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Forum Post: Leaked Documents Show Obama Team Wants Radical New Powers For Multinational Corporations

Posted 1 year ago on June 13, 2012, 9:55 a.m. EST by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

WASHINGTON -- A critical document from President Barack Obama's free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, contradicting prior promises.

The leaked document has been posted on the website of Public Citizen, a long-time critic of the administration's trade objectives. The new leak follows substantial controversy surrounding the secrecy of the talks, in which some members of Congress have complained they are not being given the same access to trade documents that corporate officials receive.

"The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of [trade] negotiations," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch in a written statement.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has been so incensed by the lack of access as to introduce legislation requiring further disclosure. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has gone so far as to leak a separate document from the talks on his website. Other Senators are considering writing a letter to Ron Kirk, the top trade negotiator under Obama, demanding more disclosure.

The newly leaked document is one of the most controversial of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. It addresses a broad sweep of regulations governing international investment and reveals the Obama administration's advocacy for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws.

Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings.

The terms run contrary to campaign promises issued by Obama and the Democratic Party during the 2008 campaign.

"We will not negotiate bilateral trade agreements that stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors; require the privatization of our vital public services; or prevent developing country governments from adopting humanitarian licensing policies to improve access to life-saving medications," reads the campaign document.

Yet nearly all of those vows are violated by the leaked Trans-Pacific document. The one that is not contravened in the present document -- regarding access to life-saving medication -- is in conflict with a previously leaked document on intellectual property (IP) standards.

"Bush was better than Obama on this," said Judit Rius, U.S. manager of Doctors Without Borders Access to Medicines Campaign, referring to the medication rules. "It's pathetic, but it is what it is. The world's upside-down."

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative insists that while broad standards require many medical patents and IP rules that would increase the price of medications, the U.S. intends to work with countries involved in the Trans-Pacific talks to ensure that the agreement does not restrict access to life-saving drugs.

USTR was not immediately available to comment on the newly leaked investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific deal, and has previously stated that it cannot comment on the terms of an allegedly leaked document.

That statement is belied somewhat by recent American efforts in other international negotiations to establish controversial medical patents that grant companies long-term monopolies on life-saving medications. Those monopolies increase drug prices, which impede access to medications, particularly in developing nations. The World Health Organization and dozens of nonprofit public health groups have objected to the standards sought by the Obama administration. Two United Nations groups recently urged global governments not to agree to trade terms currently being advocated by the Obama administration, on the grounds that such rules would hurt public health.

Such foreign investment standards have also come under fire at home, from both conservative sovereignty purists and progressive activists for the potential to hamper domestic priorities implemented by democratically elected leaders. The North American Free Trade Agreement, passed by Congress in 1993, and a host of subsequent trade pacts granted corporations new powers that had previously been reserved for sovereign nations and that have allowed companies to sue nations directly over issues.

But while the current trade deal could pose a challenge to American sovereignty, large corporations headquartered in the U.S. could potentially benefit from it by using the same terms to oppose the laws of foreign governments. If one of the eight Pacific nations involved in the talks passes a new rule to which an American firm objects, that U.S. company could take the country to court directly in international tribunals.

Public Citizen challenged the independence of these international tribunals, noting that "The tribunals would be staffed by private sector lawyers that rotate between acting as 'judges' and as advocates for the investors suing the governments," according to the text of the agreement.

In early June, a tribunal at the World Bank agreed to hear a case involving similar foreign investment standards, in which El Salvador banned cyanide-based gold mining on the basis of objections from the Catholic Church and environmental activists. If the World Bank rules against El Salvador, it could overturn the nation's domestic laws at the behest of a foreign corporation.

Basic public health and land-use rules would be subject to challenge before an international tribunal, as would bank regulations at capital levels that might be used to stymie bank runs or financial crises. The IMF has advocated the use of such capital controls, which would be prohibited under the current version of the leaked trade pact. Although several countries have proposed exceptions that would allow them to regulate speculative financial bets, the U.S. has resisted those proposals, according to Public Citizen.

