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The North American idea - Robert A. Pastor

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The North American idea - a vision of a continental future
Robert A. Pastor
Oxford University Press
UK Publication Date

In its first seven years, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) tripled trade and quintupled foreign investment among the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, increasing its share of the world economy. In 2001, however, North America peaked. Trade slowed among the three, manufacturing jobs shrunk, and illegal migration and drug-related violence soared. Europe caught up, and China leaped ahead. In The North American Idea , eminent scholar and policy-maker Robert A. Pastor explains that NAFTA's mandate was too limited to address the new North American agenda. Instead of offering bold initiatives like a customs union to expand trade, the three leaders thought small. Interest groups stalemated the small ideas as they inhibited the bolder proposals, and the governments accomplished almost nothing. To overcome this resistance and re-invigorate the continent, the leaders need to start with an idea based on a principle of interdependence. If one country fails, all three are harmed, and if one grows, they all benefit. Drawing on first-hand experience as a policy-maker and analyst, Pastor shows how this idea-once woven into the national consciousness of the three countries-could mobilize public support for continental solutions to problems that have confounded each nation working on itsown. To stimulate trade and reduce illegal migration, for example, the three countries could set up a fund to invest in the continent's infrastructure. Such a fund would be impossible without leadership and an idea of the continent's current importance and its future promise. Providing essential historical context and challenging readers to view the continent in a new way, Robert Pastor offers an expansive vision and a detailed blueprint for a more integrated, dynamic, and equitable North America.

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Robert A. Pastor is Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of Center for North American Studies at American University.

At a time when relationships among the countries are frayed, this book offers some interesting and provocative ideas as to how those relationships could be reconstructed while still ensuring the sovereignty and identity of each of the three countries ... Pastor raises some interesting and important issues that practitioners and academics in all three countries should consider.

Joyce Kaufman, International Affairs

Keyword Index
Free trade - North America.|North America - Economic integration.
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