During the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican challenger Mitt Romney attacked President Obama on trade issues, charging that Obama “has not signed one new free-trade agreement in the past four years.” “I’ll reverse that failure,” Romney pledged.
Romney’s charge was at once both true and misleading. President Obama had not signed any “new” trade agreements; however, he did win congressional approval for, and signed, trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea that had been negotiated by the Bush administration. Moreover, he has continued the efforts of the Clinton and Bush administrations to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The TPP and TTIP should be of special concern to Americans, since, as we shall detail presently, the authors and promoters of these agreements admit that they deal with far more than trade and have been designed to drag the United States into “regional governance” on a host of issues. The architects of the TPP and TTIP are virtually unanimous in their head-over-heels praise of, and support for, the political and economic merger taking place in the European Union (EU). The once-sovereign nations of Europe have been tricked, bribed, and browbeaten into yielding control over almost every aspect of their lives to globalist banking and corporate elites and their bureaucratic servitors in Brussels. The national governments, legislatures, and courts in the European Union are becoming mere administrative units of the unaccountable rulers of the increasingly tyrannical EU central government.
During a visit to London in 2000, former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev referred to the increasingly authoritarian European Union as “the new European Soviet.” He was not being critical, mind you, but merely offering a startlingly candid observation about the EU “project,” of which he has been — and remains — an enthusiastic booster. Gorbachev, a thoroughly committed one-worlder, famously argued for expanding the EU into a “common European home” that would include Russia and its former Soviet satellites.
Vladimir Bukovsky, the famous Russian dissident, author, neurophysiologist, and survivor of Soviet prisons, psychiatric prisons, and labor camps, has delivered a credible indictment of the absolutism and repression that are becoming the hallmark of EU governance. In a speech in Brussels in 2006 sponsored by the United Kingdom Independence Party, Bukovsky called the EU a “monster” that must be dismantled before it becomes a full-fledged dictatorship like the Soviet system he had fought. He compared the European Parliament to the Supreme Soviet, the faux legislative body that merely served as a rubber stamp for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and compared the EU’s socialist central planning to Gosplan, the Russian acronym for the State Committee for Planning, which drew up the Soviet Union’s infamous Five-year Plans for the National Economy. Bukovsky charged:
It is no accident that the European Parliament, for example, reminds me of the Supreme Soviet. It looks like the Supreme Soviet because it was designed like it. Similarly, when you look at the European Commission it looks like the Politburo. I mean it does so exactly, except for the fact that the Commission now has 25 members and the Politburo usually had 13 or 15 members. Apart from that they are exactly the same, unaccountable to anyone, not directly elected by anyone at all. When you look into all this bizarre activity of the European Union with its 80,000 pages of regulations it looks like Gosplan. We used to have an organisation which was planning everything in the economy, to the last nut and bolt, five years in advance. Exactly the same thing is happening in the EU. When you look at the type of EU corruption, it is exactly the Soviet type of corruption, going from top to bottom rather than going from bottom to top.
Bukovsky, who has lived in Cambridge, England, since the late 1970s, continued:
If you go through all the structures and features of this emerging European monster you will notice that it more and more resembles the Soviet Union. Of course, it is a milder version of the Soviet Union. Please, do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that it has a Gulag. It has no KGB — not yet — but I am very carefully watching such structures as Europol for example. That really worries me a lot because this organisation will probably have powers bigger than those of the KGB. They will have diplomatic immunity. Can you imagine a KGB with diplomatic immunity? They will have to police us on 32 kinds of crimes — two of which are particularly worrying, one is called racism, another is called xenophobia. No criminal court on earth defines anything like this as a crime. So it is a new crime, and we have already been warned. Someone from the British government told us that those who object to uncontrolled immigration from the Third World will be regarded as racist and those who oppose further European integration will be regarded as xenophobes.
Bukovsky is not alone in recognizing the increasingly despotic nature and rampant corruption of the EU system. Nigel Farage, a member of the European Parliament, regularly exposes the same in his speeches and on his website, as do many other Euroskeptic politicians, journalists, and whistleblowers.
The fact is that the EU began as an economic and trade pact that, over the course of six decades, morphed into a full-blown supranational government that is now in the process of wiping out the few remaining vestiges of national sovereignty of its member states. And what is important to note is the blatant lying and deception that has been essential to each advance of the EU project along these lines. At each crucial step, when critics objected that a new set of EU powers would lead to destruction of national sovereignty and independence, the EU propagandists would assure the contrary and insist that “economic integration,” “harmonization,” and “convergence” posed no threat to national sovereignty, tradition, and local rule. Those assurances have now been proven completely false.
Because the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is an agreement with an already existing transnational superstate — the EU — and because most of the key TTIP promoters have already enthusiastically embraced the EU ideas of integration, harmonization, and convergence, it is probably the more dangerous of the two agreements, although the Trans-Pacific Partnership may be coming up earlier for a vote in the U.S. Congress.
