TTP, NAFTA and other supranational trade treaties


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[Jan 23, 2017] President Trump Kills TPP Once and for All with Executive Order Officially Withdrawing withdrawing from the trade deal negotiations

Jan 23, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

It came as a part of series of three separate executive actions that President Trump took on Monday.

"The first is a withdrawal of the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership," White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said, explaining the first executive action President Trump was taking in the list of three. The other two were one freezing hiring of all federal employees except in the military, and one that restores the Mexico City policy.

As President Trump signed the executive action killing the TPP, he announced for the cameras in the oval office that it was a "great thing for the American worker, what we just did."

Trump campaigned heavily against TPP, so it's only fitting he'd crush it once and for all on his first business day as President of the United States. It's his efforts campaigning against it-and the efforts of failed presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)-that shook Washington's political establishment, and eventually forced failed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton to come out against the deal that was supposed to be a legacy achievement of now former President Barack Obama.

Trump hammered TPP repeatedly throughout his campaign and even leading up to it in speeches and interviews, including many exclusive interviews with Breitbart News.

[Jan 14, 2017] Great Ironies of History: Supporters of China's Entry to WTO Now Argue for TPP as Bulwark Against China

Jan 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne : January 13, 2017 at 05:03 AM

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/great-ironies-of-history-23-453-supporters-of-china-s-entry-to-wto-now-argue-for-tpp-as-bulwark-against-china

January 12, 2017

Great Ironies of History #23,453: Supporters of China's Entry to WTO Now Argue for TPP as Bulwark Against China

As the protectionist supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) desperately try to regroup, it's entertaining to see how they think that China-bashing is their best hope for success. (Yes, supporters of the TPP are protectionist. A major thrust of the deal is to impose longer and stronger patent and copyright and related protections on the member countries. These are by definition forms of protectionism, even if economists and reporters tend to like them.)

Anyhow, we got an example of the China bashing of a TPP supporter in a Washington Post column * by Fareed Zakaria, in which he warned readers that China would be the main beneficiary from a decision by Donald Trump not to pursue the TPP as president. The economists at the Peterson Institute for International Economics are also among those making the argument for the TPP as an obstacle to China's growing political strength in the region. Many of these same people argued vociferously for allowing China to enter the World Trade Organization in 2000 without imposing conditions like respect for human rights or labor rights, which may have fundamentally altered China's path of political development. It is striking that they now think the U.S. public should now be concerned about the growing power of a country with little respect for these rights.

* https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-could-be-the-best-thing-thats-happened-to-china-in-a-long-time/2017/01/12/f4d71a3a-d913-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html

-- Dean Baker

Peter K. -> anne...

"As the protectionist supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) desperately try to regroup, it's entertaining to see how they think that China-bashing is their best hope for success"

They're bashing Russia, why not China too?

anne :
http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/china-does-know-how-to-reduce-its-trade-deficit

January 13, 2017

China Does Know How to Reduce Its Trade Deficit

A New York Times article * on Robert Lighthizer, Donald Trump's pick to be trade representative, left out some important background information. It notes that Lighthizer wants to reduce the size of the U.S. trade deficit with China. It then told readers that this could lead to major conflicts with China:

"Exports are important for China. It consistently sells $4 worth of goods to the United States for each $1 of imports. That mismatch has produced a bilateral trade surplus for China equal to about 3 percent of the country's entire economy, creating tens of millions of jobs.

"The benefits to China from that surplus have been increasing rapidly in the past few years."

It is worth noting that China has actually sharply reduced its trade surplus in prior years. According to the International Monetary Fund ** it peaked at 9.9 percent of GDP in 2007. It then declined sharply to just 1.8 percent of GDP in 2011. It has since edged slightly higher, but it is still less than 3.0 percent of GDP.

Ordinarily, we would expect that a fast growing developing country like China would be running a trade deficit, as capital flows into the country to take advantage of higher returns. This has not happened in China's case as the government has offset inflows of private capital by buying up trillions of dollars of foreign assets. It now holds more than $3 trillion in reserves in addition to another $1.5 trillion in foreign assets in the form of sovereign wealth funds.

Reportedly China has recently been trying to raise the value of its currency. This would suggest an obvious path of agreement between the U.S. and China under which the two countries could act jointly to raise the value of China's currency against the dollar, thereby putting downward pressure on the trade deficit.

The piece also notes Lighthizer's advocacy of the efforts of the Reagan administration to pressure Japanese manufacturers to "voluntarily" limit their exports to the United States. It would have been worth mentioning that these restrictions on exports led the Japanese manufacturers to begin to set up factories in the United States. Today, most of the cars that Japanese auto companies sell in the United States are assembled here, although they still do include a substantial amount of foreign content.

This piece seriously misrepresents a proposal for corporate tax reform advocated by Republicans in Congress as a route to tax imports. In fact, the tax has been developed by economists who are very much conventional free traders. The purpose is to simplify the tax code and eliminate the enormous waste associated with the gaming of current system. The treatment of imports and exports is intended to make the tax symmetric with the treatment of value-added taxes in many U.S. trading partners. It is not intended as a protectionist measure to reduce the trade deficit.

* https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/business/china-donald-trump-robert-lighthizer.html

** http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2016/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?pr.x=37&pr.y=10&sy=2000&ey=2016&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=924&s=BCA_NGDPD&grp=0&a=

-- Dean Baker

[Jan 12, 2017] Lessons From the Demise of the TPP naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... The decision by the Obama administration to push ahead with the TPP may well have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency ..."
"... No doubt. But the Wall St. Dems are going to keep blaming Bernie Bros and the Russians. And they'll keep helping themselves to that sweet corporate payola. ..."
"... Talk about pushing ahead with TPP, this piece is jaw dropping. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-wallach/tpp-how-obama-traded-away_b_13872926.html?section=us_politics ..."
"... I see it as karma. TPP may have been the worst thing ever tried by a US President, to date. I didn't realize that so many people understood it though, at least I didn't get that impression in central California. ..."
"... And not just Hillary Clinton. The whole Democratic party. Obama has been a disaster for Democrats. There is a piece in the WAPO by Matt Stoller today discussing just this issue. ..."
"... Excellent point. Basically will corporations pass along increased costs to consumers? ..."
"... Take a look at what happened when the price of oil spiked. Corporations that had healthy profit margins in general didn't pass on to consumers their increased costs when oil was part of their COGS (cost of good sold). Though in contrast, airlines did. At the time Airlines had low profit margins. But I suspect their pricing power is less elastic regardless – their 10Ks show their entire business model is metric'd on the price of fuel. ..."
"... Offshoring isn't about lower consumer goods prices. The cost of labor in a mass-produced product is small, often trivial. That's what mass production is designed to do. ..."
"... The addiction to foreign trade is for the money in it. The importer doubles his money, the wholesaler doubles his money, the distributor doubles his money and the retailer gets what he can. The Chinese manufacturer is satisfied but most of the street cost goes to the intermediaries. ..."
"... In this case, "sovereignty" means the power to regulate commerce. Insofar as the signatories are democracy, it also means democracy – the ability to carry out the decisions of representative bodies. ..."
"... Countries without an internationally traded currency will not willingly sign up for specious 'trade in money' sections. Galbraith the Younger wrote a famous paper on the subject that clearly established there is no such thing as a trade in money. Every way I look at it, its a rip-off, facilitated by a useful idiot in the country's central bank. ..."
"... ISDS is nothing more than a scheme to enable direct foreign attacks on the legislative process itself – even more direct and invasive than influencing elections by hacking, propaganda or whatever ..."
Jan 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
... ... ...

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former UN Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development. Originally published at Inter Press Service and cross posted from Triple Crisis

President-elect Donald Trump has promised that he will take the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on the first day of his presidency. The TPP may now be dead, thanks to Trump and opposition by all major US presidential candidates. With its imminent demise almost certain, it is important to draw on some lessons before it is buried.

Fraudulent Free Trade Agreement

The TPP is fraudulent as a free trade agreement, offering very little in terms of additional growth due to trade liberalization, contrary to media hype. To be sure, the TPP had little to do with trade. The US already has free trade agreements, of the bilateral or regional variety, with six of the 11 other countries in the pact. All twelve members also belong to the World Trade Organization (WTO) which concluded the single largest trade agreement ever, more than two decades ago in Marrakech – contrary to the TPPA's claim to that status. Trade barriers with the remaining five countries were already very low in most cases, so there is little room left for further trade liberalization in the TPPA, except in the case of Vietnam, owing to the war until 1975 and its legacy of punitive legislation.

The most convenient computable general equilibrium (CGE) trade model used for trade projections makes unrealistic assumptions, including those about the consequences of trade liberalization. For instance, such trade modelling exercises typically presume full employment as well as unchanging trade and fiscal balances. Our colleagues' more realistic macroeconomic modelling suggested that almost 800,000 jobs would be lost over a decade after implementation, with almost half a million from the US alone. There would also be downward pressure on wages, in turn exacerbating inequalities at the national level.

Already, many US manufacturing jobs have been lost to US corporations' automation and relocation abroad. Thus, while most politically influential US corporations would do well from the TPP due to strengthened intellectual property rights (IPRs) and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms, US workers would generally not. It is now generally believed these outcomes contributed to the backlash against such globalization in the votes for Brexit and Trump.

Non-Trade Measures

According to the Peterson Institute of International Economics (PIIE), the US think-tank known for cheerleading economic liberalization and globalization, the purported TPPA gains would mainly come from additional investments, especially foreign direct investments, due to enhanced investor rights. However, these claims have been disputed by most other analysts, including two US government agencies, i.e., the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) and the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

Much of the additional value of trade would come from 'non-trade issues'. Strengthening intellectual property (IP) monopolies, typically held by powerful transnational corporations, would raise the value of trade through higher trading prices, not more goods and services. Thus, strengthened IPRs leading to higher prices for medicines are of particular concern.

The TPP would reinforce and extend patents, copyrights and related intellectual property protections. Such protectionism raises the price of protected items, such as pharmaceutical drugs. In a 2015 case, Martin Shkreli raised the price of a drug he had bought the rights to by 6000% from USD12.50 to USD750! As there is no US law against such 'price-gouging', the US Attorney General could only prosecute him for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme.

"Medecins Sans Frontieres" warned that the agreement would go down in history as the worst "cause of needless suffering and death" in developing countries. In fact, contrary to the claim that stronger IPRs would enhance research and development, there has been no evidence of increased research or new medicines in recent decades for this reason.

Corporate-Friendly

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is also supposed to go up thanks to the TPPA's ISDS provisions. For instance, foreign companies would be able to sue TPP governments for ostensible loss of profits, including potential future profits, due to changes in national regulation or policies even if in the national or public interest.

ISDS would be enforced through ostensibly independent tribunals. This extrajudicial system would supercede national laws and judiciaries, with secret rulings not bound by precedent or subject to appeal.

Thus, rather than trade promotion, the main purpose of the TPPA has been to internationally promote more corporate-friendly rules under US leadership. The 6350 page deal was negotiated by various working groups where representatives of major, mainly US corporations were able to drive the agenda and advance their interests. The final push to seek congressional support for the TPPA despite strong opposition from the major presidential candidates made clear that the main US rationale and motive were geo-political, to minimize China's growing influence.

The decision by the Obama administration to push ahead with the TPP may well have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency as she came across as insincere in belatedly opposing the agreement which she had previously praised and advocated. Trade was a major issue in swing states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where concerned voters overwhelmingly opted for Trump.

The problem now is that while the Obama administration undermined trade multilateralism by its unwillingness to honour the compromise which initiated the Doha Development Round, Trump's preference for bilateral agreements benefiting the US is unlikely to provide the boost to multilateralism so badly needed now. Unless the US and the EU embrace the spirit of compromise which started this round of trade negotiations, the WTO and multilateralism more generally may never recover from the setbacks of the last decade and a half.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© , January 11, 2017 at 11:49 am

The decision by the Obama administration to push ahead with the TPP may well have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency

No doubt. But the Wall St. Dems are going to keep blaming Bernie Bros and the Russians. And they'll keep helping themselves to that sweet corporate payola.

Marley's dad , January 11, 2017 at 1:05 pm

Talk about pushing ahead with TPP, this piece is jaw dropping. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-wallach/tpp-how-obama-traded-away_b_13872926.html?section=us_politics

B1whois , January 11, 2017 at 2:37 pm

I see it as karma. TPP may have been the worst thing ever tried by a US President, to date. I didn't realize that so many people understood it though, at least I didn't get that impression in central California.

Oregoncharles , January 11, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Lori Wallach doing a rather ironic victory dance. Worth spreading around the Dempologist sites: "here's the real reason."

Left in Wisconsin , January 12, 2017 at 2:13 am

Lori Wallach is no dummy. She should run for president in 2020. As a Democrat. No kidding. She is way better than Bernie. Said it here first.

Jack , January 12, 2017 at 9:43 am

And not just Hillary Clinton. The whole Democratic party. Obama has been a disaster for Democrats. There is a piece in the WAPO by Matt Stoller today discussing just this issue.

Dave , January 11, 2017 at 11:49 am

Not knowing what he does not know may be beneficial. To be freed from the straitjacket of political sophistry that has led to previous disasters for American workers is, perhaps, a positive.

I'd be willing to pay twice as much for Chinese junk as I do now.

Corporations, Hollywood, Big Pharma and Silicon Valley will be hurt? Tough luck, they are there to make profits and are no friend of American workers. Might as well say it, because of their behavior, they are the enemy of progress for workers.

Short version:
Trump has done more for American workers and has obtained more net benefit out of the car companies, before he's even sworn in than the Clintons did in ten collective years of 'public service'.

a different chris , January 11, 2017 at 12:09 pm

>I'd be willing to pay twice as much for Chinese junk as I do now.

And I don't think you would even have to every time you can manage to look at what it costs* to make something in China instead of the USA, and compare it to the retail price, you get a real "whoa".** The price is just enough less to drive the US manufacturer themselves out of business, most of the money *does* stay in the US but it goes to the top 0.1%.

This is more about control of the proles than economics, sometimes I think.

*like anybody can totally figure it out given the Chinese state's involvement in everything, but we can make decent guesses

**I know that American mfg cost is generally 1/2 of retail price and sometimes as low as 1/3. I'm talking about 1/10 to 1/20th for Chinese goods.

djrichard , January 11, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Excellent point. Basically will corporations pass along increased costs to consumers?

Take a look at what happened when the price of oil spiked. Corporations that had healthy profit margins in general didn't pass on to consumers their increased costs when oil was part of their COGS (cost of good sold). Though in contrast, airlines did. At the time Airlines had low profit margins. But I suspect their pricing power is less elastic regardless – their 10Ks show their entire business model is metric'd on the price of fuel.

scraping_by , January 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Offshoring isn't about lower consumer goods prices. The cost of labor in a mass-produced product is small, often trivial. That's what mass production is designed to do.

It's more about dropping more of the top line to the bottom line. Along with the fake aristo disdain for wage earners that seems to be a requirement for corporate managers.

Dave , January 11, 2017 at 6:33 pm

That 35% tariff sure equals a lot of profits lost on cars made in Mexico. Therefore, they will be made in America. Due to the competitive nature of auto sales, the lack of interest in teenagers in buying cars, I think Detroit will not raise prices to match the labor cost difference. Also, there will be even less demand for U.S. made cars as most of the Mexican factories will possibly remain open for the Latin American market, which means even fewer exports of American made cars. A scarcity of markets means lower prices.

RBHoughton , January 11, 2017 at 7:20 pm

The addiction to foreign trade is for the money in it. The importer doubles his money, the wholesaler doubles his money, the distributor doubles his money and the retailer gets what he can. The Chinese manufacturer is satisfied but most of the street cost goes to the intermediaries.