Trans-Pacific negotiations have been taking place throughout the Obama presidency. The deal is strongly supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the top lobbying group for American corporations. Obama's Republican opponent in the 2012 presidential elections, Mitt Romney, has urged the U.S. to finalize the deal as soon as possible.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/obama-trade-document- leak_n_1592593.html

http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/tppinvestment.pdf

For all of you poor people that think that obama is on your side, I hope this opens your eyes. romeny will be just as bad as obama when he is elected so you might as well get it out of your head that the political class in this country on either side of the asile has your best intrests at heart.

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[-] 5 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

US Trade Agreement Leak Reveals 'Radical New Powers' for Multinational Corporations Obama administration agrees to deal that contradicts domestic agenda

  • Common Dreams staff Today, a confidential document was leaked from US trade agreements with eight Pacific nations -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The leaked document from the negotiations reveals 'extreme provisions' that have been agreed upon, which "bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations" in global trade, the Huffington Post reports.

President Barack Obama during a meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, November 2011. (Photo: Larry Downing/Reuters) The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations have gone on for two years between the Obama administration and several Pacific nations under conditions of 'extreme secrecy' without press, public or policymaker oversight, says Public Citizen who posted the document on their website today. The text reveals that the TPP would subsequently undermine Obama's proposed domestic agenda.

According to Public Citizen, the leaked text now confirms that the terms of the TPP would:

Limit how U.S. federal and state officials could regulate foreign firms operating within U.S. boundaries, with requirements to provide them greater rights than domestic firms; Extend the incentives for U.S. firms to offshore investment and jobs to lower-wage countries; Establish a two-track legal system that gives foreign firms new rights to skirt U.S. courts and laws, directly sue the U.S. government before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for financial, health, environmental, land use and other laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges; and Allow foreign firms to demand compensation for the costs of complying with U.S. financial or environmental regulations that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms. “The top U.S. trade official effectively has said that the administration must keep TPP secret because otherwise it won’t be able to shove this deal past the public and Congress,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “The airing of this one TPP chapter, which greatly favors foreign corporations over domestic businesses and the public interest and exposes us to significant financial liabilities, shows that the whole draft text must be released immediately so it can be reviewed and debated. Absent that, these negotiations must be ended now.”


Public Citizen: Controversial Trade Pact Text Leaked, Shows U.S. Trade Officials Have Agreed to Terms That Undermine Obama Domestic Agenda

A leak today of one of the most controversial chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) reveals that extreme provisions have been agreed to by U.S. officials, providing a stark warning about the dangers of “trade” negotiations occurring under conditions of extreme secrecy without press, public or policymaker oversight, Public Citizen said.

“The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of TPP negotiations,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Via closed-door negotiations, U.S. officials are rewriting swaths of U.S. law that have nothing to do with trade and in a move that will infuriate left and right alike have agreed to submit the U.S. government to the jurisdiction of foreign tribunals that can order unlimited payments of our tax dollars to foreign corporations that don’t want to comply with the same laws our domestic firms do.” [...]

While 600 official U.S. corporate advisers have access to TPP texts and have a special role in advising U.S. negotiators, for the public, press and policymakers, this leak provides the first access to one of the prospective TPP’s most controversial chapters. In May, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness – the committee with jurisdiction over the TPP – filed legislation to open the process after he and his staff were denied access even to the U.S. proposals for the TPP negotiations.

Last month, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk defended the unprecedented secrecy of TPP negotiations by noting that when the draft of a major regional trade pact was released previously, it became impossible to finish the deal as then proposed. [...]

The TPP is the first trade pact the Obama administration is negotiating. Today’s leak further complicates the administration’s goal of completing TPP negotiations this fall. Already the TPP timeline was generating political headaches for the Obama re-election campaign, as repeated U.S polling shows that majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans oppose more NAFTA-style trade deals.


Huffington Post: Obama Trade Document Leaked, Revealing New Corporate Powers And Broken Campaign Promises

A critical document from President Barack Obama's free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, contradicting prior promises.

The leaked document has been posted on the website of Public Citizen, a long-time critic of the administration's trade objectives. The new leak follows substantial controversy surrounding the secrecy of the talks, in which some members of Congress have complained they are not being given the same access to trade documents that corporate officials receive.

"The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of [trade] negotiations," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch in a written statement.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has been so incensed by the lack of access as to introduce legislation requiring further disclosure. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has gone so far as to leak a separate document from the talks on his website. Other Senators are considering writing a letter to Ron Kirk, the top trade negotiator under Obama, demanding more disclosure.

