Tom Ridge on Free Trade
Secretary of Homeland Defense; Former Republican Governor (PA)
Since the inception of NAFTA, trade with Canada and Mexico had tripled, yet the infrastructure (bridges, tunnels, etc.) needed to move the goods had not been expanded or improved. With the tightening of rules and the intensifying of inspections, the natural result was a crushing blow to commerce.
The natural reaction of 9/11 --keep everyone out-- was neither realistic nor desirable for our own security or prosperity. We are inextricably linked by the economic, diplomatic, and cultural forces of globalization, and the ties that bind us need protection and preservation.
My worldview of the irreversible nature of America's interdependence on the rest of the world for economic and security reasons was confirmed again when I traveled early in my tenure with the Coast Guard. During an inspection of a port, we were invited to board a bulk cargo ship. I ascended the pilot ladder and boarded the ship registered in Singapore, with an Indian crew, awaiting American grain to transport to Japan.
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