The Chinese governments interest for many years was simply receiving the foreign money payments and paying out the exchange in RMB.

Phil , January 11, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Notwithstanding your comment about the Clintons:

Trump hasn't done a thing for American workers. Indiana taxpayers (American workers) are on the hook for Carrier taking on roughly 700 jobs of the 2000 that Trump said he would "save". We don't even know the deep details of that "deal". If anyone thinks that Carrier signed off on that deal without the permission of Carrier's parent, United Technologies (a pure defense firm), I have a bridge to sell them. What future "deal" did the American taxpayer (worker) get subjected to when this "deal" was made behind closed doors to a defense contractor whose *only* means of revenue is from the American taxpayer (worker)?

What about the citizens (workers) of Indiana who are going to carry the financial and social burden of the 1300 Carrier workers that Trump promised (early on in his campaign) whose jobs he would save. The carrier deal, in fact, was virtually the same deal that Pence had put on the table a year ago.

United Technologies has *three* air conditioning brands; their Mexican lines are still open, and the 700 jobs that Trump said he "saved" are not committed to any kind of permanent status in the USA. Again, the Mexican manufacturing lines remain open, operating, and ready to accept those jobs when Carrier thinks it's appropriate.

As for the auto companies? Please. Trump did NOTHING that wasn't already planned, or that wasn't already inspired by market forces and in the works.

FORD on the cancelled Mexican plant:
http://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2017/01/04/we-didnt-cut-a-deal-with-trump-ford-on-canceled-mexican-plant
"'To be clear, Ford is still moving its production of small vehicles to Mexico. The Ford Focus will still be produced in Mexico, just at an existing Mexican plant instead of the canceled plant. "[T]he reason we are canceling our plant in Mexico, the main reason, is because we are seeing a decline in demand for small vehicles here in North America.."

CHRYSLER-FIAT
https://www.rawstory.com/2017/01/fiat-chrysler-smacks-down-trumps-boasts-president-elect-not-involved-in-companys-job-creation/
"Jodi Tinson, a spokeswoman for FCA told ThinkProgress, "This plan was in the works back in 2015. This announcement was just final confirmation." Tinson also confirmed that neither politics nor the presidential election was at all related to the company's expansion"

Trump is a fraud and an overt liar; he's a pure clinical narcissist who doesn't work for anyone but his frail ego – ever seeking out his next source of narcissistic supply – a supply he has been able to control from his early days from the happy accident of inherited wealth – going on from there to use his inheritance to enrich himself at the expense of others.

Yes, American workers have been screwed over, but they have been screwed over mostly by Plutocrats who have owned both parties for decades. Ironically (in the face of all the anti-immigration talk), the vast majority of those Plutocrats have been *white, male* CEOs.

Anyone looking at Trump's early appointments and Cabinet nominees – not to mentioned his unhinged comments and tweets – who is not scared stiff by the presence of this goon in the White House – is suffering from a serious case of confirmation bias.

different clue , January 11, 2017 at 8:50 pm

Why would you be willing to pay twice as much for Chinese junk? Especially if it were still junk? If I were going to pay twice as much for something, I would rather that something be American not-junk rather than Chinese junk.

bmiller , January 11, 2017 at 9:49 pm

Given the reality that the most modern manufacturing capacity in the world is Chinese when it comes to consumer durables, it is racist to assume that "American" products are automatically better. The disinvestment in American manufacturing would take decades to replace.

tegnost , January 11, 2017 at 10:12 pm

last night listening to some folks opine re starbucks as a ubiquitous bad, the defense was they generally treat their employees ok, better than mcdonalds certainly, homeless people are given a little space before they get cleared out after a few hours if they are civil, which seemed to make the "striving to be good consumers, attempting to be socially responsible" lean towards well maybe they guessed it might be ok to go there. They all have i phones, however, and I didn't say it as I like my job, but was thinking "how many suicide nets does starbucks have in their global domain?" To call that racist makes me wonder about your comment, maybe if you had said is it racist, but no further, and in direct relation to that, china got manufacturing because suicide nets are a solution for apple that would not go over well around here. Maybe that's why they produce there, and not because the chinese are better at manufacturing?

different clue , January 11, 2017 at 10:49 pm

You can only play the race card but so many times before you wear it out. And it is pretty thin.

I assume that American-made Science Diet dog food won't have poison in it the way I have to assume Chinese dog food may have. I assume that American-made sheet rock won't offgas sulfur dioxide gas which turns into sulfuric acid in moist air ( as in Florida), and destroys household appliances in a year or less. The way some Chinese high-sulfur sheetrock did at least once in Florida. I assume an American-made Oakland-Bay-Bridge at twice the price would not now be already having the decay and bad-build problems which the Cheap China Crap Construction bridge is already having.

Shall I go on?

You sound like a Free Trade Treason hasbarist for China. In fact, I think you are.

You still want to call me racist? Well . . . kiss me, I'm deplorable.

a different chris , January 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm

>Trump's plan to enter into bi-lateral trade deals (after supposedly tearing up extant pacts)

Well we never know what the frell he is actually going to do, sure can't judge by what he says. If he did start with and modifies "extant pacts", that would actually make a lot of sense and maybe even go decently well at a more-than-glacial speed.

Of course – I hate when people speculate, and especially when they speculate that somebody is going to do literally the opposite of what they said they were going to do, yet here I am doing exactly that. My only excuse is that his personality is not to get that deep into anything, so it just seems more likely that he would simply focus on whatever specific aspect of a given treatry is problematical, wack a bit at that (for better or worse), and move on.

Dude is going to make us all crazy.

Ignacio , January 11, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Bi-lateral trade deals can focus on relatively narrow trade areas and in this case those needn't so much time to get negotiated and passed. I don't know if that is Trump's strategy.

susan the other , January 11, 2017 at 12:38 pm

This is a great summary of the recent fate of the TPP and the reasons for it. It may not be dead yet – even though it has been unceremoniously tossed on the cart of the dead (monty python). But the thinking behind it is terminal. Why no one ever discussed the military aspect of the TPP can be attributed to its strict secrecy. It was obvious to lots of people that the TPP was NATO for the Pacific and China was the target, and equally obvious that it was bad policy from any perspective. Bilateral trade will survive this debacle and world trade will continue – but trade will not be such a military tool, hopefully. It will be a good thing.

different clue , January 11, 2017 at 8:53 pm

It was not obvious to me. It is still not obvious to me. "China" was the excuse advanced for TPP late in the day when the Tradesters discovered that popular sentiment was turning against the Corporate Globalonial Plantationist purpose of the TPP, and hence against the TPP itself.

Fiver , January 12, 2017 at 6:24 pm

First, she is much closer to correct than you re the purpose of TPP. Secondly, why would you argue that the 'Tradesters' had to resort to 'China' in order to attempt to sell their putrid deal if 'China' was not viewed by said 'Tradesters' as a word loaded with a host of negative associations, most of which are based on typical US foreign policy jingoistic nonsense rooted in what is certainly a classic case of US/Western supremacist nonsense, if not the more obvious, overt racism now making a rather spectacular comeback?

John k , January 11, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Lesson learned is to avoid electing corrupt candidates that call it a gold standard right away you know who is receiving, and who is paying, the gold.
And then there are sitting elected officials pushing the crap with all their might, anticipating their gold shares maturing as soon as they leave office

B1whois , January 11, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Trade was a major issue in swing states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where concerned voters overwhelmingly opted for Trump.

Bravo! "Concerned voters" is a much better descriptor than "deplorables", "working class whites" or even, in this case, "working class voters" as there were also sovereignty issues.

bmiller , January 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm

The statistics show it was more the middle class and upper middle classes, especially evangelicals. Sexism played a big role.

Outis Philalithopoulos , January 11, 2017 at 11:08 pm

The wording of your comment is rather ambiguous – are you stating that "statistics show" that "sexism played a big role" in the swing states? Where do you situate yourself relative to Lambert's discussion of the subject?

different clue , January 12, 2017 at 3:16 pm

The sexism card is wearing about as thin as the racism card is wearing. Clinton lost support in the Midwest when she revealed herself to be a Free Trade Traitor against America by stating that she would put her husband, NAFTA Bill, in charge of the economic recovery when she got elected.
That expression of support for anti-American Trade Treason guaranteed her loss right there.

Statistics show . . . that figures lie when liars figure.

Oregoncharles , January 11, 2017 at 2:43 pm

" trade agreements take a long time to negotiate, typically because they also include services, and those take way longer to sort out than the physical goods side."
My first reaction: good. Services shouldn't be in trade pacts. And if they take a long time to get done, all the better. The fetish for "trade pacts" is mostly destructive.

Fundamentally: they're superfluous. People have always traded, mostly without "pacts." When it comes to "absolute advantage," literally trading apples for oranges, everybody really does benefit and barriers melt away. Under modern conditions. "comparative advantage" is a falsehood, as a close look at the conditions Ricardo set for it will show. It requires that labor and capital don't move at all freely between countries – true in his day, but certainly not in ours. Bizarrely, his theory is being used, dishonestly, to promote the destructive free movement of capital, and that's what "services" mostly means.

The point that trade agreements take a long time is probably true, as well as not an objection; but it isn't an argument for multilateral agreements like the TPP; it's an argument for the WTO, if it had been done right. The plan was to set up an overarching, worldwide structure for trade. But it should have been done under the UN, and it shouldn't include attacks on sovereignty like the tribunals. The real reason for other agreements is that the requirement for consensus in the WTO put up a dead end sign: thus far, and no farther. So the "Washington Consensus" tried for work arounds. But the consensus model makes sense, and the rules should be universal.

The real gist of Ricardo is that trade is NOT an unmitigated good. It easily becomes more or less subtle forms of imperialism. Furthermore, low trade barriers make sense. Diversity depends on barriers. They encourage a modicum of self-reliance and provide firewalls so that a financial collapse in one country doesn't automatically go world-wide. We probably had it right in the 50s and 60s, when the economy was far healthier. Granted, there were still a lot of actual colonies then, so it's hard to tell how that translates to modern conditions.

I don't think I'm saying anything that isn't very familiar here. We should beware of capitalist ideologies.

different clue , January 11, 2017 at 8:55 pm

The fetish for Multilaterialism is also destructive. Multilateralism is just "french" for Corporate Globalonial Plantationist trade pacts designed to exterminate sovereignty for dozens of countries at a time.

Oregoncharles , January 11, 2017 at 2:48 pm

" Our colleagues' more realistic macroeconomic modelling suggested that almost 800,000 jobs would be lost over a decade after implementation, with almost half a million from the US alone. There would also be downward pressure on wages, in turn exacerbating inequalities at the national level."

Yes, that's what these "trade agreements" are FOR. You don't think the PTB take bullshit economics seriously, do you?

ChrisPacific , January 11, 2017 at 4:09 pm

As an aside, I never particularly liked the sovereignty argument against TPP (which I note is omitted from this article) because I felt it painted with an overly broad brush. More specifically, I would argue that it can sometimes be a good thing if nation-states collectively agree to be bound by rules that supersede national legislation. The Geneva Convention is one example.

TPP would have been bad not because it compromised national sovereignty, but because of the reasons for which it did so. Overriding national legislation to protect human rights is one thing. Overriding it to grant multinational corporations more power over workers, consumers and governments is quite another.

marblex , January 11, 2017 at 5:10 pm

I believe the sovereignty provisions are the most dangerous ones.

witters , January 11, 2017 at 7:48 pm

"I would argue that it can sometimes be a good thing if nation-states collectively agree to be bound by rules that supersede national legislation. The Geneva Convention is one example."

There is the general point, and there is your example and there is the US: http://baltimorechronicle.com/geneva_feb02.shtml

Oregoncharles , January 11, 2017 at 8:28 pm

In this case, "sovereignty" means the power to regulate commerce. Insofar as the signatories are democracy, it also means democracy – the ability to carry out the decisions of representative bodies.

RBHoughton , January 11, 2017 at 9:57 pm

The Pacific Rim countries might approve "needless suffering and death" if it keeps them in the west's good books.

Countries without an internationally traded currency will not willingly sign up for specious 'trade in money' sections. Galbraith the Younger wrote a famous paper on the subject that clearly established there is no such thing as a trade in money. Every way I look at it, its a rip-off, facilitated by a useful idiot in the country's central bank.

These agreements, whether global or bilateral, are an invitation to central bankers to become traitors to their own country; an attempt to take over a nation without firing a shot, a blast from a future that permits only trade blocks and no countries.

I am convinced what the world really wants is a debate on the shape of world government. I do not agree that the chap with the most printed money calls the shots. We are better than that.

Minnie Mouse , January 12, 2017 at 4:24 pm

ISDS is nothing more than a scheme to enable direct foreign attacks on the legislative process itself – even more direct and invasive than influencing elections by hacking, propaganda or whatever . Imagine if Vladimir Putin were to accomplish a legislative objective in the U.S. simply by launching an ISDS extortion suit via a Russian state owned enterprise and a willing ISDS tribunal outside the U.S. court system and not at all accountable to U.S. interests. What would the pro TPP corporate Dems have to say then?

different clue , January 12, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Here's what they'd say.

" Where's our money? We want our share of the Big Tubmans!"

[Dec 05, 2016] The US grand strategy post-Bush was to reposition itself at the heart of a liberal economic system excluding China through TTIP with the EU and TPP with Asia-Pac ex. China and Russia. The idea was that this would enable the US to sustain its hegemony.

Notable quotes:
"... It has been an absolute failure. Brexit has torpedoed TTIP and TPP has limited value - the largest economy in the partnership, Japan, has been largely integrated in to the US for the past 70 years. ..."
"... IMO the biggest failure of the US has been hating Russia too much. The Russians have just as much reason to be afraid of China ..."
"... It's old Cold War thinking that has seen America lose its hegemony -- similar to how the British were so focused on stopping German ascendancy they didn't see the Americans coming with the knife. ..."
Sep 27, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com
Dante5 1d ago
The US grand strategy post-Bush was to reposition itself at the heart of a liberal economic system excluding China through TTIP with the EU and TPP with Asia-Pac ex. China and Russia. The idea was that this would enable the US to sustain its hegemony.

It has been an absolute failure. Brexit has torpedoed TTIP and TPP has limited value - the largest economy in the partnership, Japan, has been largely integrated in to the US for the past 70 years.

IMO the biggest failure of the US has been hating Russia too much. The Russians have just as much reason to be afraid of China as the US do and have a pretty capable army.

If the US patched things up with the Russians, firstly it could redeploy forces and military effort away from the Middle East towards Asia Pac and secondly it would give the US effective leverage over China -- with the majority of the oil producing nations aligned with the US, China would have difficulty in conducted a sustained conflict.

It's old Cold War thinking that has seen America lose its hegemony -- similar to how the British were so focused on stopping German ascendancy they didn't see the Americans coming with the knife.

[Dec 05, 2016] Fareed Zakaria Is Confused on Trade and the TPP

Notable quotes:
"... The real problem is the Chinese do not believe in economic profits, just market rates of return on invested capital which to be honest is only about 2-5% depending on risk. ..."
Jul 20, 2015 | economistsview.typepad.com
July 20, 2015
anne :

No one disputes the need for more official infrastructure funding :

What we find the most interesting is that the AIIB founders didn't ask member countries to approve an expansion of either the World Bank or the ADB. Instead, they opted for a new organization altogether.
Why? The problem is institutional legitimacy arising from issues of power and governance :

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz

[ Why? Because when all is said and done the United States wants to be able to control the Asian Development Bank, the IMF and World Bank and use them to in turn "control" countries that it wishes to be subject to the US but especially to control China as the New York Times editorial board made clear today in supporting Japanese militarism. *

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/20/opinion/japan-wrestles-with-its-pacifism.html ]

anne -> anne :

No one disputes the need for more official infrastructure funding :

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz

[ Unless the word "official" suffices as an excuse, of course United States and British policy makers in particular dispute the need for more government supported infrastructure funding. Amartya Sen and Vijay Prashad have made this entirely clear for India. *

* http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/opinion/why-india-trails-china.html ]

mulp -> anne :

The real problem is the Chinese do not believe in economic profits, just market rates of return on invested capital which to be honest is only about 2-5% depending on risk.

