July 16, 2008

The Myth of the North American Union

By Dave

Being involved with political groups of a Libertarian persuasion, I get on the mailing lists of all sorts of well-meaning, but somewhat loony people on both the right and left of the political spectrum – and sometimes those two extremes are hard to tell apart. One of the things which is high on their list of concerns is the impending surrender of the sovereignty of the United States under the authority of a new continental government sometimes referred to as the ‘North American Union’. I get a different email warning about it every few days.

For those not familiar with this looming threat, the North American Union is going to be a government similar to the European Union which will supersede the current governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico and bring all three countries together under a single unified legal, taxing and administrative structure. Unlike the European Union which originated as a clearly identifiable treaty voted on and adopted by the existing governments of the member states, the NAU is being secretly implemented through a series of treaties and trade agreements which add up to de facto political unification of the continent.

At least this is what paranoid anti-globalists at Human Events, WorldNetDaily, InfoWars and EagleForum plus of course news network lunatic Lou Dobbs all believe. Some of these sources have a certain amount of legitimacy in the political circles they appeal to – they aren’t all professional scaremongers like Alex Jones – and there are a dismayingly large number of people who take Dobbs seriously.

The basic scenario is that a combination of treaties, agreements and government initiatives adds up to a new de facto government for all of North America. The conspiracy theory has deep antecedents. It originates in the fear of the Council on Foreign Relations which the John Birch Society and related groups have targeted for almost 50 years on the theory that the CFR is a sort of shadow government which secretly sets US policy on behalf of secretive international interest groups. In 2005 the CFR issued the task force report Building a North American Community, which seems to draw together the threads of a wide range of government activities into a single grand web of conspiracy to create a North American Union. This report is cited as the ‘blueprint’ for the new continental government. The report was authored by Professor Robert Pastor of American University who has since gone to considerable lengths to explain in detail that it never proposed the idea of any kind of union or any reduction in national sovereignty, but apparently no one is interested in listening to his explanations.

The mechanism for implementing the supposed North American Union is trade agreements like NAFTA, international highway programs like the Trans-Texas Corridor, regional security initiatives like the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, and various efforts to deal with illegal immigration like guest worker programs. Much of the legislation which is supposed to implement this plan is as yet unpassed and likely unpassable. Congressmen introduce more than enough potentially scary legislation to feed all sorts of conspiracy theories. All of these things together add up to opening the borders, replacing our courts with international tribunals, outsourcing all of our jobs, overriding the Constitution and tearing down all of our cultural and political institutions. Well, that’s what they do in the twisted minds of people who can take harmless efforts to promote trade and protect the country and totally reinterpret them out of context, inflate them into something radically different from their intended purpose and then throw in a good dollop of pure paranoia to create an idea like the North American Union which should more properly be known as Fantasyland.

Of course, the US government is already hard at work implementing this plan through the Security and Prosperity Parnership program, an informal arrangement to try to coordinate efforts to promote trade and establish border security throughout the region, which conspiracists like Jerome R. Corsi believe is a secretive plot to bypass the legislative process and “to advance the agenda articulated by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) to establish a North American Union as a new regional super-government by 2010.” In reality, the CFR report which this theory is based on doesn’t even begin to suggest the formation of a regional union or anything resembling a government. What’s more, in response to the conspiracy theorists, the Department of Commerce has gone to great lengths on their SPP website to make absolutely clear that the SPP in no way creates a North American Union:

“The cooperative efforts under the SPP, which can be found in detail at www.spp.gov, seek to make the United States, Canada and Mexico open to legitimate trade and closed to terrorism and crime. It does not change our courts or legislative processes and respects the sovereignty of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The SPP in no way, shape or form considers the creation of a European Union-like structure or a common currency. The SPP does not attempt to modify our sovereignty or currency or change the American system of government designed by our Founding Fathers.”

Clear statements of intent like that aren’t likely to stop die-hard conspiracists like Jerome R. Corsi, a frothing nativist who refers to the CFR as a ‘left-of-center’ organization despite the fact that the group was formed primarily to fight the spread of communism and socialism through the promotion of international capitalism. Corsi has written extensively on the North American Union and the twisted logic of his ‘research’ seems to be pretty seductive. Corsi goes looking for threats and finds them everywhere, even if it means grossly misrepresenting events and broadly reinterpreting the nature and content of treaties and legislation. Corsi’s message plays well to the overheated imaginations of nativists on the right and anti-capitalists on the left, so it gets picked up widely and gains increasing acceptance as his ideas get repeated in articles all over the web, on op-ed pages and on the air by buffoons like Lou Dobbs.

