North America

The three countries that dominate North America

– 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.

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An American comeback in the Balkans

After 20 years of absence, the U.S. has realized that the EU alone cannot broker peace in the Western Balkans, and that this power vacuum could open the door to non-EU influence. Washington is currently taking several measures to ensure that key agreements are concluded before the next U.S. presidential elections, even if this renewed involvement will cause tensions with Brussels.

Professor Dr. Blerim Reka
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A U.S.-China deal won’t end economic uncertainty

The U.S.-China trade dispute is not just about unfair practices or a large trade deficit. It has deeper roots, with origins in Beijing’s aspiration to become a globally dominant leader in several technology sectors. That ambition – and Washington’s wariness of it – will not abate anytime soon. So while a trade deal may be likely before the 2020 election, U.S.-China tensions over technology leadership are only beginning.

Riley Walters
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U.S. immigration and border security policy headed toward a crossroads

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.

Dr. James Jay Carafano
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GIS Dossier: Monetary policy stood on its head

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.  

GIS Feature