Obama Turns to “Trade”
Compared to his two immediate predecessors, who both used brutal “ground and pound” methods to force trade pacts through Congress, Obama may seem to have been somewhat negligent of trade issues. The Clinton administration negotiated more than 200 bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, including a major one with Communist China, as well as pushing the hugely controversial North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through Congress and winning approval for the equally contentious issue of U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization. The George W. Bush administration, most notably, won approval for a Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) but failed to win passage of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) to create an EU-style project for the Western Hemisphere. He also failed to enact the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a pact to develop an EU-type process among Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at Peterson Institute for International Economics and a top promoter of NAFTA, TTIP, TPP, and the World Trade Organization, says Obama had good reasons for delaying his trade policy agenda. “This has been one of the quietest presidencies for trade policy since in the post [World War II] period,” Hufbauer told CNN in a September 12, 2012 interview. “He had other priorities, such as dealing with the Great Recession and health care. It takes a lot of capital to get trade deals through Congress, and it’s particularly tough to do when the economy is weak.”
Yes, pushing through ObamaCare, nationalizing the auto industry, bailing out Wall Street, and various and sundry other socialist nostrums occupied a great deal of Team Obama’s attention in the first four years. However, if the Obama administration failed to move fast enough and far enough on pushing through new trade agreements during its first term to suit some of the more fanatical globalist trade advocates, there is good reason to believe the White House will now be moving trade pacts to the front burners.
In his televised State of the Union Address to Congress on February 12, 2013, President Obama declared:
To boost American exports, support American jobs and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight, I’m announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union — because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.
The tag line “millions of good-paying American jobs” was the cue for applause, and the congressional attendees responded on command. The weeks and months since the president’s address have seen a continuous flurry of high-level activity — in both official and private circles — on the TPP and TTIP, though most of it has been below the general public’s radar.
On February 13, the day after his State of the Union address, President Obama joined European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in issuing a statement that announced:
We, the Leaders of the United States and the European Union, are pleased to announce that … the United States and the European Union will each initiate the internal procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
With tariffs on trade between the United States and the European Union averaging just four percent, critics are asking why it is supposedly so urgent to put the TTIP on the fast track. And why, if this is only a “trade” pact, are the negotiators including climate change, sustainable development, homeland security, military actions, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, taxes, regulatory harmonization, and a passel of other issues in the agreement? The answer is that the TTIP has been crafted specifically to bring about U.S.-EU political and economic “integration” in the same manner that the nations of Europe were integrated into the EU monster described by Bukovsky.
Not Idle Speculation
This is not idle speculation; we have it on the direct authority of the TTIP authors. One of those authors was the late Warren Christopher, who served as secretary of state to President Clinton and was a foreign policy advisor to President Obama.
In a speech entitled “Charting a Transatlantic Agenda for the 21st Century,” in Madrid, Spain, on June 2, 1995, Secretary Christopher declared: “The long term objective is the integration of the economies of North America and Europe, consistent with the principles of the WTO.” This, he averred, “will align our efforts to promote transatlantic integration with the forces of integration around the world.”
Secretary Christopher elaborated further:
The objective, as President Truman’s Under Secretary of State Robert Lovett said in 1948, “should continue to be the progressively closer integration, both economic and political, of presently free Europe, and eventually of as much of Europe as becomes free.”
The Robert Lovett to whom Christopher approvingly refers was also secretary of defense under Truman — and one of the six “Wise Men” of the private Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) who played major roles in bringing about the ascendency of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and other globalist institutions in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s. The “progressively closer integration, both economic and political,” they envisioned would only be realized by a world government with plenary powers.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, in an address to Mikhail Gorbachev’s State of the World Forum in San Francisco in 1995, explained the importance of this progressive integration, in the context of the EU and other regional efforts. “We cannot leap into world government in one quick step,” said Brzezinski. “The precondition for genuine globalization is progressive regionalization.”
Professor Brzezinski, in addition to being a longtime leading member of the CFR, was also the designer hired by the then-chairman of the CFR, David Rockefeller, to create the Trilateral Commission (TC) and to tutor and coach Jimmy Carter in carrying out CFR-TC policies.
The handprints of the CFR-TC “Wise Men” are all over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. One of the most important organizations pushing for passage of the TTIP is the Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN). The network’s EU honorary president is Peter Sutherland, who is also honorary EU chairman of the Trilateral Commission. Sutherland is also chairman and managing director of
Goldman Sachs International, as well as
chairman of British Petroleum Company. Goldman Sachs, of course, has benefited handsomely from its cozy relationship with the EU, as it has from its close ties to the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve. And undoubtedly, its billionaire, corporatist-socialist execs are looking forward to even more profitable bailouts and inside deals with the opportunities offered under the TTIP. Ditto for many of the other Wall Street cheerleaders for the TTIP and TPP.
