Boundary Possibilities and Issues for a North American Union: A Framework for Considering Alternative Models

By Kenneth L. Nichols and Howard H. Cody.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

North American nations have long been amicable neighbors and robust trading partners. Geographic proximity, cultural and demographic ties, and communications technologies, among other factors, have bolstered these relationships. Multilateral arrangements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and dramatic events such as weather disasters and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. have had their impact as well – as have the rise of successful (and competitive) transnational entities such as the European Union. Consequently, it is plausible to conceive of the emergence of a North American Union within this century if not within decades. But what might a North American Union look like? For Canada and the US, might it involve an expansion of the growing web of existing cross-border agreements? For Canada, the US, and Mexico, could it begin with an extension of NAFTA and the 2005 Security and Prosperity Partnership? What about other nations such as Belize? This paper examines the current configuration and plausible options for a North American Union. For each configuration, including “no change”, the paper offers a compact description. It sketches the advantages and drawbacks of the configuration in terms of border security, economics, demography, culture, politics, environment, and other categories. The paper does not advocate a particular option, but provides a framework for further analysis and dialog.

Keywords: Canada, Mexico, Belize, United States, Borders, Security, Economics, Culture, Environment, Politics, Crime, Poverty

Global Studies Journal, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.31-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.256MB).

Dr. Kenneth L. Nichols

Professor, Public Administration, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, USA

Dr. Nichols teaches public administration, public policy, and futures studies. Among his research interests and publications are organization theory and change, triggers and lures that drive decisionmaking, strategic planning, postmodern administration, ethics in public service, and technology transfer and diffusion. He is intrigued by the impact of geopolitical boundaries on environmental and socio-economic factors – and the reverse.

Dr. Howard H. Cody

Professor, Political Science and Canadian Studies, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, USA

Dr. Cody teaches comparative politics courses, specializing in Canada and Europe. He serves as director of the University of Maine’s International Affairs Program. He also serves as editor of the Canadian-American Public Policy quarterly paper series. His current research interests include Canadian parliamentary and electoral politics and Canada’s relationship with the United States, especially in respect to trade and border security issues.


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