It’s a ritual long familiar to observers of American politics: presidential hopefuls with limited international experience travel to foreign lands and deliver speeches designed to showcase their grasp of foreign affairs. Typically, such escapades involve trips to major European capitals or active war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, however, has broken this mold. Before his recent jaunt to London and into the thickets of American vaccination politics, he chose two surprising destinations for his first trips abroad as a potential Republican candidate. No, not Kabul or Baghdad or even Paris, but Mexico City and Alberta, Canada. And rather than launch into discussions of immigration, terrorism, or the other usual Republican foreign policy topics, he focused on his own top priority: integrating Canada and Mexico into a US-led “North American energy renaissance.”
By accelerating the exploitation of fossil fuels across the continent, reducing governmental oversight of drilling operations in all three countries and building more cross-border pipelines like the Keystone XL, Christie explained, all three countries would be guaranteed dramatic economic growth. “In North America, we have resources waiting to be tapped,” he assured business leaders in Mexico City. “What is required is the vision to maximize our growth, the political will to unlock our potential, and the understanding that working together on strategic priorities… is the path to a better life.”
At first glance, Christie’s blueprint for his North American energy renaissance seems to be a familiar enough amalgam of common Republican tropes: support for that Keystone XL pipeline slated to bring Canadian tar sands to the US Gulf Coast, along with unbridled energy production everywhere; opposition to excessive governmental regulation; free trade… well, you know the mantra. But don’t be fooled. Something far grander—and more sinister—is being proposed. It’s nothing less than a plan to convert Canada and Mexico into energy colonies of the United States, while creating a North American power bloc capable of aggressively taking on Russia, China and other foreign challengers.