I’d be the first to stand up against anyone who wanted to give away our sovereignty or sacrifice our interests on the altar of globalism, but is that really what’s happening here? Read the CFR task force report. It’s the most incredibly innocuous document. It’s not a blueprint for a new oppressive regional government, it’s a rather vague and harmless set of suggestions for improving trade and security. The same is true for the rest of the source material. If you read what the conspiracists claim and then look for the sources for their claims, you inevitably discover that some harmless idea has been reinterpreted as something radically different or that a single isolated example has been expanded on as part of a greater plan which doesn’t really exist.

One frequent claim of the conspiracists is that the NAU will override the US Constitution and replace our court system with ‘international tribunals’. This seems like a natural extension of the paranoia of anti-globalists about institutions like the International Criminal Court. The basis for this claim is the presence in some free trade agreements like NAFTA of special courts which are intended exclusively to hear trade disputes which cross international borders. These special courts have very clearly delineated powers and in no cases do they include appeals from US criminal courts or the ability to override domestic law within the United States.

Another common complaint of the conspiracists is that one of the routes to the NAU is through the construction of international mega-highways like the Trans-Texas Corridor which will eliminate border stops and put an end to border security. The TTC is a true nightmare project which will trample property rights and destroy communities throughout Texas, but it’s not quite the threat they make it out to be. To start with, it’s the only project of this sort currently being implemented. There are no similar highways or extensions which are planned for other states. What’s more, construction on the TTC has been stalled by the Texas legislature and there’s no guarantee it will ever even be implemented. In the face of this fact, the claims of the cleverer conspiracists is that the federal government is building ‘secret’ highways which will later be turned into this new international network, but in most instances the new construction they point to as part of this plan is not even federally funded, and consists of highways which are purely regional in nature and could not be easily joined together for the purposes they propose exist.

Another typical misrepresentation arises from proposals for regional security. For example, the SPP proposes establishing a regional security perimeter to screen dangerous travelers before they enter any of the three North American countries, an obvious way to address the problem of potential terrorists sneaking over the huge northern and southern borders of the United States by catching them at their port of entry. The conspiracists overlook the legitimate security purpose of this idea and instead interpret it as a plan to get rid of borders between the US, Canada and Mexico so that there will be an unrestricted flow of Mexicans into the US work force. Administration proposals for guest worker programs fit right in with this and are seen as the first step towards opening the borders and welcoming in a flood of immigrants. Never mind that such a program is designed primarily to make sure that immigrants are identified and controlled and can be limited and removed more easily as is impossible under the current system.

Trade agreements are also a frequent target of the conspiracists. They see every effort to make trade with Mexico easier as a plan to take away US jobs or lower wages. What’s really going on, of course, is an effort to build up the economy of Mexico while at the same time holding down inflation in the US. As inexpensive produce and consumer goods come into the US from the south, they lower the cost of living for our citizens. As more Mexican goods find markets in the north, that builds up the economy of Mexico, raises wages there and reduces the incentives for Mexican workers to sneak into the US. Expanding trade with Mexico also attracts US and international businesses to Mexico with the result of creating more and better paid jobs there. If we can make Mexico worth living in then the population is a lot more likely to stay there, so contrary to the claims that these programs will lead to a flood of population into the US, the actual end result is a reduction in the flow of immigrants and an end to the loss of jobs, achieved through positive regional economic change rather than through draconian measures like building a border wall.

In many cases the claims of the conspiracists fail the test of internal logic altogether. For example, one frequent claim is that the NAU is being established through secret treaties and solely on the authority of the executive branch without consulting Congress. Yet in virtually the next breath the conspiracists will point to Congressional legislation which they claim is part of the implementation of the NAU and accuse certain representatives as being stooges for the administration and the NAU plan. The claims that secret plans are being acted on behind the scenes also fall flat. Corsi himself obtains most of his information from public sources and anyone can find the ‘secret’ documents online with ease, though if you’re looking for conspiracy you’ll be disappointed.

