Thursday, April 13, 2006
A Border Runs Through It: A Strange Frontier in North America
Federalism. Small government. Freedom. Wealth. The Constitution. Power. The benefits of admitting the 31 Mexican United States to our Union seem almost endless. But there's one more that must be mentioned: secure borders.
Defend America. Annex Mexico.
In a humorous piece on using Jack Bauer to achieve Continental Union,
Our new southern border would be 696 miles long as compared to the 2,000 miles that we currently must defend.
This is a real concern. The length of our border is a structural weakness in our defenses
It is very easy to enter our nation over this long, flat, dry stretch. The border even includes twin cities, such as San Diego / Tijuana, Calexico / Mexicali, El Paso / Ciudad Juarez, Laredo / Nuevo Laredo, and Brownsville / Matamoros. Given that cities, as complex adaptive systems, need interaction to grow, the location of the border forces of to choose between growth and security. We've chosen growth.
By drawing a line across our continent, we have put ourselves in this situation. The solution is obvious: untie with Mexico. Instead of an irrational border through the middle of our great island, this will be the border:
Only 753 miles of inhospitable border. Instead of two-thousand miles of wide-open frontier.
We all want border control. We get it best by admitted Mexico to the United States of America.
Why stop at Mexico? Why not try to persuade the countries of Central America, Canada, Cuba, and Puerto Rico to join as well? Then we would have direct ownership of the Panamal Canal and our southern border would then be even smaller--with Colombia. And while I know Canada is definitely more liberal than the US it may not be quite so simple. I came across http://www.unitednorthamerica.org/index.htm a few years ago which advocates the Canadian provinces to join the US as states and I just got the sense of how strange it is for these two countries to remain separated by a rather artificial border. There are differences between us but they are shared regional differences, like the Atlantic provinces with our Northeast compared to British Columbia and Washington state. After all, how many American icons have been of Canadian origin? Our similarities in conjunction with the fact that the dynamics of their political system aren't the same as ours makes me wonder if their leftist leanings would go unchallenged after joining us. However, after reading the feedback letters to that site it was quite clear that they neither knew too much about how our federal system operates (i.e. the two most common fears were having our "lax" gun control laws forced on them and the abolition of their universal health care) nor wished to know enough to decide whether joining us would be more beneficial than the status quo. That's not too surprising given that they have feared being absorbed into the US for the last 200 years. So for the forseeable future I do not see Canada being persuaded to join our Union. Yet as much as Canada fears losing its sovereignty to the US, I think it pales in comparison to that of Mexico's. They have resented us for the last 150 years for annexing what amounted to about 1/3 their territory, recalled with their saying, "Poor Mexico. So far from God. So close to the United States." With that sort of history to overcome how long before Mexico would be ready to even contemplate joining us? Of course for Cuba, we'd have to see what comes after Castro and as for Puerto Rico, its been at second-class status for too long and should be granted full statehood subject to a plebiscite with only two choices--statehood or independence. Here's another interesting and unexpected site (http://www.guyanausa.org/) which wants Guyana to become a US state. I don't know how beneficial that would be for us, but it would certainly annoy Hugo Chavez.
Posted by: Gregory McDowall | Friday, April 14, 2006
Greg...one step at a time.
Canadian provinces will be free join when/if if the Canadian Union breaks apart (I assume Quebec will go it alone). The Western provinces would be a nice addition. Anyways, unless federalism is strong at the time they might not want to join. A free trade and mutual defense pact with the UK would help grease the way. Maybe just let Special Ambassador Shatner work it all out.
Puerto Rico gets a chance to select statehood every 10 years. As Mexico prospers in USAv3, I think the vote outcomes will change.
Cuba would need at least a post-Castro generation before they would consider joining as USAv3. Cuba is small compared to Mexico, so the benefits will be smaller then when the MUS joins the USA. Attitudes would be a problem until a generation or so goes by. Early post-Castro: pull Cuba into NAFTA; deploy Peace Corp business/development vollenteers, and open up several American University extentions.
I am okay with Guyana eigther becoming a state or a comonwealth. The gains would be smaller then that of union with Mexico. Perhaps the small size of Guyana would make it an interesting test lab. The proximity to Venezulea might be a security problem.
Other candidates (once we have the process down with Mexico): Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guam, Bermuda, Jamaica.
The choices here are: The USA-ization of Mexico vs the Mexico-ization of the USA. Neigther is easy. The current way isn't working. The Mexico-ization of the USA is not something I want. That leaves the USA-ization of Mexico.
Posted by: purpleslog | Friday, April 14, 2006
A southward revision of the border (from San Diego - Brownsville to the edge of Central America) would be a strong structural improvement in border security. Going farther than that wouldn't help as much, if at all. The difference between 600 miles of jungle and 2000 miles of plains is huge.
Additionally, Central America is not part of our continent. If we are fulfilling the dreams of our founders, we should have a Continental Congress.
Additionally, Central America is substantially worse off than Mexico. Current, large scale Mexican immigration is an existance proof on the assimilibility of Mexicans. Such a proof does not exist for Central Americans.
