The plans for a North American Security and Prosperity Partnership are steps on the way to a North American Union. (Tell your representative and senators “NO North American Union!” Also, click here to send a message to your representative and senators in support of H. Con. Res. 487 to stop the NAU.)

On June 21, viewers of CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight heard the alarming introduction to a segment of the program devoted to the future of the United States of America. “The Bush administration’s open-borders policy and its decision to ignore the enforcement of this country’s immigration laws is part of a broader agenda,” Dobbs intoned. “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.”

The agreement Dobbs was talking about was crafted a year earlier. On March 23, 2005, then-Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexican President Vicente Fox met with President Bush in Waco, Texas, to discuss plans for integrating Canada, the United States, and Mexico. During that meeting, the three heads of state argued that the three nations are “mutually dependent and complementary” and need to work together more closely on a range of issues. “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,” the three leaders said in a joint statement.

The standard diplomatic language was a prelude to a radical proposal calling for the merger of the three nations in several important ways. Under a so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), the nations will no longer have separate borders, but will “implement common border-security.” The three nations will no longer respond on the national level to emergencies but will have a “common approach to emergency response.” And, in a move that has tremendous implications for the growing immigration crisis, the three leaders agreed that the United States’ north and south borders would be eliminated. Under the SPP plan, the three nations will “implement a border-facilitation strategy to build capacity and improve the legitimate flow of people and cargo at our shared borders.”

This plan is nothing short of revolutionary. As Dobbs put it on his CNN program, it is “an absolute contravention of our law, of our Constitution, every national value.” Though the plan sounds like a new innovation, it is not new. It is the next step in a progression of steps that, in a manner very similar to the process used in Europe to supplant individual nations with the European Union, will ultimately lead to the formation of a new government for the United States, the North American Union. If not stopped, the plan for a North American Union will supplant the former independent states of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. And this is not conjecture. The North American Union is official U.S. policy.

The European Template

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) serves as the intellectual incubator for most of the foreign policy direction followed by the executive branch of the federal government. Before the trilateral meeting between the heads of state in Waco on March 23 of last year, the CFR had already undertaken an initiative with its counterparts in Mexico and Canada (Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives) to study the possibility of integrating the three nations. 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. The EU got its start in 1950 with the plan for European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The plan was developed by Robert Schuman, who would become a socialist prime minister in France, and French planning minister Jean Monnet in 1950. The so-called Schuman Plan was adopted via the Treaty of Paris in 1952. The ECSC merged the coal and steel industries of West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg and created a supranational governing organization. According to Georgetown University historian Carol Quigley, “This was a truly revolutionary organization since it had sovereign powers, including the authority to raise funds outside any existing state’s power.” As Quigley noted, “This ‘supranational’ body had the right to control prices, channel investment, raise funds, allocate coal and steel during shortages, and fix production in times of surplus.” In short, “The ECSC was a rudimentary government,” Quigley concluded.

Creating a regional, supranational government was always the aim in Europe. In 1990, the European Commission admitted as much in the publication Europe — A Fresh Start: “Monetary union and economic integration are two long-standing ambitions which the six founding States … set themselves.” The document continued, describing the intent of the EU’s founders: “We see, then, that the institutions set up since 1950 on the initiative of Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet are responding well to the aim of their founders: broadening the scope of democratically and efficiently organized collective action to cover the new arenas of interdependence among Europeans.” The end result of this gradual planning has been union in Europe.

That union was the goal all along was not readily apparent during the decades of its development. The long-term aim of the ECSC was hidden by its purportedly narrow scope. From its name alone, it appeared that the six-nation arrangement had only to do with coal and steel. Later EU precursors followed the same plan. The European Economic Community, at first glance, appeared to be nothing more than a free trade arrangement. It was nevertheless founded on the Monnet doctrine that economic integration must precede political integration.

Such deception, in fact, remained one of the key elements in crafting the EU, right up until recent years, a fact referenced by Villy Bergström, a recent former deputy of the Swedish central bank. “I have never before seen such manipulated, obscure and faked policies as in relation to Swedish relations to the EU,” Bergström wrote a few years ago. “Information has been evasive and unclear, giving the impression that membership of the EU would mean much less radical change than what has been the case.”

The strategy of building the EU through piecemeal means paid off. Following the creation of the ECSC, European internationalists supported by the U.S. government added additional elements to the emerging European superstate. Though they suffered setbacks — a nascent European Defense Community was rejected by France, and initial plans for a European Political Community were shelved shortly after the creation of the ECSC — those setbacks were temporary. The Treaty of Rome created the European Economic Community in 1957. The EEC was the immediate predecessor of today’s European Union.

An EEC for North America

North American integration got its big start with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The arrangement was billed as little more than the creation of a free trade arrangement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. But it really was the initial step toward regional integration. According to professor Guy Poitras of San Antonio’s Trinity University, one of the factors motivating the creation of NAFTA was the view that it was an important early step toward further integration. In his book Inventing North America, Poitras noted that NAFTA’s creation of regionalized interdependence gave “a structural foundation for the task of inventing North America.”

In a pro-NAFTA article in the Washington Post in 1993, William Orme, Jr. pointed out that the then-fledgling trade pact was indeed a steppingstone to further integration. “NAFTA,” Orme admitted, “lays the foundation for a continental common market, as many of its architects privately acknowledge. Part of this foundation, inevitably, is bureaucratic: The agreement creates a variety of continental institutions — ranging from trade dispute panels to labor and environmental commissions — that are, in aggregate, an embryonic NAFTA government.”

