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The Future of North America

Replacing a Bad Neighbor Policy

Courtesy Reuters

On January 20, 2009, if not before, a new national security adviser will tell the incoming president of the United States that the first two international visitors should be the prime minister of Canada and the president of Mexico. Almost every new president since World War II has followed this ritual, because no two countries in the world have a greater impact economically, socially, and politically on the United States than its neighbors. The importance of Canada and Mexico may, however, come as a surprise to most Americans, as well as to the new president. In the presidential campaign, instead of discussing a positive agenda for North America's future, the candidates have focused critically on two parts of that agenda, the 14-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and immigration. And overall, one could conclude from listening to the campaign that Iraq is key to U.S. national security, China is the

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