On the flip side, we would gain little from a total union with Canada. (Purpleslog's comment is especially good here.) British Columbia, the prairie provinces, and perhaps the arctic territories would benefit us, but those same benefits do not exist for the rest of Canada. Ontario perhaps -- but they would get much less out of a union than Mexico would, so would be less incentivized. Quebec dreams of her own independence, and the maritime provinces are potomkin villiages doublign as ghettos.
The historical border disputes between France and Germany, and Germany and Poland, are arguments for the expansion of the European Union. Similarly, any border fears between the unions of north america is an argument for one Union in North America.
After Communism throughout eastern Europe, capitalist reforms began immediately and the states were ready to join within 13 years. A similar timetable might work for Cuba. I agree with Purpleslog that NAFTA membership should be a first step for Cuba.
Puerto Rico has the right to became a state or leave whenever she wants. There are those who agitate for removing the status quo option, but I don't see why we have to deprive the Puerto Rican people of that choice
Guayan would be a disaster. They recently left another political and economic union (the Empire) in 1966. The economy of Guayana is basically just Georgetown, and Guayanan society is split between an African overclass and an Asian peasantry.
(On second thought, maybe we should take Guayana, just to throw off the remaining affirmative action programs...)
While I'm pretty optimistic on immigration, you hit the issue on the head. The choice is who sets the term of immigration -- the Federal District of Mexico or the federal Distrct of Columbia. They've been doing an awful job of it. We can do better.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, April 14, 2006
Was wondering when someone was going to bring up Canada...
Dan, can't believe you're still going at this! You know that you're not the first person to advocate/discuss this, nor is this the first place in the Blogosphere/'Net/Web to discuss these things--and I should let you folks know that I first came across the Guyana statehood page a few *years* ago, and am surprised to see it still exists.
Depressing thought--if a US-Canada thing can't be made to work (and it's been, what? Over 200 years already?)--and despite our similarities--what luck would a US-Mexico anshluss have? Or anything to do with the Caribbean? (I mean, after all these years, Puerto Rico still can't make up its mind.)
Still, if it could be pulled off, we'd *all* be doing great wouldn't we? Recall-- http://tinyurl.com/l2caf
--$22 trillion GDP! (And that's just a guess).
Hmm--just a thought--say, what would you think of Cape Verde?
Or maybe an invite to Liberia (the *original* Lone Star State) to come home... (Just throwing things around....)
Posted by: Jayson | Friday, April 14, 2006
Hmm...another thought--you folks do realize that even if these expansionist schemes are feasible, that there are very influential and important people and groups who'd move mountains (and possibly even sacrifice their own grandkids) to ensure that they'd fail.
What would the American or Worldwide Left think of this?
What about China or Russia? (Or even the EU or the UN?)
What about the Islamic "Ummah"?
Posted by: Jayson | Friday, April 14, 2006
The economic differences between the USA and the MUS are a reason for union. The continental production possibility curve  would be shifted outwards more by an American (capital surplus, labor deficit) union with a Mexican-style (capital deficit, labor surplus) economic than with a Canadian-style (capital surplus, labor deficit) economy. The reverse is true as well. The sovereigns of Mexico (the people and the states) would gain a lot more from union with us than the sovereign of Canada (the Queen) -- or her subjects -- would.
That said, the internationally focused British Columbia and energy exporting prairie provinces would be nice to have -- but they could also survive as wealthy independent states, too.
Why did you mention Cape Verde? The choice seems bizarre. Not North American (unlike Mexico), not a federal republic (unlike Mexico), without a multigenerational constitutional history (unlike Mexico), without a large workforce (unlike Mexico) -- I'm puzzled.
As for Liberia, see my previous comment on Guyana. There's no reason to import an unstable republic divided between a metropolitan overclass (in Liberia's case, descendants from freed slaves) and a peasant underclass (in Liberia's case, "native" Africans). Also like Cape Verde, and unlike Mexico, non-federal, non-constitutional, non-working.
Your point on the geopolitics of union is good. I'll take the EU and Russia/China separately.
The EU is a growing multinational economic and political union, currently at 25 member states and very soon to be 27 (with Romania and Bulgaria). The EU's expansion has been complicated by the fact that even within the EU there is not a unified foreign ministry. So some member states (Britain and Ireland, especially) have conspired with outsiders (the US, specifically) against other members (France and Germany) to set certain terms of entry. Because we have a federal State Department this problem will be significantly less for us. Nonetheless, it is sensible to expect outsiders to try to adjust the union to their advantage. Certainly one could expect the Spanish Academic Royal Spanish Academic  and Latin Union  to agitate for a federal recognition of Spanish. Of course, to the extent this leads to a common cultural space for North Americans, this helps English immensely. 
As far as Russia and China -- they are preoccupied with "separatist" forces in their countries (Chechnya and Taiwan), and would use a North American union to argue for the continued existence of theirs (Greater Russia, Greater China). We would agree -- on the conditions their objectives are achieved peacefully. That is our current position, as well.
