The Mexican government said Tuesday that it will award Jared Kushner, President's son-in-law, senior adviser and man in charge of…
The Mexican government said Tuesday that it will award Jared Kushner, President’s son-in-law, senior adviser and man in charge of many, many things in the White House, with highest honor for foreigners.
The decision faces an intense setback in Mexico, where Trump has angry many with its rhetoric and aggressive attitude on a border.
The Aztec Eagle – or La Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca, in Spanish – is the highest honor of Mexico’s international struggle on foreigners. It is assigned to people who have done a good job for Mexico or for humanity. Former recipients include and Roberta Jacobson, the former American ambassador of Mexico, Bill Gates and Queen Elizabeth II.
Now Trumps son-in-law will be added to the list.
Kushner is set to celebrate Friday at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The outgoing Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto will award his award for “His Significant Contribution to Re-negotiation” of the Mexico, Canada and US Trade Agreement, USMCA, or previously known as NAFTA.
“Mr. Kushner’s participation was crucial in starting the [USMCA] renegotiation process, avoiding a one-sided departure from the United States from the treaty, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.” And his constant and effective commitment was the key to achieving success in the negotiations. “
The critics in Mexico reacted quickly and furiously to the news, opposed to decorating the son-in-law of a president who has deprived the language of Mexicans and has insisted Mexico pays for Trump’s border wall.
” Kushner is the son of someone who called Mexicans “killer and rapist”, historian and essayist Enrique Krauze tweeted on Tuesday. “To give him the Aztec Eagle is an act of supreme humiliation and cowardice.”
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mexican actor and director, said the decision to award Kushner reduced “what value this decoration would have had.”
The backing has forced President Peña Nieto to defend his decision saying that he would credit Kushner’s important role in the success of the Nafta negotiations. “I want to recognize someone who has been a great ally in Mexico,” said the outgoing president to Tuesdays, according to El País.
Enrique Peña Nieto is deeply unpopular in Mexico and this award for Kushner is not likely to win over opponents who already knew Peña Nieto let himself – and, in the long run, Mexico – be bullied by Trump. Incoming left president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who takes office on December 1, has promised to take a much tougher attitude towards the US president, but bitterness continues on Peña Nieto’s attitude to Trump.
“It’s the ultimate Peña: He’s finished, defeated, humiliated, but he still does not care and offers this award to Kushner to almost show it,” said Carlos Bravo Regidor, analyst at the Center for Research and economy of Mexico City NPR.
It’s a bad look for Peña because it’s hard to distinguish Kushner from Trump and his broader politics and rhetoric. Kushner played a role in the NAFTA negotiations and helped negotiate on track with both Mexico and Canada.
Although Trump has spoken the deal as “historical”, the trilateral trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the US is basically a revised version of NAFTA, with some important changes on the margins. But USMCA is not even a complete business yet. The agreement still has to be signed by all three countries, even if it is expected to happen at the G20 summit, and requires the approval of legislators, including the US Congress.
But Duncan Wood, director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, said that Kushner could have helped stop Trump from tearing up NAFTA altogether – and helped save some of the bilateral relationship that became extreme testified during Trump’s service life.
Kushner had “an outsider role to keep things civil and keep things moving forward,” said Wood to me.
Of course, this fact is not alone to choke the controversy. Kushner could not have had to engage in those behind the scenes maneuvered, his father-in-law did not publicly oppose Mexico.
Trump’s policy against Mexico often seems tied to insults. He often demanded that the country pay for the border wall, accused Mexico of exploiting the United States through NAFTA and more.
Mexico has struck back, literally with Trump piñatas and takes a public stand against Trump’s policy, including widespread condemnation of Trump’s family separation policy at the US-Mexico border. President Peña Nieto was dealing with Trump, but many Mexicans thought their president did not challenge Trump enough. That failure made Peña Nieto even more fond of Mexico than Trump, as the joke goes.
