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Petraeus and Zoellick urge U.S. to pay attention to North America

As international problems like Ebola and ISIS dominate U.S. politics, there is less bandwidth for issues closer to home. But a new report argues the U.S. should be devoting more attention to our neighbors in North America.

Retired U.S. army general and former CIA director David Petraeus and former World Bank President Robert Zoellick are joining forces to deliver the message, offering their analysis as the co-chairs of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Independent Task Force on North America.

“The crises always push North America to the side, but if you’re thinking about U.S. strategic interests over a longer time, we have to have a strong continental base,” Zoellick argued.

The report, titled “North America: Time for a New Focus,” emphasizes the importance of the relationship the United States has with its neighbors Mexico and Canada. Petraeus and Zoellick told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos that a better U.S.-Canada-Mexico relationship will help the United States build its global strength.

There are a few key areas where the U.S. needs to improve its cooperation with Mexico and Canada, according to the report: economy and trade, energy independence, and immigration reform. Petraeus and Zoellick say the entire continent will be well-served by such new policy efforts, not just the U.S.

That’s just the beginning. Petraeus told Ramos he hopes the report will encourage lawmakers to “build on the enormous integration between our three economies and indeed between our three countries, which share values, practices and now people in many respects.”

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