To be or not to be: Has Mexico got what it takes to be an emerging power?


Mexico has the material resources to be considered an emerging power, given the size of
its economy, population, geography and other aspects. However, the country has
displayed a limited capacity to project leadership, both at the international and at the
regional level. Drawing on a number of comparisons with Brazil (the largest economy in
Latin America) and other BRICS countries, this paper shows how Mexico has failed to
use its existing resources to become more influential in multilateral institutions,
particularly within the United Nations. This paper argues that not only Mexican
diplomats but also the economic and political elites in the country have been reluctant for
the country to act as an emerging power on the world stage. Unlike Brazil, with its strong
international identity, Mexico is conditioned by its proximity to and economic dependence
on the US. It has failed to position itself as a bridge between the South and the North and
it has lacked a coherent long-term foreign policy. In addition, a weak Secretariat of
Foreign Affairs and a poorly coordinated, decentralised diplomatic corps with insufficient
personnel and resources have also undermined Mexico’s international performance.