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The Bear and the Porcupine


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Career diplomat Davidow served as ambassador to Mexico from 1998 to 2002, pivotal years on both sides of the border. The elections of Presidents Fox and Bush, continuing immigration issues, and the events of 9/11 provide the backdrop for this anecdotal and revealing account of the relationship between the bear (the United States) and the porcupine (Mexico). Davidow stresses mutual misunderstanding, arrogance, and ignorance as the key impediments to improved cooperation. The prevalent Mexican view that cooperation equals submission is a theme running through the text, as is the contrast between the intense Mexican fixation on American policy and American policymakers' relative ignorance of that fixation-what Davidow terms a tortured history between the two. Often comic, and frequently tell-all, the book is diplomatic history from the front. Given the political, economic, demographic, and cultural forces that constantly pull the nations closer, the significance of the book is magnified. Davidow does not mince words or opinions, as his suggestions for the future of U.S.-Mexico relations indicate. He is a persuasive advocate for opening the border, relaxing labor supply policies for both countries, and providing automatic extradition for criminals. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Libs., AL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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