What tools would the US Embassy would use to find answers to Clinton's questions about the Mexican Administration? How would Embassy staff be able to tell if Calderón's personality was being affected by current stresses? How would Embassy staff know in any specific way how current stresses are affecting his management style, etc? How would they know in detail in any meaningful way how members of the cabinet get along, whether they have friendships, their relationships with staff below them, etc., etc.
These questions can't be answred without an intimate knowledge of Calderón and his people that the Embassy staff doesn't necessarily gain in "normal" interactions and meetings. So do they have some kind of "extra" tools for finding information? What are these tools? On the other hand, it is also difficult to imagine that standard US staff membes have sufficient experience in Mexico learning about Mexicans to equip them to answer the questions even superficially. It is my understanding, and it may be wrong, that at staff members are often rotated in and out of the country in months, not years.
The questions themselves sound very intrusive, coming from a foreign country regarding a host country. And how would the answers determine US actions? What if US Embassy Staff said Calderón was maybe showing signs of strain (whether this was accurate or not)? Same issues with the Cabinet members. And how strange to ask. "ways that members are addressing this stress." These questions sound more like those a supervisor would ask than those a member of a foreign administration would. At least in such specific terms. It seems clear that the US Administration doesn't see itself as separate enough from and equal enough to the Mexican government to respect umm boundaries, shall we say.
The questions also reveal a naive American perspective. They sound as if an American with a newly acquired MBA with a course in human resources had written them. There is no indication that Clinton is aware of style and substance issues which might make Mexican Administration issues different from those in the US.
Clintonn asks,"What values/beliefs/behaviors does Calderón hold most dearly, and respect most in others (truthfulness, loyalty, respect, etc)?" One would like to ask which one does Clinton hold most dear. One suspects truthfulness, at least as a government official, isn't one of them, but that's for another time.
Anyway, it's an odd, midwestern girl scout kind of list, at least as it starts out. Although I would think respect would be important to address. Being treated with respect is important here, I think much more than in most of the US. People in our neighborhood really, really, really do not confront each other in the way that Americans do. In fact in our neighborhood at least direct confrontations are seen as rude, fishwife kinds of behavior, if you will. People don't even raise their voices in public. People do get their points across in various ways, but quietly, so that no one else hears. Similarly, truth has a somewhat different set of hmm values associated with it. For instance, people don't like to hurt other people's feelings, or say no when it's obvious someone wants to hear yes. So sometimes they "yes." After awhile, you start to figure out when "yes" means "no." Is this untruthful? I don't know. It doesn't seem so anymore. I think it is common here to see the world in many more shades of gray than Americans are accustomed to. And people have a bigger repertoire of ways to act and respond. This would make it hard to answer Hillary with simple yeses and nos.
As we go through the cables, I think it will become clearer that the US Administration is dealing with Mexico using a rather rigid template, one that doesn't let much information in.. It reminds me all too much of the template used in othe international settings where it hasn't occured to anyone that the questions being asked are leading to towards increased and unsuccessful aggression.