Quietly, North American Community slips in

Ben Nelms's picture

You have all heard of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. How many have heard of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)?

If you haven’t, you might want to get acquainted with the burgeoning agreement that is expected to result in what many have called the North American Union or what SPP brainchild Robert Pastor calls the North American Community.

Regardless of the label, it would link, to a degree yet to be determined, some aspects of the economies and the militaries of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

SPP is primarily a verbal agreement between border cities and states and corporations that function in North America. SPP was “discussed” in Waco in 2005 by George Bush, Vincente Fox and Paul Martin.

No agreement was signed. No federal laws have been proposed or passed. There is no Congressional oversight. And aside from the input by local/state government/corporate players, there is no public input and no public debate.

Just in case you think I’m making all this up, here’s a little blip from the SPP homepage at spp.gov:

“The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) was launched in March of 2005 as a trilateral effort to increase security and enhance prosperity among the United States, Canada and Mexico through greater cooperation and information sharing.

“This trilateral initiative is premised on our security and our economic prosperity being mutually reinforcing. The SPP recognizes that our three great nations are bound by a shared belief in freedom, economic opportunity, and strong democratic institutions.

“The SPP provides the framework to ensure that North America is the safest and best place to live and do business. It includes ambitious security and prosperity programs to keep our borders closed to terrorism yet open to trade.

“The SPP builds upon, but is separate from, our long-standing trade and economic relationships. It energizes other aspects of our cooperative relations, such as the protection of our environment, our food supply, and our public health.”

Wow, that’s really cool. But isn’t it curious that so little is known about SPP. Isn’t it curious that a search of the Fox News website turns up only one reference and a similar search of CNN shows no hits at all? As for MSNBC, it’s website shows quite a few (though some are duplicates and most show up in blogs).

Isn’t it curious that for all their rants against NAFTA during the primaries, neither Clinton or Obama, or, for that matter, McCain in his support of NAFTA, referenced the massive SPP (NAFTA) Superhighway that may eventually link the super-port at Lazaro Cardenas to Mexico City to Laredo to Kansas City (the I-35/I-29 corridor) and on to Winnipeg, Canada?

Maybe they didn’t mention it because, as some say, it’s just an urban legend in the making. There are no plans for a North American Union, the politicians and national media say.

Gee, somebody must have forgot to tell the Canadians. The very superhighway that only those pesky conspiracy nuts talk about was displayed on a Canadian government website until a few months ago. The graphic I saw has now been removed.

But never fear, there is no intent to create a new currency, the Amero, or to blur the borders by using the electronic “SENTRI” system that will negate the need for customs inspections at the borders.

Why is it then that several economists and others in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. have raised concerns that such a union, one they believe is coming, would threaten their own nation’s sovereignty?

In the July/August edition of the Council on Foreign Relations journal “Foreign Affairs,” American University’s Professor of North American Studies Robert Pastor speaks out on the issue. He makes the case for abandoning the latest of the attempts to merge economic and security interests, SPP, for a new label, the North American Community. Sounds warm and cozy, doesn’t it?

Perhaps we’ll have to wait and see about good old SPP, at least the “Prosperity” part. As for the “Security” in SPP, it’s alive and kicking, at least in a formative stage.

Unless perhaps an incredible coincidence, an interesting effect of the emerging reality of SPP came in February when the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) signed the Civil Assistance Plan with its northern counterpart, Canada Command. The agreement gives each military the ability to operate on each other’s soil at the request of civilian authorities.

“This document is a unique, bilateral military plan to align our respective national military plans to respond quickly to the other nation’s requests for military support of civil authorities,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of USNORTHCOM and North American Aerospace Command on the northcom.mil website.

“Unity of effort during bilateral support for civil support operations such as floods, forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and effects of a terrorist attack, in order to save lives, prevent human suffering and mitigate damage to property, is of the highest importance, and we need to be able to have forces that are flexible and adaptive to support rapid decision-making in a collaborative environment.”

One might suppose that Mexico will eventually join the military pact once it reaches an agreeable threshold level of competence and assurance included in whatever operational parameters might exist.

By the way, what ever happened to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 that prohibited search, seizure and arrests powers by the American military on U.S. soil? That all changed in 1981 when the act was amended by Congress to include “drug interdiction and other law enforcement activities.”

Here’s a challenge. Keep up with what’s going on since it will affect Fayette and Coweta counties. Do the research yourself and don’t visit only a couple of websites. Check them all for a less opaque view of this provocative issue.

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Indocumentado's picture
Submitted by Indocumentado on Thu, 08/07/2008 - 9:09pm.

My dear Ben Nelms, make no mistake, the NAFTA agreement (and other free trade agreements for that matter) has had mixed consequences and benefits on the signatory countries. It is true that Mexico has benefitted with sweat shop jobs and other blue-collar jobs exported by the U.S., but at the same time the treaties have represented the ruin of the agricultural sector creating a mass of unemployed, dispossesed that are left with little choice than to become displaced within their own country or emigrate (yes, to the U.S.)
Globalization has made this possible, and the trend will continue until the movement of goods, services AND people between the 3 NAFTA countries becomes the standard. The superhighway is just the beginning. Standardization of customs regulations, transportation is next. The monetary union will follow and open borders will take a little longer, but it will arrive, maybe in some 30 years. The EU model is the model of the future. It is impossible to promote free trade agreements and wanting to be selective about their consequences for all parties involved. Selective isolationism is not a choice.

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