Towards the Unification of North America

Border talks called `disturbing’: Blue-ribbon panel looks at North American integration: Canadian vice-chair insists group has no hidden agenda,” by Sean Gordon, The Star, http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1108336208455&call_pageid=970599119419, 14 February 2005 (from DU).

Please, please, please

An influential tri-national panel has considered a raft of bold proposals for an integrated North America, including a continental customs union, single passport and contiguous security perimeter.

This is great. There is no reason why our sister colonies in Canada and our sister republic Mexico should be shut out of North American prosperity.

medium_north_america_by_google.jpg

Our continent, our land, is beautiful. We are not defined by race, like Europe, or by tragedy, like Africa, or by history like Asia. We are built by immigrants from many times and places.

More…

According to a confidential internal summary from the first of three meetings of the Task Force on the Future of North America, discussions also broached the possibility of lifting trade exemptions on cultural goods and Canadian water exports.

Those last two suggestions were dismissed in subsequent deliberations, say members of the task force, an advisory group of academics, trade experts, former politicians and diplomats from Canada, the United States and Mexico sponsored by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.

Members said the task force’s final report this spring will focus on “achievable” rather than simply academic questions like that of a single North American currency.

Good. Let’s get this going. One continent. Half a billion people. Can you dig it?

More beautiful news… with some hysteria attached

What they envisage is a new North American reality with one passport, one immigration and refugee policy, one security regime, one foreign policy, one common set of environmental, health and safety standards … a brand name that will be sold to school kids, all based on the interests and the needs of the U.S.,” she said.

Of course. Because having a huge, rich, and peaceful southern neighbor has done Canada so much harm.

Hopefully the “one immigration policy” would envision a removal on internal immigration borders between the North American states.

The article concludes with clear implications for the Global War on Terror, agriwelfare, and securiwelfare.

“Trilateralizing customs and immigration at airports, ports and land borders.”

“Applying the principle of inspection, one test, one certification throughout North America” for agriculture.

“Treating all North American citizens as domestic investors in each country.”

One North America: here we come!

Six Weeks From the Bomb

Nuclear ‘Breakout’: Risks and Possible Responses,” by Andrew Mack, Department of International Relations, http://rspas.anu.edu.au/ir/working%20papers/97-1.pdf, June 1997.

Just-in-time nukes,” The Acorn, http://www.paifamily.com/opinion/archives/000769.html, 24 May 2004.

Re: Tokyo Needs Nukes,” by Jonah Goldberg, The Corner, http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/05_02_13_corner-archive.asp#056263, 15 February 2005.

One of Japan Unbound‘s claims is that the U.S. has been pressuring Japan to build an atomic bomb. A post at the Corner implies this isn’t as far-fetched as it seems

From a well-placed military research guy:

Jonah: Japan is classified as a “Virtual Nuclear State”. They have developed a complete nuclear fuel cycle (including plutonium breeding and extraction) but have only refrained from developing nuclear weapons because of the cultural stigma involved. North Korea’s antics over the last decade have been eroding this cultural taboo at an ever-increasing rate. Serious analysts of Japan’s nuclear industry argue (including a very senior member of the National Security Council) that Japan could go nuclear within six weeks of deciding to do so.

Also, Japan has several delivery systems, including a orbital rocket that could be developed into an ICBM rather quickly.

Fear is a dangerous thing. Especially when you are a couple of hundred miles from a madman.

More on the concept of virtual nuclear weapons states (emphasis original)

States that have both the technical expertise to make nuclear weapons and large stockpiles of plutonium are sometimes called ‘virtual’ nuclear weapons states. They are able to ‘go nuclear’ far more quickly than states which would have to produce fissil material from scratch.

Acorn blog earlier chimed

Taiwan could be the first ‘virtual’ nuclear state to cross the Rubicon. The balance of conventional forces is still in Taiwan’s favour, but the Mainland is fast beefing up its strike capability, investing in both enhanced air and naval power.

Virtual nuclear states are in a powerful position. They can use their virtual status both ways, gaining diplomatic benefits from being “peaceful” while using the possibility of going nuclear as a threat.

