30 Jun First Step Toward a North American Union?
Some folks get excited about “global governance” and “world government”. But while there are some trends toward global integration in the form of free trade and greater international cooperation, I sometimes think the more likely trend will be toward regional integration. The recent setbacks for the EU notwithstanding, regionalism is more likely to occur because of competition from other regions. Hence, the growth of the EU might force the U.S. to get more serious about integrating with Canada and Mexico. Such integration might push the Latin American countries to bind themselves together more. And then the Africans respond by tightening the African Union, etc. etc.
At least in the short term, there seems little prospect of greater North American integration as U.S.-Canadian relations remain at an all time low and anger of illegal Mexican immigration grows in the U.S. There has been a lot of chatter in the thinktank world about a “North American Community” modeled on the E.U. (say bring in the Central American and Caribbean countries, create a North American Trade Court and integrate labor and environmental laws), but I think this remains a bit of a pipe dream for now, especially as the threat of deeper E.U. integration recedes.
The three countries have currently eschewed steps toward a more formal union and have instead settled on a “Security and Prosperity Partnership ” that simply pushes inter-agency cooperation along a number of lines: public health, intellectual property, regulatory streamlining. While this and future initiatives might be the first step toward a “North American Union”, the fuzzy non-binding aspect of the SPP might also signal that integration has reached its limits.