Sunday, April 23, 2006

Council on Foreign Relations - Whose Side Are They On?

I was asked today to expand on recent on recent comments the the Concil on froeign Realtions gets unfair criticism on the issues of borders, national security and American svoereignty.

Oddly enough, the CFR has been pushing plan to greatly increase border security and Homeland Security and yet the urban legend is that they favor open borders and combining The United States with Canada and Mexico - they get a bad rap sometimes when they don't deserve it.

Sure. I have some disagreements with the Council on Foreign Relations on immigration - specifically I don't think they take the problem of the existing illegal population seriously enough - their position on existing illegals is similar to the President's whereas I favor a harder line.

But, if you read message boards and blogs you could get the impression that the CFR is for abandoning U.S. sovereignty and supports open borders when that is completely false.

The CFR has long been on record as wanting increased border protection - they have a position paper calling for a high tech security screen all around the united State with no-one going in or out with a government issued electronic I.D.

This will require cooperation with the Mexican and Canadian governments which allows some pundits to mischaracterize the CFR position. The CFR also uses the word "community" to describe the three nation cooperation and that terms is often claimed to somehow mean they want open borders.

This is document in question. Trinational Call for a North American Economic and Security Community by 2010

The title sounds scary but people who criticize this document seldom quote from it because a through read makes it clear that the CFR endorses strong border security and and is completely respectful of U.S. sovereignty.

Here are the key points

>>Develop a border pass for North Americans. The chairs propose a border pass, with biometric indicators, which would allow expedited passage through customs, immigration, and airport security throughout North America. "The governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States should commit themselves to the long-term goal of dramatically reducing the need for physical scrutiny of traffic, travel, and trade within North America."<<

>>Adopt a unified Border Action Plan. The three governments should "strive toward a situation in which a terrorist trying to penetrate our borders will have an equally hard time doing so no matter which country he elects to enter first. "First steps should include: harmonized visa and asylum regulations; joint inspection of container traffic entering North American ports; and synchronized screening and tracking of people, goods, and vessels, including integrated "watch" lists. Security cooperation should extend to counterterrorism and law enforcement, and could include the establishment of a trinational threat intelligence center and joint training for law enforcement officials.<<

The Homeland Security Department has now adopted a very similar proposal

>>National Border Patrol Strategy

Published March 28, 2005

Created by the Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection, this Strategy seeks "operational control of (the US') border, and particularly...borders with Mexico and Canada" by means of personnel, technology, increased checkpoints,enforcement, and intelligence, and changes in command structure.<<

Homeland Security Depatment National Border Patrol Strategy

It's totally fair to criticize the CFR (or anybody else) if they suggest something foolish or short sighted but it is troubling to see them criticized on borders when they are a strong voice for secure borders and protecting sovereignty.

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