Andragogy Essay about “The Growing Panic over North American Union”
The progressing international cooperation between countries of the North American continent, such as the USA, Canada and Mexico, provokes numerous speculations and arguments concerning the nature and future of the growing integration of these countries. In actuality, the development of the international partnership between the USA, Canada and Mexico has reached an unprecedented scale. The USA, Canada and Mexico have never been as close to each other as they are at the present epoch.
Basically, these countries develop economic, political and defense cooperation developing similar standards, rules and regulations, minimizing fiscal barriers between countries and creating the basis for the more effective economic cooperation as well as political and military partnership. In this respect, it should be said that the USA, Canada and Mexico are members of the NAFTA, which major goal is the increase of economic cooperation between the countries. At the same time, the current integrative trends that may be observed in economic and political development of the three North American countries may be compared to the trends that could be observed in Europe in the process of the formation of the European Union.
However, such trends, which are apparently beneficial for all participants since they are economically profitable for all countries and bring significant benefits to economies of the USA, Canada and Mexico, evoke a considerable anxiety of many American people who sincerely believe that the existing agreements and those that the countries are planning to sign prepare the countries for the creation of the North American Union, a new state formation. The fear of many Americans concerning the creation of the North American Union is so significant that the conspiracy theory has been developed in this regard. In such a situation, it is extremely important to clarify the situation and analyze the current cooperation between the USA, Canada and Mexico in order to assess whether the conspiracy theory is relevant or probably it is just another myth provoked by the lack of information or misunderstanding of the agreements that have been already signed between the USA, Canada and Mexico.
The conspiracy theory
The emergence of the conspiracy theory may be easily traced since the beginning of the integrative processes that took place in the North America Continent. It should be pointed out that any agreement signed by the USA and its neighbors could be potentially viewed as the step on the way to the creation of the new super-state, the North American Union. In this respect, the agreement known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership signed in Waco, Texas, on March 23, 2005 is viewed by the supporters of the conspiracy theory as the major agreement that will lead to the creation of the new state.
Before discussing the arguments of supporters of the conspiracy theory which prove the righteousness of their position, it is primarily necessary to briefly dwell upon the major assumptions of this theory which could reveal its essence and explain the fear of those Americans that believe in this theory. First of all, it should be said that according to this theory the leaders of the USA, Canada and Mexico are plotting in order to create the North American Union. The North American Union, according to supporters of the conspiracy theory, is the new state formation that will lead to the destruction of the existing states in the North American continent, i.e. the USA, Canada and Mexico. Instead, the three states will be united into one country that will have the common government, army, economy, etc. In other words, the creation of the North American Union will be what supporters of conspiracy theory define as the loss of independence by the USA. Naturally, it would be logical to presuppose that the creation of the new state would equally mean the loss of independence by Canada and Mexico too.
In actuality, such a view on the integrative processes that take place in relations of the USA, Canada and Mexico suggests that the union of these countries will affect all spheres of life of ordinary people, including politics, economy and social sphere. Naturally, such a perspective provokes significant anxiety of Americans because this means that they will not be able to fully define their own future because they will share political power with Canadian and Mexicans, whose political and socio-economic interests may be quite different from those of Americans. Furthermore, they may suffer from economic losses because the creation of the North American Union implies the elimination of frontiers between countries, both economic and administrative. In addition, the defense of the new country will be shared between the three states, while supporters of the conspiracy theory have an extremely skeptical view on the military potential of Canada and, especially, Mexico that means that the burden of military expenses will be covered by American tax payers since the enlargement of the territory will inevitably lead to the increase of military forces and expenses.
Obviously, potential outcomes of the creation of the North American Union instead of three independent countries, the USA, Canada and Mexico, evoke serious anxiety among those who support the conspiracy theory because it may threaten to the well-being of many Americans. At first glance, fears of supporters of the conspiracy theory are not really motivated because at the present moment the USA, Canada, and Mexico are independent states that have never made any efforts to the unification into one country. However, supporters of the conspiracy theory have their own arguments, which indicate to the possibility of the creation of the North American Union.
The major arguments of supporters of the conspiracy theory basically refer to the economic sphere. To put it more precisely, one of the strongest argument in favor of the conspiracy theory is the perspective of the introduction of the common currency in the USA, Mexico and Canada. The conspiracy theorists have even found the picture of a 20-amero copper coin, which was presumably smuggled out of the US Mint in Denver. In fact, the perspective of the introduction of the common currency can justify the conspiracy theory and may be viewed as evidence of plans of the US, Canadian and Mexican leaders to unite their countries. In such context, encounters of American, Canadian and Mexican leaders during such events as the North American Leaders’ Summit, which took place in Montebello, Quebec may be interpreted as evidences of the negotiations targeting at the creation of the North American Union.
