What about Mexico? You've talked about it being a rising economic force.
Well, Mexico's become the 13th- or 14th-largest economy in the world. The area north of Mexico City has boomed like nothing you've ever seen. Go down to the town Aguascalientes and you'll be stunned that you are in a vast industrial economy. Many Americans have missed this. They've focused on in the drug dealers along a strip in northern Mexico. They think of Mexico as they did 30 or 40 years ago. It was a backward country.
Mexico has become a place that no longer exports workers to the United States. That's yesterday's news. There are plenty of jobs in Mexico. They're actually drawing in immigrants from Guatemala. They have their own immigrant problem. It is an important thing to understand that the traditional American understanding of Mexico and the one we've developed in the past years of the drugs wars is utterly insufficient. Not wrong, just insufficient.
(Read more: Mexican oil reform could mark a turning for that country)
So one of the ways to really think about Mexico is as an industrial powerhouse. Because right now, Mexican labor costs less than Chinese. The second thing that you have to think about is it does have energy. It is sorting through how to monetize it, how it's going to be organized socially and politically, whether it's even needed in the context of Canada and the United States.
Mexico also has an area south of Mexico City that is truly Third World, where as China becomes too expensive for low-level production, Mexico becomes very attractive. And it can export to the United States. So I see a very balanced economy developing there. It has some political decisions to make, some political stability issues, but Mexico is in much better condition than China was in 1980.
—By CNBC's Ted Kemp, with reporting by Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.
Editor's note: This feature is part of a series of articles and additional coverage that CNBC will be rolling out over the year as the network celebrates its 25th anniversary by looking ahead to the next 25 years.