The Common Market
Author’s note: This is part 2 of 3
The North American Common Market, outlined by the report, envisioned a marketplace with the “free movement across of the borders of all commodities, particularly oil and gas, but people as well.” The effort would strengthen the United States against oil manipulation by the Arab nations and protect it from Soviet aggression across the globe. The plan had to be in place by 1990, according to the proponents of the common market.
Proponents of the plan were also aware of the Mexican government’s unwillingness to allow itself to be dominated by the United States. At the time, México’s population was growing in an uncontrolled rate.
To entice México to join the common market alongside Canada, México would be allowed “free immigration of Mexicans” to work in Canada and the United States. The United States would benefit from a “large, low cost labor force” that was legitimate and recognized by the U.S. government.
“It would prove an outlet to the millions of unemployed, under-utilized Mexicans” who could not get jobs in México.
Additionally, the United States offered to extend a “security umbrella” over Canada and México.
Meanwhile, the Mexican government was dealing with the new access to vast oil reserves and how to capitalize on them. Aware of the common market concept, the Mexican government made it clear that its oil would not become an anti-OPEC commodity. México did not want the money, nor the protection of the United States.
What México wanted was capital intensive investment in México to help move the country away from an agrarian and oil-based economy to a manufacturing one. México wanted to industrialize.
Officials within the U.S. government embraced Kenneth Hill’s argument that what México really had was “labor” and that is what would make the common market successful for the United States. Hill, a former director of Chase Manhattan’s Petroleum Division, was the lead author of the Blyth, Eastman, Dillon & Co. report.
The Cold War
The Cold War was the undercurrent to the geopolitics driving the sudden willingness by the United States to open its border to México. Saudi Arabia and OPEC, by extension, was likely to fall victim to the same political disaster as Iran’s sudden turn towards Islamic religious rule, was the common fear in Washington. “Cubans are running all over” México was a common theme in U.S. news media outlets augmenting the fear that the Soviets were establishing a foothold on the United States’ doorstep.
Canada, meanwhile, enthusiastically embraced the common market theme. The promised U.S. security umbrella strengthened NATO allowing Canada greater latitude to focus on its domestic issues.
México remained ambivalent to the U.S. promises out of fear that it would be absorbed by the United States. The Mexican military kept a firm distance from the U.S. military relying on domestic arms production and a mixture of foreign arm sales that included German rifles, Israeli weapons and even soviet aircraft. Although the Mexican military, most notably, the navy bought U.S. weapons to deploy, it tended to avoid U.S. weapons whenever possible.
México was not interested in a “security umbrella” from the United States.
After the oil discoveries, the Mexican government started to think about upgrading its military to protect the oil reserves. There was also the unresolved issue of México’s limited aerial capability to respond to a Guatemalan aggression in 1958. In the late 1970’s, the Mexican Army received permission to purchase supersonic air defense aircraft to provide México with an air defense capability. México settled on the Kfir C2 fighter from Israel as its air superiority aircraft to replace the aging T-33 fleet. It attempted to purchase 24 fighters from Israel, but was stymied by the U.S.
The Jimmy Carter administration blocked the sale because Israel needed approval for the U.S. engines, the GE J79, in the aircraft. Eventually, México purchased a dozen U.S. Northrup F5 Tiger IIs. [See note no. 1 below] The first of the aircraft were delivered in 1982. México paid $110 million for the fleet.
The Mexican F5’s gave México the ability to safeguard the oil fields, although it relied heavily on U.S. radar coverage to direct air intercept operations. However, the fighters allowed México the outward appearance that it could safeguard its own sovereignty.
México quietly retired its F5 Tiger II fleet on September 16, 2016.
Today, México relies on the U.S. Air Force and to a much lower extent, NATO for sovereignty interception missions while relying on its PC-7, PC-9 and Texan T-6C’s for drug interdiction and COIN (counterinsurgency and drug interdiction) operations.
This brought México back full circle to the Blyth, Eastman, Dillon & Co. report of a common market, led by NAFTA, under a security umbrella offered by the United States.
Tomorrow, we will look at the Western Hemisphere Enery Workshops that were a cover to the taking of Méxco’s oil. We will also see how Ronald Reagan embarked upon NAFTA.
1. Note: On Thursday, I will be posting a detailed report on the purchase of the F5’s by México because it details the geopolitics and the intrigue of U.S.-México relations and how it all came around full circle recently.