THE IMAGINARY PLANS FOR A NORTH AMERICAN UNION:
ANOTHER CONSPIRACY THEORY FOR THE GUILIBLE AND THE DISAFFECTED
When I first heard someone refer to plans for a new “North American Union” I was enormously surprised and then convinced that someone was not playing with a full deck. No politician in any of the North America countries had stepped up to suggest this idea and the notion that it was being done as a secret conspiracy was totally preposterous.
Now, after investigating every assertion by the extremist web-sites that have fuelled this conspiracy theory, I am convinced that my initial reaction was too charitable to them. This is by leaps and bounds the dumbest conspiracy theory on the Internet. The fact that some folks would deliberately mislead the gullible is probably no surprise. But somehow I remain surprised that anyone could take the bait on this silly and groundless bit of paranoia.
Several sources, mostly on the Internet, have concluded that there is a secret plan in the Bush Administration to merge the United States with Mexico and Canada. (1)Why exactly anyone would want to do this remains unexplained.(2) How it could be done in secret is also left to one’s imagination. Since it is difficult to prove a negative, that there is no secret plan for a North American Union, i.e. it would be a hypothetical secret after all, I will take two approaches. First, let’s ask what exactly would have to be done to achieve a North American Union in the real world. Then we can compare this hypothetical course of action to the known facts. Second, let’s look at each of the “facts” cited by the conspiracy theorists to test their accuracy and probative value for the hypothesis being suggested.
The conspiracy theory asserts that the United States, Mexico and Canada will become one supranational entity, analogous to the European Union.(3) This would entail the surrender of a good deal of national sovereignty, including a general consent to the new entity superceding United States law on some critical issues.(4) Such an arrangement is totally without parallel in United State history. Despite fringe group complaints over the WTO, NAFTA and the United Nations, none of those underlying agreements involved any surrender of U.S. sovereignty. The most that has been conceded in the resolution of trade disputes under the agreements by third-party mechanisms, not unlike arbitration, with compliance ultimately left to the national governments involved.(5) The United Nations Charter has some grand language, but in the end, leaves the United States and other member states with the authority to act in their own best interests.
For an international agreement to be effective in superceding American law, it would have to be a treaty, approved by two-thirds of the Senate and signed by the President. Even then, implementing legislation by Congress would be necessary, since the provisions would not automatically have domestic effect. It is also clear that basic U.S. liberties secured by our Constitution could not be affected by any international agreement, except where there was an explicit Constitutional amendment, including ratification by the states. ''It need hardly be said that a treaty cannot change the Constitution or be held valid if it be in violation of that instrument.'' The Cherokee Tobacco, 11 Wall. ( 78 U.S.), 616, 620 (1871). It is also entirely likely that the surrender of the legal rights of our states in the Federal system would require their consent, possibly even their unanimity.(6)
At minimum, a “North American Union” that truly superceded United States national authority would require one or more treaties approved by the Senate by a two-thirds vote and implementing legislation approved by both Houses of Congress. It is also likely that various Constitutional amendments would be necessary to modify individual and states’ rights in our current system. Only the most legally ignorant observers could possibly postulate that this process could be done in secret. The limitations on Presidential power under our checks and balances would make any secret Executive Branch plan laughable.
Unless the reader is a glutton for punishment, you can stop reading here. There is no proposed treaty. There have been no negotiations. None of the national governments involved have suggested a North American Union. There have been no bills in any of the national legislatures. None of the legal steps that would be necessary to achieve this far-fetched notion have been taken.(7) They have not even been proposed by anyone, probably because no significant part of the population of any of the three countries involved supports the idea. That the leaders of all three countries could somehow subvert both the legal processes and the national will sounds more than a little crazy if you step back and look at the assumptions being made by the fringe groups.(8) When this moonbat theory was raised at a White House press conference, it was flatly denied: “Will the president categorically deny any interest in building a European Union-style superstate in North America? Responded Snow: "Of course, no. We're not interested. There is not going to be an EU in the U.S."
Lacking any steps to actually create such a supranational entity, the conspiracy theorists rely on a series of lies and half-truths. Our second leg of the journey is to go through each of the cited items to test their veracity and probative value. While the conspiracy theorists love to say the government is lying, what in fact emerges is a pattern of huge deception by their own self-appointed spokesmen.
Before we go through the list, I want to reinstate the obvious as background and context. The United States is a huge player in the international stage. We live next door to two of our major trading partners. Mexico and Canada provide a large part of our energy needs (far more than the Middle East) and a major market for our exports. In the security context, our broad borders with these countries are a critical part of defense against terrorism and crime. We have undertaken an international agreement to eliminate tariffs in North America, the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). U.S. moves to liberalize trade have created enormous benefits to our economy, one of the many facts totally ignored by the xenophobes.(9)
What is clearly not understood or deliberately obfuscated by the “North American Union” conspiracy theorists is the difference between sovereign countries meeting and trying to reach consensus on matters of mutual interest as opposed to surrender the right to make these decisions to a supranational authority. Lacking the existence of such a supranational authority, the conspiracy folks imply that allegedly undue deference to our neighbors’ viewpoints is the same thing. While it is beyond the scope of this article, there is a clear lack of evidence that the United States is even being unduly influenced by the opinions of its neighbors’ governments, much less that it is preparing to surrender resolution of these maters to a new supranational entity.
