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Security & Strategic Review - January 2019

The never-ending wall

As this issue went to press the US government remained in partial shutdown over the stand-off between President Donald Trump and the Democratic Party majority in the House of Representatives over the funding of the proposed border wall. The issue is not new, but two points are worth highlighting. The first is that the argument for building a wall remains shot-through by inconsistencies and inconvenient facts – more than ever, it has to be regarded less as a practical project and more as a grand symbolic gesture designed to rally ‘America First’ electoral sentiment. Second, Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, appears, for the moment at least, to have decoupled Mexico from the controversy. If there is an implicit non-aggression pact between Trump and López Obrador, for the moment it seems to be holding. Whether it will continue to do so is not clear.

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