Quick Note: In an effort to provide better resource material, I have begun the process of fixing any broken hyperlinks found in past articles.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Building a New North American Partnership for the Future

By Dana Gabriel


The globalist controlled Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) have called on the U.S. to work more closely with Canada and Mexico to build a new North American partnership for the future. The pivot to North America would focus on greater trilateral cooperation in areas such as energy, economic competitiveness, border management, law enforcement and continental perimeter security. Throughout the years, the incremental steps towards a North American Union have been used to further chip away at the sovereignty of all three NAFTA countries.

The CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on North America, co-chaired by retired General David Petraeus and former president of the World Bank Robert Zoellick, recently released their report, North America: Time for a New Focus. The Task Force maintained that, “Now is the moment for the United States to break free from old foreign policy biases to recognize that a stronger, more dynamic, resilient continental base will increase U.S. power globally.” They explained that, “If the three North American countries deepen their integration and cooperation, they have the potential to again shape world affairs for generations to come.” The Task Force also described how, “Recent developments have created opportunities for the North American countries to build on past work and to advance their partnership to a new stage.” The move by Mexico to open up its energy sector to private investment, along with increased oil and natural gas production in Canada and the U.S. are some of the driving forces behind the renewed push for deeper North American integration.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trilateral Defense Ministers Meeting Continues to Build North American Security Framework

By Dana Gabriel


As an extension of the North American Leaders Summit which was held in February, the defense ministers from the U.S., Canada and Mexico quietly met last month to discuss continental security issues. During the conference, they addressed shared defense and security challenges. This includes threats posed by cyber attacks and transnational criminal organizations. The North American security relationship has evolved with Mexico being increasingly viewed as a valued part of the continental defense team. The U.S., Canada and Mexico are building the framework for greater cooperation on common security issues. They are expanding security arrangements and are further establishing new institutions at a continental level. The trilateral defense ministers meeting, which received very little media attention is part of the process of integrating military planning and coordination into a North American security perimeter.

On April 24, Mexico's Secretary of National Defense General Salvador Zepeda Cienfuegos and Naval Secretary Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberon Sanz hosted the Second Trilateral Meeting of North American Defense Ministers with their counterparts, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Canadian Defense Minister Robert Nicholson. A joint statement explained that, “Threats to North America and the hemisphere are increasingly complex and require coordinated responses. Building upon the trilateral collaboration under the North American Leaders Summit process, we remain committed to enhancing our common understanding of those threats and developing effective and efficient approaches needed to address them.” It went on to say, “With this foundation, our countries continue to work together to address the security and defense challenges that our continent faces. We acknowledge that transnational threats require transnational responses and are committed to furthering our collaboration.” The Inaugural Meeting of North American Defense Ministers was held in March 2012.

Monday, March 3, 2014

NAFTA Partners Pushing North American Competitiveness Integration Agenda

By Dana Gabriel


The recent North American Leaders Summit in Mexico was seen as a perfect opportunity to try and kickstart the trilateral partnership. While there was no headline grabbers or major breakthroughs, the NAFTA partners still moved forward on some crucial issues that centered around North American competitiveness. They developed a shared set of priorities and established a roadmap for enhancing cooperation in areas such as trade, transportation, energy, as well as border facilitation. This includes creating a North American trusted traveler program which is part of ongoing efforts to establish a fully integrated continental security perimeter. During separate bilateral meetings, Canada and Mexico also took steps towards strengthening political, economic and security ties.

On February 18, in advance of the North American Leaders Summit, Prime Minister Stephen Harper held discussions with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. After their meeting, they signed a number of deals designed to further deepen bilateral relations. This includes two agreements which promote new trade opportunities between Canada and Mexico. They also announced a declaration of intent to expand defence cooperation, “which demonstrates a continued commitment by both countries to work together on security issues facing North America.” It is scheduled to be officially signed in April and, “will outline the manner in which enhanced bilateral cooperation will take place in areas such as military training, and defence research and materiel.” The two leaders also renewed the Canada-Mexico Joint Action Plan that provides a framework for engagement on important issues such as fostering competitive and sustainable economies, protecting our citizens, enhancing people-to-people contacts, as well as projecting our partnership globally and regionally.

Monday, January 27, 2014

NAFTA and the Next Phase of North American Integration

By Dana Gabriel


In preparation for the upcoming North American Leaders Summit which will be held in Toluca, Mexico on February 19, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently held a meeting with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts. Over the last number of years, not as much attention has been given to the trilateral relationship. Instead, the U.S. has essentially pursued a dual-bilateral approach with both Canada and Mexico on key issues including border and continental perimeter security, as well as regulatory and energy cooperation. On the heels of its 20th anniversary, there once again appears to be renewed interest in broadening and deepening the NAFTA partnership as part of the next phase of North American integration.