The place to start any conspiracy theory worth its salt is the Council on Foreign Relations. Portrayed by the fringe groups as some sort of secret alter ego, transnational shadow government, the CFR is one of their historic bogeymen. Somehow the “secret plans” of the CFR are included in their published reports and meetings, according to our kooky pundits. The principal report on North American relations by the CFR that is referred to be the conspiracy theorists is “Building a North American Community: Report of the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America” (2005). While most of them do not need to even look at the report to be convinced that the CFR is up to no good, the report does not advocate anything close to a “North American Union.” Nevertheless, the lack of any rational basis never stopped a good conspiracy theorist:
In normal daily international relations, not to mention in NAFTA implementation, the United States meets and coordinates matters with our neighbors as a matter of course."Laying the foundation for the Waco meeting, the CFR produced a document entitled Creating a North American Community: Chairmen's Statement Independent Task Force on the Future of North America. The document called for "the creation by 2010 of a community to enhance security, prosperity, and opportunity for all North Americans." The CFR is proposing nothing less than a plan to create a North American Union, similar to the European Union. The CFR protests that this is not its intention. "A new North American community will not be modeled on the European Union or the European Commission, nor will it aim at the creation of any sort of vast supranational bureaucracy," the Chairmen's Statement said. But this is exactly the kind of statements that were made about the EU during its earlier phases of development." Dennis Behreandt, “Creating the North American Union,” The New American (October 2, 2006) (emphasis added).(10)
It is clear to any reasonable reader that nothing in the CFR report comes close to suggesting that “regional cooperation” should be the first step toward political integration. Moreover, as Hawkins pointed out, the CFR is not the United States Government in any event and its calls for more cooperation in the continent are only part of a myriad of other advise going to the Bush Administration (the same Administration that just signed the border fence law).
The real NAU conspiracy is alleged to have started when President Bush met with his counterparts in Waco, Texas on March 23, 2005. This is the date of the “secret agreement” to merge the countries according to those sources who have claimed intimate knowledge of the secret plot. Unfortunately for the peddlers of this nonsense, there was no intergovernmental agreement of the three countries signed that day. There was a press release which typically tried to report areas of agreement by the heads of state and promises of future cooperation. It contains no “North American Union” proposal, no reference to any supranational mechanisms or authority and no departure from the national policies determined before the meeting by each government and openly advocated by the respective leaders.
Most of the hype from the fringe of politics about the “North American Union” comes in reaction to a few real life developments, since as the Waco meeting.(11) Unfortunately, they are so misrepresented as to be unrecognizable. The first is the Security and Prosperity Partnership(“SPP”). The SPP originated at the March 23, 2005 meeting of the three heads of state. The press release from the meeting set out the objective of the initiative, which was no more than to promote an ongoing dialogue aimed at improving international cooperation in trade and security matters in North America. To the fruitcakes, this meeting resulted in a secret treaty to merge the three nations. The meeting, as any international exchange between heads of state, was widely reported in each of the nation'’ represented as was the final press release.(12) The meeting resulted in no plans for a “merger” and did not depart significantly from the long-standing relations between the three countries.(13)
In reality, nothing even close to an agreement occurred: “The SPP is a dialogue to increase security and enhance prosperity among the three countries. The SPP is not an agreement nor is it a treaty. In fact, no agreement was ever signed.” www.spp.gov. The SPP website makes that obvious point to anyone with a modicum of intelligence:
“…the SPP is an opportunity for the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico to discuss common goals and identify ways to enhance each nation’s security and prosperity. If an action is identified, U.S. federal agencies can only operate within U.S. law to address these issues. The Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security coordinate the efforts of the agencies responsible for the various initiatives under the prosperity and security pillars of the SPP. If an agency were to decide a regulatory change is desirable through the cooperative efforts of SPP, that agency is required to conform to all existing U.S. laws and administrative procedures, including an opportunity to comment. “ See www.spp.gov.
This is the major logical fallacy to the whole NAU conspiracy theory, mentioned earlier – the premise that any international cooperation is a de facto merger. Obviously this is total and complete nonsense. But acting on the assumption that any SPP talks are automatically “secret merger” discussions, the kooks use every meeting to fuel their bogus theory.(14) Missing, of course, from the conspiracy websites are things like the SPP Report to the three governments for 2006, which stated: “The SPP initiatives form a comprehensive agenda for cooperation among the three countries of North America while respecting the sovereignty and unique cultural and legal heritage of each country.” No where in any SPP document, report or meeting does the group suggest a “North American Union” or even any steps to assign any legal authority to any supranational agency or organization. Even the wingnuts acknowledge that SPP has no legal authority: “The truth is, to date, there has been no legislation passed by Congress to permit its actions. No taxpayer funds have been appropriated.”(15) The Department of Commerce plays host to the SPP working groups and John Hawkins quotes David Bohigian from the Department on the SPP:
"This is not a treaty and not an agreement. It's like a discussion
you'd have with your neighbors. Nobody is looking to merge our
currency, or our borders, or do any sort of union like the EU. The
United States is working cooperatively with its neighbors to enhance
security and prosperity of our countries." Hawkins, Human Events Online, supra.
