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North American Union leader
says merger just crisis away
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 12/15/2006 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
American University Professor Robert Pastor
Robert Pastor, a leading intellectual force in the move to create an EU-style North American Community, told WND he believes a new 9/11 crisis could be the catalyst to merge the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
Pastor, a professor at American University, says that in such a case the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP – launched in 2005 by the heads of the three countries at a summit in Waco, Texas – could be developed into a continental union, complete with a new currency, the amero, that would replace the U.S. dollar just as the euro has replaced the national currencies of Europe.
In May 2005, Pastor was co-chairman the Council on Foreign Relations task force that produced a report entitled “Toward a North American Community,” which he has claimed is the blueprint behind the SSP declared by President Bush, Mexico’s then-President Vicente Fox, and Canada’s then-Prime Minister Paul Martin.
At American University in Washington, D.C., Pastor directs the Center for North American Studies where he teaches a course entitled “North America: A Union, A Community, or Just Three Nations?” As WND previously has reported, Pastor is on the board of the North American Forum on Integration, the NAFI, a non-profit organization that annually holds a mock trilateral parliament for 100 selected students drawn from 10 universities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Pastor had published an interview in Spanish in the Oct. 24 issue of Poder y Negocios. He told the magazine crises can force decisions that otherwise would not be made.
“The 9/11 crisis made Canada and the United States redefine the protection of their borders,” Pastor explained. “The debt crisis in Mexico forced the government to adapt a new economic model. The crises oblige the governments to make difficult decisions.”
This was the first time WND had found a major intellectual leader behind the push to integrate North America suggesting that a crisis of 9-11 proportions might be just what was needed to advance the process toward establishing a North American Union and the amero. WND reached Pastor in his office at American University and conducted a telephone interview to make sure the Spanish publication accurately reflected his views.
He affirmed the Spanish interview represents his thinking.
“What I’m saying is that a crisis is an event which can force democratic governments to make difficult decisions like those that will be required to create a North American Community,” he said. “It’s not that I want another 9/11 crisis, but having a crisis would force decisions that otherwise might not get made.”
Pastor noted, for example that “Europeans, facing the crisis of two World Wars, turned to the European Community as a means to prevent war and advance their economic interests.”
“The United States turned to the Marshall Plan when faced with the crisis of Western Europe falling into the hands of communism,” he said. “So, I’m not advocating, or encouraging, or wanting a crisis, I’m only saying that in order to take important initiatives, sometimes one manner in which this occurs is when there is a crisis to which leaders need to respond.”
Pastor told WND he lamented that the leadership of the three North American countries is not positioned to make the type of tough decisions needed to advance a North American Community agenda.
In his interview with Poder y Negocios, he argued, “Canada has a minority government and Mexico will soon have a minority government that will be confronted with what amounts to an uprising that we hope will be peaceful. The United States has a lame duck president whose principle preoccupation is the war in Iraq and instability in the Middle East.”
Pastor further told WND Mexico’s Fox made a tactical mistake by laying out an overly ambitious agenda to integrate with the United States.
“President Bush then took on the issue of illegal immigration, and it proved to be much more difficult than anticipated,” he said.
In the absence of strong North American leadership, is a crisis the way greater North American integration can be expected to happen?
“There are alternatives to a crisis for getting a major decision adopted by the president and by the congress,” Pastor responded. “But what I am saying is that we lack the kind of North American leadership we need. Our founding fathers created a system of governance that was not designed to be efficient but was designed to protect freedom. Therefore, you created checks and balances that did protect freedom but also made it difficult to move forward on important issues.”
Pastor was asked what North American leaders would need to do to move toward integration.
“We need to form a customs union to move North American integration to a new level,” Pastor argued. “A customs union would eliminate rules of origin on the border and agree to a common external tariff. This would not be easy but not as difficult as NAFTA was, and it would lead to efficiencies in our economies and in the end contribute to a better standard of living for all parties.”
Pastor also called for a North American Investment Fund to invest in Mexico’s infrastructure.
“If we had a North American Investment Fund,” Pastor explained, “over the long term, you would narrow the income gap between Mexico and the U.S.”
WND previously reported Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, dropped his support for legislation (S. 3622) he introduced in the 109th Congress to create a North American Investment Fund after WND pointed out the proposed law would advance an important part of Pastor’s agenda to create a North American Community.
Pastor was careful to distinguish that his proposals were designed to create a North American Community and that he never has proposed to create a North American Union as an EU-style regional government.
“What I am recommending is a series of functional steps that are more than incremental,” Pastor admitted. “Each of the proposals I have laid out represent more than just small steps. But it doesn’t represent a leap toward a North American Union, or even to some confederation of any kind. I don’t think either is plausible, necessary, or even helpful to contemplate at this stage.”
The idea seems to be to put new structures in place that change the look of the landscape. WND pointed out to Pastor that this step-by-step approach is the same approach taken to create the European Union. The memoirs of Jean Monnet, regarded as the architect of European unity, finally disclosed he had used a strategy of deceit, knowing his plan to form a European Union would never succeed if it were openly disclosed.
Pastor was asked if he thought a North American Union was a bad idea.
“No,” he replied. “I don’t think a political union of North America is an inherently bad idea, nor do I think it is a good idea for North America right now. I teach a course at American University in which I look at the different options for political integration of North America, and I put the options before the students.”
Then why is a North American Union a bad idea right now?
“The reason the political integration is not a good idea at this stage now, perhaps never, is because of people like yourself who immediately begin to fear that their sense of America could disappear,” Pastor responded. “Somehow, if you’re fearful that America’s sovereignty will disappear, you won’t even take small steps forward. You just get mired in the status quo. The problem is that the world is moving very rapidly, and you can’t stay competitive if you don’t move.”
Pastor did not reject the idea that a North American Union could form, but only after further continental economic integration and the development of a North American Community in which people are able to think as citizens of North America.
Is China the winner in the NAFTA super-corridors being planned for North America?
“If you define trade in zero-sum terms, China may be the winner in the transportation corridors,” Pastor conceded. “But even in zero-sum terms, consumers benefit from the increasing imports that give them more choice and give them more quality. In the final analysis, we are all consumers.”
Pastor affirmed he favors globalism.
“I believe,” he explained to WND, “that globalization is a net plus for the world economy, for the middle class, and for all people.”
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