Americans demand monopoly profits and ROIC so high that the price of capital assets rapidly inflates.

Thus China's high speed rail plans are evil because China is advocating high volumes of HSR construction that costs decline by economies of scale leading to the replacement cost of any existing rail line being lower than original cost so the result is capital depreciation lower the price of assets, tangible and intangible, and the frantic pace of creating jobs and building more capital - more rail - eliminates any monopoly power of any rail system, thereby forcing revenues down to costs with the recovery of investment cost stretched to decades, and ROIC forced toward zero.

And it's that policy of investing to eliminate profits that drives conservatives insane. They scream, "it is bankrupt because those hundred year lifetime assets are not paying for themselves and generating stock market gains in seven years!"

Its like banking was from circa 1930 to 1980! It is like utility regulation was from 1930 to 1980! How can wealth be created when monopoly power is thwarted?!?

Just imagine how devastating if China uses the AIIB to build a rail network speeding goods between China and the tip of Africa and every place in between! Highly destructive of wealth.

anne -> mulp :

Interesting argument that I will carefully think through and argue with in turn. Nice, nice comment.

anne -> mulp :

Terrific comment, which should be further developed; I am thinking.

anne -> mulp :

Though I want to smooth the writing and terminology, I completely agree. Again, a terrific thoroughly enlightening comment. ]

anne :

And :after failing to stop the AIIB, and refusing to participate as a founding member, the United States should join the institution as soon as it can, participating actively in holding it to the highest 21st century standards :.

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz

[ Surely the IMF and the like are responsible for the "explosive" 38 year growth in real per capita Gross Domestic Product and 35 year growth in total factor productivity from Mexico, neighbor to the United States, to the Philippines, to Kenya : ]

anne -> anne :

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1pbp

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil and South Africa, 1976-2014

(Percent change)


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1pbq

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil and South Africa, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)

anne -> anne :

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=RZD

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil and South Africa, 1976-2011


http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=VJj

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil and South Africa, 1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

anne -> anne :

Even supposing analysts short of an Amartya Sen wish to be judicious in actually looking to the data of the last 38 years, as even Sen has found there is a price for arguing about the obvious importance of soft (social welfare spending) and hard institutional infrastructure spending in China:


http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=15Ie

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Mexico, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1tO2

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Philippines, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1tO3

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Kenya, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)

anne :

And :after failing to stop the AIIB, and refusing to participate as a founding member, the United States should join the institution as soon as it can, participating actively in holding it to the highest 21st century standards :.

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1qyT

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, United States and
United Kingdom, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=VJf

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China,
United States and United Kingdom, 1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

anne :

No one disputes the need for more official infrastructure funding :

And :after failing to stop the AIIB, and refusing to participate as a founding member, the United States should join the institution as soon as it can, participating actively in holding it to the highest 21st century standards :.

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1tiq

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for United States, United
Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Germany and China, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=197l

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for United
States, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Germany and China,
1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

anne :

No one disputes the need for more official infrastructure funding :

What we find the most interesting is that the AIIB founders didn't ask member countries to approve an expansion of either the World Bank or the ADB. Instead, they opted for a new organization altogether.

Why? The problem is institutional legitimacy arising from issues of power and governance :

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1qsO

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=10zf

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China,
Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore, 1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

anne :

No one disputes the need for more official infrastructure funding :

And :after failing to stop the AIIB, and refusing to participate as a founding member, the United States should join the institution as soon as it can, participating actively in holding it to the highest 21st century standards :.

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1qzW

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Sweden, Denmark, Norway,
Finland and China, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1qzY

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for Sweden,
Denmark, Norway, Finland and China, 1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

anne :

No one disputes the need for more official infrastructure funding :

And :after failing to stop the AIIB, and refusing to participate as a founding member, the United States should join the institution as soon as it can, participating actively in holding it to the highest 21st century standards :.

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1qE2

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Ireland, Portugal, Spain,
Italy, Greece and China, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1qE5

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for Ireland,
Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and China, 1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

anne :

No one disputes the need for more official infrastructure funding :

And :after failing to stop the AIIB, and refusing to participate as a founding member, the United States should join the institution as soon as it can, participating actively in holding it to the highest 21st century standards :.

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1pco

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, Japan and Korea, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=VYR

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, Japan and Korea, 1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

kthomas :

yawn

anne :

Yawn

[ When did the United States experience 38 years of 8.6% real per capita GDP growth yearly? How about the United Kingdom? How about any other country? I have just begun, go ahead choose another country to go with China. I am waiting. Go ahead. I will include the astonishing total factor productivity growth as well. ]

anne :

While most of the G20 nations, including the big European states, Australia, and South Korea, are among the founding members, the United States, Japan, and Canada are noticeably not :

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz

[ I found it startling and discouraging that Greece virtually alone in Europe did not apply to be a founding member of the AIIB. ]

anne :

No one disputes the need for more official infrastructure funding :

And :after failing to stop the AIIB, and refusing to participate as a founding member, the United States should join the institution as soon as it can, participating actively in holding it to the highest 21st century standards :.

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1q64

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, United Kingdom,
Australia and Canada, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=10fa

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China,
United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, 1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

anne -> anne :

Yawn

[ I am still waiting, choose a country to go with China. ]

anne -> anne :

No one disputes the need for more official infrastructure funding :

And :after failing to stop the AIIB, and refusing to participate as a founding member, the United States should join the institution as soon as it can, participating actively in holding it to the highest 21st century standards :.

-- Cecchetti & Schoenholtz


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1tX6

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and China, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1tX8

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and China, 1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

anne -> anne :

Yawn

[ Still waiting, choose a country to go with China. ]

Bruce Webb :

As to why the AIIB decided to go alone (at least without the US) it may have something to do with a fact that I stumbled on in relation to the Greece crisis. I am sure that most people here knew the basic fact and perhaps appreciate the irony but I didn't know whether to weep or laugh outright.

The U.S. only controls 17% of voting powers of the IMF. Why barely a sixth! Yet any positive decision requires an 85% vote. Meaning that in operational terms the U.S. might as well hold 51%.

You see similar things with NATO. It's a partnership that has high officers rotating in from here or there. But which requires that the overall NATO Commander be an American.

Nothing undemocratic or hegemonic here! Nope! Moving right along!

anne -> Bruce Webb :

The U.S. only controls 17% of voting powers of the IMF. Why barely a sixth! Yet any positive decision requires an 85% vote. Meaning that in operational terms the U.S. might as well hold 51%.

You see similar things with NATO. It's a partnership that has high officers rotating in from here or there. But which requires that the overall NATO Commander be an American.

Nothing undemocratic or hegemonic here! Nope! Moving right along!

[ Perfect and important. ]

anne -> Bruce Webb :

I am sure that most people here knew the basic fact and perhaps appreciate the irony but I didn't know whether to weep or laugh outright :.

[ No, in continually whining about the need for Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to be transparent and democratic the United States was making sure never ever to explain the historic lack of transparency and anti-democratic nature of the IMF and World Bank and Asian Development Bank. ]

anne :

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1qtx

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Brazil, Argentina, Chile
and China, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1qtr

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for Brazil,
Argentina, Chile and China, 1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

anne :

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1tYy

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India and Turkey, 1976-2014

(Indexed to 1976)


http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=181Y

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India and Turkey, 1976-2011

(Indexed to 1976)

[Dec 05, 2016] The geopolitical reasons for TPP, from Americas point of view, are pretty clear. It is a preemptive move against future China dominance in the region

Notable quotes:
"... Bill Clinton: "The geopolitical reasons for [TPP], from America's point of view, are pretty clear. It's designed to make sure that the future of the Asia-Pacific region, economically, is not totally dominated by China" ..."
"... " The full 40-page paper (PDF) [from the Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University] goes into the details [of projected economic gains from trade deals]. Along the way, it provides a highly critical analysis of the underlying econometric model used for almost all of the official studies of CETA, TPP and TTIP - the so-called "computable general equilibrium" (CGE) approach. In particular, the authors find that using the CGE model to analyze a potential trade deal effectively guarantees that there will be a positive outcome ("net welfare gains") because of its unrealistic assumptions" [ TechDirt ]. ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Bill Clinton: "The geopolitical reasons for [TPP], from America's point of view, are pretty clear. It's designed to make sure that the future of the Asia-Pacific region, economically, is not totally dominated by China" [ CNBC ].

"However, he stopped short [by about an inch, right?] of supporting the TPP. He added that his wife [who is running for President' has said provisions on currency manipulation must be enforced and measures put in place in the United States to address any labor market dislocations that result from trade deals." Oh. "Provisions enforced" sounds like executive authority, to me. And "measures put in place" sounds like a side deal. In other words, Bill Clinton just floated Hillary's trial balloon for passing TPP, if Obama can't get it done in the lame duck. Of course, if you parsed her words, you knew she wasn't lying , exactly .

" The full 40-page paper (PDF) [from the Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University] goes into the details [of projected economic gains from trade deals]. Along the way, it provides a highly critical analysis of the underlying econometric model used for almost all of the official studies of CETA, TPP and TTIP - the so-called "computable general equilibrium" (CGE) approach. In particular, the authors find that using the CGE model to analyze a potential trade deal effectively guarantees that there will be a positive outcome ("net welfare gains") because of its unrealistic assumptions" [ TechDirt ].

"Conservative lawmakers looking for a way to buck Donald Trump's populist message on trade may have gotten a little more cover with more than 30 conservative and libertarian groups sending a letter today to Congress expressing strong support for free trade" [ Politico ]. National Taxpayers Union, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks

"France is set to arrive at the meeting with a proposal to suspend TTIP negotiations, our Pro Trade colleagues in Brussels report. But for the deal's supporters, there's hop'e: 'France will not win the day,' Alberto Mucci, Christian Oliver and Hans von der Burchard write. 'Britain [???], Italy, Spain, Poland, the Nordic countries and the Baltics will thwart any attempt to end the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Bratislava'" [ Politico ].

[Dec 05, 2016] Stiglitz Blasts Outrageous TPP as Obama Campaigns for Corporate-Friendly Deal Common Dreams Breaking News Views for the

Notable quotes:
"... Expressing his overall objections to the TPP, Stiglitz said "corporate interests... were at the table" when it was being crafted. He also condemned "the provisions on intellectual property that will drive up drug prices" and "the 'investment provisions' which will make it more difficult to regulate and actually harm trade." ..."
"... The Democratic candidate, for her part, supported the deal before coming out against it , but for TPP foes, uncertainty about her position remains, especially since she recently named former Colorado Senator and Interior Secretary-and " vehement advocate for the TPP "-Ken Salazar to be chair of her presidential transition team. ..."
"... Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said , "We have to make sure that bill never sees the light of day after this election," while Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said at the American Postal Workers Union convention in Walt Disney World, "If this goes through, it's curtains for the middle class in this country." ..."
Aug 25, 2016 | www.commondreams.org
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has reiterated his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying on Tuesday that President Barack Obama's push to get the trade deal passed during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress is "outrageous" and "absolutely wrong."

Stiglitz, an economics professor at Columbia University and chief economist of the Roosevelt Institute, made the comments on CNN's "Quest Means Business."

His criticism comes as Obama aggressively campaigns to get lawmakers to pass the TPP in the Nov. 9 to Jan. 3 window-even as resistance mounts against the 12-nation deal.

Echoing an argument made by Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Mark Weisbrot, Stiglitz said, "At the lame-duck session you have congressmen voting who know that they're not accountable anymore."

Lawmakers "who are not politically accountable because they're leaving may, in response to promises of jobs or just subtle understandings, do things that are not in the national interest," he said.

Expressing his overall objections to the TPP, Stiglitz said "corporate interests... were at the table" when it was being crafted. He also condemned "the provisions on intellectual property that will drive up drug prices" and "the 'investment provisions' which will make it more difficult to regulate and actually harm trade."

"The advocates of trade said it was going to benefit everyone," he added. "The evidence is it's benefited a few and left a lot behind."

Stiglitz has previously spoken out against the TPP before, arguing that it "may turn out to be the worst trade agreement in decades;" that it would mean "if you pass a regulation that restricts ability to pollute or does something about climate change, you could be sued and could pay billions of dollars;" and previously said that the president's TPP push "is one of Obama's biggest mistakes."

Stiglitz has also been advising the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. The Democratic candidate, for her part, supported the deal before coming out against it, but for TPP foes, uncertainty about her position remains, especially since she recently named former Colorado Senator and Interior Secretary-and "vehement advocate for the TPP"-Ken Salazar to be chair of her presidential transition team.

Opposition to the TPP also appeared Tuesday in Michigan and Florida, where union members and lawmakers criticized what they foresee as the deal's impacts on working families.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said, "We have to make sure that bill never sees the light of day after this election," while Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said at the American Postal Workers Union convention in Walt Disney World, "If this goes through, it's curtains for the middle class in this country."

[Dec 05, 2016] Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Tulsi Gabbard - Fighting for the people.

Aug 01, 2016 | www.votetulsi.com

We cannot allow this agreement to forsake the American middle class, while foreign governments are allowed to devalue their currency and artificially prop-up their industries.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is a bad deal for the American people. This historically massive trade deal -- accounting for 40 percent of global trade -- would reduce restrictions on foreign corporations operating within the U.S., limit our ability to protect our environment, and create more incentives for U.S. businesses to outsource investments and jobs overseas to countries with lower labor costs and standards.

Over and over we hear from TPP proponents how the TPP will boost our economy, help American workers, and set the standards for global trade. The International Trade Commission report released last May (https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub4607.pdf) confirms that the opposite is true. In exchange for just 0.15 percent boost in GDP by 2032, the TPP would decimate American manufacturing capacity, increase our trade deficit, ship American jobs overseas, and result in losses to 16 of the 25 U.S. economic sectors. These estimates don't even account for the damaging effects of currency manipulation, environmental impacts, and the agreement's deeply flawed Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process.

There's no reason to believe the provisions of this deal relating to labor standards, preserving American jobs, or protecting our environment, will be enforceable. Every trade agreement negotiated in the past claimed to have strong enforceable provisions to protect American jobs -- yet no such enforcement has occurred, and agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has called TPP "NAFTA on steroids." The loss of U.S. jobs under the TPP would likely be unprecedented.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fC0qppnK_U

Watch: Tulsi restates the need for transparency in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the House floor.

[Dec 05, 2016] BuzzFeed Exposes Corporate Super Courts That Can Overrule Government

Corporations are "one-dollar-one-vote" top-down systems. They consider "one-person-one-vote" democracy illegitimate
Notable quotes:
"... Existing "trade" agreements like NAFTA allow corporations to sue governments for passing laws and regulations that limit their profits. They set up special " corporate courts " in which corporate attorneys decide the cases. These corporate "super courts" sit above governments and their own court systems, and countries and their citizens cannot even appeal the rulings. ..."
"... Now, corporations are pushing two new "trade" agreements - one covering Pacific-are countries and one covering Atlantic-area countries - that expand these corporate rights and move governments out of their way. The Pacific agreement is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Atlantic one is called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). ..."
"... International corporations that want to intimidate countries have access to a private legal system designed just for them. And to unlock its power, sometimes all it takes is a threat. ..."
"... ISDS is so tilted and unpredictable, and the fines the arbitrators can impose are so catastrophically large, that bowing to a company's demands, however extreme they may be, can look like the prudent choice. ..."
Sep 03, 2016 | Back to (our) Future

BuzzFeed is running a very important investigative series called "Secrets of a Global Super Court." It describes what they call "a parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else."