The detailed list of SPP accomplishments is nothing more than a series of efforts to coordinate and improve respective national policies that involve common goals.(16) No group or commentator from the fringe where SPP is criticized has made any substantive criticism of these actions themselves.
The leading conspiracy proponent cites the efforts to improve border crossing procedures as evidence of a “shadow government” that is secretly erasing the border itself:
"Evidently SPP has decided to erase our internal borders with Mexico and
Canada," Corsi told WND. "We have no trilateral treaty voted by two-thirds
of the Senate that has authorized North American trusted traveler biometric
cards to be issued to the citizens of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Yet this
is exactly what the shadow administrative branch created within the Bush
administration under the auspices of an SPP working group is doing." WorldNetDaily, September 27, 2006.
The gaps in the logic of this argument are as vast as the American West. Widely quoted as being issued by “a shadow agency,”(17) any proposed passes must be issued by the respective national governments. PERIOD. There is no supranational agency issuing anything to anyone. The SPP does not issue any passes nor does any of the working groups between the three governments: only the lawfully empowered respective national agencies have the legal authority and they were the only ones proposed to issue anything. Actually, the Bush Administration has tightened northern border security by requiring Canadians to present passports for the first time in history.(18) The Canadian take on the biometric border passes (an old story from over a year before the fruitcakes hit the Internet with it) is a far cry from a reduction of border security:
An independent multilateral task force recommended that Canada, the U.S. and Mexico should share a common biometric border pass that would allow smoother passage through customs, immigration and airport security, while ensuring the security of our shared continental perimeter. The U.S. has been working on biometric border control technologies since the September 11 terrorist attacks. In fact, the U.S. has taken many concrete steps to protect its own border while Canada has lagged far behind. Apparently the U.S. has now decided that it cannot keep waiting for our government to do its part to enhance the security of our shared continent, so it is leaving us behind. (19)
Amidst tighter border security measures, the passes are intended to allow normal business discourse to occur with a minimum of disruption, while keeping a stricter border regime in place for general cross-border travel.(20) It is hard to recognize any fraction of the truth in Internet drivel on this point.(21)
Another favorite red herring of the wingnuts is the so-called “NAFTA Superhighway.” Arguing that a free trade zone is, by definition, a precursor to political integration(22) (which would be big news to the multiple free trade areas of the world that never evolved into anything else)(23) , the conspiracy folks figure that NAFTA is a sure bet to lead to a full-fledged trans-national merger. Plans to coordinate highway traffic across the borders, dubbed the “NAFTA Superhighway” by the wingnuts, are alleged evidence of this secret plan:
A measure of the rapidity with which this drive for a North American Union can affect the lives of citizens is the planned super highway linking the U.S.'s northern and southern borders. The plan for this highway is breathtaking. It includes plans to start construction in 2007 on the so-called Trans Texas Corridor, to be built in large part by a Spanish construction company. According to the magazine International Construction Review, the project "would be part of the 'super-highway' spanning the United States from the Mexican border at Laredo, making its way through Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma and connecting with the Canadian highway system north of Duluth, Minnesota. Because it would provide a connection all the way between Canada and Mexico, the project is also described as the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) super highway. (24)
“......the plan to build a huge NAFTA Super Highway, four football-fields-wide, through the heart of the U.S. along Interstate 35, from the Mexican border at Laredo, Tex., to the Canadian border north of Duluth, Minn. Once complete, the new road will allow containers from the Far East to enter the United States through the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas, bypassing the Longshoreman’s Union in the process. The Mexican trucks, without the involvement of the Teamsters Union, will drive on what will be the nation’s most modern highway straight into the heart of America. The Mexican trucks will cross border in FAST lanes, checked only electronically by the new “SENTRI” system. The first customs stop will be a Mexican customs office in Kansas City, their new Smart Port complex, a facility being built for Mexico at a cost of $3 million to the U.S. taxpayers in Kansas City.” (25)
The facts are, of course, slightly different and occur in a completely different context. If one searches the Federal Budget documents for an authorization for the NAFTA Superhighway, you will not find one. Building roads with federal money does require Congressional authorization. The wingnuts reply that this is a “secret plan” hidden under various other highway improvement projects in the budget. Since no federal highways right now are four football fields wide, that would be a lot of hidden funds to say the least!