The newly leaked document is one of the most controversial of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. It addresses a broad sweep of regulations governing international investment and reveals the Obama administration's advocacy for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/06/13-5

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (17711) 1 year ago

Thanx for your strong post & links. Laws and international treaties becoming enacted above the heads and beyond the purview of what is left of organised labour bodes ever ill for The 99% and needs Labour Solidarity & Organisation worldwide.

Ergo, Globalise Resistance !!!

per aspera ad astra...

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

the only power corps have is

the resources they own

and the consent of the people

[-] 5 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

I can't believe that noone is going to comment on this. You should all be insensed.

[+] -5 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

I did comment,you just can't answer.

[-] 5 points by shadz66 (17711) 1 year ago

Because your 'conment' wasn't worth of his attention ... whereas given your choice of moniker I'll stoop to your level ! Are you shilling for '1%er Republicunt, Mittens Romulan' whilst trapped in a a faux binary paradigm ?!! Stop wearing your (x) as a hat & get real - PDQ, if you're to be considered worthy of that name, lol !!!

nosce te ipsum ...

[+] -7 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

Okay,I'll bite. Let's give you a chance to actually answer that same question instead of playing word games and lame,feeble attempts at humor.

"romeny will be just as bad as obama"

What specifically do you base that fallacious assumption on?

If you're the Political Czar of the OWS Forum as you seem to think you are,this should be a real easy question to answer.

[-] 7 points by shadz66 (17711) 1 year ago

You keep playing dolls with your own 'straw-men' arguments and gaze at your own navel as you wish ! Romulan will be somewhat worse than Oblahblah inside The U$A for The 99% but there would be little practical difference for The Global 99% worldwide, as hubris and Empire grind on relentlessly !! I won't be wasting my time explaining "faux binary paradigm" to you and so again - "get real" !!!

temet nosce ...

[+] -5 points by shadzhairart (-357) 1 year ago

Are you also in the hair business?

[+] -7 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

You should just admit you don't know WTF you're talking about,I'd respect that more.

[+] -6 points by shadzhairart (-357) 1 year ago

Are you also in the hair business?

[-] 4 points by shadz66 (17711) 1 year ago

Eh ?! Well, I've got some but it is not for sale !! Good luck with sourcing a supply to weave your rug !!!

verum ex absurdo ...

[+] -6 points by shadzhairart (-357) 1 year ago

If you ever come to nz mate, drop on by: http://www.shadz.co.nz/

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (17711) 1 year ago

Very funny indeed !!! I have to disappoint you though by assuring you that I don't look anything like those ladies ... predominantly because I'm a bloke !! If it's your business then best wishes with your enterprise and kia ora & kia waimarie !

pax et lux ...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20419) 1 year ago

They've been talking about "leaks" all week. I guess this is what was leaked and why they are so worried about it. It's unbelievable, really, just outrageous!

We need a new political system and economic system that works for all people not just the wealthy and corporations. This is becoming unbearable.

[-] 3 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Good post!

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (10721) from Phoenix, AZ 1 year ago

Romeny will stop this for sure, not!

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Neither of them will stop this. It's a fail/fail situation.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (10721) from Phoenix, AZ 1 year ago

all is lost, all is lost

wait a minute what did those TEA party guys do? didn't they get into the primaries and got some real right wing nut jobs in office, I wonder if OWS could get involved in the democratic primaries, now there's a thought we could really get some stuff done if they thought we were ready to really do something, something to think about alright

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

I would support candidates that work for the goals of OWS.

That's why I'm always rooting for Dennis Kucinich and the few other real congressmen out there.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

noted

but he better change his speech patterns

[-] 3 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

Corporotacracy sucks !

[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

Obama’s Free Trade Agreement: Backdoor Deal with Corporate America? By Matthew Kavanagh

Last week’s State of the Union heralded some of the strongest language yet out of President Obama about the need to reform Wall Street and corporate actions and address income inequality. “We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” But actions speak louder than words. And this week, in a $500 a night Beverly Hills Hotel, the Obama administration’s U.S. Trade Representative is gathering in secret with negotiators from around the world for a session that could create a whole new set of international trade rules: rules that favor the wealthy 1% of corporate interests. This leaves many of us in the labor, environment, and AIDS activist communities frustrated and confused.

