Summary of The North American Idea

A Vision of a Continental Future

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The North American Idea book summary
Should the US, Canada and Mexico unite to form a “North American Community”?


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Throughout history, few international agreements have met as much opposition as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Yet since its inception in 1992, this compact between the United States, Canada and Mexico has delivered benefits to all three, says professor Robert A. Pastor. He explains that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks changed the US from an open, welcoming society to one that might as well have “Stop, or I’ll shoot” signs at every border. This protectionist climate undermined NAFTA, says Pastor, who believes the three nations should open their mutual borders and form a shared “North American Community” of economic development and regional partnership. Pastor details his grand – if improbable – vision in this scholarly look forward. Thoughtful North Americans will welcome Pastor’s enlightened ideas with interest as well as skepticism. getAbstract recommends his work to government representatives, international businesspeople and students of foreign relations.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why a “North American Community” is a great idea,
  • What its primary building blocks would be,
  • What the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) accomplished, and
  • How the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks damaged NAFTA and North American cooperation.


The “North American Community”
The United States’ earliest foreign policy statement, the Monroe Doctrine, put forth one basic principle: The security of the nation and its economic competitiveness derive from strong relationships with neighbors. With this in mind, the US, Canada and Mexico...
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About the Author

Robert A. Pastor is a former US National Security Council member. He is also a professor of international relations and the director of the Center for North American Studies at American University.

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