The source of the conspiracy advocates’ theory is grounded in at least a half-truth. There is an organization designed to promote the development of a “superhighway” through the Midwest connecting the NAFTA trading partners. The “National Advocacy for Efficient, Secure and Environmentally Conscious Trade and Transportation (NASCO) also goes by the name “North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition, Inc.” or NASCO:
North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition, Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the world’s first international, integrated and secure, multi-modal transportation system along the International Mid-Continent Trade and Transportation Corridor to improve both the trade competitiveness and quality of life in North America. We were founded in 1994 as the I-35 Corridor Coalition and in 1996 incorporated into a non-profit organization and became NASCO. NASCO is not a government agency. We have no authority to build or develop anything unilaterally. NASCO will work with our members, state Departments of Transportation and federal and local agencies involved in transportation, trade and security to accomplish our mission. The NASCO Corridor encompasses Interstate Highways 35, 29 and 94, and the significant east/west connectors to those highways in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The Corridor directly impacts the continental trade flow of North America. Membership includes public and private sector entities along the Corridor in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
However, there is no giant highway planned.(26) NASCO is about coordination and improvement of existing roads(27) and national systems to promote more trade:
"SuperCorridor - not "Super-sized". As defined in Webster's dictionary, "Super" means "more inclusive than a specialized category". NASCO uses the term "SuperCorridor" to demonstrate we are more than just a highway coalition. NASCO works to develop key relationships along the EXISTING corridors we represent to maximize economic development opportunities along the NASCO Corridor, as well as coordinate the development of technology integration projects, inland ports, environmental initiatives, university research, and the sharing of "best practices". NASCO is particularly focused on coordinating the efforts of local, state and federal agencies and the private sector to integrate and secure a multimodal transportation system along the existing "NASCO Corridor." Id.
A group of agencies and private firms trying to improve transportation systems in the United States…. it hardly sounds like a threat. I agree with John Hawkins on this one in his NAU debunking article:
To be honest, this one has always been a little hard to figure out. After all, Canada and Mexico are our two biggest trading partners. Therefore, it's difficult to understand why some people are so adamantly opposed to improving the highways running between those nations, and into the US, or why they believe a road is part of some monstrous conspiracy.
Hawkins, Human Events Online, supra.
So on top of the half-truth, the conspiracy theorists inject a lot of supposition (to put it charitably). The principal assertion is that the ends of the corridor will be open, i.e. security will be reduced in favor of more commerce. The opposite is closer to the truth: it appears that any modernization of border crossings will enhance security, not reduce it. The exaggeration on the size and nature of the project are also intended to cause a visceral reaction in the reader to its alleged scope, i.e. something this big cannot be innocent. Actually, NASCO list accomplishments that seem pretty trivial in the scope of federal highway funding: $234 million in studies, improvements and coordination funding since 1999.(28) PERIOD. The notion that NAFTA waives U.S. safety laws affecting transportation is also a totally groundless myth.(29)
A key element of the conspiracy theory is a new facility in Kansas City to process inter-American freight. Let’s start with the basic idea that “inland ports” are a fundamental part of transportation and economic development:
An Inland Port is a site located away from traditional land, air and coastal borders with the vision to facilitate and process international trade through strategic investment in multi-modal transportation assets and by promoting value-added services as goods move through the supply chain.
[Source: Center for Transportation Research, The University of Texas at Austin.]
The Kansas City “Smart Port” is part of the “corridor” and is intended to facilitate secure freight traffic by preclearance of loads going into Mexico, not coming from Mexico.
The idea is to set up an area in Kansas City, with Mexican and American customs officials there who can examine outgoing vehicles away from the long lines generated at the borders. You heard that right by the way; this facility will only handle outbound freight headed to Mexico, not Mexican vehicles headed into the United States.
Hawkins, supra (emphasis added).(30)
Anyone who has seen trucks lined up at any international border crossing can appreciate the utility of this idea, especially since it is intended to facilitate our exports to Mexico. Mr. Corsi rebuttal to the “Superhighway” debunking is singularly unconvincing. The most that the wingnut theorists can point to is that some improvements on I-35 and I-69 will be necessary because of increased freight and traffic over the next twenty years or so. This is hardly revolutionary stuff. The nutty assertions that the corridor will become part of Mexico or that it will be used to allow illegal immigration or smuggling are total nonsense. A big chunk of the transportation improvements are intended to increase security, not reduce it. No surrender of national sovereignty is involved in any of the plans to improve U.S. highways that will be used by increased North American international trade, along with daily commuters and vacationing Americans.
Like every other “fact” used by the conspiracy wingnuts, the NAFTA “Superhighway” ends up proving nothing about their wild allegations.
Somehow the hysteria over this nonsense will not die a peaceful death. It is a classic conspiracy theory that asks the listener to suspend belief and rely on “secret plans” that have no apparent factual basis. Every effort at international cooperation, especially between closer connected international neighbors, is certainly not a preclude to supranational integration. Every free trade area does not evolve into a political merger of former nation-states. Clearly every highway between nations is not a secret plot to erase international borders.
