In a recent daily newspaper there was a picture of Felipe Calderon, Barack Obama and Stephen Harper – the current three amigos of NAFTA – meeting supposedly “… to pare back regulation and boost North American trade.”
Wait a minute; haven’t we heard all of this before?
On the next page of the newspaper was a story about a powerful Mexican drug kingpin being sentenced to 25 years in a U.S. jail. Thereby hangs the tale!
In the distant past, in a galaxy far away, if one’s memory goes back that far, one can remember a similar meeting between the original three amigos. George HW Bush, Brian Mulroney and Carlos Salinas.
About a week later the Mexican amigo, Carlos Salinas, was fleeing from the law. His brother Raoul Salinas had already been jailed for massive corruption.
Not only that but there was a revolt in Chiapas the day after NAFTA was signed. What became of this revolt? Is it still going on or has it morphed into the dreadful drug wars that have cost Mexico 50,000 lives and many millions of dollars?
Sometime after NAFTA was signed William ‘Pit Bull’ Johnson (Mr. English Quebec himself) wrote a column – ‘How wrong they were’, referring to anyone who had criticized NAFTA. How wonderful it was – jobs, trade, commerce – yahoo!
In the year 2012 it is hard to see, except for the loss of industry in both the U.S. and Canada, what exactly NAFTA has accomplished. But in Mexico it has been an unmitigated disaster.
One to 1 1/2 million Mexican farmers have been thrown off their common lands. This phase of NAFTA free trade resembles far more Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. It uses anything – a tsunami, an earthquake or an ill thought out trade deal – to impose globalized free market capitalism upon the planet.
With Mexico a virtually failed state, do the ‘three amigos’ really think that paring back regulation is going to do the trick?
As Chris Hedges would put it, NAFTA is an obsolete idea made redundant by the reality that surrounds it.
On a remark attributed to Albert Einstein himself: “The height of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
Can’t Harper, Obama, and Calderon figure this out?