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!

21 thoughts on “Towards the Unification of North America”

  1. Nobody's being shut out of anything, remember NAFTA? In terms of economy, and the three bullet points listed above, increased partnership would likely benefit both the US and Canada by streamlining existing open markets, border controls and military-defense-intel cooperation (e.g. NORAD, CSIS-CIA). US-Canada border requirements are minimal, even post-Sept 11.

    In terms of political or legislative alignment (e.g. internal security, privacy, foreign policy), no Canadian politician would dare risk their personal or party credibility by suggesting that Canadians adopt US interests at home and abroad. Canadian foreign policy is much more closely aligned with Europe, not the United States. Even taking on a unified passport might be symbolically intolerable for Canadians.

  2. The most grivious “shutting out” has to deal with Mexican immigration. NAFTA did not sufficiently address the free movement of peoples. More generally, the lack of a true North American common market shuts out all nations from the prospective prosperity such a union would bring.

    Economic comradeship is definitely the priority. The effects of a united North American foreign policy are miniscule compared to the effects of North American economic integration. And again, the most important aspect of this is free movement of people. A common North American frontier would make national frontiers as irrelevant as state frontiers. (While the Canadian border is hardly militarized, it is no easy thing for an American to move to Canada to work or vice versa).

    A common North American brand is exciting, but less important than substantive integration. It matters little if symbolically Canada maintains their symbols if the passports mean the same thing.

    Thanks for commenting!

    -Daniel

  3. Re freedom to travel between Mexico-Canada-US, relative wealth inequality means that people will inevitably flow from Mexico to the US and stay (potentially illegally). In contrast, most Canadians have no interest in moving to the US, which means that US-Canada border flow is at equilibrium. Likely why Canadians don't even have to present machine readable passports upon entry to the US.

    Opening markets further would definitely increase trade (and growth), but there are some serious political roadblocks. Protectionism still reigns in certain areas (pharma, lumber, cattle) and neither side is willing to open up markets and risk short-term destablization/loss in these key domestic industries.

    At least the EU/Eurozone has an underlying rationale of “common identity/shared history” of, well, being European. This kind of identity would be much harder to forge between Mexico/US/Canada since they are not accustomed to thinking of themselves in a unified context.

    Greater economic integration is appealing, but a common currency would require US commitment to engage all parties (similar to EC) when setting monetary policy. Canada/Mexico will not sign on if it means Americans are dictating strategies for their economies.

    I like your blog, wide range of topics.

  4. Eerie,

    Thanks again for the great thoughts.

    While US-Canada immigration relaxation will be helpful, immigration from Mexico will be the central issue. The American people would be against it, but both parties have historically ignored their constituents on immigration matters.

    Protectionism in agriculture, etc. is a problem. However the economic importance of the remaining protected industries is dwarfed by immigration. Likewise their political importance is dwarfed by a common frontier. Just as Poland got a special waver on land ownership when they joined the EU, we have to make certain sacrifices to move bigger goals along.

    I think a common currency is not a priority. Perhaps a united curreny board (Mexico in UNA may be like Italy in EU — its citizens trust a supranatural institution to be less corrupt on technical matters than their own government). But I don't believe the Mexican economy is sufficiently converged with the U.S.

    Currency aside, I think the US would be happy with macroeconomics as it is now. All have generally free markets. The remaining areas (medicine especially) are far to politically to be touched by a continental union.

    Europe has been fuding their history for decades to assist the Ever Closer Union. The first europhile texts were such as “Before France and Germany” and “Mohammed and Charlemagne” which argued there was a “Franco-German” / Carolignian nation. Canada, America, and Mexico's histories as continent-stradling neighbors should do for history.

  5. Really, does one expect that Canada would allow itself to be integrated with US. The current situation is best, economic benefits but soverign status. Integration would force Canada to abide by US interests, not necessarily a good thing. Our surpluses would become subsidies for American military adventures.

    No thank you to integration.

  6. Beyond macroeconomics, I don't see much integration going on. Children at school learn they are Mexicans, Americans or Canadians, but they don't learn they are North Americans. There are no North American holidays, except for Christmas and stuff like that.

    Of course, there are economic benefits already, but I don't think Mexico is willing either to provide any resources for American military adventures. I guess it is easier to integrate Mexican and Canadian foreign policies than creating a common North American foreing policy. On the other hand, most Americans are not ready for a common currency.

    I estimate Mexican migration will begin decreasing within 10 years, and within 25 years Mexicans will have little interest in moving to the U.S. While the U.S. is more concerned about fighting terrorism, Mexico is paying more attention to its southern border where Central American gangs are infiltrating North America. These Central American gangs come from countries where guerrillas are a life-style, and are quite violent, more than anything we have ever seen in Mexico. I don't see a common security policy right now.

  7. Roberto,

    I agree the current integration is mostly macroeconomic, with substantial popular integration between Mexico and the United States.

    Mexico's already surplying resources to the American military: men. Many Mexican nationals serve in the armed forces generally and in Iraq in particular. Plus the obvious benefit of cheap labor generally frees American labor up for other things, including war-fighting and war-support.

    North America already has a de facto common foreign policy, because only the United States has the power to meaningfully act outside of the continent. Likewise, the dollar is a de facto common currency, as it is the strongest of the three.

    Most Mexicans want to move to the United States for the same reason as most immigrants: greed. Until Mexico develops economically enough to roughly equalize the wage rates, you'll see pretty healthy movement of people to the north.

