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Dependent America?

Dependent America?: How Canada and Mexico Construct US Power

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 352
  • Book Info
    Dependent America?
    Book Description:

    Detailing the dynamics of North America's power relations,Dependent America?is a fitting conclusion to Clarkson's celebrated trilogy on the contradictory qualities of its regionalism — asymmetrical economic integration, thickened borders, and emasculated governanc

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6124-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-2)
  3. Introduction: Is America ‘Dependent’?
    (pp. 3-24)

    With its financial implosion, its military withdrawal from the Middle East, and its intermittent sparring with a resurgent China, the United States’ falterings on the world stage have opened the latest in a series of intellectual debates that have accompanied the ups and downs of its hegemony over the last half-century. Back in the 1970s, Europe’s recovery, the emergence of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and Japan’s then-spectacular rise were allegedly tolling the bell for US global dominance. Yet, by the time the dust had settled from the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse, the United States had actually risen...

  4. PART ONE: Growing the United States’ Economy

    • [PART ONE Introduction]
      (pp. 25-28)

      Assuming that the United States’ power in the world is a function of its economic size and vitality, we start our book by asking to what extent this material strength is derived from the country’s links with other economies in general and its two nearest neighbours in particular.

      For the United States, Canada and Mexico are vast markets for exports, huge sources of imports, major sites of investment by US transnational corporations, large suppliers of natural resources, and significant providers of human capital. In chapter 1 we marshal trade and investment statistics to document the degree to which Canada and...

    • 1 Making the US Economy Stronger and More Competitive
      (pp. 29-56)

      The United States’ economy does not just provide the American people their much envied high standard of living: it is the sine qua non for US global power, the indispensable base for the American state’s global military and diplomatic dominance. Given this fact, we start our study by asking to what extent the US economy’s size and vitality derive from its trading and investment links with Canada and Mexico.

      The United States has economic relations with almost every national economy. As the world’s eleventh- and thirteenth-largest economies, Canada and Mexico are far from being the most economically powerful of the...

    • 2 Supporting US Energy Security
      (pp. 57-85)

      Countries that depend on foreign sources for an essential commodity have a number of basic options. Most governments rely on the whims of the global marketplace, placing their national economies at the mercy of delivery interruptions and volatile international prices, because they cannot shape international markets to guarantee stable supply chains. If it fears that another state may try to manipulate the global supply, an imperial state with the requisite military means can go further, intervening coercively either to occupy the resource-bearing lands or to exert sufficient political control over a foreign government that the latter ensures access to its...

    • 3 Supplying Workers for the US Labour Market
      (pp. 86-108)

      Despite having the world’s largest economy, the United States has only its third-largest labour force, estimated in 2009 at just over 154 million people.³ US economic might is thus a function of the productivity it leverages not only from its capital and technology but from its workers. We have already assessed the contribution made by Canadian and Mexican markets and resources to American economic power. Here we evaluate labour as the third basic component of US economic competitiveness.

      The endless flow of immigrants bringing their talents and aspirations to the United States has been one of its major assets, maintaining...

  5. PART TWO: Reinforcing the United States’ Security

    • [PART TWO Introduction]
      (pp. 111-112)

      The paradox of North American security is that their geographical contiguity makes Canada and Mexico the United States’ chief security threat while simultaneously making the Canadian and Mexican governments its most essential allies. This part of the study will consider the periphery’s participation in (or abstention from) three facets of US security.

      Even though they are not politically incorporated within the United States, Canada’s and Mexico’s territories can still offer a buffer area for US military security, a zone outside the front line of US fortifications where threats can be identified and warded off before they reach the homeland. During...

    • 4 Extending the United States’ Military Perimeter
      (pp. 113-133)

      From its revolutionary war of independence to the present day, the United States has been preoccupied with its international influence, a disposition that ultimately resulted in its achieving a global military reach. In the Great War, US armed forces made a decisive contribution to the defeat of Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany, and the Second World War repeated the story more dramatically. The awesome detonation of atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved the United States had the capacity for technological innovation to ensure that its military strength surpassed that of all potential rivals.

      Analysing a nation’s military power involves assessing its...

    • 5 Building US Homeland Security against Terrorism
      (pp. 134-153)

      Following the establishment of the United States’ unchallengeable supremacy in North America, land-border regulation on the continent consisted mostly of such non-military functions as controlling immigration, imposing tariffs on imports, and combating the smuggling of goods and people. Looking north after the Second World War, the United States had few security concerns along the almost 9,000 kilometres of its moderately policed borders owing to its intimate economic, social, and cultural ties with Canada. Crime was dealt with by the various US police agencies in cooperation with their Canadian counterparts, so that American and Canadian politicians could proclaim with good reason...