That’s why, this week, activists in and around L.A. are holding a series of events to educate and mobilize the push back. Negotiated away of the public spotlight, the Trans Pacific Free Trade Agreement (TPP for short) would likely be the largest regional free trade agreement the United States has ever seen. Negotiators want new “NAFTA of the Pacific” set of rules for the global economic highway that could eventually include every Pacific Rim nation from Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan to Australia, Canada, Mexico and Russia. And instead of an open, transparent process the text is completely secret to the public while hundreds of corporate lobbyists from the biggest drug companies, job-killing corporations, major global banks, and agribusiness giants have been registered as “advisors” to the process. So what’s at stake? Most of the text is secret, but we’ve had some leaks and we know what certain interests are pushing for. This week in Los Angeles they’re focused on Intellectual Property and later in San Diego they’re tacking other issues. And we know that on the table are plans for: Offshored jobs and lower wages: One of the most crucial issues facing an Asia-Pacific trade pact is the question of labor rights. The Trans-Pacific pact’s labor provisions will play a large role in determining whether jobs at home and human rights abroad are adequately protected, yet we still don’t know for sure how the United States proposes to tackle this issue. The signs, though, point to a deal that would “offshore” manufacturing and service sector jobs, reduce the tax base and put a downward pressure on the wages and benefits in the jobs that are left because of a failure to protect the rights of workers in the agreement.

Wall Street give away: Bankers and traders wants to use the Trans-Pacific FTA to roll back new safeguards many nations have passed to get banks and securities firms under control and restore financial stability. They are proposing to lock in the extreme deregulation that led to the devastating financial crisis.

Restrictions on internet & information freedom: Leaked text would actually make it a criminal act to knowingly receive copyright infringing material or even “aiding or abetting”– sending law enforcement into our homes, internet service providers, and even libraries to search for copyrighted materials. It would also require governments to give “legal incentives” to internet service providers to police the internet–cutting off the free flow of information.

Deadly new powers and higher prices for Big Pharma: Right now Big Pharma wants nothing more than to shut down the follow of totally legal, completely safe generic medications cutting into their profits. Following their lead, the US Trade Representative has proposed the most radical expansion of patents ever included in a trade deal. It would expand what can be patented, make longer patents, and even outlaw the process in many countries that lets the public challenge patents they know to be bogus before they’re granted. For Americans that means higher drug prices in our state and local health programs; for people in developing countries it means death without affordable lifesaving medicines for AIDS and other diseases.

Letting corporations sue the government for profits: U.S. negotiators have led to charge to include the notorious “investor-state” enforcement system. This empowers corporations to go to World Bank and UN foreign tribunals to directly challenge a country’s domestic policies and demand tax payer compensation if they think our safety laws, environmental regulations, or civil/human rights protections undermine their “expected future profits.”

So there is much to worry about. It’s time for us to start pushing back hard. The President and Congress need to recognize that the mood of the American public has changed, and it should abandon any fantasy that something as big and all-encompassing as a Pacific Rim trade deal can somehow be snuck past voters. People simply will not put up any longer with trade policy that forwards the interests of the 1% at the expense of the 99%. If elected officials are serious about changing the power balance in Washington—of building a fairer set of rules for the economy—this is a place to start. No Trans Pacific Free Trade Deal for the 1%.

http://www.laprogressive.com/free-trade-agreement/

[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

Well this thing had 27,000 comments on the Huffington post last I checked people know about it now and they are pissed.

[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (4024) 1 year ago

Thank you Peter, for this post.

Shocking. This is "New World Order" thing.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

What is our big objection to this trade deal?

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Does anyone understand gobbledegook? I mean legalese? Crap puts my brain straight to sleep - ( built in defense mechanism I think - crap filter )

http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/tppinvestment.pdf

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

All of us, who are agitators and activists, should consider Mussolini's definition of fascism: it "...should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."

Time to be active, time to agitate, we live in a fascist state and don't have many options left for change.

[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

Time to hit the streets!

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

"Workers of all countries, unite!" --19th-century Communist slogan.

[-] 3 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

Liberté, égalité, fraternité-French Revoulotion.

Lets just hope we do better than them.

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

The workers' struggle is long-term. Every step forward is pushed back just a little.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Slogans. no substance!