Whenever the government comes up with a plan, someone is bound to interpret it as part of a great conspiracy, and there are those who find something suspicious in any a government initiative. There are real reasons to be concerned about excessive globalism and there are certainly elements of agreements like NAFTA and the TTC which are worth looking at with a critical eye, but conflating every little unrelated concern together into one vast conspiracy doesn’t really make any sense.

In most conspiracy theories, the real genesis is the irrational belief in the minds of the believers that a conspiracy must exist, which is followed by an effort to dig up or manufacture evidence and fit it into the theory, no matter how much hammering and reshaping of the facts is required. When you go and find the original facts, they don’t even begin to support the elaborate conclusions which were drawn by the conspiracists. The truth is almost always simpler and more reasonable than any conspiracy theory.

That certainly seems to be the case here. There is no North American Union and no plan to form one. There’s no evidence of a taxing mechanism, a military structure, a permanent bureaucracy or any of the other institutions of a functional government, nor is there any evidence of the intent to establish them. Once again, as is so often the case, the government isn’t up to anything more nefarious than trying to advance the interests of big business and find an easier way to provide for national security, while trying to drag the weak sister of North America out of its pit of poverty for the good of the entire region.

Ooh, be afraid. Then ask yourself what the motives of the fear mongers who make this garbage up might be? Maybe that’s the real conspiracy.

Digg!

17 Responses to “The Myth of the North American Union”

  1. greg grisham Says:
    July 20th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Watch google videos Money as Debt, The Money Masters, The Empire of the City, Freedom to Fascism, Operation Gladio, The Power of Nightmares, Zeitgeist,………….

  2. todd Says:
    July 21st, 2008 at 12:56 am

    Didn’t the EU start as a simple free trade proposal?

  3. admin Says:
    July 21st, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Greg. I’d classify your comment as spam. If you’re watching all that crap and taking it seriously, you’ve lost your grip on reality.

    Todd, the SU started as a lot more than a simple trade proposal. It started as a very complex series of agreements. And the intiial creation of the Common Market did not by any means guarantee a progression towards a unified government, and there were lots of points along the way where a different course could have been chosen.

    Dave

  4. Hasheem Says:
    July 22nd, 2008 at 10:44 am

    This site is terrible, and the articles are poorly written. I doubt the site will last long given its failure to differentiate itself from the vast number of other “Alex Jones-hater” sites. ‘How did I even end up here?’ is the question I’m asking myself now. I don’t have an answer.

    The North American Union is our hypermodern destiny as we edge closer to the end of history in which traditional nation-states are replaced by multi-national corporations under a one-world government controlled by the investment banking cartel. And yet, what is most thought provoking in these thought-provoking times is that we are still not thinking. Our most prudent course of action is to attempt to steer it as best we can, therefore three cheers to the folks in Texas who have resisted construction of the Trans-Texas Corridor!

  5. admin Says:
    July 22nd, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Well, Hasheem, I’d love to see your suggestions for improving the writing. Perhaps my two degrees in English and 30 years as a professional writer and editor and teacher have all been an illusion.

    As for Alex-Jones hater sites, I hope that this is much more than that, though he is obviously the clown prince of conspiracy fraudsters.

    What I hope to do is provide a comprehensive resource for refusting the claims of conspiracy nuts which anyone can use to stop them dead in their tracks.

    Dave

  6. todd Says:
    July 22nd, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Dave,

    While I don’t agree completely with some of the innocence in your argument on this story I will defend your writing. I agree with Hasheem on the the three cheers for Texas but your story is well written in my opinion.

    I am a person that tends to go down the dark rabbit hole of Alex Jones once in awhile along with other rabbit holes and your stories bring me back up a little bit. I get my news everywhere I can and there are just certain intertwined threads that can lead to dangerous places if not made more public. The SPP and NAU are just those little whispers in your head saying something just isn’t right and wonder why if it is so benign why don’t we hear about it? Maybe because it is so benign as to be a total bore to the MSM…hmm…but anyway as you said at those points when a decision was made in the Common Market towards unification were those points communicated well to the people that had to live with the results or just discussed-without any public input on those points- by some dudes in a room that decided to proceed. I would challenge that you ask the average sheep on the street what the SPP is and they won’t have a clue.