May Allah Protect the Syrians – or – The Wolfowitz Plan

“Mr. President, Here’s How to Make Sense of Your Second Term, Secure Your Legacy, And, Oh Yeah, Create a Future Worth Living,” by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Esquire, pg 128, February 2005.

Unhelpful Sabre Rattling: Lebland, Syria, US,” by “Collounsbury,” Lounsbury, http://www.livejournal.com/users/collounsbury/287898.html?view=1181082, 14 February 2005.

Re: The Assassination Was Tragic…,” by “Collounsbury,” Lounsbury, http://www.livejournal.com/users/collounsbury/287898.html?thread=1176218#t1176218, 15 February 2005.

Tying together two tangentially related Collounsbury posts

None of this is worth it. Syria needs to reform its economy to be sure, and the sooner the better. Bloody basket case, but there is no key state interest for the US to destabilize Syria.

and

Egypt is not (and if one thinks it is, one needs much, much better idea about the region) making progress. The regime is treading water, playing a song and dance game to keep the gullible Americans paying its bills, and when it blows, the “transformation” is not going to be pretty.

Egyptian gov is the US’s little whore, and she’s painted up really nice, but she’s got AIDS.

And this is your model for Syria. May Allah protect the Syrians.

In the first post, C denies any “key state interest” in destabilizing Syria. In the second, on another point, he notes that U.S. policies can be disasterous for another state.

From reading his blog, I gather C is a realst who is strongly opposed to destabilizing regimes and harming societies. We should all be careful of the ill we cause. And clearly a policy of regime transformation that “blows up” is a failure. However, the Lounsebury position is too extreme. Causing state chaos can be beneficial. It serves as a warning to all other rogue regimes that they cannot rely shoft-term American interests to save them.

This ties into regime change. As Dr. Barnett writes in Esquire

Version #3 (Ugly) is delivered sotto voce. Just have Paul Wolfowitz show [North Korean Leader] Kim the “six-month reconstruction plan” the Pentagon neocons drew up for the postwar occupation. If he thinks you’re bluffing, then instruct Wolfie to slip him some of those morgue shots of Uday and Qusay looking al stiched up like a pair of Frakensteins. Kim’ll get the hint. Your administration has proven that you’re willing to wage war with almost no concern for the resulting VIP body count, the subsequent incompetent occupation, or the inevitable political uproar back home. I say when you’ve got it, flaunt it.

The reconstruction of Iraq has gone worse than it should have. But the lesson — that the U.S. is willing to throw a state into chaos — is very valuable. This encourages conservative forces in rogue regimes to advocate normalization of relations. Good.

Update: The whole article is now online.

Iran – Iraq – East Arabia?

Q&A: Iraqi Vice President Ibrahim Jaafari,” by Bassam Alloni, United Press International, http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20040811-030906-9371r.htm, 11 August 2004 (from Informed Consent).

After concrete proof, a candidate for Prime Minister in Iraq talks up an Iran-Iraq entente. It’s old, but relevant.

I personally look at Iran as part of the geographical entourage of Iraq and a friendly state which stood by Iraq’s side in time of crisis: It harbored Iraqis when Saddam Hussein killed, displaced and harmed many of them. It is a state like all Iraq’s other neighbors, which has common interests with us. I look forward to seeing Iraq’s relations with Iran and all its other neighboring countries rise to the level of advanced countries. But in return, I expect all neighboring countries to refrain from interfering in our sovereignty like we do not interfere in theirs.

Some are trying to disturb such relations with Iran, although there is a consensus within the Iraqi interim government on the need to improve ties with Iran and all other neighboring countries and to set up a common strategy with them. In case of any interference, we should address that neighbor openly and start a dialogue instead of resorting to a media war.

Regardless of the comments made by the defense minister, the strategic stance in my opinion should be protected with the aim of maintaining stable and normal relations with all neighboring countries based on mutual respect of rights, safeguarding common interests, and refraining from interference in each other’s domestic affairs.