Given this contrast, Kushner’s price is a little confusing. But Kushner has been intimately involved in the connection between the United States and Mexico and threw close, controversial, ties with the Peña Nieto government, even when he and Trump fought.
Kushner’s main connection has been with Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray. The two took control of the bilateral relations, especially during the early days of the Trump administration. Kushner and Videgaray became close during the Trump campaign. Videgaray (then finance minister) was tasked with looking out for Trump 2016, according to the Washington Post, culminating in the strange Trump campaign detour to Mexico.
Their friendship was beneficial to each of them: Videgaray, gaining ties to someone in Trump’s true inner circle, received complaints from the Mexican government. Kushner, seen as belonging to her father-in-law, found people willing to work with him in Mexico. According to the Times, Kushner and Videgaray met dozens of times during Trump’s 15-year presidency.
“Jared and Videgaray run quite a lot of Mexico,” said an American official to New Yorker in an article published last autumn. “It’s all pretty much just between them. There are not really any interagency relationships that happen right now.”
This approach, of course, had its critics, who saw Kushner as personally managing the relationship and cutting out political experts in places like government Chamber.
It also did little to stop the public sweeping between Peña Nieto and Trump, or to exploit Trump’s rhetoric about Mexico, which kept the tension tense – showing the limits of Kushner’s influence.
Temporary Kushner was sent to Mexico as a mediator at times, including a meeting in March with President Peña Nieto after talks with Trump smultras. Kushner reportedly also helped brokers some cross-border agreements, including one to combat drugs.
“True, Jared has had a positive influence,” said Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Mexican ambassador to Washington, in the New York Times in March. “Our dialogue is not limited to the White House, but if we did not have the dialogue with Kushner, the relationship would be much worse.”
Kushner’s perceived power means it is not surprising that Mexican officials would publicly promise him and people in Vita The house that speaks Kushner’s diplomatic ability has its own agenda. But it is clear that Kushner positioned himself as a key player in the relationship, and it seems that the work was given out.
Kushner helped with other advisors to convince Trump to renegotiate a trade agreement rather than completely scrape NAFTA. In a April interview with Washington Post, Kushner suggested as much as saying that he declared to the president “plusses and minuses” to unilaterally withdraw from NAFTA.
The United States, Mexico and Canada began formally negotiating the trade agreement in August 2017 and reached a compromise more than a year later on September 30. Reports indicate that Kushner worked sideways and helped smooth over stiff points during the negotiations, with both Mexico and Canada. And he was definitely seen during conversation:
Men Wood, Mexico Expert, told me that Kushner’s price was more about the broader bilateral relationship than about the USMCA. Kushner could continue the dialogue, Wood said, despite Trump’s actions threatening to create a serious rift with a close economic and security partner.
There are, of course, reasons to look skeptical about Kushner’s diplomacy and what he accomplished, especially as it is hard to lose Trump’s bellicosian approach to Mexico. To honor Kushner for shadow diplomacy to help preserve a relationship that Trump himself made unselfish in the first place is not very satisfactory. It also feels public opinion that Peña Nieto supports or expires to Trump last time.
Mexico is getting a whole new government led by incoming left president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who takes office on December 1. (Ivanka Trump, Kushner’s wife, is alleged to be on AMLO’s opening.) AMLO has promised tougher attitude towards the United States, but Mexico will still need to work close to Trump for at least the next two years.
That means there is another reason that Peña Nieto chose to honor Jared: to possibly secure future investments in his commitment to Mexico. “By giving this award, Wood says,” you hope to be involved in the bilateral relationship. “
AMLO and Trump seem to have been much better than expected, but AMLO has little diplomatic experience, and relations between Mexico and the United States are still under pressure. AMLO’s incoming government is working on the task of Trump management to plan to keep asylum seekers in Mexico because they are waiting for treatment in the United States, an agreement that can be tricky to turn on and could affect whether tensions are blowing or if Trump begins tweeting.  Kushner, now part of the eagle’s order, may be the one that suits again.