    What are your thoughts about a persistent, multi-generational steering and/or directing, what have you, of policies?

  7. Dave Says:
    July 23rd, 2008 at 2:43 am

    While I don’t agree completely with some of the innocence in your argument on this story I will defend your writing. I agree with Hasheem on the the three cheers for Texas but your story is well written in my opinion.

    I’m here in Texas, and we worked damned hard to stop the TTC. And regardless of the NAU, the TTC was a terrible idea in every way. That’s often the case in these conspiracy theories. The conspiracy may not exist, but some of the elements which form the basis of the theory are more than bad enough in their own right to raise plenty of concerns. Another example of this is REAL ID. I don’t believe the conspiracy theories about chipping or tattooing people, but I still don’t want a trackable national ID.

    The SPP and NAU are just those little whispers in your head saying something just isn’t right and wonder why if it is so benign why don’t we hear about it? Maybe because it is so benign as to be a total bore to the MSM

    I think that really IS the case with the SPP. It’s a boring and fairly trivial arrangement. The only people who should really be irritated by it are nativists, because it exists specifically because of our inability to secure our borders. Because of that failing we have the SPP which lets us apply security at Canadian and Mexican ports because we can’t do it at the border.

    anyway as you said at those points when a decision was made in the Common Market towards unification were those points communicated well to the people that had to live with the results or just discussed-without any public input on those points- by some dudes in a room that decided to proceed.

    The situation in Europe is different. Nothing about the EU Constitution or the Treaty of Lisbon is really secret, but it is certainly being rammed down peoples throats whether they want that higher level of unification and everything which comes with it or not. That process of majority tyrrany has characterized the entire history of the EU.

    What are your thoughts about a persistent, multi-generational steering and/or directing, what have you, of policies?

    I think that lots of people would like to do it. That’s certainly what the CFR is all about. But I don’t see much of it going on in secret. Most of the groups that want to promote long term policies are very public about it.

    Dave

  8. Frank Says:
    July 23rd, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    The UK referendum in 1975 was for remaining in the EEC (European Economic Community), even though the treaties had already been signed to work towards a European Union back in 1972-3. The debate was entirely marginalised and the Government and the Monarchy endorsed the “Yes” vote, and went to great expense to promote their side carefully limiting the debate to the economic issue (common market etc), with great help from the media as well. Ironically, it was only the far left socialist and communists that opposed it, or were allowed to more to the point IMO.

    Those of you in the US are kidding yourselves if you dont think the same is happening to you, it follows the pattern almost exactly.

    The treaties are being signed, and the issues of money and security are being used, just as money was used in 1975.

  9. Lumpy Says:
    July 23rd, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    It’s exactly the same, except for every major detail which is exactly different.

    The EEC was a common market with the intention from the start of combined trading, banking and ultimately currency.

    The SPP and NAFTA include nothing at all like that. They are simple cooperative treaties which are scrupulous about national sovereignty and strictly delineate each country’s role and responsibilities, with no provisions at all for shared administration, pooling of resources or any of the things which characterize the EEC.

    The comparison is ridiculous. It also makes no sense to create a North American Union with the countries which would be involved because unlike the European nations which were on rough economic parity, the US is so far ahead of Mexico economically that actual union would be economically devastating. Plus none of the leaders or major parties in ANY of the three countries supports the idea of such a union.

    As usual the conspiracists are talking pure fantasy.

  10. Frank Says:
    July 24th, 2008 at 8:15 am

    maybe you could enlighten us as to the apparently benign aims and effects of the SPP and NAFTA? are they not to harmonise the three countries’ security and prosperity? are they doing this without any affect the structure of any of the countries? no changes are being made as a result? no, of course not, the SPP is just a treaty that says the US, mexico, and canada would just like to be friends and hold hands…

    oh and i seem to remember the leader of mexico very plainly stated that he is in favour of a NAU based on the EU model, he was quite explicit about that, he said it on a national TV show, if you say im lying, i will find it FOR you…

    as for the comparison being ridiculous, its far from it in my opinion, the EU didnt start with a legislative body, it started as the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, and then the European Economic Community was set up in 1957 at the Treaty of Rome.

    the only difference i can discern is that back in the 1950′s they weren’t lying as much about what this would all mean, they were perfectly happy to proclaim these economic agreements as the foot in the door for the federalisation of Europe, whereas, now, you’d be hard pressed to get that these treaties even exist, let alone that they are the path that leads to a NAU.