Existing "trade" agreements like NAFTA allow corporations to sue governments for passing laws and regulations that limit their profits. They set up special "corporate courts" in which corporate attorneys decide the cases. These corporate "super courts" sit above governments and their own court systems, and countries and their citizens cannot even appeal the rulings.

The 2014 post "Corporate Courts - A Big Red Flag On "Trade" Agreements" explained the origin and rationale for these corporate courts:

Picture a poor "banana republic" country ruled by a dictator and his cronies. A company might want to invest in a factory or railroad - things that would help the people of that country as well as deliver a return to the company. But the company worries that the dictator might decide to just seize the factory and give it to his brother-in-law. Agreements to protect investors, and allowing a tribunal not based in such countries (courts where the judges are cronies of the dictator), make sense in such situations.

Here's the thing: Corporate investors see themselves as legitimate "makers" and see citizens and voters and their governments - always demanding taxes and fair pay and public safety - to be illegitimate "takers." Corporations are all about "one-dollar-one-vote" top-down systems of governance. They consider "one-person-one-vote" democracy to be an illegitimate, non-functional system that meddles with their more-important profit interests. They consider any governmental legal or regulatory system to be "burdensome." They consider taxes as "theft" of the money they have "earned."

To them, any government anywhere is just another "banana republic" from which they need special protection.

"Trade" Deals Bypass Borders

Investors and their corporations have set up a way to get around the borders of these meddling governments, called "trade" deals. The trade deals elevate global corporate interests above any national interest. When a country signs a "trade" deal, that country is agreeing not to do things that protect the country's own national interest - like impose tariffs to protect key industries or national strategies, or pass laws and regulations - when those things interfere with the larger, more important global corporate "trade" interests.

Now, corporations are pushing two new "trade" agreements - one covering Pacific-are countries and one covering Atlantic-area countries - that expand these corporate rights and move governments out of their way. The Pacific agreement is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Atlantic one is called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Secrets of a Global Super Court

BuzzFeed's series on these corporate courts, "Secrets of a Global Super Court," explains the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the "trade" deals that have come to dominate the world economy. These provisions set up "corporate courts" that place corporate profits above the interests of governments and set up a court system that sits above the court systems of the countries in the "trade" deals.

Part One, "Inside The Global "Club" That Helps Executives Escape Their Crimes," describes, "A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment."

In a little-noticed 2014 dissent, US Chief Justice John Roberts warned that ISDS arbitration panels hold the alarming power to review a nation's laws and "effectively annul the authoritative acts of its legislature, executive, and judiciary." ISDS arbitrators, he continued, "can meet literally anywhere in the world" and "sit in judgment" on a nation's "sovereign acts."

[. . .]

Reviewing publicly available information for about 300 claims filed during the past five years, BuzzFeed News found more than 35 cases in which the company or executive seeking protection in ISDS was accused of criminal activity, including money laundering, embezzlement, stock manipulation, bribery, war profiteering, and fraud.

Among them: a bank in Cyprus that the US government accused of financing terrorism and organized crime, an oil company executive accused of embezzling millions from the impoverished African nation of Burundi, and the Russian oligarch known as "the Kremlin's banker."

One lawyer who regularly represents governments said he's seen evidence of corporate criminality that he "couldn't believe." Speaking on the condition that he not be named because he's currently handling ISDS cases, he said, "You have a lot of scuzzy sort-of thieves for whom this is a way to hit the jackpot."

Part Two, "The Billion-Dollar Ultimatum," looks at how "International corporations that want to intimidate countries have access to a private legal system designed just for them. And to unlock its power, sometimes all it takes is a threat."

Of all the ways in which ISDS is used, the most deeply hidden are the threats, uttered in private meetings or ominous letters, that invoke those courts. The threats are so powerful they often eliminate the need to actually bring a lawsuit. Just the knowledge that it could happen is enough.

[. . .] ISDS is so tilted and unpredictable, and the fines the arbitrators can impose are so catastrophically large, that bowing to a company's demands, however extreme they may be, can look like the prudent choice. Especially for nations struggling to emerge from corrupt dictatorships or to lift their people from decades of poverty, the mere threat of an ISDS claim triggers alarm. A single decision by a panel of three unaccountable, private lawyers, meeting in a conference room on some other continent, could gut national budgets and shake economies to the core.

Part Three, "To Bankers, It's Not Just A Court System, It's A Gold Mine," exposes how "Financial companies have figured out how to turn a controversial global legal system to their own very profitable advantage."

Indeed, financiers and ISDS lawyers have created a whole new business: prowling for ways to sue nations in ISDS and make their taxpayers fork over huge sums, sometimes in retribution for enforcing basic laws or regulations.

The financial industry is pushing novel ISDS claims that countries never could have anticipated - claims that, in some instances, would be barred in US courts and those of other developed nations, or that strike at emergency decisions nations make to cope with crises.

ISDS gives particular leverage to traders and speculators who chase outsize profits in the developing world. They can buy into local disputes that they have no connection to, then turn the disputes into costly international showdowns. Standard Chartered, for example, bought the debt of a Tanzanian company that was in dire financial straits and racked by scandal; now, the bank has filed an ISDS claim demanding that the nation's taxpayers hand over the full amount that the private company owed - more than $100 million. Asked to comment, Standard Chartered said its claim is "valid."

David Dayen explains this last point, in "The Big Problem With The Trans-Pacific Partnership's Super Court That We're Not Talking About": "Financiers will use it to bet on lawsuits, while taxpayers foot the bill."

But instead of helping companies resolve legitimate disputes over seized assets, ISDS has increasingly become a way for rich investors to make money by speculating on lawsuits, winning huge awards and forcing taxpayers to foot the bill.

Here's how it works: Wealthy financiers with idle cash have purchased companies that are well placed to bring an ISDS claim, seemingly for the sole purpose of using that claim to make a buck. Sometimes, they set up shell corporations to create the plaintiffs to bring ISDS cases. And some hedge funds and private equity firms bankroll ISDS cases as third parties - just like billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker Media.

Part Four of the great BuzzFeed series, "Secrets of a Global Super Court," is expected to be published later this week.

PCCC Statement

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) released this statement on the ISDS provisions in TPP:

"Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Wall Street would be allowed to sue the government in extrajudicial, corporate-run tribunals over any regulation and American taxpayers would be on the hook for damages. This is an outrage. We need more accountability and fairness in our economy – not less. And we need to preserve our ability to make our own rules.

"It's time for Obama to take notice of the widespread, bipartisan opposition to the TPP and take this agreement off the table before he causes lasting political harm to Democrats with voters."

[Dec 05, 2016] No TPP - a certainty in case Donald Trump is elected in November - means the end of US economic hegemony over Asia.

Notable quotes:
"... "No TPP - a certainty in case Donald Trump is elected in November - means the end of US economic hegemony over Asia. Hillary Clinton knows it; and it's no accident President Obama is desperate to have TPP approved during a short window of opportunity, the lame-duck session of Congress from November 9 to January 3." ..."
"... To me, the key to our economic hegemony lies in our reserve currency hegemony. They will have to continue to supply us to get the currency. Unless we have injected too much already (no scholars have come forth to say how much trade deficits are necessary for the reserve currency to function as the reserve currency, and so, we have just kept buying – and I am wondering if we have bought too much and there is a need to starting running trade surpluses to soak up the excess money – just asking, I don't know the answer). ..."
Sep 01, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Joe Hunter , August 31, 2016 at 2:52 pm

" http://www.defenddemocracy.press/whole-game-containing-russisa-china/

A response to Hillary Clinton's America Exceptionalist Speech:

1. America Exceptionalist vs. the World..
2. Brezinski is extremely dejected.
3. Russia-China on the march.
4. "There will be blood. Hillary Clinton smells it already ."

clarky90 , August 31, 2016 at 4:01 pm

"No TPP - a certainty in case Donald Trump is elected in November - means the end of US economic hegemony over Asia. Hillary Clinton knows it; and it's no accident President Obama is desperate to have TPP approved during a short window of opportunity, the lame-duck session of Congress from November 9 to January 3."

http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20160829/1044733257/russia-china-game-brics.html

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , August 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm

To me, the key to our economic hegemony lies in our reserve currency hegemony. They will have to continue to supply us to get the currency. Unless we have injected too much already (no scholars have come forth to say how much trade deficits are necessary for the reserve currency to function as the reserve currency, and so, we have just kept buying – and I am wondering if we have bought too much and there is a need to starting running trade surpluses to soak up the excess money – just asking, I don't know the answer).

[Dec 05, 2016] In the face of public opposition to the TPP and TISA proponents have trotted out a new argument: we have come too far , our national credibility would be damaged if we stop now.

Aug 27, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
L , August 26, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Regarding the push to pass the TPP and TISA I've been needing to get this off my chest and this seems to be as good a time as any:

In the face of public opposition to the TPP and TISA proponents have trotted out a new argument: "we have come too far", "our national credibility would be damaged if we stop now." The premise of which is that negotiations have been going on so long, and have involved such effort that if the U.S. were to back away now we would look bad and would lose significant political capital.

On one level this argument is true. The negotiations have been long, and many promises were made by the negotiators to secure to to this point. Stepping back now would expose those promises as false and would make that decade of effort a loss. It would also expose the politicians who pushed for it in the face of public oppoosition to further loss of status and to further opposition.

However, all of that is voided by one simple fact. The negotiations were secret. All of that effort, all of the horse trading and the promise making was done by a self-selected body of elites, for that same body, and was hidden behind a wall of secrecy stronger than that afforded to new weapons. The deals were hidden not just from the general public, not from trade unions or environmental groups, but from the U.S. Congress itself.

Therefore it has no public legitimacy. The promises made are not "our" promises but Michael Froman's promises. They are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government but only by the words of a small body of appointees and the multinational corporations that they serve. The corporations were invited to the table, Congress was not.

What "elites" really mean when they say "America's credibility is on the line" is that their credibility is on the line. If these deals fail what will be lost is not America's stature but the premise that a handful of appointees can cut deals in private and that the rest of us will make good.

When that minor loss is laid against the far greater fact that the terms of these deals are bad, that prior deals of this type have harmed our real economies, and that the rules will further erode our national sovreignity, there is no contest.

Michael Froman's reputation has no value. Our sovreignity, our economy, our nation, does.

flora , August 26, 2016 at 2:51 pm

+1

grizziz , August 26, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Thank you for your comment. +1

Lambert Strether Post author , August 26, 2016 at 2:57 pm

"We've gone too far."

Whaddaya mean, "we"?

ambrit , August 26, 2016 at 6:45 pm

The imperial "We."
I just had a soul corroding vision of H Clinton done up as Victoria Regina. Ouch!!! Go get the butter!

Jim Haygood , August 26, 2016 at 6:53 pm

In modern parlance, she's Victoria Rejayjay. :-0

JohnnyGL , August 26, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Good comment .

"What "elites" really mean when they say "America's credibility is on the line" is that their credibility is on the line. If these deals fail what will be lost is not America's stature but the premise that a handful of appointees can cut deals in private and that the rest of us will make good."

Yes! And the victory will taste so sweet when we bury this filthy, rotten, piece of garbage. Obama's years of effort down the drain, his legacy tarnished and unfinished.

I want TPP's defeat to send a clear message that the elites can't count on their politicians to deliver for them. Let's make this thing their Stalingrad! Leave deep scars so that they give up on TISA and stop trying to concoct these absurd schemes like ISDS.

abynormal , August 26, 2016 at 3:10 pm

sorry but i don't see it that way at all. 'they' got a propaganda machine to beat all 'they' make n break reps all the time. i do see a desperation on a monetary/profit scale. widening the 'playing field' offers more profits with less risk. for instance, our Pharams won't have to slash their prices at the risk of sunshine laws, wish-washy politicians, competition, nor a pissed off public. jmo tho')

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , August 26, 2016 at 4:13 pm

LOL "America's credibility" LOL, these people need to get out more. In the 60's you could hike high up into the Andes and the sheep herder had two pics on the wall of his hut: Jesus and JFK. America retains its cachet as a place to make money and be entertained, but as some kind of beacon of morality and fair play in the world? Dead, buried, and long gone, the hype-fest of slogans and taglines can only cover up so many massive, atrocious and hypocritical actions and serial offenses.

Synoia , August 26, 2016 at 4:57 pm

his legacy tarnished and unfinished.

And his post-presidential money small .

NotTimothyGeithner , August 26, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Clinton Inc was mostly Bill helping Epstein get laid until after Kerry lost. If this was the reelection of John Edwards, Kerry's running mate, and a referendum on 12 years of Kerronomics, Bill and Hill would be opening night speakers at the DNC and answers to trivia questions.

My guess is Obama is dropped swiftly and unceremoniously especially since he doesn't have much of a presence in Washington.

John Wright , August 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm

The must preserve American credibility argument on the line again.

Here is a quote from NYT's Nicholas Kristoff from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/29/opinion/kristof-reinforce-a-norm-in-syria.html

"It looks as if we'll be firing Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria in the coming days, and critics are raising legitimate concerns:"

"Yet there is value in bolstering international norms against egregious behavior like genocide or the use of chemical weapons. Since President Obama established a "red line" about chemical weapons use, his credibility has been at stake: he can't just whimper and back down."

Obama did back down.

NIcholas Kristof, vigilant protector of American credibility through bombing Syria.

polecat , August 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm

he's just another syncophantic punk .in a long line of syncophantic punks

..oh..that includes Kristof too

RabidGandhi , August 26, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Ah yes the credibility of our élites. With their sterling record on Nafta's benefits, Iraq's liberation, Greece's rebound, the IMF's rehabilitation of countries

We must pass TPP or Tom Friedman will lose credibility, what?

polecat , August 26, 2016 at 7:17 pm

yeah but will he have to shave off his 'stache' ??

Propertius , August 26, 2016 at 3:53 pm

Well said!

HopeLB , August 26, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Wonderful (and credible) assessment.

[Dec 05, 2016] Framing Votes for TPP as the Surrender of National Sovereignty (i.e., Treason) naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... pro-TPPers "consciously seek to weaken the national defense," that's exactly what's going on. Neoliberalism, through offshoring, weakens the national defense, because it puts our weaponry at the mercy of fragile and corruptible supply chains. ..."
"... Now, when we think about how corrupt the political class has become, it's not hard to see why Obama is confident that he will win. ..."
"... I think raising the ante rhetorically by framing a pro-TPP vote as treason could help sway a close vote; and if readers try that frame out, I'd like to hear the results ..."
Aug 29, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Why the Proponents of TPP Are Traitors

There are two reasons: First, they consciously seek to weaken the national defense. And second, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system is a surrender of national sovereignty .

National Defense

This might be labeled the "Ghost Fleet" argument, since we're informed that Paul Singer and Augustus Cole's techno-thriller has really caught the attention of the national security class below the political appointee level, and that this is a death blow for neoliberalism. Why? "The multi-billion dollar, next generation F-35 aircraft, for instance, is rendered powerless after it is revealed that Chinese microprocessor manufacturers had implanted malicious code into products intended for the jet" ( Foreign Policy ). Clearly, we need, well, industrial policy, and we need to bring a lot of manufacturing home. From Brigadier General (Retired) John Adams :

In 2013, the Pentagon's Defense Science Board put forward a remarkable report describing one of the most significant but little-recognized threats to US security: deindustrialization. The report argued that the loss of domestic U.S. manufacturing facilities has not only reduced U.S. living standards but also compromised U.S. technology leadership "by enabling new players to learn a technology and then gain the capability to improve on it." The report explained that the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing presents a particularly dangerous threat to U.S. military readiness through the "compromise of the supply chain for key weapons systems components."

