Security, Temp Workers, and Oil
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
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.
the CNAC report in pdf
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: email@example.com.
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