Elite Logic at the Border

by GREG MOSES

Just as PNAC or the Project for the New American Century helped us to think about underlying motives for the public shams of the war on terrorism, so might CNAC or the Compact for North American Competitiveness help us to think about drama at the border between Mexico and the USA. Already CNAC’s preferences for “border security” and “temporary workers” have attracted friends with clout, but did you know that Mexican oil is also on the agenda?

Shortly after last year’s Waco Summit brought together three North American heads of state, Bush, Fox, and Martin, a CNAC proposal was released by the US Council of the Mexico-US Business Committee (MEXUS), an organization which predates the Council of the Americas (COA) to which it now belongs.

The April 2005 report is signed by COA heavyweights Robert Mosbacher and James Jones, backed by a leadership team composed of ChevronTexaco, Eastman Kodak, First Data, Ford Motor, Kissinger McLarty, Manatt Jones Global Strategies, Merck, MetLife, Miller and Chevalier, Nextel, and Proctor and Gamble.

In a preface to the report, MEXUS takes a lot of credit for creating NAFTA or the North American Free Trade Agreement; brags about publishing “NAFTA Works”; and promises to maintain leadership for “increasing competitiveness” in the unified North American bloc.

The fact that seems to irritate this report more than any other is that despite NAFTA the maquiladora sector of the Mexican economy had managed to lose 250,000 jobs to China in the first five years of the new American century. This fact also locates the area that CNAC authors are most interested to address: how to fix the problems of Mexico so that the NAFTA alliance can steal back those maquiladora jobs. One key task is "free and secure” trade through borders which commodities can speed quickly, but which must do a better job screening people.

Concurrent with release of this report last April, the Minutemen were quietly fading into the margins of the media when their profile was rescued by terminator Governor Schwarzenegger of California. At that time, remember, Schwarzenegger miscued himself by talking about “closing the border”, a line he later delivered closer to script.

"Yesterday was a total screw-up in the words I used," the governor said at a press conference. "Because instead of closing, I meant securing." With those words, pieces of the border puzzle had actually locked into place last April, soon followed last May by a caucus report from Congress calling for 36,000 national guard at the border. At the time, the idea seemed far-fetched, like the idea of full-scale invasions had sounded a few years before that.

As we now know, the President has fulfilled the 2005 prophesies by sending thousands of troops to replace the function modeled by the Minutemen, just as Schwarzenegger and the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus had suggested in the first place.

Besides “border security” the CNAC report is clear in its preference for a second darling policy favored by Bush and Companies: an “enforceable temporary worker program that will match willing workers with willing employers, bringing order and increased security to current haphazard patterns of immigration.” We haven’t heard the end of this idea this year. Having a global temp service is really too tempting for Mexico’s continental partners to ignore.

Given the momentum that security and temp work are having in the real world today, it is worth noting a third area of prime concern for CNAC, and that is reform of Mexico’s oil and gas industry. In the near term, says the CNAC report, the Mexican government has to improve opportunities for private investment and in the long term Mexico has to find “cost-effective means to raise production.” Unless this is done, says the CNAC report, “security and competitiveness within North America will be impacted.”

This past weekend in its coverage of the Mexican presidential race, scheduled for July 2, the Associated Press clearly outlined the positions of each major candidate on reforming the Mexican oil and gas sector. While reading those news reports online I got the queasy feeling that CNAC was beginning to look like PNAC all over again.

GREG MOSES is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at gmosesx@prodigy.net


 

 

 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 02, 2015
Paul Street
Strange Words From St. Bernard and the Sandernistas
Jose Martinez
Houston, We Have a Problem: False Equivalencies on Police Violence
Henry Giroux
Global Capitalism and the Culture of Mad Violence
Ajamu Baraka
Making Black Lives Matter in Riohacha, Colombia
William Edstrom
Wall Street and the Military are Draining Americans High and Dry
David Altheide
The Media Syndrome Between a Glock and a GoPro
Ruth Fowler
Ask Not: Lost in the Crowd with Amanda Palmer
Yves Engler
Canada vs. Africa
Ron Jacobs
The League of Empire
Andrew Smolski
Democracy and Privatization in Neoliberal Mexico
Stephen Lendman
Gaza: a Socioeconomic Dead Zone
Norman Pollack
Obama, Flim-Flam Artist: Alaska Off-Shore Drilling
Binoy Kampmark
Australian Border Force Gore
Kim Nicolini
Remembering Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?