Just what is the North American Union (NAU)?
the NAU is an increasingly popular conspiracy theory about a group of shadowy and mostly nameless international "elites" who are planning to "replace the United States" -- in the words of Jerome Corsi, a key figure in the SwiftBoat Veterans for Truth project and a leading NAU conspiracist -- with a transnational government. The theory holds that the borders between Mexico, Canada and the United States are in the process of being erased, covertly, by a group of "globalists" whose ultimate goal is to replace national governments in D.C., Ottawa and Mexico City with a European-style political union and a bloated EU-style bureaucracy.
The North American Union story is an offspring of the John Birch Society right, with its attendant xenophobia and paranoia. It comes complete with a shadowy international cabal intent on stabbing decent, hard-working Americans in the back -- Dolchstoss!
To fully understand the growing fascination with the NAU in various corners of the internet, one has to view it also as a cultural phenomenon; it's an entirely logical reaction to a process of corporate-driven global integration that feeds into Americans' very real and wholly valid economic anxieties. As David Moberg recently noted, Americans, "by a margin of 46 percent to 28 percent, [believe] that trade deals have harmed the United States," and four times as many people surveyed by Pew said U.S. trade deals had lowered wages than the number who believed the deals had raised them.
It should come as no surprise that people tend to look for a wizard working behind the curtain. The idea that shadowy forces beyond our perception are really in charge of steering the most powerful country in the world is reinforced every time a bipartisan NAFTA-like "trade" deal with little or no support gets jammed through Congress.
Ultimately, though, the answer to the question "What is the NAU?" is this: It is absolutely nothing. The NAU exists only as a proposal contained in one of a thousand academic and/or wonky papers published each year that advocate all manner of idealistic but ultimately unrealistic approaches to social, economic and political problems. Most of these get passed around in their own circles and eventually filed away and forgotten by junior staffers in congressional offices. Some of these papers, however, become touchstones for the conspiracy-minded and form the basis of all kinds of unfounded fears.
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