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Following the European example

By Henry Lamb
web posted March 10, 2008

It doesn't happen quickly.  It's been a half-century since the European Common Market was created to enhance cross-border trade in coal and steel among six European countries.  The next 40 years saw the idea of cross-border "harmonization" expand into the European Community, with the 1992 Maastricht Treaty.  With the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, December, 2007, 27 European nations are on the verge of becoming one consolidated state.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into force in 1994, is supposed to function much the same as the European Common Market, by removing tariffs on goods traded among the member nations.   The Security and Prosperity Partnership, launched in 2005, is building a North American Community.  This process is designed to "harmonize," and "integrate" cross-border rules and regulations.  Following the European blueprint, the next step is the creation of a North American Union.

In Europe, what started as a simple agreement to enhance trade among six nations, has grown into a full-blown treaty that will bring 27 former nations under the rule of a single, appointed government.  In Europe, the process has been littered with objections and resistance.  The one-government idea was first put to the people in the form of a new constitution, but when the people had an opportunity to vote, the idea was widely rejected.  The new approach removes the people from the equation, and now requires only that the parliaments of the various nations   ratify the treaty.

American advocates of the one-government idea learned from the European experience.  NAFTA, which is, in fact, a treaty, was not presented to Congress as a treaty.  A treaty requires 67 Senate votes for ratification.  An executive agreement requires only 51 Senate votes, and a simple majority in the House of Representatives. 

The Security and Prosperity Partnership was not even presented to Congress; it was not a "signed" agreement, but an executive "partnership," which needed no Congressional involvement.  Congress has chosen to not challenge this executive authority.

The new European Union will have its own Parliament, its own President, its own court system, and, of course, its own currency – the Euro.  A single "High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy" will speak for the 27 member-states, instead of 27 "Foreign Ministers."  Some Europeans fear that this officer will replace both England's and France's Ambassadors to the United Nations, and to the U.N. Security Council.  The Lisbon Treaty does not automatically transform the 27 member states into one nation, but it is a major step toward that goal.  

The North American Community, now under construction through the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and similar efforts at the state level, will not automatically transform Mexico, Canada, and the United Stations into "MexiCanAmeri," or "CanAmeriMex," or the North American Union.  But it is a major step toward that goal. 

The plan to build a North American Community calls for annual summit meetings of the three nations.  The next will be held in New Orleans in April.  It calls for a common tariff, which NAFTA is supposed to do.  It calls for "a common approach to regulations," which the SPP working groups call "harmonization and integration."  It calls for a tri-national "Advisory Council," and an "Inter-Parliamentary Group."  All of which is now under construction.

The leaders of all three nations laugh, and say these activities have nothing to do with a North American Union.  The facts on the ground, however, make their denials laughable.

So-called "free traders" applaud NAFTA, and point to jobs created by all the exports to Mexico and Canada.  They never mention the jobs that have also been exported as the result of the trade deficit.  When NAFTA went into force, the deficit with Mexico and Canada was $13 billion.  It has grown steadily, and last year was $138.4 billion.  NAFTA is the process by which U.S. wealth is redistributed to other nations.

What's worse, the implementation of NAFTA, the SPP, and the North American Community are devices that bypass elected representatives.  NAFTA, approved by Congress on a promise of prosperity, has produced a constant drain on our prosperity.  Neither the SPP, nor the North American Community was even discussed in Congress.  Both of these executive devices are moving our nation closer to the one-government concept pioneered by the European Union.

The government we are moving toward is an administrative government, in which elected representatives become little more than a token to the form of government created by the U.S. Constitution.  When any government is empowered to impose rules of behavior without the consent of the governed, freedom is the victim.  When government is empowered – without the consent of the governed - to define what freedom may be exercised – the result is a dictatorship, whether by a Hitler, a supreme soviet, or an appointed Inter-Parliamentary Group.

Where are the Americans who still believe that the best possible government is a government whose power is limited by the consent of the governed?  They are certainly not in a Congress that allows NAFTA, the SPP, and the North American Community to continue. ESR

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International.


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