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

No substance? The significance of the French Revolution passed by you? The gains workers have made using that slogan or the modern variation, "Workers of the world, unite!" passed by you?

Do you for a second believe that most of the gains made by the working class since the dawn of the Industrial Age have come from mealy-mouthed, duplicitous politicians? They have come from the on-the-street struggles of the workers.

The entire slogan: "Workers of all countries, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!"

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

yeah it's a great slogan. It comes from a profound movement. But it is a slogan. you said it yourself. The issue is the leaked trade deal details. No substance on that? Just slogans? Lets get to the streets!!! What about a discussion about the details! Substance god damn it! Reciting great slogans is just stroking our egos. What problem do you have with this trade deal?

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

The slogans represented the movements, and still do.

Hit the streets, which is exactly what I proposed in a previous comment saying, "Time to be active, time to agitate..." To spread the word that multi-national corporations will basically be above national legal systems outside of their home countries, subject onlyto the judgement of an international agency.

Major political-economic decisions are being more and more removed from the local level, which is where the basic decisions should be made.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Ahh some substance. btw I love your slogans. they excite me. great adverts. And I love the french revolution, rights of man and all that stuff. But in regards to the trade deal. - You don't believe that one day we will live without national boundaries? "imagine there's no country"? no? Aren't nations just reasons to exclude others, demonize non countryman. Another way to draw lines against one another? isn't nationalism bad? the roots of much death, destruction and war? Wouldn't it be better to have multi national corps under the authority of a planetary court? no?

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

Government should begin with individuals and move out horizontally. As far as national borders, I pretty much agree with Robert Frost in Mending Wall: Something there is that doesn't love a wall..."

Most corporations, however, build many walls, and the biggest and strongest is the one that separates the workers from the ruling class. Let the residents of a given area decide if they want some large multi-national exploiting their resources, or controlling large segments of their economy, etc.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

I certainly agree that local residents should have more control. I suppose direct governance is the structure you are eluding to. No prob. I'm not against that. Don't really see how it happens but I ain't against it..And of course I am involved in OWS specifically to change how the 1% corps (dom, frgn and multi nat) dominate and prey on the 99%. I don't know from poetry, but you sure are smart to reference Robert Frost. I suppose I'll look it up. Wish I could've afforded college. Anyway, Doesn't the trade deal include any terms to improve the conditions of foreign workers?. Doesn't it force corps to adhere to environmental guidelines that the people want? Does any of that matter? Are you against ending nationalism? no countries. couldn't we apply anarchist governing principles on a planetary scale. Wouldn't that be better? more inclusive? avoid some excuses to war on each other.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

A form of direct democracy, perhaps as Marx observed in his address about the Paris Commune, would probably work.

I didn't see any protections included, except those on which the international agency would agree. Yes, I am for ending nationalism in the way most people practice it now. Nothing wrong with being an American, but our birthplace and place of residence shouldn't be used as an excuse to isolate us from the rest of the world or even the neighboring country.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4024) 1 year ago

Agree

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (4825) 1 year ago

Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Negotiations Seal Obama's Pro-Corporate Approach to Foreign Policy

Wednesday, 04 July 2012 10:45 By Mark Engler, Dissent Magazine | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10150-trans-pacific-partnership-trade-agreement-seals-obamas-pro-corporate-approach-to-foreign-policy

With recent revelations about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, it is now safe to say that President Obama has surpassed George W. Bush as a champion of the flawed and offensive ideology of corporate globalization. This argument requires some explanation. Here's the backstory: As the Bush administration commenced in the early 2000s, many argued that his foreign policy represented a continuation of the Clinton-era approach to promoting "free trade" neoliberalism overseas. However, I contended that, especially after the launch of the Iraq war in 2003, the unilateralist bullying of the neocons represented a split from past practice. No doubt, big arms and big oil had their needs met by the Bush agenda. But his administration was wary of multilateral institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the World Bank, which were central instruments of U.S. policy under Clinton. The Bush approach relied on our-way-or-the-highway, coalition-of-the-willing hard power. This made a significant portion of corporate America uncomfortable, especially businesses trying to navigate and expand in foreign markets. It also left the soft-power agenda of "free trade" in an uncertain state. This was essentially the thesis of my 2008 book, How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy. Around the time the book came out, I wrote:

