May 13, 2009

Vicente Fox at Kennesaw State University; “My dream is that there will be no borders”

Posted by D.A. King at 9:46 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

Martietta Daily Journal
May 13, 2009

Mexican leader calls for unity

By Talia Mollett

MARIETTA – Former Mexican President Vicente Fox pushed Tuesday for forming a union between Canada, Mexico and the United States. Fox was the keynote speaker at Kennesaw State University’s inaugural summit on the Commission of North American Prosperity, or North America 2050.

“It was this leading nation (the United States) that came up with the idea to convince every other nation to open its market and borders. It was this leading nation that said this was the path to go. We saw the Coca Colas, hamburgers and cars coming into our county and we were frightened because we were concerned about losing jobs. We were afraid of opening our markets because we didn’t feel self-sufficient and competitive enough,” he said. “It was very difficult in the beginning, but today Mexico is a competitive country with more trade agreements than any other country. We’re a very solid and strong contributor to this economy.”

Referencing the European Union, Fox said the common market is both powerful and productive.

“The most powerful tool in their market is the cohesive fund. Each country contributes 2 percent of their gross national product, which is invested in underdeveloped areas and poor families. This is the core of their strength,” he said. “I want a better future for North America.”

Looking down the road, Fox said he believes in 20 years the “dreams of our founding fathers will be fulfilled with freedom and better distribution of wealth.”

Fox also addressed drug violence in Mexico on Tuesday, saying that the United States’ consumption has encouraged a continual problem. Discussion panelist U.S. Col. Eric Rojo, international consultant on border security, concurred.

“We’re very good at blaming Mexico for drugs, but we consume them. As long as there is demand for jobs and drugs, there will be a supply and no army can stop them. All these expenditures on security are a waste of money,” Rojo said. “Security is about trust, and today we have a lack of trust. Unfortunately, we go to whipping posts like Lou Dobbs and they fuel the ignorance. The largest bridge we need to cross is the ignorance amongst ourselves.”

Dr. Peter Appleton, who represented Canada, said leaders should look for similarities among the countries when trying to solve problems. Appleton is the president of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

“I think it’s important that we talk about common concerns so we can find common solutions. If ever there was a match in theory that was made in heaven, it is North America. Canada and Mexico both have the oil supply and the United States needs resources. Why can’t we work together? Ronald Regan took down the Berlin wall and we’ve spent the last 10 years putting one up. Where’s the logic in that? How is that fair?”

Dr. Robert Pastor, professor of international studies at American University, said closing the borders to the U.S. would be self-defeating.

“A country that opens itself to the world will do better. The best way to improve the lives of your people and to protect your sovereignty is to open yourself to the world,” he said. “The European Union called on all people to unite. North America didn’t do anything like that with NAFTA. We didn’t have a spiritual vision past anything other than a business contract.”

Economists predict China will have the largest economy in the world by 2040, eclipsing the United States, which will slip into second place. India will move up to third place and Mexico is expected to rank fifth, Fox said.

The United States has the opportunity to remain on top by joining with its northern and southern neighbors to form North America, he said.

“If we’re going to have a partnership between the U.S. and Mexico, we need to do it all the way, not just in places,” Fox said. “My vision is that if we work together, use our minds and plan for the future, those numbers in 2040 will be different.”

Panelists also fielded questions from the audience at yesterday’s summit. Audience members asked why Mexican trucks had trouble crossing into the United States, how did Canada benefit from NAFTA and whether it was realistic to push for immigration reform with the current state of the economy, among other questions.

Joan Manning, of Marietta, listened intently at the summit.

“I’m impressed by what considerate minds they are and by their tolerance and desire to improve the relations between nations and living conditions among the poor. They’re also looking to the future and not just stopping at today. I came primarily because I wanted to hear Vicente Fox, but I really have enjoyed and learned a lot from these men.”

Fox also delivered the keynote address for Emory University’s 164th commencement ceremony on Monday.