Tres Amigos or Three Enemigos?

(AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
President Obama's trip to Guadalajara will focus on trade and drugs at a difficult time for the U.S. - Mexican relationship, in part because the administration has postponed its comprehensive immigration reform program until 2010.

The Mexico "three amigos" trip will focus on issues important to the U.S. domestic agenda even more than foreign policy – because Mexico remains the main transit point for drugs entering the U.S. and because Mexican drug gangs' principal source of guns is from the U.S.

For the Obama administration, visiting Mexico is high on the President's agenda particularly since the U.S. Census bureau reported a few months ago that 14 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic and Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment, with 25 percent of live births nationwide.

On the U.S. – Mexico – Canada agenda are other issues related to the proximity of the three neighbors and their North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ties, including climate change and the spread of the H1N1 swine flu virus.

This isn't the president's first trip to Mexico; he was in Mexico City this past April to support the Mexican President's drug war and now returns to focus on the contentious issue of trade and the "Buy America" program.

President Barack Obama's trip to Guadalajara – called the "three amigos" Summit - focuses on increasingly souring trade relations with the U.S.' top trading partner, that is Canada, and the third largest, Mexico – at a time when the Administration has included what some consider protectionist provisions in the economic stimulus program.

There will be some pleasant dinners and handshakes in Guadalajara but Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has a major gripe with the U.S. "Buy America" provision and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon has been playing hardball on the dispute regarding Mexican trucks crossing the U.S. border. A few tequilas may help the handshakes, but the recession has cast a shadow over the Western Hemisphere alliance.

  • Pamela Falk

    Pamela Falk is CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst and an international lawyer, based at the United Nations.