Our military is now shockingly vulnerable to major disruptions in the supply chain, including from substandard manufacturing practices, natural disasters, and price gouging by foreign nations. Poor manufacturing practices in offshore factories lead to problem-plagued products, and foreign producers-acting on the basis of their own military or economic interests-can sharply raise prices or reduce or stop sales to the United States.

The link between TPP and this kind of offshoring has been well-established.

And, one might say, the link between neo-liberal economic policy "and this kind of offshoring has been well-established" as well.

So, when I framed the issue as one where pro-TPPers "consciously seek to weaken the national defense," that's exactly what's going on. Neoliberalism, through offshoring, weakens the national defense, because it puts our weaponry at the mercy of fragile and corruptible supply chains. Note that re-industrializing America has positive appeal, too: For the right, on national security grounds; and for the left, on labor's behalf (and maybe helping out the Rust Belt that neoliberal policies of the last forty years did so much to destroy. Of course, this framing would make Clinton a traitor, but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. (Probably best to to let the right, in its refreshingly direct fashion, use the actual "traitor" word, and the left, shocked, call for the restoration of civility, using verbiage like "No, I wouldn't say she's a traitor. She's certainly 'extremely careless' with our nation's security.")

ISDS

The Investor-State Dispute Settlement system is a hot mess (unless you represent a corporation, or are one of tiny fraternity of international corporate lawyers who can plead and/or judge ISDS cases). Yves wrote :

What may have torched the latest Administration salvo is a well-timed joint publication by Wikileaks and the New York Times of a recent version of the so-called investment chapter. That section sets forth one of the worst features of the agreement, the investor-state dispute settlement process (ISDS). As we've described at length in earlier posts, the ISDS mechanism strengthens the existing ISDS process. It allows for secret arbitration panels to effectively overrule national regulations by allowing foreign investors to sue governments over lost potential future profits in secret arbitration panels. Those panels have been proved to be conflict-ridden and arbitrary. And the grounds for appeal are limited and technical.

(More from NC on the ISDS panels , the TPP clauses on ISDS , the "code of conduct" for lawyers before the ISDS, pending ISDS settlements , and the potential constitutional challenges to the ISDS system.)

Here again we have a frame that appeals to both right and left. The very thought of surrendering national sovereignty to an international organization makes any good conservative's back teeth itch. And the left sees the "lost profits" doctrine as a club to prevent future government programs they would like to put in place (single payer, for example). And in both cases, the neoliberal doctrine of putting markets before anything else makes pro-TPP-ers traitors. To the right, because nationalism trumps internationalism; to the left, because TPP prevents the State from looiking after the welfare of its people.

The Political State of Play

All I know is what I read in the papers, so what follows can only be speculation. That said, there are two ways TPP could be passed: In the lame duck session, by Obama, or after a new President is inaugurated, by Clinton (or possibly by Trump[1]).

Passing TPP in the Lame Duck Session

Obama is committed to passing TPP (and we might remember that the adminstration failed to pass the draft in Maui , then succeeded in Atlanta . And the House killed Fast Track once , before voting for it (after which the Senate easily passed it, and Obama signed it). So the TPP may be a "heavy lift," but that doesn't mean Obama can't accomplish it. Obama says :

[OBAMA:] And hopefully, after the election is over and the dust settles, there will be more attention to the actual facts behind the deal and it won't just be a political symbol or a political football. And I will actually sit down with people on both sides, on the right and on the left. I'll sit down publicly with them and we'll go through the whole provisions. I would enjoy that, because there's a lot of misinformation.

I'm really confident I can make the case this is good for American workers and the American people. And people said we weren't going to be able to get the trade authority to even present this before Congress, and somehow we muddled through and got it done. And I intend to do the same with respect to the actual agreement.

So how would Obama "muddle through"? One way is to appeal to legislators who won't have to face voters again :

So it is looking like a very close vote. (For procedural and political reasons, Obama will not bring it to a vote unless he is sure he has the necessary votes). Now let's look at one special group of Representatives who can swing this vote: the actual lame-ducks, i.e., those who will be in office only until Jan. 3. It depends partly on how many lose their election on Nov. 8, but the average number of representatives who left after the last three elections was about 80.

Most of these people will be looking for a job, preferably one that can pay them more than $1 million a year. From the data provided by OpenSecrets.org, we can estimate that about a quarter of these people will become lobbyists. (An additional number will work for firms that are clients of lobbyists).

So there you have it: It is all about corruption, and this is about as unadulterated as corruption gets in our hallowed democracy, other than literal cash under a literal table. These are the people whom Obama needs to pass this agreement, and the window between Nov. 9 and Jan. 3 is the only time that they are available to sell their votes to future employers without any personal political consequences whatsoever. The only time that the electorate can be rendered so completely irrelevant, if Obama can pull this off.

(The article doesn't talk about the Senate, but Fast Track passed the Senate with a filibuster-proof super-majority, so the battle is in the House anyhow. And although the text of TPP cannot be amended - that's what fast track means! - there are still ways to affect the interpretation and enforcement of the text, so Obama and his corporate allies have bargaining chips beyond Beltway sinecures.[2])

Now, when we think about how corrupt the political class has become, it's not hard to see why Obama is confident that he will win. ( Remember , "[T]he preferences of economic elites have far more independent impact upon policy change than the preferences of average citizens do.") However, if the anti-TPP-ers raise the rhetorical stakes from policy disagreement to treason, maybe a few of those 80 representatives will do the right thing (or, if you prefer, decide that the reputational damage to their future career makes a pro-TPP vote not worth it. Who wants to play golf with a traitor?)

Passing TPP after the Inaugural

After the coronation inaugural, Clinton will have to use more complicated tactics than dangling goodies before the snouts of representatives leaving for K Street. (We've seen that Clinton's putative opposition to TPP is based on lawyerly parsing; and her base supports it. So I assume a Clinton administration would go full speed ahead with it.) My own thought has been that she'd set up a "conversation" on trade, and then buy off the national unions with "jobs for the boys," so that they sell their locals down the river. Conservative Jennifer Rubin has a better proposal , which meets Clinton's supposed criterion of not hurting workers even better:

Depending on the election results and how many pro-free-trade Republicans lose, it still might not be sufficient. Here's a further suggestion: Couple it with a substantial infrastructure project that Clinton wants, but with substantial safeguards to make sure that the money is wisely spent. Clinton gets a big jobs bill - popular with both sides - and a revised TPP gets through.

Finally, an even more radical proposal, again from a conservative source :

What Clinton needs is a significant revision to TPP that she can tout as a real reform to trade agreements, one that satisfies some of the TPP's critics on the left. A minor tweak is unlikely to assuage anyone; this change needs to be a major one. Fortunately, there is a TPP provision that fits the bill perfectly: investor state dispute settlement (ISDS), the procedure that allows foreign investors to sue governments in an international tribunal. Removing ISDS could triangulate the TPP debate, allowing for enough support to get it through Congress.

Obama can't have a conversation on trade, or propose a jobs program, let alone jettison ISDS; all he's got going for him is corruption.[3] So, interestingly, although Clinton can't take the simple road of bribing the 80 represenatives, she does have more to bargain with on policy. Rubin's jobs bill could at least be framed as a riposte to the "Ghost Fleet" argument, since both are about "jawbs," even if infrastructure programs and reindustrialization aren't identical in intent. And while I don't think Clinton would allow ISDS to be removed ( her corporate donors love it ), at least somebody's thinking about how to pander to the left. Nevertheless, what does a jobs program matter if the new jobs leave the country anyhow? And suppose ISDS is removed, but the removal of the precautionary principle remains? We'd still get corporate-friendly decisions, bilaterally. And people would end up balancing the inevitable Clinton complexity and mush against the simplicity of the message that a vote for TPP is a vote against the United States.

Conclusion

I hope I've persuaded you that TPP is still very much alive, and that both Obama in the lame duck, and Clinton (or even Trump) when inaugurated have reasonable hopes of passing it. However, I think raising the ante rhetorically by framing a pro-TPP vote as treason could help sway a close vote; and if readers try that frame out, I'd like to hear the results (especially when the result comes from a letter to your Congress critter). Interestingly, Buzzfeed just published tonight the first in a four-part series, devoted to the idea that ISDS is what we have said it is all along: A surrender of national sovereignty. Here's a great slab of it :

Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will.

Say a nation tries to prosecute a corrupt CEO or ban dangerous pollution. Imagine that a company could turn to this super court and sue the whole country for daring to interfere with its profits, demanding hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars as retribution.

Imagine that this court is so powerful that nations often must heed its rulings as if they came from their own supreme courts, with no meaningful way to appeal. That it operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret. That the people who decide its cases are largely elite Western corporate attorneys who have a vested interest in expanding the court's authority because they profit from it directly, arguing cases one day and then sitting in judgment another. That some of them half-jokingly refer to themselves as "The Club" or "The Mafia."

And imagine that the penalties this court has imposed have been so crushing - and its decisions so unpredictable - that some nations dare not risk a trial, responding to the mere threat of a lawsuit by offering vast concessions, such as rolling back their own laws or even wiping away the punishments of convicted criminals.

This system is already in place, operating behind closed doors in office buildings and conference rooms in cities around the world. Known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, it is written into a vast network of treaties that govern international trade and investment, including NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress must soon decide whether to ratify.

That's the stuff to give the troops!

NOTE

[1] Trump: "I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers." Lotta wiggle room there, and the lawyerly parsing is just like Clinton's. I don't think it's useful to discuss what Trump might do on TPP, because until there are other parties to the deal, there's no deal to be had. Right now, we're just looking at Trump doing A-B testing - not that there's anything wrong with that - which the press confuses with policy proposals. So I'm not considering Trump because I don't think we have any data to go on.

[2] In-Depth News explains the mechanisms:

To pacify [those to whom he will corrupt appeal], Obama will have to convince them that what they want will anyway be achieved, even if these are not legally part of the TPP because the TPP text cannot be amended.

He can try to achieve this through bilateral side agreements on specific issues. Or he can insist that some countries take on extra obligations beyond what is required by the TPP as a condition for obtaining a U.S. certification that they have fulfilled their TPP obligations.

This certification is required for the U.S. to provide the TPP's benefits to its partners, and the U.S. has previously made use of this process to get countries to take on additional obligations, which can then be shown to Congress members that their objectives have been met.

In other words, side deals.

[3] This should not be taken to imply that Clinton does not have corruption going for her, too. She can also make all the side deals Obama can.

[Dec 05, 2016] US Faces Major Setback As Europeans Revolt Against TTIP

Notable quotes:
"... One of the main concerns with TTIP is that it could allow multinational corporations to effectively "sue" governments for taking actions that might damage their businesses. Critics claim American companies might be able to avoid having to meet various EU health, safety and environment regulations by challenging them in a quasi-court set up to resolve disputes between investors and states. ..."
"... These developments take place against the background of another major free trade agreement - the Trans Pacific Partnership ( TPP ) - hitting snags on the way to being pushed through Congress. ..."
"... "US Faces Major Setback" Well, actually, US corporations face a major setback. Average US citizens face a reprieve. ..."
Zero Hedge
TTIP negotiations have been ongoing since 2013 in an effort to establish a massive free trade zone that would eliminate many tariffs. After 14 rounds of talks that have lasted three years not a single common item out of the 27 chapters being discussed has been agreed on. The United States has refused to agree on an equal playing field between European and American companies in the sphere of public procurement sticking to the principle of "buy American".

The opponents of the deal believe that in its current guise the TTIP is too friendly to US businesses. One of the main concerns with TTIP is that it could allow multinational corporations to effectively "sue" governments for taking actions that might damage their businesses. Critics claim American companies might be able to avoid having to meet various EU health, safety and environment regulations by challenging them in a quasi-court set up to resolve disputes between investors and states.

In Europe thousands of people supported by society groups, trade unions and activists take to the streets expressing protest against the deal. Three million people have signed a petition calling for it to be scrapped. For instance, various trade unions and other groups have called for protests against the TTIP across Germany to take place on September 17. A trade agreement with Canada has also come under attack.

US presidential candidate Donald Trump has promoted protectionist trade policies, while rival Hillary Clinton has also cast doubt on the TTIP deal. Congressional opposition has become steep. The lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have railed against free trade agreements as unfair to US companies and workers.

These developments take place against the background of another major free trade agreement - the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) - hitting snags on the way to being pushed through Congress. The chances are really slim.

silverer •Sep 5, 2016 9:51 AM

"US Faces Major Setback" Well, actually, US corporations face a major setback. Average US citizens face a reprieve.

[Dec 05, 2016] The Trans-Pacific Partnership Permanent Lock In The Obama Agenda For 40% Of The Global Economy

Oct 06, 2015 | Zero Hedge
We have just witnessed one of the most significant steps toward a one world economic system that we have ever seen. Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership have been completed, and if approved it will create the largest trading bloc on the planet. But this is not just a trade agreement. In this treaty, Barack Obama has thrown in all sorts of things that he never would have been able to get through Congress otherwise. And once this treaty is approved, it will be exceedingly difficult to ever make changes to it. So essentially what is happening is that the Obama agenda is being permanently locked in for 40 percent of the global economy.

The United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam all intend to sign on to this insidious plan. Collectively, these nations have a total population of about 800 million people and a combined GDP of approximately 28 trillion dollars.

Of course Barack Obama is assuring all of us that this treaty is going to be wonderful for everyone

In hailing the agreement, Obama said, "Congress and the American people will have months to read every word" before he signs the deal that he described as a win for all sides.

"If we can get this agreement to my desk, then we can help our businesses sell more Made in America goods and services around the world, and we can help more American workers compete and win," Obama said.

Sadly, just like with every other "free trade" agreement that the U.S. has entered into since World War II, the exact opposite is what will actually happen. Our trade deficit will get even larger, and we will see even more jobs and even more businesses go overseas.

But the mainstream media will never tell you this. Instead, they are just falling all over themselves as they heap praise on this new trade pact. Just check out a couple of the headlines that we saw on Monday…

Overseas it is a different story. Many journalists over there fully recognize that this treaty greatly benefits many of the big corporations that played a key role in drafting it. For example, the following comes from a newspaper in Thailand

You will hear much about the importance of the TPP for "free trade".

The reality is that this is an agreement to manage its members' trade and investment relations - and to do so on behalf of each country's most powerful business lobbies.

These sentiments were echoed in a piece that Zero Hedge posted on Monday

Packaged as a gift to the American people that will renew industry and make us more competitive, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a Trojan horse. It's a coup by multinational corporations who want global subservience to their agenda. Buyer beware. Citizens beware.

The gigantic corporations that dominate our economy don't care about the little guy. If they can save a few cents on the manufacturing of an item by moving production to Timbuktu they will do it.

Over the past couple of decades, the United States has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities and millions of good paying jobs due to these "free trade agreements". As we merge our economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, it is inevitable that corporations will shift jobs to places where labor is much cheaper. Our economic infrastructure is being absolutely eviscerated in the process, and very few of our politicians seem to care.

Once upon a time, the city of Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city on the planet and it had the highest per capita income in the entire nation. But today it is a rotting, decaying hellhole that the rest of the world laughs at. What has happened to the city of Detroit is happening to the entire nation as a whole, but our politicians just keep pushing us even farther down the road to oblivion.

Just consider what has happened since NAFTA was implemented. In the year before NAFTA was approved, the United States actually had a trade surplus with Mexico and our trade deficit with Canada was only 29.6 billion dollars. But now things are very different. In one recent year, the U.S. had a combined trade deficit with Mexico and Canada of 177 billion dollars.

