A Tale of Two Eagles

A Tale of Two Eagles

The United States and Mexico share a history shaped in the 19th century by numerous US forces interventions into Mexican territory and US expropriation of considerable swaths of Mexican territory. However, in spite of structural impediments and a history of resentment by Mexico of US intervention into its affairs and territory, the levels of cooperation and understanding slowly began to improve following a series of international and domestic factors. The decline of the former Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall at a global level, coupled with major political and economic challenges and reforms within Mexico are a starting point from which to assess the evolution of the bilateral defense relationship between the United States and Mexico. 

The American and Mexican militaries have evolved differently over the past 100 years and they each have very different responsibilities, mission sets, orientations, and capabilities. Yet in recent years, the Mexican armed forces have cooperated more closely with their US counterparts. This may be due to explicit direction coming from senior levels of the Mexican government and to operational requirements of the armed forces themselves as they seek to increase their capability and capacity to confront the growing levels in drug trafficking related violence. Today, both countries are dealing with the effects of this increased violence and insecurity in Mexico. 

Relying primarily on one-on-one interviews with senior practitioners and analysts on both sides of the border, the text examines the evolution of the U.S.-Mexican bilateral defense relationship to better understand how and why this unique relationship has improved, in fits and starts, over the past 25 years. It offers a new understanding of how defense policymakers from each respective country perceive the other, as well as how the lack of trust and understanding between the two neighbors has delayed greater cooperation

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“There are few—if any—nations that share such a complex, profound and strategically important relationship for one another's wellbeing, prosperity and security as the U.S. and Mexico. In the context of the 2016 presidential election, its fallout and impact on the narrative of U.S.-Mexican ties, and the challenges that lie ahead, Craig Deare’s timely book fills a huge gap in underscoring a little known, but prescient, story of how two neighbors have slowly transformed a fraught, distrustful and difficult interaction into one of greater traction and convergence. Much has been
written on how NAFTA transformed U.S.-Mexico economic ties, and the future of North America. Deare now tells the story of that second pillar of paradigmatic change in our relationship: how, after 9-11, our security cooperation has also transformed a crucial partnership for American interests and national security in the 21st Century.”

- Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican Ambassador to the US (2007-13) 

“A Tale of Two Eagles is the first book to examine in detail the military relationship between Mexico and the United States. Only a handful of authors can claim to have first-hand knowledge of this critical component in understanding their broader relationship; Craig Deare is one of those individuals. His extensive research and analysis draws together numerous, original insights based on personal interviews, and a military and civilian career deep within the heart of this littleunderstood relationship. Anyone with an interest in grasping the national security linkages between these two countries in the last three decades should read this fascinating, enlightening account.”

- Roderic Ai Camp, Philip McKenna Professor of the Pacific Rim, Claremont McKenna College

“The U.S.-Mexico defense relationship has long been correct, but distant. This book is an in-depth analysis of the steps since the late 1980s to maneuver U.S. defense institutions and their Mexican counterparts into a closer, more effective relationship. A career U.S. Army officer with deep roots in Mexico and strong academic credentials, Craig Deare is superbly qualified to tell the story from the U.S. perspective. He paints the big picture and then guides us through the labyrinths of the two countries’ defense establishments, in a lively narrative with wry asides and on-target personal anecdotes drawn from extensive interviews with key players. This is a rich vein of gold for students of U.S. - Mexico relations and of bureaucratic politics.”

- John Bailey, emeritus professor of government, Georgetown University 


“Craig Deare’s outstanding work fills a vacuum in the study of US-Mexico relations. There is simply no other work that provides with such detail an examination of the complex but growing US-Mexico defense relationship. Deare interviews all the key policymakers on both sides responsible for the expansion of defense ties during the last twenty years. This book will be the primer on US-Mexico defense relations for years to come.”

- Frank O. Mora, Director, Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center. Florida International University and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Western Hemisphere Affairs 

Craig A. Deare is professor of International Security Studies at the College of International Security Affairs (CISA) at National Defense University in Washington, D.C. A retired Army Intelligence and Foreign Area Officer.