– the United States, Canada and Mexico – each have a different historical background that influences their culture and governance systems. The U.S. and Canada are of Anglo-Saxon origin, while Mexico has Spanish heritage. The U.S. declared its independence from Britain in the late 18th century, while Canada remained in the British Empire until 1867 and is still a member of the Commonwealth. Once independent, the U.S. expanded to the west and south, partially through land purchases from France and Russia, and partially by the conquest of territory previously held by Mexico and Native Americans.
The three countries are very closely intertwined economically, with the U.S. in the dominant position. The U.S. is the world’s largest economy and strongest military power. North America offers a natural strategic advantage: the continent is shielded by oceans to the east and west. The U.S. effectively projects its power globally by having direct naval access to both the Atlantic and Pacific.
The continent is so rich in natural resources that it is practically self-sufficient. Its big internal markets make its economies less dependent on exports.
The North Atlantic area, comprising Europe and North America, has been the world’s biggest economic zone for the past 200 years. Although this is still the case, the Asia-Pacific region is catching up quickly.
Europe’s self-destruction through two world wars and its increasingly socialist politics in recent decades have given the U.S. the uncontested role of global hegemon. Recently, however, the North American superpower has found itself challenged by China.
During President Donald Trump’s first term in office, immigration and border policy have become hot-button issues. The administration’s aggressive enforcement of border security has created a backlash in the Democratic Party, which is now leaning toward decriminalizing illegal entry. The future of immigration in the U.S. will be shaped by the outcome of the upcoming elections.
Unconventional monetary policies saved many financial institutions in the U.S. and Europe after the financial crisis. However, near-zero to negative interest rates and central banks’ massive debt-purchasing programs, which pumped trillions of dollars and euros into economies, failed to restore growth and have had potent, negative and lasting side-effects. Relaxing the corset of regulations while restoring the market players’ responsibility would have worked better.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell worries that the Trump administration’s trade dispute with China is hamstringing the American economy. President Donald Trump believes a more aggressive monetary policy is necessary. Both men want to burnish their image and consolidate their power. To do so, they may make moves that would not necessarily benefit the U.S. economy.
According to the U.S.’s National Security Strategy, great power competition is back. That this is the geopolitical reality is a rare conclusion that both Republicans and Democrats agree on. The paradigm is therefore likely to outlast President Trump and shape American foreign policy for the foreseeable future.