Despite the frivolous nature of the North American Union conspiracy theory, some in Congress – running for reelection in very conservative districts – have proposed a Congressional Resolution opposing any North American Union.(31) Unfortunately, this will keep the fuel on the fire in the extremist corners of the Internet.(32) In the meantime, in the real world, we are struggling to secure our borders while not placing an undue burden on the flow of commerce. Over 25% of the American economy is now comprised of exports and some of our big trading partners and customers are our neighbors. To maintain a free trade region with fair terms for competition requires coordination and cooperation. It does not entail any loss of our sovereignty and should not precipitate any loss of our rationality.
Our system of checks and balances is alive and well after more than two hundred years of trial and sometimes error. Unlike the parliamentary systems of Europe, the United States has a divided government with three co-equal branches. No branch of government can undertake massive changes without running into barriers built into the system. The United States is simply not constituted in a manner that would allow for secret coups and the preemption of democratic processes on a large scale. None of the requisite steps to create a North American supranational authority have occurred or have even been proposed. None of the actions taken to date amount to anything even remotely similar to a new supranational entity. Not only is the United States devoid of politicians advocating this radical idea, but so are Mexico and Canada. There is absolutely no actual evidence of any merger plans.
The very concept that nationl leaders of three democratic countries could plan a secret new supranational political union and carry out the plan without going through the constitutional processes in each nation is completely frivolous.(33) That this could be achieved without leaving any hard evidence is even more inconceivable.
Hopefully the conspiracy adherents, moonbats and wingnuts will not do any serious damage to the necessary procedures to keep the United States secure and prosperous. We need to expand our trading system and to do so requires some international governmental coordination and cooperation. Clearly our national security requires us to coordinate carefully with our neighbors, one of the conclusions of the 9-11 Commission. Of course, that raises another conspiracy theory……..
Randy M. Mott
The author was a practicing lawyer in Washington DC for twenty-six years, frequently bringing lawsuits against the U.S. Government , such as Weinburger v. Rossi, which reached the U.S. Supreme Court. I am indebted to John Hawkins, whom I quote frequently and who inspired the idea of a detailed NAU debunking.
1) "President Bush signed a formal agreement that will end the United States as we know it, and he took the step without approval from either the U.S. Congress or the people of the United States." -- Lou Dobbs Tonight.. "President Bush is pursuing a globalist agenda to create a North American Union, effectively erasing our orders with both Mexico and Canada. This was the hidden agenda behind the Bush administration' s true open borders policy....Why doesn't President Bush just tell the truth? His secret agenda is to dissolve the United States of America into the North American Union." -- Jerome Corsi. Both cited by John Hawkins, “Killing the North American Union Conspiracy,” Human Events Online, July 2006 . The leading Internet source for this stuff is WorldNetDaily, which has run a series of articles quoting Corsi and others. See e.g. WorldNetDaily:, September 21, 2006, ; Patrick Wood, The August Review, ; The Liberty Post.
2) The only explanation offered is a quote from the Texas meeting of the three national leaders on March 23, 2005: “"In a rapidly changing world, we must develop new avenues of cooperation that will make our open societies safer and more secure, our businesses more competitive, and our economies more resilient," cited by Liberty Post, supra. How the need for cooperation becomes proof of a merger or a rationale for a merger is left to the readers’ imagination. More on this meeting later….
3) Liberty Post argued that “the three leaders agreed that the United States' north and south borders would be eliminated.” Id.
4) It is impossible for a mere treaty (ratified by 2/3 of the Senate) to change any substantive Constitutional rights, for example. “As statutes may be held void because they contravene the Constitution, it should follow that treaties may be held void, the Constitution being superior to both. And indeed the Court has numerous times so stated.” Congressional Research Service, Annotations on the U.S. Constitution. ''The treaty is . . . a law made by the proper authority, and the courts of justice have no right to annul or disregard any of its provisions, unless they violate the Constitution of the United States.'' Doe v. Braden, 57 U.S. (16 How.) 635, 656 (1853). ''It need hardly be said that a treaty cannot change the Constitution or be held valid if it be in violation of that instrument.'' The Cherokee Tobacco, 11 Wall. ( 78 U.S.), 616, 620 (1871). See also Geofroy v. Riggs, 133 U.S. 258, 267 (1890); United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, 700 (1898); Asakura v. City of Seattle, 265 U.S. 332, 341 (1924). See Willoughby, op. cit., n.294, 561; L. Henkin, op. cit., n.315, 137. In Power Authority of New York v. FPC, 247 F. 2d 538 (2d Cir. 1957), a reservation attached by the Senate to a 1950 treaty with Canada was held invalid. The court observed that the reservation was properly not a part of the treaty but that if it were it would still be void as an attempt to circumvent constitutional procedures for enacting amendments to existing federal laws. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment on mootness grounds. 355 U.S. 64 (1957). In United States v. Guy W. Capps, Inc., 204 F.2d 655 (4th Cir. 1953), an executive agreement with Canada was held void as conflicting with existing legislation. The Supreme Court affirmed on nonconstitutional grounds. 348 U.S. 296 (1955). It is obvious that a mere executive agreement with another nation cannot have precedence over United States law. But see Weinberger V. Rossi, 456 U.S. 25 (1982), (briefed and argued by the author, deciding that a bilateral executive agreement was equivalent to a treaty for specific narrow statutory purposes).