    As to the precise rates, that's a factor of many things. The trend is much clearer than the details.

    Mexico will be facing gangs that act as political-military forces. However, that Republic has a long habit of buying-off internal resistance movements, and I imagine that tradition will continue.

  8. Yes, I agree with you Mexico is already providing men to the U.S. Army, that's not a secret. And, it is neither a secret that Mexico is also providing cheap labour to the U.S., and I guess, things are not going to change in a while. In fact, I believe common people is years ahead of our governments. While the U.S. and Mexico have not been able to reach a agreement on inmigration, there are millions of Mexicans living abroad in the U.S. and around one million Americans living in Mexico (the other face of inmigration we don't talk a lot about); just check the Baja California statistics. Mexicans have more relatives in the U.S. than in any other country, and Texas is culturally closer to Northern Mexico than to, say, Illinois. Mexican children ask for candies door by door on Halloween and American children play with piñatas on their birthdays.

    I'm afraid that by the time our governments decide to address the issue of North Americanization, there will be not much left to do. It seems to me that a real North American agreement on anything (economics, security, education, etc.) shall be signed not by our three governments, but by our States and Provinces, which would provide a real federal organization. Only then we could deal with all these issues. I think there should be a meeting of North American governors at least every 3 years in order to discuss common policies and all that; a United North America should have one (not three) federal government.

  9. Roberto,

    I agree that a lot of the integration has been informal, though America's relatively liberal immigration regime and the Continent-wide NAFTA help. Further loosening immigration laws would be a formal step we could take together.

    You are also right to note American emigration as important. The flow of people isn't just a one-way street, though it typically weights to movement to faster-growing economies.

    Cross-border gubernatorial and premier meetings also can be very useful, but still a lot is determined through the national government. Still, there is nothing Constitutional that forces the federal governments from preempting the states and provinces so often.

    Thomas Barnett (http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/) has predicted that the first Mexican-American President will be elected directly from a Mexican state. On the other hand, the Romans on the Europeans show how “federalism” can have many overlapping layers.

  10. I hope they don't form a union. This union will be dominated by the US and it will give the US the rresources to get into the bussiness of Canada and Mexico and exploit them. This will also give the US more power and military strength to try and impose their will on other countries. Also if this fails… a break up could mean a disaster for all three countries. The US its self will suffer because if you think that its bad now with people crossing the border… well think what will happened when it is wide open for them. This might also drive the economy down because you will ahve to solve many problems for many more people. I am aalso not sure that people want this becasue where will you have the capital? who will be the president? All of these countries have proud nationalities and i don't belive that they will be commanded by the US or vice-versa. And with more and more immigrants comming to the US… there will be places of majority which could be dangerous. For example if Mexicans move into places with more Mexicans they could create a majority there (over time) and if this union was to split up, they would be loyal to their country and they might try to succed parts of the US to Mexico.

  11. now im for unification if it is a literal idea meaning the republic of north america. we dont need a gov over canada the us and mexico we need a gov instead of the three

    with a capital and the states of canada us a mexico as states of the united states of north america or the north american republic.

    I dont want an EU casue the eu cant have a military and dosent have any power what i want is basically like annexing canada and mexico to the us

    so maybe we build a capital and use washington ottowa and mexico city as historic locations

    the language is confusing i hope i made my ideas clear

    also we need a common language and that could be a problem

  12. i also belive we should be completly united or seperate like if canada mexico and the us dont want to be one country we should can the north ameircan union all together

  13. The goal is to increase labor mobility and capital mobility, allowing each to flow where it is most needed. Thus the theoretical structure of governance is less important than the ability for Mexican labor to flow north, and American capital to flow south.

  14. Canadian patriots want nothing to do with your alleged “prosperity of North America”. We already have prosperity in Canada, and we do not want to succumb to the same financial and political errors that plague your country. We believe in sovereignty damn it, and it’s something worth dying for, as opposed to sucking it up and becoming bloody Yanks. Our resources should be OUR resources, not yours by NAFTA treaty, to be sold back to us at an inflated rate, should you have some crumbs left over after gorging your greed. VIVE LA CANADA!!!

  15. If we promise to faithfully attend all Rush concerts, will you change your mind? What about Loreena McKennitt concerts (assuming she ever comes to Colorado)?

  16. Jimmy Tantalus

    Canadian prosperity is an artifact of > $100 a barrel oil. Now that oil is down below $80 a barrel, it will be interesting to see just how well that works.

    For myself, I have no interest in several million new lefty voters joining the American electorate. However, I can see some real advantages to closer economic ties, for example a NAFTA oil tax that each nation would impose on oil imported from outside of the economic union would serve to insulate our three countries from the fluctuations in the oil market caused by political and economic instability in many oil producing nations while encouraging production of oil and alternate fuels in the NAFTA countries. Allocating the revenues collected from a NAFTA oil tax to paying for the expenses brought on by citizens of NAFTA countries living in other NAFTA countries would create a constituency for imposing this tax as thousands of local governments and school districts across the United States sought financial relief from the cost of Mexican immigrants living in their area and using public services. I suppose that Canada could use what little taxes they collected from whatever oil they import from outside of NAFTA to pay for US citizens traveling north of the border for free medical care.

  17. Jimmy…you know what we want: Oil, Molson, Beaver Pelts and Entertainers.

    We promise you lower taxes, better TV shows, and the unlimited love of our fellow citizens from the world.

    Hey two out of three isn’t bad!

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