The TPN’s U.S. honorary president for many years was Robert S. Strauss (CFR), founder of the insider law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, who served as Jimmy Carter’s trade representative, and later served in diplomatic roles under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. More recently, Strauss has been replaced by U.S. Senator Robert Bennett as TPN’s U.S. honorary president.
Former Rep. Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.) is a veteran CFR member and internationalist and served as co-chairman of TPN in the 1990s. He also co-authored the 1998 TPN report Toward Transatlantic Partnership, which called for harnessing “the growing collective powers of Europe to the long-established powers of the United States in a broadly based XXIst century transatlantic partnership.”
Hamilton and his co-authors continued:
Central to that vision is the TPN concept of “linkage,” by which we mean linking our growing political and economic interests with our long-standing common defence and security structures through a comprehensive political framework. This will enable us to pursue our common global interests through joint action exploiting the full range of political, economic and security instruments at our collective disposal.
This “linkage” of political and economic interests through a “comprehensive political framework” is central to all of the efforts over the past several decades to craft a TTIP.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has as its motto, “Standing Up for American Enterprise,” but it is clearly the large, multinational corporations it is backing, not its hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized member enterprises. The chamber itself has produced a study showing that federal regulations are already costing the U.S. economy an astronomical $1.9 trillion per year. This enormous burden is crushing many enterprises. The chamber would do well to put its members’ dues money, contributions, and political muscle to work rolling back the federal bureaucratic leviathan, rather than saddling its members with even more stifling EU regulations, which will surely follow if the TTIP is passed. But Thomas J. Donohue, the chamber’s president and CEO, is a CFR member and reliably toes the internationalist line. So he is not likely to say or do anything that will contradict the corporate one-worlders who dominate the chamber’s leadership. After all, the Gulliverian regulations actually help many of the big companies, effectively entrapping and wiping out their smaller competitors that don’t have the political connections or that can’t afford battalions of lawyers and accountants to deal with the regulations and regulators.
The man leading Team Obama’s trade offensive is Michael Froman, assistant to the president of the United States and deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs. A Wall Street insider, Froman was a managing director at Citigroup, and also served as president and chief executive officer of CitiInsurance before joining the Obama administration. No doubt, his previous service in Brussels with the Forward Studies Unit of the European Commission also figured in his appointment, though to Americans in the know this entry on his résumé would be recognized as at least cause for concern, if not an outright negative.
Although virtually an unknown to the vast majority of Americans, Froman is definitely known in the higher circles of power that determine the economic and political fates of nations. Froman is not only a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the more exclusive Trilateral Commission, but also a member of that super-secret, super-elite annual gathering known as the Bilderberg Group. He is thus qualified to serve as the lead “Sherpa” guiding U.S. policy at the G7, G8, and G20 summits. And Froman’s fellow globalists in the CFR-dominated “mainstream” media could be counted on to ignore, cover up, or minimize his egregious corruption and conflicts of interest in the massive bailout of his employer (Citigroup) — which netted him $7.4 million, including a $2.25 million year-end bonus for 2008. In addition, Froman reportedly played the central role in hiring New York Fed chief Timothy Geithner (CFR, TC) as Obama’s treasury secretary, even while Geithner was engineering the massive taxpayer bailout of Citigroup. And to make matters even more incestuously corrupt, Froman hired Jamie Rubin, the son of Citigroup CEO Robert Rubin (CFR, former Clinton treasury secretary, former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs), as a headhunter for the Obama transition team. Instead of spending time in prison for fraudulent mortgaged-backed “collateralized debt obligations” that enriched Citigroup and helped bring on the economic crisis, Rubin, Geithner, Froman, and company made off like bandits. Remember this when Froman and Obama talk about “transparency” and the supposed benefits of TTIP.
On March 1, the Obama White House announced that it would be seeking “fast track” authority from Congress to complete trade pact negotiations. Formally known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the controversial fast-track authorization enables the White House to team up with trade agreement advocates in Congress to rush pacts through with little or no congressional or public debate. Under TPA rules, a trade pact must have an up-or-down vote in both House and Senate, without amendment, within 90 days of being submitted by the executive branch. It has proven to be very effective; Congress has never rejected a trade agreement that was submitted under fast-track rules.
But is TPA constitutional? That is the question that each and every member of Congress must answer, since each has taken an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations” to the legislative, not the executive branch of government. Awarding TPA to the executive branch cedes an enormous grant of power to regulate foreign commerce to the president. Moreover, as we’ve already learned from our experience with NAFTA, these multilateral trade agreements set up panels, tribunals, and agencies that claim authority to override our local, state, and federal laws — and even the Constitution.