And these trade deficits are not just numbers. They represent real jobs that are being lost. It has been estimated that the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every 1 billion dollars of goods that are imported from overseas, and one professor has estimated that cutting our trade deficit in half would create 5 million more jobs in the United States.

Just yesterday, I wrote about how there are 102.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now. Once upon a time, if you were honest, dependable and hard working it was easy to get a good paying job in this country. But now things are completely different.

Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, only about 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

Why aren't more people alarmed by numbers like this?

And of course the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not just about "free trade". In one of my previous articles, I explained that Obama is using this as an opportunity to permanently impose much of his agenda on a large portion of the globe…

It is basically a gigantic end run around Congress. Thanks to leaks, we have learned that so many of the things that Obama has deeply wanted for years are in this treaty. If adopted, this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, healthcare, copyright and patent protection, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more. This treaty includes many of the rules that alarmed Internet activists so much when SOPA was being debated, it would essentially ban all "Buy American" laws, it would give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and it would force even more domestic manufacturing offshore.

The Republicans in Congress foolishly gave Obama fast track negotiating authority, and so Congress will not be able to change this treaty in any way. They will only have the opportunity for an up or down vote.

I would love to see Congress reject this deal, but we all know that is extremely unlikely to happen. When big votes like this come up, immense pressure is put on key politicians. Yes, there are a few members of Congress that still have backbones, but most of them are absolutely spineless. When push comes to shove, the globalist agenda always seems to advance.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media will be telling the American people about all of the wonderful things that this new treaty will do for them. You would think that after how badly past "free trade" treaties have turned out that we would learn something, but somehow that never seems to happen.

The agenda of the globalists is moving forward, and very few Americans seem to care.

HedgeAccordingly

CIA Insider: China is About to End the Dollar

two hoots

Bill Clinton on signing NAFTA:

First of all, because NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't support this agreement.

Freddie

Many of those NeoCon Bibi lovers and Jonathan Pollard conservatives love TPP and H1B Ted Cruz. Ted is also a Goldman Sachs boy.

Squids_In

That giant sucking sound just got gianter.

MrTouchdown

Probably, but here's a thought:

It might be a blowing sound of all things USA deflating down (in USD terms) to what they are actually worth when compared to the rest of the world. For example, a GM assembly line worker will make what an assembly line worker in Vietnam makes.

This will, of course, panic Old Yellen, who will promptly fill her diaper and begin subsidizing wages with Quantitative Pleasing (QP1).

Buckaroo Banzai

If this gets through congress, the Republican Party better not bother asking for my vote ever again.

Chupacabra-322

Vote? You seem to think "voting" will actually influence actions / Globalists plans which have been decades in the making amoungst thse Criminal Pure Evil Lucerferian Psychopaths hell bent on Total Complete Full Spectrum World Domination.

Yea, keep voting. I'll be out hunting down these Evil doers like the dogs that they are.

Buckaroo Banzai

I have no illusions regarding the efficacy of voting. It is indeed a waste of time.

What I said was, they better not dare even ASK for my vote.

Ignatius

Doesn't matter. Diebold is so good at counting that you don't even need to show up at the polls anymore. It's like a miracle of modern technology.

Peter Pan

Did the article say 40%?

I imagine they meant 40% of whatever is left after we all go to hell in a hand basket.

Great day for the multinationals and in particular the pharmaceutical companies.

[Dec 04, 2016] James Pinkerton Globalism Hits a Brick Wall Now, What Will Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Do

Notable quotes:
"... The Guardian ..."
"... it seems fair to say: Globalism isn't quite the Wave of the Future that most observers thought it was, even just a year ago. And so before we attempt to divide the true intentions of Clinton and Trump, we might first step back and consider how we got to this point. ..."
"... An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations . ..."
"... Clinton will say anything then she'll sell you out. I hope we never get a chance to see how she will sell us out on TPP ..."
"... What we would be headed for under Hillary Clinton is fascism--Mussolini's shorthand definition of fascism was the marriage of industry and commerce with the power of the State. That is what the plutocrats who run the big banks (to whom she owes her soul) aim to do. President, Thomas Jefferson knew the dangers of large European-style central banks. ..."
Aug 30, 2016 | Breitbart
On the surface, it appears that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, for all their mutual antipathy, are united on one big issue: opposition to new trade deals. Here's a recent headline in The Guardian: "Trump and Clinton's free trade retreat: a pivotal moment for the world's economic future."

And the subhead continues in that vein:

Never before have both main presidential candidates broken so completely with Washington orthodoxy on globalization, even as the White House refuses to give up. The problem, however, goes much deeper than trade deals.

In the above quote, we can note the deliberate use of the loaded word, "problem." As in, it's a problem that free trade is unpopular-a problem, perhaps, that the MSM can fix. Yet in the meantime, the newspaper sighed, the two biggest trade deals on the horizon, the well-known Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the lesser-known Trans Atlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP), aimed at further linking the U.S. and European Union (EU), are both in jeopardy.

Indeed, if TPP isn't doing well, TTIP might be dead: Here's an August 28 headline from the Deutsche Welle news service quoting Sigmar Gabriel, the No. 2 in the Berlin government: "Germany's Vice Chancellor Gabriel: US-EU trade talks 'have failed.'"

So now we must ask broader questions: What does this mean for trade treaties overall? And what are the implications for globalism?

More specifically, we can ask: Are we sure that the two main White House hopefuls, Clinton and Trump, are truly sincere in their opposition to those deals? After all, as has been widely reported, President Obama still has plans to push TPP through to enactment in the "lame duck" session of Congress after the November elections. Of course, Obama wouldn't seek to do that if the president-elect opposed it-or would he?

Yet on August 30, Politico reminded its Beltway readership, "How Trump or Clinton could kill Pacific trade deal." In other words, even if Obama were to move TPP forward in his last two months in office, the 45th president could still block its implementation in 2017 and beyond. If, that is, she or he really wanted to.

Indeed, as we think about Clinton and Trump, we realize that there's "opposition" that's for show and there's opposition that's for real.

Still, given what's been said on the presidential campaign trail this year, it seems fair to say: Globalism isn't quite the Wave of the Future that most observers thought it was, even just a year ago. And so before we attempt to divide the true intentions of Clinton and Trump, we might first step back and consider how we got to this point.

2. The Free Trade Orthodoxy

It's poignant that the headline, "Trump and Clinton's free trade retreat", lamenting the decay of free trade, appeared in The Guardian. Until recently, the newspaper was known as The Manchester Guardian, as in Manchester, England. And Manchester is not only a big city, population 2.5 million, it is also a city with a fabled past: You see, Manchester was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, which transformed England and the world. It was that city that helped create the free trade orthodoxy that is now crumbling.

Yes, in the 18th and 19th centuries, Manchester was the leading manufacturing city in the world, especially for textiles. It was known as "Cottonopolis."

Indeed, back then, Manchester was so much more efficient and effective at mass production that it led the world in exports. That is, it could produce its goods at such low cost that it could send them across vast oceans and still undercut local producers on price and quality.

Over time, this economic reality congealed into a school of thought: As Manchester grew rich from exports, its business leaders easily found economists, journalists, and propagandists who would help advance their cause in the press and among the intelligentsia.

The resulting school of thought became known, in the 19th century, as "Manchester Liberalism." And so, to this day, long after Manchester has lost its economic preeminence to rivals elsewhere in the world, the phrase "Manchester Liberalism" is a well-known in the history of economics, bespeaking ardent support for free markets and free trade.

More recently, the hub for free-trade enthusiasm has been the United States. In particular, the University of Chicago, home to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, became free trade's academic citadel; hence the "Chicago School" has displaced Manchesterism.

And just as it made sense for Manchester Liberalism to exalt free trade and exports when Manchester and England were on top, so, too, did the Chicago School exalt free trade when the U.S. was unquestionably the top dog.

So back in the 40s and 50s, when the rest of the world was either bombed flat or still under the yoke of colonialism, it made perfect sense that the U.S., as the only intact industrial power, would celebrate industrial exports: We were Number One, and it was perfectly rational to make the most of that first-place status. And if scribblers and scholars could help make the case for this new status quo, well, bring 'em aboard. Thus the Chicago School gained ascendancy in the late 20th century. And of course, the Chicagoans drew inspiration from a period even earlier than Manchesterism,

3. On the Origins of the Orthodoxy: Adam Smith and David Ricardo

The beginnings of an intellectually rigorous discussion of trade can be traced to 1776, when Adam Smith published his famous work, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

One passage in that volume considers how individuals might optimize their own production and consumption:

It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy.

Smith is right, of course; everyone should always be calculating, however informally, whether or not it's cheaper to make it at home or buy it from someone else.

We can quickly see: If each family must make its own clothes and grow its own food, it's likely to be worse off than if it can buy its necessities from a large-scale producer. Why? Because, to be blunt about it, most of us don't really know how to make clothes and grow food, and it's expensive and difficult-if not downright impossible-to learn how. So we can conclude that self-sufficiency, however rustic and charming, is almost always a recipe for poverty.

Smith had a better idea: specialization. That is, people would specialize in one line of work, gain skills, earn more money, and then use that money in the marketplace, buying what they needed from other kinds of specialists.

Moreover, the even better news, in Smith's mind, was that this kind of specialization came naturally to people-that is, if they were free to scheme out their own advancement. As Smith argued, the ideal system would allow "every man to pursue his own interest his own way, upon the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice."

That is, men (and women) would do that which they did best, and then they would all come together in the free marketplace-each person being inspired to do better, thanks to, as Smith so memorably put it, the "invisible hand." Thus Smith articulated a key insight that undergirds the whole of modern economics-and, of course, modern-day prosperity.

A few decades later, in the early 19th century, Smith's pioneering work was expanded upon by another remarkable British economist, David Ricardo.

Ricardo's big idea built on Smithian specialization; Ricardo called it "comparative advantage." That is, just as each individual should do what he or she does best, so should each country.

In Ricardo's well-known illustration, he explained that the warm and sunny climate of Portugal made that country ideal for growing the grapes needed for wine, while the factories of England made that country ideal for spinning the fibers needed for apparel and other finished fabrics.

Thus, in Ricardo's view, we could see the makings of a beautiful economic friendship: The Portuguese would utilize their comparative advantage (climate) and export their surplus wine to England, while the English would utilize their comparative advantage (manufacturing) and export apparel to Portugal. Thus each would benefit from the exchange of efficiently-produced products, as each export paid for the other.

Furthermore, in Ricardo's telling, if tariffs and other barriers were eliminated, then both countries, Portugal and England, would enjoy the maximum free-trading win-win.

Actually, in point of fact-and Ricardo knew this-the relationship was much more of a win for England, because manufacture is more lucrative than agriculture. That is, a factory in Manchester could crank out garments a lot faster than a vineyard in Portugal could ferment wine.

And as we all know, the richer, stronger countries are industrial, not agricultural. Food is essential-and alcohol is pleasurable-but the real money is made in making things. After all, crops can be grown easily enough in many places, and so prices stay low. By contrast, manufacturing requires a lot of know-how and a huge upfront investment. Yet with enough powerful manufacturing, a nation is always guaranteed to be able to afford to import food. And also, it can make military weapons, and so, if necessary, take foreign food and croplands by force.

We can also observe that Ricardo, smart fellow that he was, nevertheless was describing the economy at a certain point in time-the era of horse-drawn carriages and sailing ships. Ricardo realized that transportation was, in fact, a key business variable. He wrote that it was possible for a company to seek economic advantage by moving a factory from one part of England to another. And yet in his view, writing from the perspective of the year 1817, it was impossible to imagine moving a factory from England to another country:

It would not follow that capital and population would necessarily move from England to Holland, or Spain, or Russia.

Why this presumed immobility of capital and people? Because, from Ricardo's early 19th-century perspective, transportation was inevitably slow and creaky; he didn't foresee steamships and airplanes. In his day, relying on the technology of the time, it wasn't realistic to think that factories, and their workers, could relocate from one country to another.

Moreover, in Ricardo's era, many countries were actively hostile to industrialization, because change would upset the aristocratic rhythms of the old order. That is, industrialization could turn docile or fatalistic peasants, spread out thinly across the countryside, into angry and self-aware proletarians, concentrated in the big cities-and that was a formula for unrest, even revolution.

Indeed, it was not until the 20th century that every country-including China, a great civilization, long asleep under decadent imperial misrule-figured out that it had no choice other than to industrialize.

So we can see that the ideas of Smith and Ricardo, enduringly powerful as they have been, were nonetheless products of their time-that is, a time when England mostly had the advantages of industrialism to itself. In particular, Ricardo's celebration of comparative advantage can be seen as an artifact of his own era, when England enjoyed a massive first-mover advantage in the industrial-export game.

Smith died in 1790, and Ricardo died in 1823; a lot has changed since then. And yet the two economists were so lucid in their writings that their work is studied and admired to this day.

Unfortunately, we can also observe that their ideas have been frozen in a kind of intellectual amber; even in the 21st century, free trade and old-fashioned comparative advantage are unquestioningly regarded as the keys to the wealth of nations-at least in the U.S.-even if they are so no longer.

4. Nationalist Alternatives to Free Trade Orthodoxy

As we have seen, Smith and Ricardo were pushing an idea, free trade, that was advantageous to Britain.

So perhaps not surprisingly, rival countries-notably the United States and Germany-soon developed different ideas. Leaders in Washington, D.C., and Berlin didn't want their respective nations to be mere dependent receptacles for English goods; they wanted real independence. And so they wanted factories of their own.

In the late 18th century, Alexander Hamilton, the visionary American patriot, could see that both economic wealth and military power flowed from domestic industry. As the nation's first Treasury Secretary, he persuaded President George Washington and the Congress to support a system of protective tariffs and "internal improvements" (what today we would call infrastructure) to foster US manufacturing and exporting.

And in the 19th century, Germany, under the much heavier-handed leadership of Otto von Bismarck, had the same idea: Make a concerted effort to make the nation stronger.

In both countries, this industrial policymaking succeeded. So whereas at the beginning of the 19th century, England had led the world in steel production, by the beginning of the 20th century century, the U.S. and Germany had moved well ahead. Yes, the "invisible hand" of individual self-interest is always a powerful economic force, but sometimes, the "visible hand" of national purpose, animated by patriotism, is even more powerful.

Thus by 1914, at the onset of World War One, we could see the results of the Smith/Ricardo model, on the one hand, and the Hamilton/Bismarck model, on the other. All three countries-Britain, the US, and Germany, were rich-but only the latter two had genuine industrial mojo. Indeed, during World War One, English weakness became glaringly apparent in the 1915 shell crisis-as in, artillery shells. It was only the massive importing of made-in-USA ammunition that saved Britain from looming defeat.

Yet as always, times change, as do economic circumstances, as do prevailing ideas.

As we have seen, at the end of World War II, the U.S. was the only industrial power left standing. And so it made sense for America to shift from a policy of Hamiltonian protection to a policy of Smith-Ricardian export-minded free trade. Indeed, beginning in around 1945, both major political parties, Democrats and Republicans, solidly embraced the new line: The U.S. would be the factory for the world.

Yet if times, circumstances, and ideas change, they can always change again.

5. The Contemporary Crack-Up

As we have seen, in the 19th century, not every country wanted to be on the passive receiving end of England's exports. And this was true, too, in the 20th century; Japan, notably, had its own ideas.

If Japan had followed the Ricardian doctrine of comparative advantage, it would have focused on exporting rice and tuna. Instead, by dint of hard work, ingenuity, and more than a little national strategizing, Japan grew itself into a great and prosperous industrial power. Its exports, we might note, were such high-value-adds as automobiles and electronics, not mere crops and fish.