5) Even the very mild forms of international dispute resolution included in NAFTA, for example, are seen by the wingnuts as an invasion of our sovereignty.
6) John Hawkins argues that it would require a Constitutional Convention: “To merge the United States into a North American Union would obviously require a whole host of Constitutional Amendments. In fact, so many would be necessary that the only possible way to accomplish it would be through a Constitutional Convention, an event that hasn't occurred in over 200 years and that would require the support of 34 state legislatures to be possible. So, even if George Bush or any other U.S. President were so inclined to create a North American superstate, he would be powerless to do so unless he were able to rally 2/3 of America's state legislatures to his side. “ Human Events Online, supra.
7) Another lawyer observed: “Having studied the European Union for years, and taught numerous courses on international trade and investment, I can say with confidence that the differences between NAFTA and the EU are so great that it is difficult to know where to begin. NAFTA is far, far closer to EFTA than the EU. And to the best of my knowledge there is nothing in recent proposals that would change that.. Conservative unease apparently centers around President Bush's Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. But if you examine the SPP's agenda, it is far more modest than anything resembling the four freedoms of the EU, much less monetary union.” Roger Alford, “Buzz About a North American Union,”
8) Even Lou Dobbs, who is quoted as the authoritative source by the web-sites, noted: June 21, 2006.“As Dobbs put it on his CNN program, it is "an absolute contravention of our law, of our Constitution, every national value." Liberty Post, supra (emphasis added). This is exactly the reason why the alleged “secret plan” to reach this result is nonexistent.
9) The myth of the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs is one of the most pervasive. The major factor that correlates to manufacturing output is 9-11. Using 1997 as 100, US manufacturing output was 60 the year NAFTA passed. It rose to 105 right before 9-11, then fell into 2002. The recovery from the Bush tax cuts and other factors pushed it up in 2003 and every year thereafter. We are now back to the pre-9-11 high points. It rose steadily the first six and half years of NAFTA and only dropped with 9-11. Source: Strauss, Chief Economist, Federal Reserve St. Louis, March 2006. While the percent of the US labor market represented by manufacturing jobs has been declining since 1947 (47 years before NAFTA), the number of manufacturing jobs has averaged a growth rate of 0.1% since 1947. Strauss, supra. The services sector has grown by five-fold over this period, but these are added jobs, not jobs "lost" from manufacturing. Id. Manufacturing output since 1947 has gone up five fold as well with only a small increase in the number of workers employed. Strauss, supra. This is good news, not bad.
The CBO calculated the independent effect of NAFTA - isolated from other economic factors- and on the major issue raised by NAFTA critics (the trade balance) noted: "NAFTA, by contrast, has had an extremely small effect on the trade balance with Mexico, and that effect has been positive in most years." (emphasis added).
10) Apparently missed by the legal scholars in their circle, it is fact that it took a ratified treaty to move the European Common Market into a true supranational entity, i.e. the Treaty of Maastricht: “Following two parallel government conferences on political union and on economic and monetary union, the Council of Europe reached agreement on the Treaty of the European Union in December 1991 in Maastricht; it was signed in February 1992. Following considerable difficulties in ratifying the treaty in many member states (rejection by referendum in Denmark, agreement by referendum with only a slight majority in France and the so-called Maastricht Judgement by Germany’s Constitutional Court), the treaty eventually came into force in November 1993.” Link.
11) The conspiracy folks take NAFTA’s alleged ill-effects as a given, despite the total lack of any evidence that NAFTA has done anything accept help the U.S. economy. The CBO study isolated the impact of NAFTA from other economic developments over the life of the agreement and concludes that it had a positive effect on the US economy. There is no data to suggest that the US has lost more manufacturing jobs than it has gained because of NAFTA. See Congressional Budget Office (2003) . In the first eight years of NAFTA, manufacturing output in the United States rose at an annual average rate of 3.7 percent, 50 percent faster than during the eight years before enactment of NAFTA. " Griswold, Cato Institute, "NAFTA at 10: An Economic and Foreign Policy Success." There has been no major US re-investment in manufacturing plants in Mexico after NAFTA: " In the eight years after the implementation of NAFTA, from 1994 through 2001, U.S. manufacturing companies invested an average of $2.2 billion a year in factories in Mexico. That is a mere 1 percent of the $200 billion invested in manufacturing each year in the domestic U.S. economy." Griswold, Cato Institute:, supra, references deleted. China and Japan have both experienced more manufacturing job losses from 1995 to 2002 than the United States. Strauss, supra. These losses in China are continuing at a faster rate than the US. See also Bloomberg Financial (2006). "... Chinese competition has claimed some US manufacturing jobs. But Oxford Economics puts the losses from 2000 to 2010 as low as 500,000 – no more than the US labour force sheds each week. Their disappearance is also partly a statistical illusion. Many manufacturing jobs are actually in services, such as finance and marketing, which yield far higher returns." Guy de Jonquières in the Financial Times April 3, 2006.
