Monday, February 23, 2009

Drugs and security in Mexico

The war on drugs is a failure. Nobody can refute that. Not surprisingly, the desperate political class of the victimized Latin countries can only make a plea for America to take a new approach. Worse news is that organized crime threatens to destabilize Mexico and hampers its relationship with the United States. Drug thugs are too much for the local authorities - running them out of town with violent threats and intimidation. This is not a good situation for Mexico or the United States.

While the coalition forces gear up for an overdue offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Mexican drug cartel should be another human rights initiative that demands a swift and decisive military action. U.S. and Mexican authorities should co-ordinate a return to lawfulness in districts where peace and security are lost to criminals. We need a war on drugs military surge.

Of course, there should be a real debate about the alternative approaches put forward by the former presidents of Mexico, Columbia, and Brazil, among others; but until there is security in Latin America there can be no substantial political progress toward tapping the economic potential of North America. The forces of globalization could have our hemisphere relying increasingly on each other - especially if relations with China falter. It's best we take care of our own family here on this continent. An answer to the drug problem is needed in Mexico. And it is needed in America.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Harbinger of border control

The U.S. is now monitoring the Canadian border with unmanned drones. This is a symptom of the very concerning approach our national governments have to North American security. It is faulty, wasteful, and reveals an underlying fracture that could disrupt trade. Better that technologies be used to guard the North American perimeter. However, it is important that Canada, in particular, do everything possible to appease American security concerns by harmonizing its security policies with the U.S. Failure to do so leads to this kind of initiative - one that only foreshadows even more stringent border control. This can only harm both economies.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama tries to say the right thing

... but it is what he does that is worrisome. On his first presidential visit to Canada he says he wants to "grow trade". That, indeed, is the real question. Canadians have to be concerned about a U.S. administration that seems to be more interested in command and control. It's piecemeal socialistic answers to every problem, making the guise of crisis the impetus for increasing regulatory and confiscatory policy, is sure to dampen economic prospects for America's greatest trading partner. How can trade really grow if the U.S. government drives toward economic policies that render the dynamism of the American people crippled by an increasingly overbearing state? Not too sure that Canadians should be all that excited about this visit. Canadians need America to be strong and prosperous.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Stand on guard for thee, free trade

The trade tensions inherent in the U.S. move toward protectionist measures has one good result: it brings to the foreground the highly integrated North American economy. Canada, in particular, is a key U.S. trading partner that accounts for about 80% of total Canadian exports. It takes about 20% of U.S. total exports, and imports more U.S. goods and services than the entire European Union, an economy 10-times Canada's size. Last year trade between the two nations reached $700-billion. That trade accounts for much prosperity - and many jobs.

The more politicians own up to these facts with their constituents, the more policy will move toward greater integration. Canadians should take the first step forward to be sure that they don't, in trade retaliation, bite the hand that feeds them. It is important that the Canadian government take the high road and work toward unilateral removal of trade barriers should the U.S. regress toward an unfortunate period of protectionism. Self-interest and common sense will prevail.