Moreover, according to the same theory of comparative advantage, South Korea should have been exporting parasols and kimchi, and China should have settled for exporting fortune cookies and pandas.

Yet as the South Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang has chronicled, these Asian nations resolved, in their no-nonsense neo-Confucian way, to launch state-guided private industries-and the theory of comparative advantage be damned.

Yes, their efforts violated Western economic orthodoxy, but as the philosopher Kant once observed, the actual proves the possible. Indeed, today, as we all know, the Asian tigers are among the richest and fastest-growing economies in the world.

Leading them all, of course, is China. As the economic historian Michael Lind recounted recently,

China is not only the world's largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), but also the world's largest manufacturing nation-producing 52 percent of color televisions, 75 percent of mobile phones and 87 percent of the world's personal computers. The Chinese automobile industry is the world's largest, twice the size of America's. China leads the world in foreign exchange reserves. The United States is the main trading partner for seventy-six countries. China is the main trading partner for 124.

In particular, we might pause over one item in that impressive litany: China makes 87 percent of the world's personal computers.

Indeed, if it's true, as ZDNet reports, that the Chinese have built "backdoors" into almost all the electronic equipment that they sell-that is to say, the equipment that we buy-then we can assume that we face a serious military challenge, as well as a serious economic challenge.

Yes, it's a safe bet that the People's Liberation Army has a good handle on our defense establishment, especially now that the Pentagon has fully equipped itself with Chinese-made iPhones and iPads.

Of course, we can safely predict that Defense Department bureaucrats will always say that there's nothing to worry about, that they have the potential hacking/sabotage matter under control (although just to be sure, the Pentagon might say, give us more money).

Yet we might note that this is the same defense establishment that couldn't keep track of lone internal rogues such as Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. Therefore, should we really believe that this same DOD knows how to stop the determined efforts of a nation of 1.3 billion people, seeking to hack machines-machines that they made in the first place?

Yes, the single strongest argument against the blind application of free- trade dogma is the doctrine of self defense. That is, all the wealth in the world doesn't matter if you're conquered. Even Adam Smith understood that; as he wrote, "Defense . . . is of much more importance than opulence."

Yet today we can readily see: If we are grossly dependent on China for vital wares, then we can't be truly independent of China. In fact, we should be downright fearful.

Still, despite these deep strategic threats, directly the result of careless importing, the Smith-Ricardo orthodoxy remains powerful, even hegemonistic-at least in the English-speaking world.

Why is this so? Yes, economists are typically seen as cold and nerdy, even bloodless, and yet, in fact, they are actual human beings. And as such, they are susceptible to the giddy-happy feeling that comes from the hope of building a new utopia, the dream of ushering in an era of world harmony, based on untrammeled international trade. Indeed, this woozy idealism among economists goes way back; it was the British free trader Richard Cobden who declared in 1857,

Free trade is God's diplomacy. There is no other certain way of uniting people in the bonds of peace.

And lo, so many wars later, many economists still believe that.

Indeed, economists today are still monolithically pro-fee trade; a recent survey of economists found that 83 percent supported eliminating all tariffs and other barriers; just 10 percent disagreed.

We might further note that others, too, in the financial and intellectual elite are fully on board the free-trade train, including most corporate officers and their lobbyists, journalists, academics, and, of course, the mostly for-hire think-tankers.

To be sure, there are always exceptions: As that Guardian article, the one lamenting the sharp decrease in support for free trade as a "problem," noted, not all of corporate America is on board, particularly those companies in the manufacturing sector:

Ford openly opposes TPP because it fears the deal does nothing to stop Japan manipulating its currency at the expense of US rivals.

Indeed, we might note that the same Guardian story included an even more cautionary note, asserting that support for free trade, overall, is remarkably rickety:

Some suggest a "bicycle theory" of trade deals: that the international bandwagon has to keep rolling forward or else it all wobbles and falls down.

So what has happened? How could virtually the entire elite be united in enthusiasm for free trade, and yet, even so, the free trade juggernaut is no steadier than a mere two-wheeled bike? Moreover, free traders will ask: Why aren't the leaders leading? More to the point, why aren't the followers following?

To answer those questions, we might start by noting the four-decade phenomenon of wage stagnation-that's taken a toll on support for free trade. But of course, it's in the heartland that wages have been stagnating; by contrast, incomes for the bicoastal elites have been soaring.

We might also note that some expert predictions have been way off, thus undermining confidence in their expertise. Remember, this spring, when all the experts were saying that the United Kingdom would fall into recession, or worse, if it voted to leave the EU? Well, just the other day came this New York Post headline: "Brexit actually boosting the UK economy."

Thus from the Wall Street-ish perspective of the urban chattering classes, things are going well-so what's the problem?

Yet the folks on Main Street have known a different story. They have seen, with their own eyes, what has happened to them, and no fusillade of op-eds or think-tank monographs will persuade them to change their mind.

So we can see that there's been a standoff: Wall Street vs. Main Street; nor is this the first time this has happened.

However, because the two parties have been so united on the issues of trade and globalization-the "Uniparty," it's sometimes called-the folks in the boonies have had no political alternative. And as they say, the only power you have in this world is the power of an alternative. And so, lacking an alternative, the working/middle class has just had to accept its fate.

Indeed, it has been a bitter fate, particularly bitter in the former industrial heartland. In a 2013 paper, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) came to some startling conclusions:

Growing trade with less-developed countries lowered wages in 2011 by 5.5 percent-or by roughly $1,800-for a full-time, full-year worker earning the average wage for workers without a four-year college degree.

The paper added, "One-third of this total effect is due to growing trade with just China."

Continuing, EPI found that even as trade with low-wage countries caused a decrease in the incomes for lower-end workers, it had caused an increase in the incomes of high-end workers-so no wonder the high-end thinks globalism in great.

To be sure, some in the elite are bothered by what's been happening. Peggy Noonan, writing earlier this year in The Wall Street Journal-a piece that must have raised the hackles of her doctrinaire colleagues-put the matter succinctly: There's a wide, and widening, gap between the "protected" and the "unprotected":

The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

Of course, Noonan was alluding to the Trump candidacy-and also to the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Those two insurgents, in different parties, have been propelled by the pushing from all the unprotected folks across America.

We might pause to note that free traders have arguments which undoubtedly deserve a fuller airing. Okay. However, we can still see the limits. For example, the familiar gambit of outsourcing jobs to China, or Mexico-or 50 other countries-and calling that "free trade" is now socially unacceptable, and politically unsustainable.

Still, the broader vision of planetary freedom, including the free flow of peoples and their ideas, is always enormously appealing. The United States, as well as the world, undoubtedly benefits from competition, from social and economic mobility-and yes, from new blood.

As Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, notes, "77 percent of the full-time graduate students in electrical engineering and 71 percent in computer science at U.S. universities are international students." That's a statistic that should give every American pause to ask: Why aren't we producing more engineers here at home?

Moreover, Reuters reported in 2012 that 44 percent of all Silicon Valley startups were founded by at least one immigrant, and a 2016 study found that more than half of all billion-dollar startups were founded by immigrants. No doubt some will challenge the methodology of these studies, and that's fine; it's an important national debate in which all Americans might engage.

We can say, with admiration, that Silicon Valley is the latest Manchester; as such, it's a powerful magnet for the best and the brightest from overseas, and from a purely dollars-and-cents point of view, there's a lot to be said for welcoming them.

So yes, it would be nice if we could retain this international mobility that benefits the U.S.-but only if the economic benefits can be broadly shared, and patriotic assimilation of immigrants can be truly achieved, such that all Americans can feel good about welcoming newcomers.

The further enrichment of Silicon Valley won't do much good for the country unless those riches are somehow widely shared. In fact, amidst the ongoing outsourcing of mass-production jobs, total employment in such boomtowns as San Francisco and San Jose has barely budged. That is, new software billionaires are being minted every day, but their workforces tend to be tiny-or located overseas. If that past pattern is the future pattern, well, something will have to give.

We can say: If America is to be one nation-something Mitt "47 percent" Romney never worried about, although it cost him in the end-then we will have to figure out a way to turn the genius of the few into good jobs for the many. The goal isn't socialism, or anything like that; instead, the goal is the widespread distribution of private property, facilitated, by conscious national economic development, as I argued at the tail end of this piece.

If we can't, or won't, find a way to expand private ownership nationwide, then the populist upsurges of the Trump and Sanders campaigns will be remembered as mere overtures to a starkly divergent future.

6. Clinton and Trump Say They Are Trade Hawks: But Are They Sincere?

So now we come to a mega-question for 2016: How should we judge the sincerity of the two major-party candidates, Clinton or Trump, when they affirm their opposition to TPP? And how do we assess their attitude toward globalization, including immigration, overall?

The future is, of course, unknown, but we can make a couple of points.

First, it is true that many have questioned the sincerity of Hillary's new anti-TPP stance, especially given the presence of such prominent free-traders as vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and presidential transition-planning chief Ken Salazar. Moreover, there's also Hillary's own decades-long association with open-borders immigration policies, as well as past support for such trade bills as NAFTA, PNTR, and, of course, TPP. And oh yes, there's the Clinton Foundation, that global laundromat for every overseas fortune; most of those billionaires are globalists par excellence-would a President Hillary really cross them?

Second, since there's still no way to see inside another person's mind, the best we can do is look for external clues-by which we mean, external pressures. And so we might ask a basic question: Would the 45th president, whoever she or he is, feel compelled by those external pressures to keep their stated commitment to the voters? Or would they feel that they owe more to their elite friends, allies, and benefactors?

As we have seen, Clinton has long chosen to surround herself with free traders and globalists. Moreover, she has raised money from virtually every bicoastal billionaire in America.

So we must wonder: Will a new President Clinton really betray her own class-all those Davos Men and Davos Women-for the sake of middle-class folks she has never met, except maybe on a rope line? Would Clinton 45, who has spent her life courting the powerful, really stick her neck out for unnamed strangers-who never gave a dime to the Clinton Foundation?

Okay, so what to make of Trump? He, too, is a fat-cat-even more of fat-cat, in fact, than Clinton. And yet for more than a year now, he has based his campaign on opposition to globalism in all its forms; it's been the basis of his campaign-indeed, the basis of his base. And his campaign policy advisers are emphatic. According to Politico, as recently as August 30, Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro reiterated Trump's opposition to TPP, declaring,

Any deal must increase the GDP growth rate, reduce the trade deficit, and strengthen the manufacturing base.

So, were Trump to win the White House, he would come in with a much more solid anti-globalist mandate.

Thus we can ask: Would a President Trump really cross his own populist-nationalist base by going over to the other side-to the globalists who voted, and donated, against him? If he did-if he repudiated his central platform plank-he would implode his presidency, the way that Bush 41 imploded his presidency in 1990 when he went back on his "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge.

Surely Trump remembers that moment of political calamity well, and so surely, whatever mistakes he might make, he won't make that one.

To be sure, the future is unknowable. However, as we have seen, the past, both recent and historical, is rich with valuable clues.

[Nov 23, 2016] Trump will have as many problems with Ayn Ryan Congress as Obama/Clinton on economic issues

Nov 23, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Cry Shop November 23, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Bankers & Trump

Bankers know you capture catch more flies with money honey.

ewmayer November 23, 2016 at 6:21 pm

"The Trump campaign, meanwhile, delved into message tailoring, sentiment manipulation and machine learning." - Oh, please, this sounds like a stereotypical Google-centric view of things. They of course left out the most important part of the campaign, the key to its inception, which could be described in terms like "The Trump campaign, meanwhile, actually noticed the widespread misery and non-recovery in the parts of the US outside the elite coastal bubbles and DC beltway, and spotted a yuuuge political opportunity." In other words, not sentiment manipulation – that was, after all, the Dem-establishment-MSM-wall-street-and-the-elite-technocrats' "America is already great, and anyone who denies it is deplorable!" strategy of manufactured consent – so much as actual *reading* of sentiment. Of course if one insisted on remaining inside a protective elite echo chamber and didn't listen to anything Trump or the attendees actually said in those huge flyover-country rallies that wasn't captured in suitably outrageous evening-news soundbites, it was all too easy to believe one's own hype.

" former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who has known Trump socially for decades and is currently advising the president-elect on foreign policy issues " - I really, really hope this is just Hammerin' Hank tooting his own horn, as he and his sycophants in the FP establishment and MSM are wont to do.

Brad November 23, 2016 at 6:33 pm

"Trump dumps the TPP: conservatives rue strategic fillip to China" (Guardian)

Another wedge angle for Trumps new-found RINO "friends" to play. Trump will have as many problems with Ayn Ryan Congress as Obama/Clinton on economic issues.

"The TPP excludes China, which declined to join, proposing its own rival version, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which excludes the US." You see, it is all China's fault. No info presented on why China "declined" to join.

And if Abe's Japan were really an independent country, they'd pick up the TPP baton and sell it to China.

[Nov 16, 2016] Chinas leader, Xi Jinping, is there seeking progress toward an emerging alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership - the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership,

Notable quotes:
"... What Is Lost by Burying the Trans-Pacific Partnership? – The New York Times : "The Americans will have to explain their failure on the trade agreement to foreign leaders gathered in Lima, Peru, while China's leader, Xi Jinping, is there seeking progress toward an emerging alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership - the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, known as R.C.E.P., which includes China, Japan and 14 other Asian countries but excludes the United States. ..."
"... 'In the absence of T.P.P., countries have already made it clear that they will move forward in negotiating their own trade agreements that exclude the United States,' Mr. Obama's Council of Economic Advisers wrote days before the election. 'These agreements would improve market access and trading opportunities for member countries while U.S. businesses would continue to face existing trade barriers.'" ..."
"... Foreign leaders and foreign populations hated the TPP because it wasn't a trade deal; it was a giveaways-to-big-corporations deal full of stuff about extending copyrights for Mickey Mouse and so on. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | peakoilbarrel.com
Boomer II says: 11/12/2016 at 11:07 am
I don't know enough about the finer points of the TPP to be for or against it.

But this article suggests that there are plans to exclude the US if it doesn't choose to be a factor in world affairs.

What Is Lost by Burying the Trans-Pacific Partnership? – The New York Times : "The Americans will have to explain their failure on the trade agreement to foreign leaders gathered in Lima, Peru, while China's leader, Xi Jinping, is there seeking progress toward an emerging alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership - the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, known as R.C.E.P., which includes China, Japan and 14 other Asian countries but excludes the United States.

'In the absence of T.P.P., countries have already made it clear that they will move forward in negotiating their own trade agreements that exclude the United States,' Mr. Obama's Council of Economic Advisers wrote days before the election. 'These agreements would improve market access and trading opportunities for member countries while U.S. businesses would continue to face existing trade barriers.'"

Nathanael says: 11/13/2016 at 11:43 am
Foreign leaders and foreign populations hated the TPP because it wasn't a trade deal; it was a giveaways-to-big-corporations deal full of stuff about extending copyrights for Mickey Mouse and so on.

China's trade deal is an *actual* trade deal and as such much more popular. We could join *it*.

[Nov 12, 2016] Obama Administration Gives Up on Pacific Trade Deal

Nov 12, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs -> EMichael... Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 08:21 AM Obama Administration
Gives Up on Pacific Trade Deal
http://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-administration-gives-up-on-pacific-trade-deal-1478895824
via @WSJ - William Mauldin - Nov 11

A sweeping Pacific trade pact meant to bind the U.S.and Asia effectively died Friday, as Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress told the White House they won't advance it in the election's aftermath, and Obama administration officials acknowledged it has no way forward now.

