The government of Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari espoused discourses on free trade whereby tensions between liberalism and nation-building occurred at the level of sovereignty, integrating the concept of national sovereignty with that of free trade and redefining it in a way that enabled Mexico to fully participate in a global economy. The Salinas administration believed that the country could not separate external factors from internal change, and that it must take into account the pressing demands of a new global order in implementing internal state reform. In rejecting extreme liberal positions which saw in globalisation an end to nation-states, Salinas forcefully argued that Mexico's survival would be contingent on its ability to compete in the world economy. This approach was consistent with his desire to compromise the traditional defence of sovereignty through measures inherent in revolutionary nationalism, including protectionism. Salinas saw the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a means to become a player in the global economy.
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