In October 2007...the Wall Street Journal reported that the [Republican] party could be facing a brand crisis as "[s]ome business leaders are drifting away from the party because of the war in Iraq, the growing federal debt and a conservative social agenda they don't share." When it comes to corporate responses to [Bush's] Global War on Terror, we mostly hear about the likes of Halliburton and Blackwater—companies directly implicated in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and with the mentality of looters. Such firms have done their best to score quick profits from the military machine. However, there was always a faction of realist, business-oriented Republicans who opposed the invasion from the start, in part because they believed it would negatively impact the U.S. economy. As the [Bush administration's] adventure in Iraq has descended into the morass, the ranks of corporate complainers have only grown. The "free trade" elite have become particularly upset about the administration's focus on go-it-alone nationalism and its disregard for multilateral means of securing influence. This belligerent approach to foreign affairs, they believe, has thwarted the advance of corporate globalization. In an April 2006 column in the Washington Post, globalist cheerleader Sebastian Mallaby laid blame for "why globalization has stalled" at the feet of the Bush administration. The White House, Mallaby charged, was unwilling to invest any political capital in the IMF, the World Bank, or the WTO....Frustrated by Bush's failures, many in the business elite want to return to the softer empire of corporate globalization and, increasingly, they are looking to the Democrats to navigate this return.

My concern back then was that a Democrat (either Obama or Hillary Clinton) would be elected to office and then abandon the overt militarism and "imperial globalization" of the Bush administration, but embrace a subtler, more multilateralist "free trade" neoliberalism—reclaiming the agenda of corporate globalization. I would have been pleased if this prediction had proved wrong. Sadly, Obama has provided irrefutable evidence that he has boarded the corporate globalist bandwagon. At the end of the administration's first year, I gave Obama a "B" for trade policy on a report card for Foreign Policy In Focus. While there was some rumbling about resurrecting stalled bilateral trade deals with Korea, Panama, and Colombia, the administration hadn't done much to push things forward. Things were quiet. And given the kind of trade deals that Washington has brokered in the last couple decades, no news is good news in this arena. Unfortunately, by 2011, the administration was pushing these so-called "free trade" deals hard. It succeeded in passing them through Congress and then signing them into law last fall. Obama's trade policy grade was plummeting, but new information shows things to be even worse. In the past month the president has officially failed out of "fair trade" class. On June 13, Public Citizen released a leaked document showing that the TPP—a trade agreement being negotiated between the United States and eight Pacific countries under considerable secrecy—is shaping up to be as bad as NAFTA or worse. Public Citizen wrote in a press release:

Although the TPP has been branded a "trade" agreement, the leaked text of the pact's Investment Chapter shows that the TPP would: —Limit how U.S. federal and state officials could regulate foreign firms operating within U.S. boundaries, with requirements to provide them greater rights than domestic firms; —Extend the incentives for U.S. firms to offshore investment and jobs to lower-wage countries; —Establish a two-track legal system that gives foreign firms new rights to skirt U.S. courts and laws, directly sue the U.S. government before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for financial, health, environmental, land use and other laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges; and —Allow foreign firms to demand compensation for the costs of complying with U.S. financial or environmental regulations that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms.

In the weeks since that leak, it has been reported that Mexico and Canada will both be joining TPP talks, setting the stage for the creation of a behemoth trading bloc. This bloc will operate based on rules backed (and often concocted) by corporate lobbyists. It didn't have to be this way. It was not preordained that President Obama would become Corporate-Globalizer-in-Chief. The base of the Democratic Party has aligned itself firmly against the "free trade" agenda—so much so that both Obama and Clinton campaigned in 2008 against the NAFTA model and in favor of a "fair trade" alternative. In fact, going into the 2012 elections, there's evidence that Obama's betrayal of earlier vows could be a significant liability among voters and a bitter pill for key constituencies the president needs if his campaign is going to overcome the enthusiasm gap between progressives and the Republican faithful. Yet instead of taking the chance to redefine American interests in the world as something other than securing profits for U.S. businesses, Obama has allowed an ingrained pro-corporate obsequiousness to permeate the office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of State. It's not the unilaterist hubris of the Bush administration. But it's still a detestable foreign policy—and a sorely missed opportunity for something better. This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 0 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

That's a good article

[-] 1 points by WageSlave (117) 1 year ago

God damn it Obama! As if I needed anymore reason to vote third party!

