Redefining Mexican "Security": Society, State & Region under NAFTA

By James F. Rochlin | Go to book overview

1

A Conceptual Introduction

Since its inception, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been under siege by an assortment of security threats emanating from Mexico. The nature of such threats is a central focus of this book. So, too, is the conceptual journey that stretches from the erosion of Mexican national security to the evolution of Mexico's role in regional security under NAFTA. Beyond the significance of this theme for students of Mexican politics and of trade blocs in general, the topic is important on a theoretical plane. Among the factors that necessitate fresh analytical perspectives for the study of Mexican security are dramatic shifts in the world order, the entrenchment of globalized/regionalized production, and the technological changes that have drastically altered security and strategy. With Mexico as a case study, this work represents an intersection between the fields of international political economy, international relations theory, and critical security studies.

This chapter will begin with a sketch of some key ingredients in Mexico's cauldron of chaos. An ensuing section situates this study in relation to the academic field of Mexican national security. Next, a conceptual discussion addresses Mexican security as a product of the dynamic relationship among a triad of influences emanating from within Mexico, from within the NAFTA region, and from the world order. A central thrust of the argument is that Mexico has entered a crisis of authority—a process whereby a decaying hegemonic political structure has collapsed, but no clear and stable structure has replaced it. The plethora of effects that result from this lack of domestic hegemony is analyzed in relation to a growing chasm between state security, on the one hand, and an increasingly dispersed societal security, on the other. Mexican regional security also will be placed within the context of major shifts in the world order. A final section will address the organization of the book.


THE EMERGENCE OF THE MEXICAN SECURITY CRISIS

A rising tide of chaos has been brewing in Mexico since the 1982 debt crisis and the subsequent imposition of neoliberalism. An illusion of stabil

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