12) See e.g. Mexican Embassy web-site; U.S. Embassy in Canada web-site.
13) See e.g. OpenCRS, “Mexico-United States Dialogue on Migration and Border Issues, 2001-2005," November 30, 2005.
14) The classic example is the recent World Net Daily article “THE NEW WORLD DISORDER: North American Forum agenda: Program of secretive high-level meeting in Canada,” September 21, 2006. The agenda of the meeting is posted on the Internet and utterly fails to deliver any support for the headline. Very typical of conspiracy moonbat tactics, many of the sources cite widely available public facts as brillant secret disclosures, putting an unbelievable amount of spin on their interpretation.
15) Tom DeWeese, MichNews.com LINK.
16) The SPP website makes the obvious point:: “The SPP is legal and in no way violates the Constitution or affects the legal authorities of the participating executive agencies. Indeed, the SPP is an opportunity for the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico to discuss common goals and identify ways to enhance each nation’s security and prosperity. If an action is identified, U.S. federal agencies can only operate within U.S. law to address these issues. The Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security coordinate the efforts of the agencies responsible for the various initiatives under the prosperity and security pillars of the SPP. If an agency were to decide a regulatory change is desirable through the cooperative efforts of SPP, that agency is required to conform to all existing U.S. laws and administrative procedures, including an opportunity to comment..” www.spp.gov. (emphasis added). Moreover, the proposals to change laws in North America to level the trading field invariably call on our neighbors to change their laws, not the reverse. The United States has been making similar arguments in the WTO and in other trade deals, including items like intellectual property rights.
17) See PHX News; WorldNewsDaily.
18) “Recently we received the news that our American neighbors are placing further restrictions on Canadians crossing the border into the U.S. For the first time in history all Canadians will be required to carry passports.” Guy Lauzon, Conservative Party Member of the Canadian Parliament (2005). Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff: “Congress mandated that the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security work together to implement a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative which will require travelers to present secure identity documentation when entering the United States. And of course, that applies to U.S. citizens as well as citizens of other countries. As you know, before this enactment, U.S. citizens and some foreign residents of the Western Hemisphere were not required to present a passport, and so as we add these new documentation requirements, as the law has mandated, we want to make sure we're doing it in a way that continues to support the free movement of people and cargo across the border, which has been so important to all of the economies in this region.“ Press Release, January 17, 2006. “[O]ur first step is to develop an inexpensive, efficient, interoperable travel card system. To strike the right balance between security and facilitation, we have to incorporate 21st century technology and innovation, and so by the end of this year our departments anticipate issuing a new, inexpensive secure travel card for land border crossings that will meet the documentation requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative…” Id. “This new People Access Security Service, or PASS system card, will be particularly useful for those citizens in border communities who regularly cross northern and southern borders every day as an integral part of their daily lives. We're talking about essentially like the kind of drivers license or other simple card identification that almost all of us carry in our wallets day in and day out. “ Id. This “secret plan” was announced in a press release months before the Corsi and other articles were published and was done under Congressional authorization and by our own Department of Homeland Security, not a “shadow agency.”
20) See Chertoff press release, supra, January 17, 2006; DHS Fact Sheet .
21) While the latest plans or biometric border passes were publicly announced months before the wingnut articles on the Internet, the concept has been around and tested for years and was never part of some secret plot: “Officials will roll out ambitious new technology today to track visitors to the United States as they enter and leave the country, and eventually verify their identity with electronic scanners that will check fingerprints and other biometric data. Together with machine-readable, tamper-proof visas and a huge computer database of names, fingerprints and photographs, the Department of Homeland Security hopes to be able to check the identity — and record the arrival and departure — of every one of the more than 440 million annual visitors to the United States.” Shaun Waterman, UPI “ Biometric Borders Coming,” Washington Times 2003. “Using technology previously reserved for military and other high security applications, engineers from the Safety and Security Systems Division of the Volpe Center have developed a number of automated biometric systems to speed the processing of frequent travelers through United States immigration and to reduce the dependence on manual immigration inspections. These systems, now in use at selected border crossings by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, may serve as the basis for future automated immigration processing developments, both in the United States and around the world.” Volpe Journal , Spring 1997.
22) See Behreandt, “Creating the North Amedrican Union,” The New American, (2006).
23) The United States alone is a party to numerous other free trade agreements. See CBO, ECONOMIC AND BUDGET ISSUE BRIEF “The Recent Increased Emphasis on Free-Trade Agreements,” 2003. The U.S. now has free trade agreements with Israel, Singapore, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and is working on agreements with the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Needless to say, no political union talks are underway with anyone on the list!
25) Jerome Corsi, Human Events Online, June 12, 2006.