That free trade agreements like NAFTA must evolve into political unions is taken for granted among academics that work closely with such issues. In 1998, Glen Atkinson, professor of economics at the University of Nevada in Reno, described this step-by-step process in an article entitled “Regional Integration in the Emerging Global Economy” in the Social Science Journal. Integration “must be an evolutionary process of continuous institutional development,” Atkinson wrote. Indeed, the development of supranational governing organs is inevitable, though it will erode national sovereignty, he writes. “The need for shared institutions among the parties is critical for integration, which will lead to a weakening of national sovereignty in some areas of interest. Sovereignty, however, must reside someplace in order to enforce regional working conditions, intellectual and other property rights and other concerns.” NAFTA, being a “free trade” arrangement, is only a preliminary step. According to Atkinson:

The lowest level of integration is a free trade area which involves only the removal of tariffs and quotas among the parties. If a common external tariff is added, then a customs union has been created. The next level, or a common market, requires free movement of people and capital as well as goods and services. It is this stage where institutional development becomes critical. The stage of economic union requires a high degree of coordination or even unification of policies. This sets the foundation for political union.

Now, according to those most concerned with creating a North American Union, it’s time to move beyond NAFTA. Professor Robert Pastor of American University serves also as vice-chair of the CFR Task Force on North America and is one of the primary intellectual architects of North American regionalism. According to Pastor, even after NAFTA, U.S. policy has been too nationalistic. “Instead of trying to fashion a North American approach to continental problems, we continue to pursue problems on a dual-bilateral basis, taking one issue at a time,” Pastor said in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere on June 9, 2005. “But incremental steps will no longer solve the security problem, or allow us to grasp economic opportunities. What we need to do now is forge a North American Community,” Pastor stated.

This, in fact, has been a major goal of the Bush administration and of the Mexican administration of Vicente Fox. In a paper entitled Closing the Development Gap: A Proposal for a North American Investment Fund, Pastor and coauthors Samuel Morley and Sherman Robinson point out that Mexican President Vicente Fox has long advocated a North American common market. “Soon after he won Mexico’s presidential election on July 2, 2000, Vicente Fox proposed a Common Market to replace the free-trade area,” Pastor, Morley, and Robinson wrote. “He invited President George W. Bush to his home in February 2001 and persuaded him to endorse ‘The Guanajuato Proposal.’” President Bush quickly signed on to the plan. In a joint statement with Fox released by the White House on February 16, 2001, Bush described the outcome of the meeting. “After consultation with our Canadian partners, we will strive to consolidate a North American economic community whose benefits reach the lesser-developed areas of the region and extend to the most vulnerable social groups in our countries,” said the Bush/Fox statement announcing a new “partnership for prosperity.”

A Deepening Union

With the announcement on March 23, 2005 of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the Bush administration, along with the governments of Mexico and Canada, has taken the next step toward a European Union-style superstate in North America. The SPP features a wide range of initiatives on matters related to security and commerce. These include:

  • Create a proto-parliament called the North American Competitiveness Council. According to official SPP documents, this body will “address issues of immediate importance” and provide “strategic” advice. It will also “provide input on the compatibility of our security and prosperity agendas.”
  • Under the purported threat of an avian flu pandemic, the parties to the SPP will harmonize plans for continuity of government in the event of a crisis.
  • Begin harmonizing security organs by creating a “common approach to critical infrastructure protection,” and “develop and implement joint plans for cooperation for incident response, as well as conduct coordinated training and exercises in emergency response.”
  • Create a single energy policy for North America by “improving transparency and regulatory compatibility.”

The SPP also has tremendous implications for immigration. As NAFTA erased most remaining barriers hampering the flow of capital between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, the SPP will look for ways to eliminate bottlenecks hampering the flow of people. According to the official SPP agenda, the new international body will work to “identify measures to facilitate further the movement of business persons.”

Specific policies likely to be followed by the SPP can be found in the CFR report entitled Building a North American Community that was released just after the March 23, 2005 SPP meeting in Waco, Texas. In its recommendations, the CFR report suggests, “The three governments should commit themselves to the long-term goal of dramatically diminishing the need for the current intensity of the governments’ physical control of cross-border traffic, travel, and trade within North America. A long-term goal for a North American border action plan should be joint screening of travelers from third countries at their first point of entry into North America and the elimination of most controls over the temporary movement of these travelers within North America.” This goes a long way toward explaining the maddening lack of urgency that is apparent in Washington concerning the issue of illegal immigration from Mexico. If the SPP follows the CFR template — a virtual certainty — there will no longer be a border to cross illegally.

Moving Fast

Perhaps the most important difference between the formation of the European Union and the effort to build a North American Union is the speed at which the North American version is moving ahead. In Europe, union took decades, with efforts starting just after World War II and culminating in the 1990s. In North America, issues related to union first began only in 1965. According to economist Glen Atkinson, “NAFTA has evolved over several stages beginning with the Canadian-U.S. automobile pact of 1965 and the Canadian-U.S. Free Trade Agreement of 1989.” Now, little more than a decade after NAFTA comes the SPP.

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.’ 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.”

A further measure of the speed with which a North American Union is likely to develop is found within the CFR’s recommendations for the SPP. That organization, which so often drafts the foreign-policy blueprints followed by the federal government, calls for “the creation by 2010 of a North American community … Its boundaries will be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter within which the movement of people, products, and capital will be legal, orderly, and safe. Its goal will be to guarantee a free, secure, just, and prosperous North America.”

It is incredible, but just four years from now — if the CFR template is followed — the United States may cease to exist as an independent political entity. Its laws, rules, and regulations — including all freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution — will be subject to review and nullification by the North American Union’s governing body. Sure, the United States will still be here in name. American soldiers will still fight, mostly, under the U.S. flag. There will be a U.S. president and both houses of Congress will continue to meet and pass legislation. Nevertheless, in very important ways, the United States will become nothing more than a province — albeit an important one — in the emergent North American superstate.