Ex-military leaders urge Trump not to scrap NAFTA, citing security concerns

Ex-military leaders urge Trump not to scrap NAFTA, citing security concerns
© Getty Images

Ten former U.S. Northern and Southern Command leaders on Thursday urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE against withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), warning that such a move could hurt security ties with Canada and Mexico.

“Effective pursuit of U.S. security and economic interests depends on partnership with those nations that share our borders, Canada and Mexico,” the four ex-Northcom commanders and six ex-Southcom commanders wrote in a letter to Trump.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We respectfully ask you to update and strengthen the agreement on a mutually beneficial basis, while ensuring it remains a part of the U.S. strategic arsenal for many years to come,” they wrote.

The U.S., Canada and Mexico are in the process of renegotiating NAFTA at Trump's urging.

The former military leaders contend that the agreement has "established a framework of trust among all three parties, leading to close cooperation to address a range of pressing concerns including drug trafficking, terrorism, cyber security, organized crime, and migration.”

Should it be scrapped, "cooperation with our North American neighbors will be less likely, weakening our ability to confront security challenges."

Recommitting to NAFTA, they write, would further reassure Canada, Mexico and other allies “that they can continue to depend on U.S. commitments, particularly as China becomes increasingly assertive.”

Northcom is in charge of military movements in the United States, Canada and Mexico, while Southcom overlooks Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Trump on Thursday claimed that the United States has a trade deficit with Canada and reportedly mentioned the deficit to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a meeting without knowing if it was actually true.

“We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive). P.M. Justin Trudeau of Canada, a very good guy, doesn’t like saying that Canada has a Surplus vs. the U.S. (negotiating), but they do ... they almost all do ... and that’s how I know!" Trump wrote on Twitter.