The Council on Foreign Relations has released this week the new report of the Independent Task Force on North America, and for anyone familiar with the long history of efforts to deepen economic integration in North America, the adjectives that probably best describe the report are “pragmatic” and “realistic.” The Task Force, co-chaired by Robert Zoellick, the former World Bank chief and veteran of several Republican administrations, and General David Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, urges a series of measures to improve security and boost the economic fortunes of all three countries in an increasingly competitive global market. (I served as an “observer” on the Task Force, which meant I participated in the discussions but was not asked to endorse the report or its recommendations.)

More striking is what the Task Force did not do. It did not call for a North American customs union with a common external tariff. It did not call for a common currency. It did not even call for a “NAFTA 2.0” that would expand the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement among Canada, Mexico and the United States. Instead, it quite modestly urges a “new focus” on the importance of North America, with greater cooperation on such issues as energy, border management, trade and law enforcement.

via Renewing America » A New Realism: The Independent Task Force on North America.