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

I think your last paragraph sums up the dilemma in this country, and their mindset, perfectly.

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 1 year ago

get the foreigners out! completely.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

So what is your problem with the secret trade deal that hasn't been signed.

[-] 1 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

18,000 comments on Huffington Post!

[-] 1 points by stevebol (1227) from Milwaukee, WI 1 year ago

I'll take a wild guess and say this sucks.

[-] 3 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

Wellcome to third world america

[-] -1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

leaked documents

really?

[-] 1 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

Yup. It looks like it.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

vote this down

documents should be transparent

[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

They aint gonna let the public vote on this. You want this stopped you gotta get out in the streets

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

it seems the acknowledgement of the countries of the WTO (world trade organization) would allow corps to take action against debtor nations.

Corps already take actions against debtor nation confiscating resources

the "new" contracts will do the same

and if they are stopped

Corps will still take actions against debtor nation confiscating resources

[-] -1 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

"romeny will be just as bad as obama"

What specifically do you base that fallacious assumption on?

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

Romney may be more phallic than Obama, but I don't believe that the original assumption is fallacious, since Romney is a fascist--a corporatist.

[-] -3 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

Romney more of a dick?....Ha that's a good one, Oblamer is a walking penis spewing infectious STD's every time he speaks. If you don't believe that Obama is a Corpo Drone yet you have not been paying attention. Romney is a successful biz man and not a Leftist/socialist/commie/stone head. Will Mitt make the changes and turn back some if not most of the destructive BHO agenda once he wins? Yeah I believe so. He's got real world experience in Governing not Community agitating.

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

I believe both are corporate drones, like you; only one is a closet fascist, while Mittney is an avowed fascist, not much difference. "A successful businessman" translates to a corporatist, a bourgeois exploiter of the workers.

[-] -3 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

People who work for a living and are paid in good faith for a job well done are not exploited.

[-] 3 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

The following are all quotations from conservapedia.com about Mitt Romney. I believe they clearly reveal his disregard for American workers and willingness to sacrifice them for the bottom line, That is defined as exploitation.

"Before entering politics Romney was a businessman in Boston, having served as CEO of Bain & Company, a management consulting firm known for outsourcing American jobs."

Romney "...favors big corporations."

While governor of Massachusetts, "He vetoed an increase in the minimum wage, saying "there's no question raising the minimum wage excessively causes a loss of jobs." Hogwash, keeping the mininum wage low only insures less-than-subsistence pay for workers, which makes them easy pickings for capitalist exploitation.

These are all from a very conservative website, which I used purposely to avoid any hint of left-wing bias.

Mitt doesn't need Perry Mason to prove that he is definitely pro-worker exploitation.

[+] -4 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

If your point of reference begins at demonizing all big Corps and anybody involved with them then that is completely irrational.

Minimum wages should be inline with the free market economy and what it will tolerate while still being a prosperous and thriving place. Paying $15.00 an hour for someone washing dishes or Taco Bell or a Lot Attendant at a car dealership is ridicules. if the min. wage is beyond the financial reach of small business then this will create even more unemployment and other probs.

The whole "living wage" argument for low qualification jobs that usually are filled with first time workers and teenagers is just not a rational or financially feasible way of creating jobs and thus raising the standard of living for everybody. The understanding is of course a person will not stay in this type of job forever and will grow and move up the chain to greater pay and prosperity.

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

You make the typical argument against raising the minimum wage, an argument that is false:

"Contrary to right-wing hand wringing about teenagers and part-time workers losing available employment with any increase in the minimum wage, the overwhelming majority of people working at minimum-wage jobs are single adults, who claim themselves as heads of households. Their meager pay has plummeted. In 1968, the high point of the minimum wage in real buying power, it was worth $10.04 per hour. Today it has dropped to about $7 per hour. Incidentally the so-called poverty level for a family of four is over $22,000 per year--pretty hard for a family to make ends meet with that annual income."

http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth484/minwage.html

I don't demonize corporations; they represent the capitalistic model. Capitalism is built a on a class division similar to earlier poltical-economic systems, but those were built on property ownership. The class division of capitalism, however, relies on the ruling class using the labor of the working class to make unjustifiable profits, while allowing basic workers not quite enough or just enough on which to subsist. Other, higher level workers may make more, but just enough to keep them as tools of the industry. Capitalism objectifies labor; makes it a commodity, like any other commodity, to be obtained at the lowest possible cost to maintain maximum profitability, subject to market fluctuations, as well as supply and demand. (None of this is original, you can find it all in Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto.)

