Building Borders the Hard Way: Enforcing North American Security Post 9/11

Authored by: Heather Nicol

The Ashgate Research Companion to Border Studies

Print publication date:  July  2011
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754674061
eBook ISBN: 9781315612782
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043997


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While Ohmae (1990) contended that the pressure of global trade, flows of information, people and goods within a world economy and global market place could not sustain the impediment of borders, this borderless world has yet to materialize. Instead, the North American states, which sustain the world’s largest trade flows among themselves, have built ever-higher fences, ostensibly by U.S. interests in protection of the American ‘homeland’. But also it would appear that these fences are designed to include neighbours, through harmonization processes, while fortifying the continental American ‘homeland’ from the broader reach of globalization. These walls facilitate interaction with states whose foreign policies, security programs, ideology and ‘values’ correspond to American ones. The danger posed for Americans is not from their ‘near neighbours’, and for these states the walls are there to build or force compliance, rather than exclusion. Indeed, neighbours are encouraged to replicate U.S. security standards and to merge with U.S. homeland interests. In other words, U.S. security policies are implemented through agreements and border controls meant to incorporate neighbours rather than exclude them, but to incorporate them under the terms of U.S. domestic security agendas instead of through foreign policies, diplomacy or broader treaties and international agreements.

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