For many in the U.S., Somalia is viewed as a powerful symbol of United Nations peacekeeping failure. The inability of the international community to respond quickly to Somalia’s mass famine and internecine warfare in the early 1990s (which followed the collapse of a U.S.-backed military dictatorship) is often cited by U.S. critics of the UN. But the situation in Somalia is far more complex.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) sets guidelines for the elimination of most trade and investment barriers between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico over a 15-year period. In place since January 1, 1994, NAFTA is an experiment that builds upon a U.S.-Canadian Free Trade Agreement signed in 1988. Never before has an agreement gone so far to integrate the economies of nations that are so unequal. The gap between average U.S. and Mexican wages is about 8-to-1, which is twice as large as the wage gap between the European Union’s richest and poorest members.