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The Guadalajara Trilateral Summit

8 August 2009

Shannon O’Neil (U.S. Council on Foreign Relations) and Jennifer Jetts (Canadian International Council) on the Guadalajara Summit:

Steep economic decline, rising public insecurity, and the resurgence of swine flu threaten North America today. As U.S. President Barak Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper head to Guadalajara, Mexico to meet with President Felipe Calderon, the agenda looks quite difficult. Add to this the equivocal support within the U.S. government for free trade, and the outlook for this summit looks grim…

While both see NAFTA as positive on the whole, they note — like the rest of us — that the theory (which was good) and practice (not so good) haven’t always meshed. My previous post on the Summit wasn’t an objection to the summit, only to the way the agenda was being spun to suggest it was only about resolving a U.S. based problem (narcotics). It is a “security conference” but the U.S. media has ignored the substantive issues where the conference could make progress (“Joint programs and collaborative action to address climate change, environmental degradation, and renewable energy initiatives will make faster and deeper progress than individual activity in these areas.”) instead forcusing on the all-consuming “drug war”.

Their prescription — and a good one — is simple:

… it is time to open the process to a broad array of citizens, non-governmental organizations, labor unions, and private sector organizations. The recent Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago gave a strong voice and platform to these groups, as many leaders and their ministers attended a wide variety of events and discussions on regional initiatives with presentations from aboriginal groups, a youth forum, and a regional business forum in addition to the formal plenary summit sessions.  A more inclusive process would provide both a broader set of ideas and solutions, as well as greater support for summit outcomes.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 9 August 2009 9:35 pm

    Aren’t these guys sick of talking about the economy?

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