Depoliticizing the US-Mexico Relationship: Why It’s Important
June 27, 2016
In the midst of the US electoral cycle, Mexico has found itself squarely in the eye of a national political storm on immigration and trade. As the US’s third-largest trading partner and an important national security ally, many Americans, regardless of political affiliation, are calling for a strengthened relationship with our southern neighbors. Other leaders, however, have taken a decidedly more confrontational view. This event brought American economic and national security leaders together for a depoliticized look at this crucial relationship.
The Atlantic Council and NYU's Brademas Center launched the #WhyMexico series, an initiative to promote the critical ties shared by the United States and Mexico. The event featured two panel discussions on why strengthening the US-Mexico relationship is an important investment. The first panel, entitled National Security Next Door: US-Mexico Ties l included Michael Chertoff, Former Secretary of Homeland Security and John Negroponte, Former Director of National Intelligence, followed by Footing the Bill: The Prominence of the US-Mexico Economic Relationship with Jason Furman, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisors and Carlos Gutierrez, Former US Secretary of Commerce.
Michael Chertoff, Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
As Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, Michael Chertoff led the country in blocking would-be terrorists from crossing our borders or implementing their plans if they were already in the country. He also transformed FEMA into an effective organization following Hurricane Katrina. His greatest successes have earned few headlines – because the important news is what didn’t happen.
At Chertoff Group, Mr. Chertoff provides high-level strategic counsel to corporate and government leaders on a broad range of security issues, from risk identification and prevention to preparedness, response and recovery. “Risk management has become the CEO’s concern,” he says. “We help our clients develop comprehensive strategies to manage risk without building barriers that get in the way of carrying on their business.”
Before heading up the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Chertoff served as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Earlier, during more than a decade as a federal prosecutor, he investigated and prosecuted cases of political corruption, organized crime, corporate fraud and terrorism – including the investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Chertoff is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College (1975) and Harvard Law School (1978). From 1979-1980 he served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Jr.
In addition to his role at Chertoff Group, Mr. Chertoff is also senior of counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, and a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group.
Jason Furman, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisors
Jason Furman was confirmed by the Senate on August 1, 2013 as the 28th Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. In this role, he serves as President Obama’s Chief Economist and a Member of the Cabinet. Furman has served the President since the beginning of the Administration, previously holding the position of Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President. Immediately prior to the Administration, Furman was Economic Policy Director for the President’s campaign in 2008 and a member of the Presidential Transition Team. Furman held a variety of posts in public policy and research before his work with President Obama. In public policy, Furman worked at both the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council during the Clinton administration and also at the World Bank. In research, Furman was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and also has served in visiting positions at various universities, including NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Policy. Furman has conducted research in a wide range of areas, such as fiscal policy, tax policy, health economics, Social Security, and domestic and international macroeconomics. In addition to numerous articles in scholarly journals and periodicals, Furman is the editor of two books on economic policy. Furman holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.
Carlos Gutierrez, Former US Secretary of Commerce
Carlos Gutierrez is a Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG). Secretary Gutierrez served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 2005 to 2009 under President George W. Bush, where he worked with foreign government and business leaders to advance economic relationships, enhance trade, and promote U.S. exports. Secretary Gutierrez also played a key role in the passage of landmark free trade agreements that remove trade barriers, expand export opportunities, and boost global investment.
Previously, Secretary Gutierrez spent nearly thirty years with Kellogg Company, a global manufacturer and marketer of well-known food brands. After assignments in Latin America, Canada, Asia, and the United States, he became President and Chief Executive Officer of Kellogg in 1999 − the youngest CEO in the company's hundred year history. In April 2000, he was named Chairman of the Board of Kellogg Company.
Secretary Gutierrez joined ASG from Citi, where he was Vice Chairman of the Institutional Clients Group and a member of the Senior Strategic Advisory Group.
He currently serves as the Chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Cuba Business Council, which works to strengthen and expand business relationships between the two countries.
He also serves on the boards of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, MetLife, Time Warner, Viridis Learning, the U.S.-Mexico Foundation, the George W. Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Advisory Council, and Republicans for Immigration Reform.
Secretary Gutierrez is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Meridian International Center. He also serves on the Advisory Committee for Presidential Leadership Scholars and as a National Trustee at the University of Miami.
Secretary Gutierrez was born in Havana, Cuba. He is married to Edilia, and has three grown children.
John Negroponte, Former Director of National Intelligence and Ambassador to Mexico
John D. Negroponte is a Brady-Johnson Distinguished Fellow in Grand Strategy and Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute.
Ambassador Negroponte has had a distinguished career in diplomacy and national security, followed by a number of years in the private sector. He has been Ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, the United Nations, and Iraq. In Washington he served twice on the National Security Council staff, first as Director for Vietnam in the Nixon Administration and then as Deputy National Security Advisor under President Reagan. He has also held a cabinet level position as the first Director of National Intelligence under President George W. Bush. His most recent position in government was as Deputy Secretary of State, where he served as the State Department’s Chief Operating Officer.
While in the private sector from 1997 to 2001, Ambassador Negroponte was Executive Vice President of the McGraw-Hill Companies, with responsibility for overseeing the company’s international activities. During those years he was also Chairman of the French-American Foundation.
Ambassador Negroponte serves as Chairman of the Council of the Americas/Americas Society. He is also Co-chairman of the US-Philippines Society and a member of the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Since 2013, he has been Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.
Ambassador Negroponte has received numerous awards in recognition of his more than four decades of public service, including the State Department’s Distinguished Service Medal on two separate occasions, the highest award which can be conferred by the Secretary of State, and on January 16, 2009, President Bush awarded Ambassador Negroponte the National Security Medal for his outstanding contributions to US national security.
The Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center is dedicated to broadening awareness of the transformational political, economic, and social changes throughout Latin America. It began operations in October 2013 and is focused on bringing in new political, corporate, civil society, and academic leaders to develop new ideas and innovative policy recommendations that highlight the region's potential as a partner for Europe, the United States, and beyond.