  11. Dave Nalle Says:
    July 26th, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    maybe you could enlighten us as to the apparently benign aims and effects of the SPP and NAFTA?

    Well, the SPP is going to reduce the number of dangerous aliens coming into the US by helping to control ports of entry. That seems like a good thing. And NAFTA is going to bring low cost products into the US, reducing expenses for consumers, while improving the economies of the poorer nations in the hemisphere to make them better markets for our products.

    Why are those bad things?

    Dave

  12. Randy Says:
    July 27th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Many points have been raised here about the SPP, NAFTA, and the FTA. People have mentioned the benign aspect of them, etc. I for one am well informed of the effects and the wording of nafta and the fta, such as it does not allow Canada to make any laws which will interfere with corporate gains and if canada does make laws which interfere with US corp. gains canada will be sued and the laws revoked. many of these lawsuits have happened already and one is currently going on in nova scotia. It makes it very hard to act upon the Kyoto Agreement when a “benign” treaty forces you to make laws based upon US corporation interests. I find it also interesting that the FBI, the DEA, and the BATF are now openly operating in Canada as part of the expanded agreements. The Canadian census is now conducted by Lockheed, and it has been proven that all the info on canadians is handed over to homeland security. I also think it is interesting that the Prime Minister that enacted NAFTA was forced out of office afterwards and left the country to live in the USA. What else could he do…..he had to live there due to the many corporate board positions and a spot on the CFR that was waiting for him. Something else I find interesting is that the USA is also wanting to now “oversee” our customs and immigration offices. It seems that people forget that Canada is a sovereign nation, and not one of the states. These so called “benign” treaties have taken our sovereignty away from Canadians. Parliament can’t even make laws now without checking with US corporations to to see if it’s ok. Also if there isn’t anything to hide in these agreements why has Harper refused to do anything but make one line comments about these meetings and refuses to give full disclosure on them? He has been questioned about the treaties heavily and no info has been given. If nothing is “going on” then why is he being extremely closed lipped about them. Maybe, much like the new expanded nafta, and the norad agreements……..because they sell off more and more of Canada’s sovereignty to the USA. So much for your “benign” treaty argument.

  13. Dave Nalle Says:
    July 27th, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    I understand the Canadian perspective on the SPP, but the fact is that it’s just easier to enforce the borders if we do it at the ports of entry rather than at the 3000 mile long border. If Canada didn’t agree they should not have signed on.

    As for NAFTA, it does cut both ways. Canadian corporations have much more access to US markets as a result. It’s been particularly good for Canadian farmers and food consumers.

    Dave

  14. ernest Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    You guys are looneys!
    You must be getting fed by the BEATS!

  15. Lumpy Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    What are the BEATS?

    Dave

  16. Mike Says:
    September 2nd, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    @ Dave
    “Another example of this is REAL ID. I don’t believe the conspiracy theories about chipping or tattooing people, but I still don’t want a trackable national ID.”

    One of the first proposals after 9/11 for something REALID-like WAS implantable chips. Rich Mexicans are now chipping themselves, and the technology is so ancient it’s not even funny. We’re talking about simple radio transmitters that we encase in a tiny piece of glass about the size of a grain of rice, not cognitive enhancing brain-machine interfaces.

    All I’m saying is the idea isn’t totally insane: a trackable I.D. may as well be a tattoo or chip. To paraphrase the key point of the CIA proposal: “Well, wouldn’t they just be able to put the I.D. down? Good point. What about microchips?”

    If you haven’t already read it, check out Legacy of Ashes.

  17. Stop Listening to Idiots | Texas Broadside Says:
    September 29th, 2009 at 10:00 am

    [...] delusions actively promoted by conspiracy-huckster Alex Jones. Note his reference to the mythical North American Union, the nonexistent Amero currency and the dreaded Security and Prosperity Partnership. He tells us to [...]

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