Chapter 4: On Globalisation and Region-building: The Case of North America
4. On globalisation and regionbuilding: the case of North America Arturo Santa-Cruz 1. INTRODUCTION It is commonplace nowadays to say that we live in ‘a global order of strong regions’ or, more succinctly, in a ‘world of regions’ (Buzan and Wæver 2003, 20; Katzenstein 2005) Regionalisation processes have certainly spread throughout the world, including the northernmost part of the western hemisphere, that is, Canada, the United States and Mexico – what is now usually referred to as ‘North America’. By some standards, economic integration between the three countries is not far from the European Union’s (Pastor 2010). But what about the process of regionalism, that is, the building of institutions to solve collective problems, in North America (Breslin et al. 2002; Capling and Nossal 2009)? Here the story is different. Certainly since 1994 Canada, Mexico and the United States are bound together by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which from the start formally spun off to border development, environmental and labour matters, and in 2005 the three countries signed the Security and Prosperity Partnership. However, the question persists: Does North America – as a meaningful region – exist? That is, do Canada, Mexico and the United States share perceptions regarding interests, threats and values? More broadly, what is it that makes it possible now to talk about a world populated by regions? How has the globalisation process contributed to or hindered the emergence of a regionalised world? What can we learn from the regionalisation experience in the Pacific Rim when...
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