During the battle over NAFTA, The New American published many articles warning that the agreement was designed to emulate the subversive EU process and represented a clear attack on our nation’s sovereignty. After NAFTA passed Congress, some of its proponents publicly confirmed these charges. One such was New York Times writer William Orme, Jr., a NAFTA supporter who has penned articles for the CFR’s journal Foreign Affairs. He is also the author of the pro-NAFTA book Continental Shift: Free Trade and the New North America. In an article for the Washington Post adapted from that book, Orme pointed out that when NAFTA was first proposed, “critics in all three countries claimed that its hidden agenda was the development of a European-style common market.” The critics were absolutely right, Orme admitted, though they were treated as lunatics by the establishment punditry and the leadership of both the Democrat and Republican parties for stating the obvious. Orme continued:
Didn’t Europe also start out with a limited free trade area? And, given the Brussels precedent, wouldn’t this mean ceding some measure of sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats? Even worse, would this lead to liberalization and collaborative policy making in many other sensitive areas, from monetary policy and immigration to labor and environmental law?
NAFTA’s defenders said no. They argued that the agreement is designed to dismantle trade barriers, not build a new regulatory bureaucracy. NAFTA, declared one congressional backer, “is a trade agreement, not an act of economic union.”
Yet the critics were essentially right. NAFTA lays the foundation for a continental common market, as many of its architects privately acknowledge. Part of this foundation, inevitably, is bureaucratic: The agreement creates a variety of continental institutions — ranging from trade dispute panels to labor and environmental commissions — that are, in aggregate, an embryonic NAFTA government.
Andrew Reding of the World Policy Institute is another avid internationalist who has publicly admitted that the “trade” side of NAFTA masks the real nature of NAFTA and other trade pacts. “With economic integration will come political integration,” said Reding, in an article he wrote for the Ottawa Citizen in September 1992. Reding went further, noting:
One of the purposes of NAFTA and other international trade agreements is to set the principles by which such decisions are to be made, including the critical question of how to “harmonize” differing labor, consumer, environmental, and other standards.
By whatever name, this is an incipient form of international government.
Acknowledging that this form of bureaucratic “administrative law” is anti-democratic, Reding poses a solution: an EU-style parliament. “Following the lead of the Europeans,” said Reding, “North Americans should begin considering formation of a continental parliament.” Yes, then we too can have a Supreme Soviet masquerading as a parliament, as Bukovsky has aptly described the EU legislative charade. We can expect to hear more calls for such a continental parliament, as the “democratic deficit” of NAFTA and CAFTA become more obvious.
Malignant, Not Benign
But for now, as during the run-up for NAFTA and CAFTA, the CFR crowd prefers, in the main, to insist to the American public that the TPP and TTIP are simply about dramatically expanding our economy and creating “millions of good-paying jobs” — promises that even many of the NAFTA-CAFTA advocates now admit never materialized, though millions of good-paying jobs did leave the country as a result.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of revealing admissions that belie the stated benign objectives of the TPP/TTIP lobby. On February 12, 2013, the same day as President Obama’s State of the Union announcement on trade, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Governance Program hosted a panel on “The G20: Prospects and Challenges for Global Governance,” featuring some of the CFR’s leading lights, including Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group; CFR Senior Fellow
Stewart M. Patrick; and Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University. Among the noteworthy comments by the participants was this approving statement by Ian Bremmer: “The EU is much more significant. There’s real subversion of sovereignty by the EU that works.” The panelists all agreed, apparently, that the EU is indeed engaged in the “real subversion of sovereignty” — and, it appears, all of them believe that is a good thing.
That is not surprising. In a 2006 op-ed entitled, “State sovereignty must be altered in globalized era,” CFR President Richard Haass declared that we must “rethink” and “redefine” sovereignty because “new mechanisms are needed for regional and global governance” and “states must be prepared to cede some sovereignty to world bodies.” Due to globalization, said Haass, “sovereignty is not only becoming weaker in reality, but ... it needs to become weaker.” According to the CFR chief, we must choose between “an international system of either world government or anarchy.”
President Obama is calling on Congress to provide him the TPA fast track with the announced intention of passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership by December 31 of this year, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership following thereafter. An imposing lineup of corporate, banking, and union lobbyists is jumping aboard the trade bandwagon again. However, the same held true when President George W. Bush tried to ram the sovereignty-destroying Free Trade Area of the Americas, the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and the NAFTA Super Highway down America’s throat. But an awakened and energized patriot coalition shot down these massively funded operations. The same constitutionalist forces are now organizing again to shoot down Trade Promotion Authority in Congress, and along with it the Trans-Pacific and Transatlantic so-called partnerships.
(Click here to send an email to your senators and representative in opposition to granting Trade Promotion Authority to President Obama.)
(This article was originally published in the May 20, 2013 issue of The New American, and is posted here with permission.)