On analyzing the perspective of the introduction of the common currency, amero, or whatever it could be, it is necessary to underline the fact that this step will definitely mean the loss of economic independence of all countries. It proves beyond a doubt that the introduction of common currency will make economies of the USA, Canada and Mexico extremely sensitive to the changes of the rate of the common currency. At the same time, the common currency will naturally react on changes that take place in economies of all three countries. Consequently, if a crisis strikes in Canada, for instance, the US as well as Mexico will be directly affected by this crisis because they have the common currency that naturally reacts to serious problems or changes in the national economy.
The dependence of economies of the US, Canada and Mexico on the common currency will naturally accelerate the integration of national economies that can potentially deteriorate the situation in the US because, at the present moment, its economy is consistently stronger than that of Mexico, for instance. In addition, Mexican labor force can undermine the competitive power of American labor force, especially in Southern state. Potentially, such development may lead to the ongoing economic stagnation or even crisis resulting in the deterioration of socio-economic situation and social instability.
Another argument supporting the conspiracy theory is the assumption that the USA, Canada and Mexico plans to build a giant “NAFTA super-highway” that would stretch from Canada to Mexico. In all probability, the conspiracy theories the Trans-Texas Corridor will be this giant “NAFTA super-highway” since it will link practically the entire continent. Obviously, this argument may be also quite convincing since the creation of such super-highway may be interpreted as the development of the common infrastructure between Canada, the USA and Mexico. The potential of the corridor is very significant because it will also stimulate the growing economic integration of the USA, Canada and Mexico since it facilitates substantially the transportation of goods throughout the continent. It is not a secret that the well-developed infrastructure and communications are the major conditions of the fast development of trade and economic integration of countries and regions.
Moreover, supporters of the conspiracy theory indicate to the numerous agreements that have already been signed by the US, Canadian and Mexican authorities, which target at the faster economic integration and cooperation in the military sphere. In this regard, it is possible to refer to the creation of the NAFTA, the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and others agreement. All these agreements and their interpretation by conspiracy theorists make their arguments quite convincing.
The counter arguments against the conspiracy theory
However, it is necessary to critically evaluate the arguments of supporters of the conspiracy theory in order to assess objectively the extent to which these arguments are justified, logical and rational. In fact, their opponents have very strong counter arguments, which they basically retrieve from the official resources and international documents, in contrast to the conspiracy theorists who either smuggled their evidences, like the 20-amero coin, or interpreted the existing agreements in their own way, which, in actuality, may be quite different from the factual contents of these agreements.
First of all, it should be said that there is not a single international agreement between the USA, Canada or Mexico that indicates to the possibility of the creation of the new state which the conspiracy theorists call the North American Union. In actuality, there are no official documents which could be viewed as plans for the creation of such a state. Naturally, it is possible to interpret economic agreements as plans or attempts of the three countries to unite into a single state, but in such a context the creation of the NAFTA should be viewed as the first step on the way to the creation of the North American Union.
In this respect, it is necessary to underline the fact that the creation of the NAFTA as well as other agreements related to the economic cooperation between countries, including the creation of the Trans-Texas Corridor, does not target at the political or economic unification of countries. In actuality, the major goal of such agreements is the improvement of the economic cooperation between countries. To put it more precisely, the NAFTA originally targeted at the elimination of obstacles on the way of the free trade between the USA, Canada and Mexico. It is worth mention the fact that the creation of the NAFTA as well as other agreements stimulating trade and the creation of the basis for the free trade are not harmful for the USA. In stark contrast, such agreements as well as the free trade at large are rather beneficial for the USA than harmful. At any rate, it is obvious that it is primarily American companies that will benefit from the free trade between the USA, Canada and Mexico.
At the present moment the US economy is apparently stronger than Canadian and it consistently overtakes the development of Mexican economy. In actuality, this means that in the result of the international agreements facilitating free trade and eliminated fiscal barriers between the USA, Canada and Mexico open markets of Canada and Mexico for American companies. The expansion of American companies in Canada and Mexico may and actually takes place in different ways. Firstly, American companies can export its products and services to Canada and Mexico and the absence of fiscal barriers makes their products more competitive in the local markets. The reason is obvious the quality of American goods and services is traditionally high, while their price in the result of the agreements concerning the development of free trade between the countries has decreased substantially. At any rate, neither Canada nor Mexico can create substantial fiscal obstacles on the way of American goods that makes their price closer to that within the USA. Also, the technological development of the USA is incomparable to that of Mexico that means that the latter cannot compete with American companies in the field of high technologies, while the absence of fiscal barriers makes American goods more competitive compared to similar highly technological products or services imported to Mexico from other developed countries, such as Japan, for instance. Furthermore, free trade agreements allow American companies easily export capital and develop their business in Mexico as well as Canada facilitating their penetration in the national markets.
