In the wake of all the world political gaffs lately, it’s nice to see some pleasantries being exchanged for once. The three leaders of the nations representing North America met yesterday, in what was dubbed the ‘Three Amigos Summit’. This meeting included Barack Obama, the President of the United States, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and of course, our own Justin Trudeau. They took photos, shook hands, made small talk, and talked about the three nations.
‘Alright, now I want you both to spin me around’¹
They talked about a number of issues, most of the issues were things they could all agree on, relatively. First was climate change. They all want to push for 50 percent of electrical energy to come from clean sources, and they’ve set the target date for 2025, which is less than a decade away. Trade was another hot topic. As the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is currently stalled, they are continuing to renegotiate the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), mostly to adjust for current economic instability. Border control is going to change as well, as the three countries are working on the NEXUS (I can’t actually find what this acronym stands for, or even if it is an acronym) system, which would allow frequent, low risk travellers privileges to cross the borders. A big topic was human rights, most notably towards the LGBTQ community, as well as indigenous women in all three countries.
So I’m awfully glad they sat down to have a yap over whatever they happened to be serving at Parliament Hill. Some big topics came up, Obama gave a nice speech calling Canadians his besties, I’m certain there was a couple of fist bumps and high fives, and maybe, behind the scenes, they had a couple of beers and tequila shots and lamented about how being the leader of the nation was a pretty difficult job.
Does this meeting and what they discussed actually matter, though?
One of the major problems with this meeting is that Obama is going to be leaving the White House pretty soon, and the following establishment might not agree to the same terns that Obama has. It’s hard to say what Hillary will do. She gone quiet in regards to NAFTA, a trade agreement her husband and former US President Bill Clinton championed. She’s decided against the TPP, even though she was behind it during her tenure as Secretary of State. Understanding the fact that it’s a poisonous topic at the moment, she may be turning her back on the idea due to politics, and pull a 180 if elected. Trump, on the other hand, would nullify most of the ideas laid out, especially in regards to climate change, the TPP, and the NEXUX system. All this talk might be just that. Talk.
In a world where building connections and bridges between nations would benefit everyone and make the world a smaller place, Brexit has shown us that many still want to build walls. Hell, that’s one of the reasons that Trump became so popular in the first place, and he’s suggesting a literal wall, not just a metaphoric one. Free trade is akin to a four letter word among both left and right wing demagogues. A war still rages in Mexico over a fail drug policy that’s been in affect for decades. Income inequality still rises in the United States.
Saying yes to change is difficult. It means challenging laws, it means reconfiguring systems of thought, it requires ideals to malleable, it needs research and discussion and planning. On the other hand, saying no is easy. It means there’s no need to grow, to learn, to evolve. Building a bridge is difficult, especially if you’re going to be bringing a lot of people over it. You need engineers, and planners, and lawyers, and construction experts. Building a wall is easier. You need steel and concrete and time to build a bridge that would allow a car to pass over it. If you want to stop a car with a wall, all you need to do is put some shit in front of it.
All I had to do was put up some bricks and some mortar, and BOOM, car problem solved.²
Maybe that’s my issue with the meeting of the Three Amigos. They’re talking about how to build bridges, when the discussion that should be taking place is this; why does everyone want to start building walls?
Walls don’t work. Walls are meant to keep baddies out, and they rarely succeed. And in the process of trying to keep the baddies out, you end up stifling the flow of information. In a world where information is power, it’s strange to see everyone give that up for a sense of false security.
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s.In a perfect world, they would have all taken time to have an old fashioned wrastle