April 23, 2005

Adding to NAFTA

What if, instead of waiting for Latin America to get its act together and sign a hemisphere-wide free trade treaty, the US were to offer NAFTA entry to it's next closest neighbor after Canada and Mexico? That neighbor isn't who you think, though, it's Russia.

In one fell swoop, the bloc calculations of most of the world's diplomats would be overturned. Russia would be immeasurably strengthened vis a vis the EU. The PRC would have to give up any dreams of moving north into Siberia. Best of all, the Russian psyche would be stroked in a way that is likely to be very healthy for world peace. Instead of viewing themselves as being encircled, they become part of a huge economic bloc where their huge resources would give them a large say in what goes on but the mostly economic form of the relationship means that they won't have to worry about being swallowed up politically. This is something that EU membership negotiations would run into and it would be a formidable problem.

The very idea would draw huge controversy on a scale that would be reminiscent of "Seward's Folly" the purchase of Alaska. In fact, it would probably dwarf it. The results, however, would likely be similarly beneficial in the long term. In fact, it would probably turn positive even quicker than Alaska because of the purely economic nature of this new relationship.

Our nearest non-contiguous neighbor deserves at least as much consideration as Honduras, Belize, or Paraguay as a potential free trade partner and realistically a great deal more. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be getting it. That's a real pity.

Posted by TMLutas at April 23, 2005 11:08 PM