“Imagine there’s no countries”

Brexit is done but world peace was the inspiration for the European Union, do Britons no longer share that dream? Or do the majority feel it was the wrong plan with too many faults and unlikely benefits? Imagine a similar plan in another continent, would it hold together?

John Lennon’s song Imagine has many fine words: “Imagine all the people sharing all the world”; “No need for greed or hunger”; “Nothing to kill or die for”; “A brotherhood of man”. It’s just a song, which is fine, there’s no plan.

New York Times editorials constantly disparage Brexit, they seem to assume that Global Britain represents a backwards step mixed with nostalgia for the Empire rather than renewed engagement with other parts of the world than Europe. They think that sovereignty should be sacrificed for the broader interests of the Continent. Here’s a thought experiment for NYT readers:

Imagine a project in which the countries of NAFTA resolved to go beyond free trade to political integration. The US-Mexico wall would be dismantled and citizens would be free to live and work where they wanted. US Federal laws and regulations would be monitored and frequently overruled by a commission of appointees representing the three nations equally. The US Supreme Court would not be supreme because the new North American Court of Justice would decide on appeals to its bench of judges appointed equally from the member nations’ judiciaries. NACJ legal precedents would apply in US courts, new laws introduced at North American Union (NAU) level would automatically become US laws without needing the consent of Congress or Senate. The US dollar would be replaced by a common currency controlled by the NAU’s central bank, which could gobble up any of the nations’ debts when it deemed that necessary, which would then become shared liabilities.

This would merely be Stage 1 of course, the mission would be to eventually integrate all the countries of the Americas into a single nation, ensuring similar prosperity and common ‘American values’, for all citizens. There would need to be some very significant differences from the EU model because that seems to be hardening divergence between various regions.

Stage 2 would be to extend the NAU to incorporate the Mercosur countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – plus its associate members – Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname. People, goods and money would flow freely across the 14 nations of the combined American Union (AU).

Stage 3 would extend membership to other trade blocks such as the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA, now DR-CAFTA since the addition of the Dominican Republic). Many of the poorer nations might be very eager to embrace their new prospects.

In the sweet bye-and-bye North and South America would be united in peace and (roughly) equal prosperity. People would mix freely and respect each others’ ethnicities and cultures – a happy union. Of course the effort to achieve all this would be tremendous so must be focused. The rest of the world could not be allowed a free ride, its common market must be protected from open competition by countries that had not made the same sacrifices and did not observe the exact same rules. Obviously all the Americas would be awash with chlorinated chicken so US farmers might be happy about that.

Predictably a substantial number of red-neck, America-first diehards would be against the project and might even succeed in overturning US participation. They should be disparaged for not embracing the glorious future that might one day lead to world government, an end to all war and a fair sharing of the riches of all the continents. Imagine if you can. Unless that were to happen similar mega-blocks could arise everywhere like competing empires, taking the world back to how things were before the enlightened visionaries began the journey from disunity to uniformity, in Rome in in 1957.

We wonder how many NYT readers would endorse this vision. Despite the nobility of some of its aims could there be a better, simpler way of improving trans-American cooperation, prosperity and happiness?


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