Outsourcing, a practice at which Romney excels, decreases the demand for the labor commodity in this country forcing down basic costs of that commodity. Hence, the ease of keeping the minimum wage at an artificially low level.

Whatever way you want to boil that down, it amounts to exploitation of workers, who are treated as no more than another usable business object.

[-] -2 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

"unjustifiable profits"?

So how high do you want the minimum wage to be?.... as imposed upon free market,private sector companies by Federal Govt. mandate?

$20 per hour,$30 per hour? That would allow for a significant wage that could also withstand a higher federal and state level of taxation.

What do you suppose would happen to MacDonalds,Taco Bell,Walmart,Target..... etc... after Obama signed his executive order implementing this? Also higher tax rates? What would the effects be?

You don't think for a minute the Govt. is going to let Joe Sixpack keep all that extra income without getting their piece of the action,do you?

You seem to be very convinced raising the minimum wage significantly will work,please address these issues and as much fall out you can think of.

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

Minimum wage should be subsistence wage, which it no longer is.

The trouble with any class struggle is that the ruling class, represented in our model by the corporations and super-rich individuals, which hold the capital, want to relinquish none of their wealth; in fact they want to keep amassing wealth, even when such wealth is totally superfluous.

Marx saw this inevitably leading to a proletarian uprising, a revolution in which property would slowly be nationalized then over a period of time put into common ownership, like a typical everyday commune. Once the whole concept of ownership is eliminated, no reason exists for a society divided by class.

I certainly can't speak for the verity of his whole theory, but I will say, somehow the class division in this country must be narrowed, or we will find ourselves in a much worse situation.

[-] -1 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

You dodged the amount,but whatever.

The concept of people/companies earning money and then being told "you've earned too much and you don't deserve that" and supposedly asking Govt. to step in and then forcibly take their money (beyond what is extracted through taxes) and redistribute it to other people chosen by whatever means,is totally un-American.

I know where this concept was born,clearly this is the purview of the the Left and embraced by many Democrats but I don't know how,in this,the greatest and freest nation on earth that people would at all consider Federal robbery beyond the already absurd tax rates to take other peoples property in a attempt to level the playing field when in 50+years the "war on poverty" has accomplished nothing but enrich the people who deal with the bureaucratic rape of wealth redistribution.

No,I don't agree. Class warfare is not the answer.

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2367) from Boulder City, NV 1 year ago

Class warfare is not the answer; it's the problem.

[-] 2 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

If the market is truly free, how can it be a slave to limited tolerances? Exactly what is the financial reach of small business? Is there a predetermined limit to their reach? How does working wages remaining stagnant for thirty years increase the standard of living for everybody? Isn't social mobility on the decline? If paying a person 15.00 an hour to wash dishes is ridiculous, then isn't paying millions of dollars to a person for dunking a basketball preposterous?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

I am out of PM's for today - great speech - Hey?


JadedCitizen said 0 minutes ago at June 13, 2012, 9:32 p.m. EST (delete)

Mr. President, we got to own up to it. Yep, that sums it up.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

Bernie is truthful and one of a kind in his circles.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Imagine what things could be like - if they were all like Bernie Sanders.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

I imagine it would be Bernierrific !

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Socialtastic?

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 1 year ago

Fantastic !

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Absotively posolutely?

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

meh

BHO?

[-] -2 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

Barack Hussein Obama....BHO.

meh?

[-] 3 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

can't get excited over either presidential candidate

[-] -3 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

Who could? However I'm not excited about 4 more years of BHO. That can't happen,no matter what.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

either way bombs must stop dropping

[+] -5 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

You're a broken record,that's not the only issue that is important.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

but one that cost nothing to implement

[-] -2 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

You don't know WTF you're talking about.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

lol

[-] -1 points by shadzworth (-394) 1 year ago

Now you're finally making sense.