By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
As former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills put it, using FDR's old Lend-Lease image: if your neighbor's house is burning, of course you lend him your hose. Otherwise, your own house could go next as the fire moves through the neighborhood.
Enter the political geeks from D.C. The minute word spread that Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole suggested that the loan guarantees be made contingent on Mexico's changing its banking system, you could hear the moan all along the border: "Oooooooooh, nooooooo!" Lesser political lights have also popped up to say the loan guarantees should be contingent on changes in Mexico's immigration policies or drug policies or political reforms or labor standards. When will we ever learn?
Anyone who has spent time in Mexico or read Mexican history knows what a prescription for catastrophe such suggestions are. Mexico's current economic pickle is actually a reflection of its long-term political problems, and if you want to pour high-test gasoline on that particular fire, just try this kind of high-handed butting in.