A benefit of expanding the Constitution to the Mexican United States is that it would prevent us from ever having to take unskilled immigrants from Muslim countries. This would limit the (currently violent) influence of the Ummah in our land and prevent the Fall of Paris  from spreading here.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, April 14, 2006
Dan, points taken. I thought Central America resided on our plate; just shows how good my geography is. I guess what I was trying to get across was that it's going to be a while before Mexico would even think of seeing itself as part of the United States. We have more in common with Canada than Mexico, though that differential is diminishing every year because of immigration and yet Canadians are still very touchy about being absorbed by us. Mexico's even more jealous of it's sovereignty from the US because we actually succeeded in annexing a good chunk of their territory, unlike our failed expedition to Canada. So my thought was that if we're going to think on such long time frames (at least a generation for Mexico) why not go for more than Mexico as an end goal, which would perhaps be 100 years in the future, maybe more. I think you're right about Canada though. If Quebec goes independent and then Canada breaks up, Ontario would probably form a new union with the Atlantic provinces and the western provinces will form independent nations or join with us as states. What kind of time frame were you thinking of for Mexico becoming apart of the US, if any? Dr. Barnett believes as many as a dozen nations will be added during this century. Are there any other countries which you think could be incorporated into the US?
Posted by: Gregory McDowall | Friday, April 14, 2006
Good point about the North American plate.
There's traditional jealous on bothy sides of the San Diego - Brownsville line. I truly believe that's a reason for union. Just as there's no historic dispute between Germany and Switzerland, and thus no union between them, and great historic disputes between France and Germany, and close union between them -- cooperation sometimes works best between the competitive.
A book that strongly influenced me is "Before France and Germany," which argued that the French and German nations are actually One Nation, that have seperate languages. They have a common history, a common destiny, and are in many ways a common people. The same hold true for the 50 United States of America and the 31 Mexican United States.
Americans are patriots, but we're not Nationalists. My barber in in South Dakota flew a Confederate flag in his business, in honor of his native Missouri. When I visited a friend in Texas, I was surprised by seeing the Lone Star Flag fly as high as the Stars and Stripes all but once. A certain state flies the flag of the "California Republic." The States and the Union are all Sovereigns, and there is no need for a "true American" to not love his State as much as his Union.
Sovereignty is jealously guarded -- until it can be traded.
I agree wityh your thoughts on Canada.
As for other future states -- Puerto Rico, because of our promise to them. Cuba, because of her historical ties to America. I can't think of any others specifically.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, April 14, 2006
What the hell did happen? I think I just lost a post here...
Oh well, continuing on--
"Why did you mention Cape Verde? The choice seems bizarre. Not North American (unlike Mexico), not a federal republic (unlike Mexico), without a multigenerational constitutional history (unlike Mexico), without a large workforce (unlike Mexico) -- I'm puzzled."
These posts of your's has me recalling an discussion a few years back of possible US annexation scenarios on Lidless Eye--
One member--whose opinions I (along with the rest of the List) generally greatly respect, suggested Cape Verde because the islands are a strategically useful place to base planes and ships, and because "most"[?] of the Cape Verdean population already reside in the US (either legally or illegally).
"Sovereignty is jealously guarded -- until it can be traded."--
Hmm...Kind of reminded me of this:
Russia sold Alaska to the United States in 1867 for $7 million. The
purchase was approved by the US Senate by just one vote because, at
the time, many Americans regarded it as a bad deal. Few Pakistanis
know that Gwadar, the country's up-coming second port, which is
regarded as a strategic and economic asset by the government,
belonged to the Sultan of Oman until 1958. It was purchased by the
Pakistani government for Rs 90 million.
In 1976, Morocco conspired with Mauritania to divide and annex the
Western Sahara as soon as Spain granted it independence. Three years
later, when Mauritania withdrew its forces because of guerrilla
warfare led by the Polisario Front, Morocco helped itself to the rest
of the Western Sahara. Thus, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic
has the distinction of being the world's only stillborn country.
Cambodia, on the other hand, has the distinction of shrinking in
peacetime. According to reports coming from there, all three of
Cambodia's neighbours, but particularly Vietnam, are slowly creeping
into Cambodian territory, having moved the border at some points by
as much as 15 kilometres.
The former "Father King", Norodom Sihanouk, has commented that the
stone border markers with Vietnam had legs and kept walking deeper
into Cambodian territory. In late March this year Sihanouk sent an
open letter to the governments of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand accusing
them of "nibbling away" at Cambodian territory.
Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, April 15, 2006
That's for the info. I was wondering where those Lidless Eye visitors were coming from!
There's an important distinction between acting with power in some place, as opposed to acting as the Sovereign in some place, as opposed to bringing the Constitution to that place. The further you go, the more you are exporting maximal rule sets. The general American solution has been to export minimal rule sets.
I believe the Union with Mexico is a unique opportunity. The American way of war  and victory  makes large scale, geographically-neutral export of the Constitution to the Gap troublesome.
Good points on selling territory. Further, populations will even give up some of their own sovereignty -- not just that of their brothers.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, April 17, 2006