Shannon O’Neil: Drug war fuels news, while middle class blooms
Mexico’s new president Enrique Pena Nieto gives a press conference at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris on October 17, 2012. (Photo: Bertran Langlois,AFP/Getty Images)
- In Americans’ psyches, drugs dominate Mexico.
- Mexico has become one of the most open and competitive economies in the world.
- Americans do not know much about their neighbor. And we know it.
6:00PM EST November 25. 2012 – The neighbor Americans believe they have to the south, and the Mexico that has developed over the last 20 years, are two different places. As Mexico’s incoming president Enrique Peña Nieto meets with President Obama this week, the biggest challenge facing relations today may be our skewed perceptions.
In Americans’ psyches, drugs dominate. When advertising firm GSD&M and Vianovo strategic consultants asked Americans to come up with three words that describe Mexico, nearly every other person answered “drugs,” followed by “poor” and “unsafe.” Other questions reveal Americans see Mexico as corrupt, unstable and violent, more problem than partner. Americans had more favorable views of Greece, El Salvador and Russia.