Trump orders construction of wall with Mexico

US President Donald Trump is on a confrontation course with Mexico. On Wednesday he issued a decree for the fortification of the border between the two countries. In reaction to a tweet by Trump, Mexican President Peña Nieto then cancelled a meeting that was to take place between the two. Trump responded by threatening to impose a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to the US. How should the world respond to such an aggressive policy?

Open/close all quotes
El Milenio (MX) /

How to defend oneself against bullying

A calm and reasonable stance is the best response to the provocations from the north, the Mexican daily El Milenio writes:

“To deal with Trump we need to be aware of two things: first, Trump is not just a problem for Mexico, but for the entire world. And second it will be impossible to make him change because Trump has the personality of a bully who systematically uses intimidation. The fact that he poses a problem for everyone means that Mexico, too, must exercise patience until reality brings him to reason. … The wall is painful, but it is irrelevant. The deportations would be damaging but they would also mean the return of precious human capital if they are carried out on a large scale, which, however, is unlikely in view of high costs involved. … The right way to deal with a bully is not to fall for his provocations, but also not to rely on talks making much progress. You have to be resolute and patient.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Mexico's hypocritical anger over Trump

Mexico's elites are the last people who should be getting angry over Trump's plans, Deutschlandfunk comments:

“Because walls against poverty have existed in their country for a long time. The rich erected them: around their neighbourhoods, shopping centres, golf clubs, private schools and private universities. They wanted to keep out the precarious environment outside those walls, the misery, the social injustice, the discrimination. … Mexico hasn't used the opportunities offered by the North American Free Trade Agreement in 23 years. Few were able to profit, the glaring poverty remained - and drove migrants northwards, where at least they could earn a few dollars for themselves and their families at home. With his wall Donald Trump wants to keep out both them and the Mexican upper class which is getting so upset about it. … According to Oxfam one percent of Mexico's population owns around 43 percent of the national assets. But it's only now that this one percent itself is affected that it has started to complain about injustice.”

El País (ES) /

Solidarity with Mexico now!

Trump's insulting behaviour towards Mexico calls for a show of solidarity with the Latin American country, El País comments:

“Even if it wants to Mexico won't be able to defend itself against the aggressiveness of Trump, whose career is marked by the worst kind of political and entrepreneurial ruthlessness. Therefore Europe and above all the community of Latin-American states should speak out loudly and clearly in defence of Mexico. Because if all the regional forums and the regular summits which unite us with Mexico don't prompt us to show our solidarity with this country now, we need to ask ourselves whether they serve any purpose at all.”

The Evening Standard (GB) /

No symbol is more powerful

Building a wall is symbolically devastating and represents a huge step backwards in both political and social terms, The Evening Standard criticises:

“It signals that the US is not an open country, that the Statue of Liberty no longer represents an America that is welcoming to refugees and hopeful migrants from every part of the world. There is no more powerful symbol than the building of a wall - the fall of the Berlin Wall was the central moment in the collapse of Communism - and even if it takes the form of a fence, it’s still retrograde. Some moves by the President may yet prove positive but many of the promises he has kept so far are those he should have dropped. ... As Pope Francis says, we should be building bridges, not walls.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

President displaying irrational stubbornness

Trump is pushing his plans through even in the face of resistance from his own ranks, Hospodářské noviny writes worriedly:

“There is scepticism about this project, as expressed by Secretary of State for Homeland Security Kelly for example. At his confirmation hearing in the Senate he said the wall wasn't going to go up in a hurry. Which already marks a striking contrast to what his boss is saying. And there are good reasons for this: money, for example. A fence alone would cost 14 billion dollars. A wall would cost even more. And this despite the mantra of the Republicans in Congress that public spending must be cut. ... Trump has conspicuously chosen not to abandon such populistic measures and tackle feasible projects instead. This is worrying. What if he is serious about Nato's being 'obsolete' and turns his back on the Alliance? And what if he starts pushing this through with the same vehemence - against the resistance of his subordinates?”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Trump should do some genealogical research

A country that fortifies its borders with walls cannot be a great country, El Periódico de Catalunya argues:

“Neither Trump nor the other populists of this world understand that walls won't prevent immigrants and refugees who want a future from coming, nor that bans only make their attempts more dangerous and play into the hands of human traffickers. The US president and his team have also failed to understand that - as history has shown - it is those societies that are open that prosper, not those that turn in on themselves. If the US had always had an immigration policy as restrictive as that which Trump now wants to introduce, a couple from Kallstadt (Germany) and a Scottish woman would never have landed there, and their grandson and son, respectively, wouldn't be sitting in the White House today.”