Friday, March 31, 2017

It used to be some kind of organized sport now its Tump

I've been in meetings all week with a number of Mexican companies, these are either initial meetings or early followups and the trend is amazing.  First off, Mexican meeting follow a very different process than do European or even Canadian meetings. The first topic is always to ascertain who the participants are in relation to Mexican society, its not so much a "pissing contest" rather its a way of having a social barometer -- the reason is that Mexican generally do not have an internet presence, a simple precaution in a country where ransom kidnaping are still an issue. So the first 10/15 minutes of a meeting is a who do you know and who you are, no su much work wise but within the Mexican society.  As a foreigner it can get relatively complicated, but that's part of the game.

What has changed is the after meeting conversations; it used to be about Football (the Rest of the World kind not the American kind) and who was doing what to whom!  As someone who is largely uninterested in organized sports, it provided all kinds of pitfalls (I figured out that its not because they are Mexican that they are not avid supporters of Arsenal [UK football team]).  However, over the past few months (lets say June 2016) the topics of conversation have changed:

  • First:  Can you believe that Trump has the courage of running for President?
  • Second:  How come Trump is leading the GOP pack?
  • third:  My God, Trump is the GOP candidate?
  • Fourth:  He cannot win, he cannot win!!!
  • Fifth:  My God he has won!!! What will that mean for Mexico?
  • Sixth:  Immigration, NAFTA -- oh he won't do anything because of WTO rules!
  • Seventh:  Is it my imagination or does Trump have the attention span of a gnat?
  • Eight:  Trump will not get around to taxes or immigration
Now every meeting ends with a Trump conversation.  Honestly, Mexican are far more concerned about the actions of their current president than about the American president and his administration. Among Mexicans the analysis is that Trump doesn't understand how the US policy process works, he doesn't understand the importance of Congress (frankly surprising considering Congress' ability to stop Obama dead on his tracks), or the role of civil servants in "projecting" the will of the President.

How the Mexicans view the US:

  • Trump will continue Obama's policy of kicking out illegal immigrants, and will continue to be "mean" about it, kicking out "soccer moms with brain cancer"
  • Trump will not get to the negotiation table for trade, he doesn't have the support of Congress (GOP) and he doesn't understand policy, and he doesn't have civil servants doing his bidding (three essential items to a successful negotiation).
    • As some one said yesterday:  In life you can be kind or mean, and you can be smart or stupid three of these combination work, but being mean and stupid never works!
  • Mexican's perception of the wall is that it will never get built, its now a $20/25 billion project. An expensive solution to an off-hand tweet
  • Their vision of Trump (over the past few weeks) is that he will achieve little -- he's unpopular, his administration is chaotic and Congress is running for election (2018 mid term).  
  • We seem to be returning slowly to football -- also that vacations will not be in the US next year!
Other stuff this week:
  • At war with the Freedom Caucus is idiotic considering his own popularity
  • Attacking the democrats for having "ties" to Russia (still doesn't understand the underlying issues)
  • Asking for $2 billion to study the Wall project (if memory serves either it was going to cost $5 billion and was going to be paid by the Mexicans!
  • First real test of the administration:  April 28th -- raising the debt ceiling!
have a good weekend


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