Mexico has gained friends, but it's losing hope.
During much of the 2016 campaign and through the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations of 2017, Mexico was a lonely target for Donald Trump, accused of stealing American jobs and fueling a massive trade imbalance, especially in vehicles and auto parts.
The Canadians were seen by the administration as the more polite neighbors, and they even outlined scenarios for a post-NAFTA future, where the U.S. and Canada could revive their pre-existing bilateral free-trade agreement, leaving Mexico to fend for itself. After all, Canada had lost a great deal to Mexico under NAFTA, too.
Now that NAFTA looks like a dead pact walking, Mexico finds itself with unexpected allies.
It's not just Canada, which soon found itself on the receiving end of Trump trade fire targeting lumber and dairy imports, and remained steadfast with Mexico in opposing U.S. demands on NAFTA such as a U.S. content requirement for autos and a five-year sunset clause.
European and Asian nations, too, have come to empathize with Mexico, especially after Trump's decision to move ahead with steel and aluminum tariffs on major trading partners on national security grounds earlier this month.
"When we began this ordeal a year and four months ago, everyone turned and said, 'Poor Mexico,' " said Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico's economy minister and chief trade negotiator, speaking on Mexican TV. "Now we find ourselves in the company of practically all of the world economic powers."
That's not much consolation, he was quick to add.
With NAFTA talks on the verge of collapse, Mexico finds itself in direct confrontation with the U.S. after imposing retaliatory tariffs on about $3 billion worth of U.S. steel, agricultural products including grapes and apples, as well as pork, bourbon and cheese.
At the NAFTA negotiating table, Mexico for months had politely pushed back on Trump's attacks on free trade and immigration. But the metal tariffs translated the trash talk into action and darkened the mood.
"It's completely clear that there is no logic to this," Guajardo said of the steel tariffs, "because we are the No. 1 buyer of aluminum [from the U.S.], and the No. 2 buyer of steel, and we run a $2.4 billion deficit."
While the minister also expressed hope that NAFTA negotiations could still be concluded by the end of the year, some analysts see a new deal as dead. In the meantime, the current NAFTA rules remain in force until one of the three nations gives a six-month notice that it's leaving.
Kristin Dziczek, vice president of the Center for Automotive Research, said Trump may only be getting started with the bully tactics since the administration has started a process to impose tariffs on imported cars.
Trump has also brought back his original idea of holding bilateral negotiations with Mexico and Canada separately, effectively killing NAFTA.
With powerful nations in Europe and Asia lining up against Trump's trade moves, Dziczek said it may be up to the U.S. Congress to reassert its trade authority in order to prevent a broader conflict and perhaps save NAFTA.
"It's difficult to fight a trade war on so many fronts," she said. "History used to be a guide. It isn't now."