At the center of today's "Three Amigos" Summit in New Orleans between George W. Bush and his homologues, Mexico's Felipe Calderon and Stephen Harper of Canada, is the sovereignty-swallowing nexus between trade, migration and military policy.As mentioned in the Times Picayune, Bush and Calderon held bilateral talks today in which they discussed NAFTA, the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia and regional security. Much of the chatter in the press focused on how Calderon and Bush "defended" NAFTA and free trade.
Lacking in all of the coverage of this and other regional summits is any notion of the symbiotic relationship between trade and militarization throughout hemisphere, including the U.S.. None of the press, for example, makes the connection between how economy-integrating trade policies like NAFTA or the proposed U.S.-Colombia FTA are inevitably accompanied by increases in the domestic policing and military budgets of the U.S. and its "Latin American trade partners" like Colombia, home to the worst human rights record in the Americas thanks to the more than $4 billion in military aid it receives from the U.S.
As they continue negotiating an exponential increase in the military aid Mexico receives from the U.S., Bush and Calderon appear to be plotting a Colombianization (drug wars, counterinsurgency wars combined with free trade) just a stones throw from our southern border.
Nothing was said in today's summit coverage about how Calderon and Bush are actually "defending" free trade with real guns and real troops.This link between increased free trade and mushrooming military budgets makes sense when we consider that border-smashing corporate interests represented by Bush and Calderon need uniformed people with guns to quash social tensions (formerly known as class conflicts) exacerbated by economic restructuring. Put another way, when the soft power middle class cushion between rich and poor gets tattered beyond repair by free trade, it is replaced by the hard power military cushion in both the U.S and Mexico.
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