United States and Mexico did not continue the close collaboration as during World War II; but, homeland defense (HLD) (2) and homeland security (HLS) (3) once again became top priorities for both governments in the aftermath of the September 11,2001 attacks. (4) As such, on 23 March 2005, Canada, Mexico and the United States became partners via the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, demonstrating multi-lateral cooperation for the economic prosperity, freedom and the safety and well being of our people.

The United States and Mexico are sovereign nations with separate and distinct national identities; hence, there will always be a vocal minority that expresses concerns about national sovereignty and what it means to different groups of people. Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory, (5) and as used herein, "it implies a state's lawful control over its territory generally to the exclusion of other states, authority to govern in that territory and authority to apply law there." (6) Hence, as two sovereign powers, the governments of the United States and Mexico have the authority to make war or peace, to form treaties of alliance or commerce with foreign nations and maintain control over their territories. (7) In so doing, military operations are merely one part of an overall strategy to focus all of the elements of national power. (8) This paper conveys a continental perspective that simultaneously respects sovereignty and provides greater safety for the people of both nations.

The United States and Mexico Instruments of National Power

A thorough comparison of two nations would require several hundred pages. This comparison is focused upon four instruments of national power (9) including;

* Economic. …