26) “Minnesota Department of Transportation’s John Bray says he’s heard all about the internet article boasting the Bush Administration’s plans to build a Super Highway from Mexico to Canada. “Whoever wrote it, I think I would recommend that they take a couple aspirins, lay down, take a snooze, and get up and write something that has some credibility to it. This thing has no credibility at least as far as our agency is concerned.” Link. The Mid-America Regional Council has a detailed transportation plan through 2030 and no new “superhighway” to Mexico is included.
27) “There are no plans to build a new NAFTA Superhighway - it exists today as I-35.” NASCO website (emphasis added). Of course, they could be lying (in the moonbat world), but if they are, how can they use this argument to get Congressional funding for a new, giant highway? Presumably, no moonbat wants to tear out I-35 right now because it has some trucks from Mexico on it.
28) Id. They are, of course, proud of this accomplishment. Whatever its merits, it sure is not funding for a giant highway system.
29) "Access to the U.S. by Mexican motor carriers under NAFTA did not come without obligation to Mexican motor carriers. NAFTA did not change any safety requirements for foreign trucks and drivers operating in the U.S. Therefore, Mexican trucks operating in the U.S. under NAFTA must meet the same safety standards as U.S. trucks. However, Mexico’s regulatory truck safety inspection system is not as sophisticated as the U.S. system and the U.S. maintained that it was inadequate to ensure that Mexican trucks can meet U.S. safety standards." House Hearings, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit (2001).
30) Hawkins also interviewed Tasha Hammes, the Media Relations & Marketing Manager for the KC Smartport project, debunking another wingnut theory that Mexico would run the KC facility: "Kansas City, Mo., is leasing the facility to KC SmartPort. It will NOT be leased to any Mexican government agency or be sovereign territory of Mexico." Hawkins, Human Events Online, supra. Actually, if the KC facility was clearing trucks coming from Mexico, no Mexican customs officials would need to be there at all: so their criticism disproves its own premise.
31) WordlNetDaily, October 1, 2006: “Rep. Virgil Goode Jr., R-Va., has introduced a resolution – H.R. 487 – designed to express "the sense of Congress that the United States should not engage in the construction of a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Superhighway System or enter into a North American Union (NAU) with Mexico and Canada." Co-sponsors are Reps. Thomas Tancredo, R-Colo., Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Walter Jones, R-N.C. The same WorldNetDaily article has an amusing footnote: “For a comprehensive look at the U.S. government's plan to integrate the U.S., Mexico and Canada into a North American super-state – guided by the powerful but secretive Council on Foreign Relations – read "ALIEN NATION: SECRETS OF THE INVASION," a special edition of WND's acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine.” Id.
32) The resolution’s sponsors cited several inaccurate and misleading items, including an apparent reference to waiver of truck safety rules, which is entirely fictitious, as noted earlier, and economic “facts” which are misstated or taken out of context at best. Their leading argument aganst NAFTA is that the U.S. balance of trade with Mexico has worsen. Leaving aside the fact that this imbalance is small and that the U.S. has a huge net imbalance largely caused by the growth economic growth in our country at a time when a lot of our trading partners' growth has been flat, the CBO refuted this argument a few years back:
Some observers look at NAFTA's effects on the U.S. balance of trade with Mexico (the difference between the values of exports and imports) as an indication of the economic benefit or harm of the agreement. The balance of trade dropped substantially after NAFTA took effect and has declined further in more recent years, leading some people to conclude that NAFTA has been bad for the U.S. economy.However, changes in the balance of trade with a partner country are a poor indicator of the economic benefit or harm of a trade agreement. A better indicator is changes in the levels of trade. Increases in trade--both exports and imports--lead to greater economic output because they allow each nation to concentrate its labor, capital, and other resources on the economic pursuits at which it is most productive relative to other countries. Benefits from the greater output are shared among the countries whose trade increases, regardless of the effects on the trade balance with any particular country. Such effects do not translate into corresponding effects on the balance of trade with the world as a whole; for a country as big as the United States, that balance is largely unaffected by restrictions on trade with individual countries the size of Mexico. Moreover, even declines in a country's trade balance with the world have little net effect on that country's output and employment because the immediate effects of those declines are offset by the effects of increased net capital inflows from abroad that must accompany those declines."
CBO also argues that the isolated impct of NAFTA on the U.S.-Mexico trade balance has largely been positive.
Like Mr. Corsi’s comments and articles, these few House members will find themselves in close company with white supremacists and other marginal political groups, who see the “North American Union” as part of the Illumati plot to control the world.
33) In order for the plot to work, all of the SPP, CFR and foreign folks working on the coordinating committees would seem to be “in on it.” Pesumably, large parts of both parties elected represenatives in Congress would also have to be “in on it” – or else why have they been silent? Then the whole federal judiciary in the United States, appointed by the last four U.S. Presidents and confirmed by the Senate, would have to be complicitious, since any federal judge could enjoin the “plot” as unconstitutional. Which also raises the point, that if this is really occurring, why haven’t the moonbats sued? Could it be that no lawyer will sign a complaint fearing Rule 11 sanctions for a frivolous lawsuit? See Fed.R. Civ.P. 11.