Amidst arguments made to, and by, President Trump about what does or does not constitute as “fake news”, one New York Times opinion piece now accuses the President of “fake history.”
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump called out Mexico for not doing enough to prevent their criminals from migrating north into the United States, and specifically, sending their “bad hombres” here.
These comments seem to have stung one Mexican statesman in particular, and so much so, that he wants to overturn a more than a century old treaty between the United States and Mexico.
The 1846 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed at the end of the Mexican-American War, settled the question as to who would keep what territories, and determined that the United States would pay the Mexican government $15 million dollars for lands from Texas to present-day Southern California.
The payments were made, and for over 150 years now, the treaty has stood more-or-less unquestioned.
But, hurt by the words of Donald Trump, Mexican officials now propose challenging the treaty in international court, in order to “remind Mr. Trump exactly what country was the first victim of American imperialism.”
The hypocrisy of Mexico – a nation that only exists in North America solely as a result of Spain’s empire building attempts – playing the victim of “American imperialism” should be apparent to anyone from either nation.
In fact, Mexico only held claim to the lands fought over during the Mexican-American War because of Spanish and Mexican imperialism in the first place.
But hypocrisy aside, overturning the treaty is highly unlikely.
While Mexican statesman Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas would like to see the case brought before the International Court of Justice, the former Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations and the leading Mexican expert in international law, Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor, says that “much to his regret,” the idea is not feasible.
As the leading Mexican expert in international law, Sepúlveda lists several potential obstacles to having the case heard or its decision upheld.
However, even though Mexican officials’ desires to bring the case of reclaiming the American Southwest may be unrealistic at this time, the publicity and implications of their case still poses a real threat to Americans in the here and now.
New York Times contributor Enrique Krauze introduces the topic of this case quite sympathetically in his opinion piece about the matter.
The New York Times reported:
“The United States invasion of Mexico in 1846 inflicted a painful wound that, in the 170 years that followed, turned into a scar. Donald Trump has torn it open again.”
While Krauze reports the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo will not likely be overturned, he tempers his regret with the hope Americans will begin debating the true nature of the Mexican-American War.
Krauze seems to imply that he would like history to portray the Mexican-American War the way he does in his op-ed: Americans, driven by a lust for land and power, invaded Mexican territory and conquered them unprovoked – and ignoring any instances where the original ownership of the land was disputed to begin with, as well as turning a blind eye to any atrocities committed by Mexican armies during the conflict.
In Krauze’s own words:
“The United States owes Mexico and itself an honest reconsideration of its first imperial war, not only in its schools and universities but also in its museums and books. Hollywood and Broadway, which have always played an important role in shaping the American historical consciousness, should take up the issue.”
Were his descriptions of the Mexican-American War not one-sided in favor of Mexico, and not following the trendy, modern collegiate narrative seen in U.S. universities today – that America has always somehow been especially guilty for its success in conquest, and uniquely given to aggression (ignoring obvious examples of similar behavior in other countries) – this may read like an innocent suggestion.
But then his rhetoric takes an even worse turn:
“For us Mexicans, this is the chance for a kind of reconquest. Surely not the physical reconquest of the territories that once were ours. Nor an indemnification that should have been much greater than the feeble amount of $15 million that the American government paid, in installments, for the stolen land. We need a reconquest of the memory of that war so prodigal in atrocities inspired by racial prejudices and greed for territorial gain.”
Krauze is hoping for a “reconquest” of the memory.
After condemning physical conquest (of which the Mexicans of the early 1800’s were also guilty), Mexico and whoever else buying into this view that America is somehow victimizing the world would like for Americans to undergo a conquest of the mind.
And Krauze calls on exactly the right people to do this.
Universities and Hollywood are already peddling reality-ignoring, anti-American concepts, anywhere from “white privilege” – which devalues the hard work of the individual based on the color of his skin, to “micro-aggressions” – which simply means anyone who feels offended can claim someone else’s unintentional behavior as somehow intentionally oppressive.
Will “reconquering” our minds be the next “white guilt” complex forced on non-Hispanic Americans?
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