Wednesday, May 23, 2007

AMERICAN: Kleptocracy (part 2)

Is the Bush administration planning a North American Union? The Vice President of International Affairs for American University, Robert Pastor, rejects accusations he is a leading advocate for a North American Union.


1 comment:

neverknwo said...

The Senate's draft legislation also restates the goals of security and prosperity partnership of North America, which would reduce or do away with trade and other border -- cumbersome border restrictions among the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Joining me now is Robert Pastor. He's vice president of international affairs at American University, director of the Center for North American Studies.

Robert, good to have you here.

ROBERT PASTOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: It's good to be with you, Lou.

DOBBS: All right, let's start with it. What in the world are we trying to do here, we elitists who want to make it so less cumbersome to traffic commerce among Canada, the United States, Mexico, and move people and goods so much more efficiently?

PASTOR: Well, I think the premise is that if Canada and Mexico develop very well and they progress, this is in our interests as well. That's the portion of the bill that you were just hearing.

DOBBS: OK. Who is we? I'm a little lost on that. American people haven't voted on it. Congress hasn't voted on it.

PASTOR: It's me and you, and it's the American people will benefit from increasing trade, increasing investment. And Mexicans and Canadians will benefit as well.

And in fact, the Congress did pass, of course, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and this is before the Congress now, to debate and to see whether they will pass that as well.

DOBBS: Well, let's hope, Robert, that you all get a little surprise from this Congress. I have to tell you, I frankly will be surprised as well.

Here's what you wrote, "I do not propose a North America union; I propose a North American community. A community composed of three sovereign governments that seek to strengthen the bonds of cooperation. Each government retains the power to decide whether and how to cooperate."

How is that different from a North American union?

PASTOR: A North American union is like the United States. It's a unified, centralized state. Neither Mexico, Canada, nor the United States want to dissolve their borders to create one single state.

DOBBS: Well, if they're not -- let me ask you this. In point of fact, are you creating a perimeter of security, and you are basically crossing those borders at will -- for example, the pilot project on Mexican trucking -- I mean, what is -- I just don't quite see the difference between that and a North American union, as you would have it.

PASTOR: Well, the difference between the North American union and North American community is that there would be one government in one place in all three countries, instead of three separate governments.

DOBBS: But if you are ignoring and diminishing the sovereignty of three governments, how is that different than having one government?

PASTOR: Well, you are not diminishing the sovereignty of any of the three governments any more than when Canada decided to open up its oil and energy to foreign investment. There were some people who accused it of diminishing their sovereignty. In fact, it has become now one of the great energy exporters in the world.

So you are not diminishing sovereignty. You are enhancing the autonomy, enhancing the welfare of all three peoples by freer trade.

DOBBS: Well, don't you think there should be a straightforward vote on this? Because as technocrats, business executives, and academics and other elites meet in private, and often, if not always, without the transparency of the media being there, the press, don't you think it would be just a lot more straightforward for you all to put forward the agenda, let Congress debate it, let the legislature in Canada and Mexico do so as well, rather than stay under the imprimatur of NAFTA, which is a disaster in so many respects in Mexico and in the United States?

PASTOR: Well, first of all, I don't agree that NAFTA was a disaster...

DOBBS: I know.

PASTOR: ... but I do believe that each of the proposals we've talked about do need to be debated. They do need to be debated in the Congress, and they won't be approved unless all three countries approve them.

DOBBS: And with the United States suffering immense trade deficits with both Canada and Mexico, more than 120 -- approaching 125 billion a year -- what is driving us to do this?

PASTOR: Well, I think we've seen over the last 13 years, since NAFTA came into effect, trade has tripled, foreign direct investment...

DOBBS: Partner, I'm just asking you a simple question.

PASTOR: ... in the (inaudible) countries increased by a factor of...

DOBBS: The fact of that trade is a $125 billion deficit, Robert. What is driving our interest here?

PASTOR: Well, what makes you think that deficit among close neighbors like this is necessarily negative? It means, for example, that we're importing more goods that are cheaper and of a higher quality, so as consumers we benefit from a deficit.

DOBBS: I know. And we benefit from not having control of our own borders, we benefit from having all of you elites decide what the future is without our elected representatives expressing the will of the American people, and I know you think...

PASTOR: I see. You're...

DOBBS: ... that's a much improved and better world. I just don't happen to agree with you.

Come back, we'll talk about it another time. Robert Pastor, thanks for being here.

PASTOR: Well, it's good to be with a member of the public and the people, not just an elite like the rest of us, huh, Lou?

DOBBS: Bless your heart.

PASTOR: Bye-bye.

DOBBS: Up next, Democrats retreat in the war funding battle with the Bush White House. We'll have the latest. Also, the Senate debate on the so-called grand amnesty compromise intensifies. I'll be joined by four of the country's top radio talk show hosts, to tell us what their listeners are thinking, saying about this highly charged issue, among others.

And a number of Democrats now say their own party sold out. Working men and women in this country over the issue of free trade. Two of those Democrats join us. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Congressman Brad Sherman. They're next, stay with us.