The Corner

Calderon ‘Crossed the Line’

Rep. Lamar Smith is undoubtedly correct in saying that “President Calderon and other officials of the Mexican government have crossed the line and are interfering in the internal affairs of the United States.” Calderon’s comments before Congress, despite the pro forma nod to a nation’s right to secure its borders, were outrageous in their support for one faction of the immigration debate in our legislature against another. Any normal American’s first reaction is going to be, “Who does he think he is?”

But two wrinkles. First, we’ve been obsessively sticking our nose into other peoples’ business for a long time now, and some blowback, if you will, is inevitable. I’d say to conservatives concerned with defending America’s sovereignty (liberals, too, if there were any): Once we go abroad in search of monsters to destroy, don’t be surprised when others return the favor, violating our sovereignty with their own definition of what’s monstrous. Or, as Thomas More’s character says, “And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? . . . Yes. I give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety’s sake.”

The second, and related, point, is that you teach people how to treat you, and we’ve been teaching the Mexicans that it’s okay for them to interfere in our domestic affairs — to the point that Mexico’s numerous consulates in the United States have become active players in American domestic politics, in violation of international law but with the approval of our own elites. Only when we make clear that meddling in our internal affairs is unacceptable to us can we criticize Mexico for doing just that.

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