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Opposing the North American Union as a Threat to the Sovereignty of the United States

“Let us not deal with today’s reality or things as they are or as they seem to be, but look at things the way they may become.”

An article appearing in the San Antonio Express in April 2006 asked the question, A North America modeled on the EU?

Jorge Gonzalez is such a dreamer.

The Trinity University economics dean might have left his senses altogether.

Gonzalez suggests that it was time to stop talking about the North American Free Trade Agreement and to start talking about a European Union-style North America.

A unified North America could strengthen Mexico and thus the United States and Canada, too, Gonzalez says. A North American union would entail many aspects, but the one Gonzalez likes to discuss is the idea of the United States and Canada each setting aside 2 or 3 percent of their gross domestic product for investments in Mexico.

The “good professor” was not only a dreamer, but he was not being honest since the idea was not his, but had been posed nearly a year before by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Eighteen months ago, a large port ion of the American public missed or overlooked a report issued by the Council on Foreign Relations. It was then that the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America developed a roadmap to “promote North American security and advance the well-being of citizens of all three countries.” In many ways, this report, Building a North American Community brought concepts of unity between the United States, Canada and Mexico that had broad reaching implications.

The overriding question: In light of a united Europe, the European Union, despite some of the very real problems it has faced during its infancy, could quite well become, not only an economic, but a political unit of great power and force. Thus, should North America blend itself into a North American Union?

Of course it is interesting, looking back now, as the federal government wrestles with the issues of enhancing border security (shorthand for the “wall”) and immigration reform (shorthand for “guest worker” or “amnesty”), some of the recommendations and suggestions presented seem rather inane, if not only naïve.

Pointing to increased competition from the European Union and rising economic powers such as India and China in the eleven years since NAFTA took effect, co-chair Pedro C. Aspe, former Finance Minister of Mexico, said, "We need a vision for North America to address the new challenges." The Task Force establishes a blueprint for a powerhouse North American trading area that allows for the seamless movement of goods, increased labor mobility, and energy security.

"We are asking the leaders of the United States, Mexico, and Canada to be bold and adopt a vision of the future that is bigger than, and beyond, the immediate problems of the present," said co-chair John P. Manley, Former Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. "They could be the architects of a new community of North America, not mere custodians of the status quo."

At a time of political transition in Canada and Mexico, the Task Force proposes new ideas to cope with continental challenges that should be the focus of debate in those two countries as well as the United States. To ensure a free, secure, just, and prosperous North America, the Task Force proposes a number of specific measures:

The Task Force’s central recommendation is establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff, and an outer security perimeter.

Make North America safer: Establish a common security perimeter by 2010

A common security perimeter? Run by who, supervised by who? Was it any less clear 18 months ago that the Mexican government had no interest in controlling illegal immigration to the United Stated? And yet, the longer-term implication of such a security perimeter would be a unification of security efforts.

Additionally, the Task Force recommended that a common North American Border Biometric Pass be created. Of course, if there was a common security perimeter, it would make sense that there would be a common ID. However, that would also raise another issue. Would a common ID card for Canadians, Mexicans and Americans also mean unfettered cross-border access for all? Actually, yes, that is what they meant, along with these provisions:

· Harmonize visa and asylum regulations, including convergence of the list of “visa waiver” countries;

· Harmonize entry screening and tracking procedures for people, goods, and vessels (including integration of name-based and biometric watch lists);

· Harmonize exit and export tracking procedures;

· Fully share data about the exit and entry of foreign nationals; and

· Jointly inspect container traffic entering North American ports, building on the Container Security Initiative.

Certainly this could not have been taken seriously? Could it possibly benefit the United States, despite the fact that the three countries of North America are each other’s largest trading partners. More than 80 percent of Canadian and Mexican trade is with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners. Almost one-third of U.S. trade is with Canada and Mexico.

While the report stopped short of a recommendation to adoption of one currency for the three countries, one thing does usually lead to another. In thinking further about this topic, remember that more than $20 billion is now being sent back to Mexico by illegal aliens. Without illegal immigration or the possible “guest worker” program, some families will have no sustaining income.

Well, someone must have still be serious about the recommendation of the Task Force because three U.S. Representatives (U.S. Reps. Virgil Goode, Walter Jones, and Ron Paul) introduced legislation to stop it.

H. CON. RES. 487, Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should not engage in the construction of a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Superhighway System or enter into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada.

We have entered a new period in World geo-politics. The creation of the European Union, despite its shortcomings was the first step toward geo-political consolidation. It is not out of the question that others will follow. Imagine the implications of a unified Asia with China, Japan and perhaps India as the triumvirate of power within it. Does that mean that of necessity, there must be a North American Union? Considering the internal turmoil being experienced daily in Mexico, it would seem that today, our best posture is to build the wall and tighten immigration rules, not relax them.

“Let us not deal with today’s reality or things as they are or as they seem to be, but look at things the way they may become.”