Summary of The North American Idea

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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.

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.



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 should enter into a special partnership. Each country within this North American Community would retain its borders and full sovereignty. The nations would work together and consider each other’s welfare as they plan international and domestic policies.

Entrenched interests and “sovereignty zealots” in all three countries will automatically oppose this idea. But such a community would, for example, reduce the cost of doing business among the US, Canada and Mexico by $64 billion annually. It would render unnecessary the $2.1 billion cost of a US-Mexican border wall and would lift Mexico out of the developing world and into the ranks of developed nations. That would ease immigration problems between Mexico and the US.

A North American Community would enable Canada and Mexico to advance their national interests through collaboration. By championing such a concept, the US could...

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