At the same time, free trade does not mean the economic or political integration of countries. Obviously, the existence of such agreements stimulates closer cooperation between countries, but it does not lead to their total economic integration. The latter is possible only on the condition of the introduction of the common currency, which, according to the US officials, is not the subject of negotiations between the USA, Canada and Mexico. In fact, the development of free trade should not be viewed in terms of the conspiracy theory. Instead, it would more logical to view free trade as the economic partnership and cooperation which brings mutual benefits to all parties involved, i.e. the US, Canada, and Mexico.
As for the construction of the Trans-Texas Corridor, which is viewed by the conspiracy theorists as one of the indicators to the creation of the North American Union, it should be said that the development of infrastructure and construction of new transportation corridors is a natural outcome of the growing economic cooperation and free trade agreements. In other words, the development of free trade naturally increased the flow of goods between the three countries. Obviously, the existing infrastructure could not afford the increased transportation needs and, at the present moment it proves beyond a doubt that it needs to be modified in order to meet new demands of the USA, Canada and Mexico. For instance, according to Los Angeles Times (Dalmia and Gilroy), the Trans Texas Corridor is being planned as a way to allow Texas to handle the commerce that passes through the state from Mexico. It is worth mentioning the fact that, since creation of the NAFTA, the trade between the US and Mexico doubled, and 75% of goods pass through Texas. In such a situation, the construction of the giant “NAFTA super-highway” is the objective necessity rather than a plot against American sovereignty.
As for the Security and Prosperity Partnership, it should be said that this agreement really exists but again the interpretation of the conspiracy theorists of this document is rather exaggerated than objective or critically evaluated. In fact, this agreement, along with ongoing efforts to develop economic partnership between the USA, Canada and Mexico, involves the defense issues. However, it does not necessarily mean the unification of military forces of the three countries, but, instead, it just implies the unification of efforts to stop international terrorism and criminals movement between the USA, Canada and Mexico. Obviously, such agreement was essential because the elimination of fiscal barriers, facilitation of movement of people through national borders decreased the effectiveness of the existing borders between the USA and its neighbors. As a result, the country became more exposed to the penetration of terrorist that arrived from third countries to Canada or Mexico and then move to the US. Consequently, to protect its national interests and secure its borders the US naturally needed to guarantee the security of borders within the three countries: the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Perspectives of the development of North America
Thus, the arguments of supporters of the conspiracy theory and counter arguments may be quite convincing. However, it is necessary to understand that the emergence of the conspiracy theory was basically provoked by the lack of information or understanding of the international agreements signed by the USA, Canada and Mexico. People do not have all the information about the agreements and naturally they can misinterpret the fact they retrieve from various sources which are not always reliable. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to fully rely on official reports and accept the position of the opponents of the conspiracy theory pointblank. In fact, it is very important to evaluate objectively and critically analyze the processes that currently take place in relations between the US, Canada and Mexico.
In this respect, it would be a mistake to deny the fact that the development of free trade and the growing economic cooperation between the three countries stimulate their economic integration. It would be logical to presuppose that the economic integration would inevitably stimulate the growing political cooperation and integration of the countries, to the extent that it would be necessary to create international organizations that could facilitate the trade between the USA, Canada and Mexico, and, what is more, it is highly probable that the countries would need to develop similar legislative norms and standards. What is meant here is the fact that the further development of economic cooperation between the USA, Canada and Mexico would need the existence of the similar rules and standards since American, Canadian and Mexican companies would need play in accordance with the same rules to develop their business partnership effectively and facilitate penetration of markets of the US, Canada, and Mexico.
At the same time, the process of globalization and the growing competition, especially from the part of the EU, would, in all probability, accelerate the efforts of the US to develop economic partnership with its neighbors, especially Canada to the extent that in a long-run it is even possible to speak about the introduction of the common currency.
However, in a short term, such a perspective is improbable, as well as the perspective of the creation of the North American Union, because the USA is the regional and world leader and it is more convenient for the USA to establish its own rules to maximize its profits from economic cooperation with its neighbors, while the union would inevitably weaken the US if it is not carefully prepared and the economic gap between the US and its neighbors remains as significant as it is at the moment.
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