On January 17, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the North American Ministerial with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade. The discussions centered around topics such as regulatory, energy and trade relations, along with border infrastructure and management. The meeting was used to lay the groundwork for next month’s North American Leaders Summit which will include the participation of U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. During a press conference, a reporter asked about reopening NAFTA in order to update it. Secretary Kerry answered, “the TPP, is a very critical component of sort of moving to the next tier, post-NAFTA. So I don’t think you have to open up NAFTA, per se, in order to achieve what we’re trying to achieve.” Minister Baird added, “we believe that NAFTA’s been an unqualified success, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations, which all three of us are in, offer us the opportunity to strengthen the trilateral partnership.” Secretary Meade also chimed in, “We do not think it is necessary to reopen NAFTA, but we think we have to build on it to construct and revitalize the idea of a dynamic North America.”

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Increasing Data Collection and Surveillance in the North American Homeland

By Dana Gabriel


Some of the corporate interests that are steering the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border integration agenda are not quite satisfied with its progress so far and they would like the implementation process to be accelerated. The bilateral initiative which was launched almost two years ago promotes a shared vision for perimeter security. It seeks to improve information sharing between security agencies. Under the agreement, both countries are moving towards a coordinated entry/exit system and are developing a harmonized cargo security strategy. In addition, the U.S. and Canada are strengthening integrated cross-border intelligence sharing and law enforcement operations. Canada’s own electronic eavesdropping agency is also working hand and hand with the NSA. They are both increasing data collection and surveillance in the North American Homeland.

Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt gave a speech at the Association of Canadian Port Authorities annual conference in August. She stated that, “Ensuring the security of our transportation systems is key to strengthening the Canada-U.S. trade relationship. To build prosperity through trade, businesses and governments on both sides of our shared border must have confidence that our transportation systems will work together to meet our mutual security needs. That is why Canada and the United States are working closely together to implement the Beyond the Border Action Plan.” While she didn’t reference the Maritime Commerce Resilience Project by name, Raitt acknowledged that the U.S. and Canada are, “developing a joint cross-border approach to help maritime commerce recover faster after a major disruption.” This would include a significant natural disaster or terrorist attack that impacts North America. She also mentioned a pilot program underway at the Port of Prince Rupert which is part of efforts to harmonize the cargo screening process between the U.S. and Canada. Both countries continue to advance this agenda through the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy, a key component of the Beyond the Border deal.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

U.S. Economic Hegemony: Consolidation and Deepening of the Pacific Alliance Trade Bloc

By Dana Gabriel


In a short period of time, the Pacific Alliance has emerged as one of the leading economic integration projects in Latin America. It aims to succeed where others have failed by creating a gateway to Asian markets and building a Pacific-rim trade deal. The U.S. and Canada are both pursuing deeper ties with the group and have been granted observer status. This is part of efforts to revive and expand their presence in Latin America. In some areas of integration, the Pacific Alliance has surpassed NAFTA. By merging the two together, it could be used to fill the void left by the collapse of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

The Pacific Alliance was officially launched by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru in June 2012. Its objectives include to construct, “an area of profound market-driven economic integration that will contribute to the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons.” The group also seeks to, “become a platform for economic and commercial integration as well as political coordination with global outreach, particularly towards the Asia Pacific.” A key requirement in joining the Pacific Alliance is to have free trade agreements with all existing member states. Costa Rica recently received approval to become a permanent member. Other countries have also shown interest with a growing number requesting observers status. The goal of the Pacific Alliance is to go beyond traditional free trade deals and pursue even more liberalized economic policies.

Monday, July 22, 2013

U.S. Arctic Ambitions and the Militarization of the High North

By Dana Gabriel


Canada recently took over the leadership of the Arctic Council and will be succeeded by the U.S. in 2015. With back-to-back chairmanships, it gives both countries an opportunity to increase cooperation on initiatives that could enhance the development of a shared North American vision for the Arctic. The U.S. has significant geopolitical and economic interests in the high north and have released a new national strategy which seeks to advance their Arctic ambitions. While the region has thus far been peaceful, stable and free of conflict, there is a danger of the militarization of the Arctic. It has the potential to become a front whereby the U.S. and other NATO members are pitted against Russia or even China. In an effort to prevent any misunderstandings, there are calls for the Arctic Council to move beyond environmental issues and become a forum to address defense and security matters.

In May, Canada assumed the chairmanship of the Arctic Council where they will push for responsible resource development, safe shipping and sustainable circumpolar communities. The Arctic Council is the leading multilateral forum in the region and also includes the U.S., Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. During the recent meetings, members signed an Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic which seeks to improve coordination and planning to better cope with any such accidents. In addition, China, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, along with Italy were granted permanent observer status in the Arctic Council. With the move, China has gained more influence in the region. The potential for new trade routes that could open up would significantly reduce the time needed to transport goods between Europe and Asia. The Arctic is an important part of China’s global vision, as a place for economic activity and a possible future mission for its navy. In order to better reflect the realities of politics in the high north, there are calls to expand the Arctic Council’s mandate to also include security and military issues.