    • 6 Constraining and Reconstructing US Narcotics Security
      (pp. 154-174)

      The global drug trade has a wide-ranging and ever-increasing impact on American society. It affects the United States’ health-care program and its justice system. It consumes immense resources and limits economic prosperity. By government estimates, the annual costs of health care associated with drug abuse rose from $11 to $16 billion in just ten years between 1992 and 2002; the direct costs of drug-related crime grew from $62 to $108 billion; indirect productivity losses doubled from $69 to $129 billion; the economic costs of premature death inched up from $23 to $25 billion; and losses related to narcotic-linked incarceration increased...

  6. PART THREE: Constructing and Constraining the United States’ Global Power

    • [PART THREE Introduction]
      (pp. 177-178)

      So far we have related the North American periphery’s importance for US power to its geographical contiguity. Being physically located on the United States’ northern and southern borders made Canada’s and Mexico’s economic and security contributions far greater than their GNP or military size would alone predict. If we shift our focus from the continental stage to the global arena, however, we find Mexico and Canada interacting with the United States less as unique neighbours than as two mid-sized members of the international community. Whether they affect the United States’ structural power in world affairs or the achievement of its...

    • 7 Strengthening US International Economic Power
      (pp. 179-200)

      American statesmen have always understood that their economy’s strength is a function of its international reach. At first they endeavoured to increase the United States’ economic size territorially, applying their diplomatic skills and military might to move the original Thirteen Colonies’ boundaries southward to Florida and westward from the Atlantic. Having reached their political limits to both the north and the south by the end of the nineteenth century, Americans came too late to the Age of Empire to do more than seize arthritic Spain’s few remaining possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

      The visible hand of trade and...

    • 8 Thwarting the United States in International Criminal Law
      (pp. 201-222)

      Having designed with its victorious allies at the end of the Second World War a global governance regime that incorporated its liberal capitalist values, the United States subsequently deployed its enormous economic, military, and moral resources with impressive political success. Its first major post-war rival, the Soviet Union, manifested its resistance largely through political vetoes and military threats that prevented it acquiring significant support outside the areas under its direct control. Beyond this socialist bloc, many post-colonial states worked to create their own non-aligned order, often exploiting their numerical superiority in the United Nations to turn multilateral institutions to their...

    • 9 Offsetting the US Embargo of Revolutionary Cuba
      (pp. 223-246)

      Cuba’s revolutionary government survived for over fifty years despite the declared hostility of the world’s most powerful state looming just 140 kilometres over the horizon. Citizens and scholars alike have long asked how Cuba was able to resist not so much a botched CIA invasion but decades of the United States’ economic embargo. While most answers focus on the three decades of military protection and economic aid that the Soviet Union offered Fidel Castro’s Cuba, analysts generally disregard the roles played by smaller nations in offsetting the United States’ political might within the inter-American system. Mexico and Canada never approached...

  7. Conclusion to the Book: How the United States Needs Canada and Mexico
    (pp. 247-261)

    At the outset of our quest, we laid out a problematic that we can now review:

    To what extent do Canada and Mexico asagentsconstruct US power?

    Do these contributions create a dependency that makes the United States asobjectvulnerable to its neighbours’ withdrawal of their support?

    Taking the policy initiative asagent,has Washington been able to neutralize the autonomy-reducing consequence of such dependence?

    Addressing our first question, our nine chapters argued that the United States derives a noteworthy portion of its material assets, its domestic security, and its international influence from its North American neighbours. When...

  8. Epilogue to the Trilogy: The Disunited States of North America
    (pp. 262-284)

    This study of how Canada and Mexico support US power brings to an end a three-tier research project on the impact of globalization on North America’s political economy that goes back to the mid-1990s. The norms, rules, and rights laid out in NAFTA for Mexico, Canada, and the United States and in the WTO for most of the world’s states were so comprehensive in their scope and so intrusive in their reach that they gave analysts cause to investigate their implications for individual nation-states. For the signatory states, which were being dubbed ‘post-national’ because they seemed to be losing some...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 285-342)
  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 343-352)
    Stephen Clarkson
  11. Index
    (pp. 353-366)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 367-367)