Jaafari is very supportive of Iran, but his comments about other neighbors are hedged. He wants neighbors who have “common interests” and our part of a “common strategy.” He threatens interference.

medium_east_arabia.jpgA clear goal of an Iran-Iraq axis is to liberate the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. KSA is a dysfunctional wahabi state that keeps its youth unemployed and keeps other religions down. This includes Shia Islam, which predominates the oil-rich East Province. KSA without the East Province is nothing. The East Province without KSA is an oil producer that does not support terrorism.

East Arabia’s liberty does not have to be quick or violent. A peaceful, long-term push for autonomy will itself force reforms in the Saudi Kingdom.

How to Transform Egypt

Mubarak, $2 Billion and Change,” by Max Boot, Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-boot10feb10,0,6165289.column?coll=la-news-comment-opinions, 10 February 2005 (from Daily Demarche).

Dovetailing nicely with talk of regime transformation in Syria, this article

Strong words alone will not dislodge an entrenched dictator like Hosni Mubarak. Obviously we’re not going to send the 3rd Infantry Division to achieve regime change in Cairo. How, then, is Bush going to back up his demand for democracy? Here’s a modest proposal: Reduce or eliminate altogether the $2-billion annual U.S. subsidy to Egypt unless there’s real economic and political progress.

Since 1975, Washington has provided Cairo more than $50 billion in military and economic aid. Initially this largess had two justifications: first, to keep Egypt out of Soviet clutches; second, to reward it for concluding a peace treaty with Israel. The first rationale no longer applies. And the second? Egypt has lived in peace with Israel, but so for the most part has Syria — and it hasn’t gotten a cent from U.S. taxpayers. Arab states coexist with Israel because they have failed to destroy it, not because they’ve been bribed.

Mubarak has been an expensive but hardly a model ally during his 24-year reign. His most recent outrage was the arrest on Jan. 29 of Ayman Nour, head of the liberal Ghad party, on trumped-up charges of forging signatures on a petition. Mubarak’s economic ineptitude is also a given. The Egyptian economy, with its high unemployment rate and low growth rate, recalls the glory days of the Warsaw Pact. Notwithstanding recent reforms, no serious liberalization is likely as long as U.S. subsidies prop up the status quo.

Given the poisonous climate of opinion fostered by the Mubarak mafia, it is little wonder that the leader of the 9/11 hijackers was Egyptian or that Osama bin Laden’s deputy is Egyptian. Egypt has long been a breeding ground of Islamist extremism. Mubarak uses this to his advantage by telling the West that if he falls, the fundamentalists will take over. To forestall this catastrophe, the 76-year-old generously proposes to “run” for a fifth term this fall as the only candidate on the ballot. But there is little evidence that Islamists are popular enough to win a free election in Egypt. They have flourished mainly because little mainstream opposition is allowed. The U.S. government should be funding the opposition, not the apparatus that represses it.

What has fifty billion bought us? Not much. Cutting the flow of aid is a gentle way of removing the IV of dependency and forcing Egyptian reforms. Think of the two billion a year as seed money for the Vasco de Gama Project.

Cobuyitaphobia and MBAs

Yale, HBS and Wharton on Fiorina Firing,” Clear Admit, http://www.clearadmit.com/2005/02/yale-hbs-and-wharton-on-fiorina-firing.html, 10 February 2005

I blog for my entertainment and my education. It is very helpful to write words down because it forces me to think about what I believe. My blogging on cobuyitaphobia, the fear of synergetic mergers, is part of this.

Consider this CA post on the MBA-education ramifications of Fiorina’s dismissal

The New York Times has published an interesting article about the dismissal of Carleton S. Fiorina as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

What makes the New York Times article of note for the MBA community is that the journalist asked leading professors like Mike Useem (Wharton) and Rosabeth Kanter (Harvard) to weigh in on the news, along with Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, the Associate Dean at the Yale SOM.

For those of you who are curious, Fiorina has an MBA from the University of Maryland and a master’s of Science in Management from MIT. She pursued her undergraduate studies in medieval history and philosophy at Stanford University.

The blogosphere is amazing because this connectivity is effortless. We live in a wonderful time.