The failure to pass the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership-by far the biggest trade agreement in more than a decade-is a bitter defeat for President Barack Obama, whose belated but fervent support for freer trade divided his party and complicated the campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The White House had lobbied hard for months in the hope of moving forward on the pact if Mrs. Clinton had won.

The deal's collapse, which comes amid a rising wave of antitrade sentiment in the U.S., also dents American prestige in the region at a time when China is flexing its economic and military muscles.

Just over a year ago, Republicans were willing to vote overwhelmingly in support of Mr. Obama's trade policy. But as the political season approached and voters registered their concerns by supporting Donald J. Trump, the GOP reacted coolly to the deal Mr. Obama's team reached with Japan and 10 others countries just over a year ago in Atlanta. ...

[Nov 11, 2016] TPP is dead now, thanks to Trump election

Nov 11, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

Manta 11.10.16 at 12:14 am 133

Here is the EEF opinion on some of Trump policies
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/11/battle-against-tpp-isnt-over-it-has-shifted

With President-elect Trump's victory last night, the last hopes of the Obama administration passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the lame duck session of Congress have evaporated. The passage of the TPP through Congress was dependent upon support from members of the Republican majority, and there is no realistic prospect that they will now pass the deal given their elected President's firmly expressed opposition to it. Even if they did so, the new President would presumably veto the pact's implementing legislation.

[Nov 11, 2016] What will happen with TPP/TTIP/TISA/NAFTA under Trump

Nov 11, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"[Trump] has many tools to reverse the post World War II consensus on liberalizing U.S. trade without needing congressional approval. For instance, he can withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, as he has threatened to do, by simply notifying the U.S.' Nafta partners, Mexico and Canada, and waiting six months. Withdrawing from the World Trade Organization, which sets rules for global trading and enforces tariffs, has a similar provision" [ Wall Street Journal , "Donald Trump Will Need to Leverage Size, Power of U.S. Economy to Remake Global Trading System"]. "'Our major trading partners are far more likely to cooperate with an America resolute about balancing its trade than they are likely to provoke a trade war,' wrote Trump economic advisers Peter Navarro [ here ] of the University of California-Irvine and investor Wilbur Ross in September. 'This is true for one very simple reason: America's major trading partners are far more dependent on American markets than America is on their markets.'"

TPP: "To take effect, TPP must be ratified by February 2018 by at least six countries that account for 85 percent of the 12 members' aggregate economic output. This effectively means that the U.S. and Japan, the world's third-largest economy and the second-largest that is a signatory nation, must both be on board" [ DC Velocity ].

TPP: "Mr. Trump's win also seals the fate of President Barack Obama's 12-nation trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. The president-elect blamed the TPP on special interests who want to "rape" the country" [ Wall Street Journal , "Donald Trump Win to Upend Trade Policy"]. "Mr. Obama had hoped to work with Republican lawmakers to pass the TPP during the 'lame duck' session of Congress after the election, where they faced an uphill battle even if Tuesday's vote had favored Hillary Clinton, who previously backed the TPP negotiations. Now Republicans have little incentive to bring the TPP to a vote, since Mr. Trump could easily threaten to unravel the deal when he takes office and block its implementation, as well as punish lawmakers who vote for it."

TPP: "Donald Trump's historic victory Tuesday has killed any chance of Congress voting on President Barack Obama's signature Asia-Pacific trade agreement while raising the odds of a damaging trade confrontation with China - just two ways a Trump presidency could upend the global trading system and usher in a new era of U.S. protectionism, analysts say" [ Politico ]. "'This is the end of globalization is we knew it … because what the U.S. is going to do is certainly going to impact other countries' and their decisions on negotiations,' Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told Politico. 'TPP is now in the history dustbin for sure,' Hufbauer said."

TPP: "House GOP election outcomes will be key as House Speaker Paul Ryan decides whether to bring the TPP to a vote in the lame-duck session with GOP voters strongly against and the GOP 's high-donor base demanding action. With an eye to conservative GOP threats to withhold support for his speakership and a possible 2020 presidential run, Ryan's decision is complicated. Whether the TPP will get a lame-duck vote is his call. Beyond whether he can muster the votes of representatives who weathered the wrath of trade voters in this cycle and worry about the 2018 primaries lies the longer-term implications of his even trying to do so with the GOP voter base so intensely against the pact" [Lori Wallach, Eyes on Trade ].

[Nov 03, 2016] Neera Tanden On TPP This Makes Hillary Seem Politically Craven At Best Or A Liar At Worse

Notable quotes:
"... Among the more prominent exchanges released in the latest, 27th, Wikileaks release of Podesta emails is a thread from March 2016 which discusses a Politico article tilted " Clintonites: How we beat Bernie on trade ", and which reports that " Clinton faced internal pressure from her Brooklyn headquarters to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal she helped craft as secretary of State ." ..."
Nov 03, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
Among the more prominent exchanges released in the latest, 27th, Wikileaks release of Podesta emails is a thread from March 2016 which discusses a Politico article tilted " Clintonites: How we beat Bernie on trade ", and which reports that " Clinton faced internal pressure from her Brooklyn headquarters to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal she helped craft as secretary of State ."

Senior Clinton strategist, Joel Benenson, is quoted in the piece as saying:

"Voters agree that we have to compete and win in a global economy and that means we have to make things in the United States that we can sell to 95 percent of the world's consumers who happen to live outside of the United States. What the data from the exit polls says is these voters were more aligned with her fundamental view of trade ."

* * *

Clinton instead pushed back on Sanders' opposition to the Export-Import Bank, and doubled down on the idea that America needs to compete and win in the global economy.

"We engaged with him on trade more forcefully," Benenson said. In the end, " I guess he came off as an economic isolationist."

The article prompted Gene Sperling, former economic policy assistant to both Bill Clinton and Obama to say:

" Do not get our spin here. Why we not hyping claw back, ROO, out front on steel, tough enforcement on China?! Was this just her not talking to any of us and off on her own take?(But Joel is in there ) please clarify."

To which, a clearly angry Tanden replies:

"Is Joel off reservation? Does he not get that this story makes Hillary seem politically craven at best or a liar at worse? Or if this is campaign position, can I object ?"

She then adds: " Hard to say she believes what she says when Joel is spinning that she doesn't mean what she is out there saying. Her language was pretty tough last week. "

Finally, she concludes that " Sanders or trump can move on this. "

[Oct 29, 2016] The international community considers backroom corporate trade deals as one example of the general problem of fragmentation. The US government tries to end-run the UN Charter with NATO. It tries to end-run ILO conventions with the WTO.

Notable quotes:
"... The international community considers backroom corporate trade deals as one example of the general problem of fragmentation. The US government tries to end-run the UN Charter with NATO. It tries to end-run ILO conventions with the WTO. It tries to end-run economic and social rights with ISDS. It tries to end-run sovereign debt principles (e.g. A/69/L.84) with the Paris Club and the IMF. In response, the international community has been working to synthesize the different legal regimes in an objective way. ..."
"... Corporate special pleading gets subsumed in old-time diplomacy, finding common ground, so the pitched-battle narrative is absent, but when Zayas comes out and says ISDS cannot negate human rights, this is the context. They're trying to preserve a non-hierarchical regime in which the only absolute is the purposes and principles of the UN: peace and development, which comes down to human rights. ..."
Oct 29, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Stalingrad, October 28, 2016 at 8:07 pm

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/10/u-n-rights-expert-urges-nations-not-sign-flawed-ceta-treaty.html

The international community considers backroom corporate trade deals as one example of the general problem of fragmentation. The US government tries to end-run the UN Charter with NATO. It tries to end-run ILO conventions with the WTO. It tries to end-run economic and social rights with ISDS. It tries to end-run sovereign debt principles (e.g. A/69/L.84) with the Paris Club and the IMF. In response, the international community has been working to synthesize the different legal regimes in an objective way.

http://legal.un.org/ilc/documentation/english/a_cn4_l682.pdf

Corporate special pleading gets subsumed in old-time diplomacy, finding common ground, so the pitched-battle narrative is absent, but when Zayas comes out and says ISDS cannot negate human rights, this is the context. They're trying to preserve a non-hierarchical regime in which the only absolute is the purposes and principles of the UN: peace and development, which comes down to human rights.

[Oct 27, 2016] 200PM Water EU's Canada free-trade CETA deal could be back on as Walloons agree to last-minute deal

Oct 27, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

TTP, TTIP, TISA

CETA: "EU's Canada free-trade CETA deal could be back on as Walloons agree to last-minute deal" [ Telegraph ]. "Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel said that Wallonia was now in agreement, and the regional parliaments may now agree to CETA by the end of Friday night, opening the door to the deal being signed. Mr Tusk said that once the regional votes had taken place, he will inform Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Any extra concessions given to Wallonia may mean other countries will want to look again at the deal, however." (The BBC's headline, then - "EU-Canada trade deal: Belgians break Ceta deadlock" - is quite irresponsible. As is–

CETA: "Belgium breaks Ceta deadlock" [ EUObserver ]. Not quite:

Belgium's political entities agreed to a declaration on Thursday (26 October), which gives their government a green light to sign Ceta, the EU-Canada trade pact.

The agreement was promptly sent to EU ambassadors in Brussels, to be discussed later in the afternoon.

After a week of marathon negotiations, Belgian prime minister Charles Michel said that Thursday's talks had calmed "outstanding concerns".

As part of the trade-off, Belgium will ask the European Court of Justice to clarify the proposed investment court system, which was one of the most controversial elements of the trade deal.

Ceta was due to be signed off by EU leaders and Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. Trudeau cancelled the trip during the night as no agreement had been reached in Brussels.

It's not known when the summit will take place, or whether the Belgian go-ahead was the last hurdle.

The other 27 EU countries must first accept the Belgian deal.

At their meeting on Thursday, EU ambassadors will be accompanied by lawyers and representatives of the EU institutions, who will examine the legality and consequences of the text.

The Walloon parliament will vote on the agreement on Friday.

Still, how do we slay these undead deals? The same thing happened with TPP.

CETA: "The great CETA swindle" [ Corporate Europe Observatory ]. "The latest PR move is a "joint interpretative declaration" on the trade deal hammered out by Ottawa and Brussels and published by investigative journalist collective Correctiv last Friday. It is designed to alleviate public concerns but in fact does nothing to fix CETA's flaws. In September, Canada's Trade Minister, Chrystia Freeland, and her German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, had announced such a text to appease Social Democrats, trade unions and the wider public who fear that CETA would threaten public services, labour and environmental standards and undermine governments' right to regulate in the public interest. Several governments, notably Austria, had linked their 'yes' to CETA to the declaration. [But] According to environmental group Greenpeace, the declaration therefore has the 'legal weight of a holiday brochure'."

Legal experts have also warned that the declaration "could be misleading for non-lawyers, who might think that the Declaration will alter or override the CETA". But it does not change CETA's legal terms – and it is these terms which have raised concerns. As Canadian law Professor Gus van Harten explains: "Based on principles of treaty interpretation, the CETA will be interpreted primarily according to the text of its relevant provisions…. The Declaration would play a subsidiary role, if any, in this interpretative process." In other words, legally (and thus politically), the CETA text is far more important than the declaration – and the former could prevail over the latter in case of a conflictive interpretation.

The post then goes on to analyze the provisions of the declaration in detail, comparing them to the text. (Readers may remember that TPP advocates have made the same sort of claim for the TPP Preamble, which the text also over-rides . So, the Belgians are smart to get a court ruling on this. And we might also expect the adminsitration to use similar tactics to (the toothless distraction of) the CETA "resolution" in the upcoming attempt to pass the TPP.

"Belgian officials were discussing a working document aimed at addressing Wallonia's concerns on the trade deal. The document, published by Belgian state media RTBF, shows that Belgium is moving toward requesting additional safeguards for the agricultural sector 'in cases of market turbulence.' It also puts forward a number of requests regarding the investor court system, including 'progressing towards hiring judges on a permanent basis'" [ Politico ]. This seems to be a different document from the "declaration"; it was leaked by a different source. Here is is; it's in French .

TPP: "Eight major financial services industry associations made an appeal to congressional leaders to support passage of the TPP this year, arguing that the deal is 'vital to ensuring that the U.S. financial services sector remains a vibrant engine for domestic and global growth'" [ Politico ]. What the heck is a "vibrant engine"? Maybe a screw loose or something? Needs a tightening to stop the shaking and shimmying?

TPP: "Health, labor and consumer groups are warning President Barack Obama to refrain from including a 12-year monopoly period for biological drugs in legislation to implement the TPP as a means for addressing congressional concerns over the pact. The groups argue that such a move could undermine future efforts to shorten that protection period under U.S. law" [ Politico ]. "The letter, signed by Doctors Without Borders, the AFL-CIO, AARP, Oxfam and Consumers Union, also expresses concern over reports that the administration is prepared to negotiate side letters with TPP countries to reinforce U.S. lawmaker demands that countries respect a 12-year protection period, which reflects U.S. law."

"The case against free trade – Part 1" [ Bill Mitchell ].

[Oct 22, 2016] Why Trade Deals Lost Legitimacy

Oct 22, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Dani Rodrik:

The Walloon mouse : ...Instead of decrying people's stupidity and ignorance in rejecting trade deals, we should try to understand why such deals lost legitimacy in the first place. I'd put a large part of the blame on mainstream elites and trade technocrats who pooh-poohed ordinary people's concerns with earlier trade agreements.

The elites minimized distributional concerns, though they turned out to be significant for the most directly affected communities. They oversold aggregate gains from trade deals, though they have been smallish since at least NAFTA. They said sovereignty would not be diminished though it clearly was in some instances. They claimed democratic principles would not be undermined, though they are in places. They said there'd be no social dumping though there clearly is at times. They advertised trade deals (and continue to do so) as "free trade" agreements, even though Adam Smith and David Ricardo would turn over in their graves if they read, say, any of the TPP chapters.

And because they failed to provide those distinctions and caveats now trade gets tarred with all kinds of ills even when it's not deserved. If the demagogues and nativists making nonsensical claims about trade are getting a hearing, it is trade's cheerleaders that deserve some of the blame.

One more thing. The opposition to trade deals is no longer solely about income losses. The standard remedy of compensation won't be enough -- even if carried out. It's about fairness, loss of control, and elites' loss of credibility. It hurts the cause of trade to pretend otherwise.

El Chapo Guapo -> DrDick... October 22, 2016 at 11:22 AM , 2016 at 11:22 AM

... ... ..
Trump would propose and/or enact, he listed the following six:

"A Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress."
"A hiring freeze on all federal employees."
"A requirement that for every new federal regulation, 2 existing regulations must be eliminated."
"A 5-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government."
"A lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government."
"A complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections."
"
~~WWW~

Lot of reform is needed but may be

The forgotten spirit of American protectionism : , -1
The free traders have human economic history precisely inverted. Countries that practice protectionism almost uniformly become wealthy and technologically advanced. Countries that don't become or remain terribly sad, poverty-stricken producers of worthless raw materials and desperate labor migrants. This has been true at least going back to Byzantium and its economic conquest by Genoa and Venice.

That the US thrived pre-1970 free trade is no coincidence. There is no alternative to protectionism. Free trade = no industry = no money = no future.

[Oct 22, 2016] CETA's collapse is equivalent to the Budapest COMECON council session of June 28, 1991

Oct 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Zweite Wende October 21, 2016 at 4:30 pm

CETA's collapse is equivalent to the Budapest COMECON council session of 28/6/91. Corporate central planning has flopped down dead alongside Soviet central planning. The Western Bloc is finally breaking up.

DJG October 21, 2016 at 5:03 pm

The ironies of the Belgians. Liberation by Walloons? First, Monty Python and the Belgian-naming contest:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrvXoin9NcA

The Walloons, part of a barely real country. The Walloons, who brought you much of Belgian colonialism, which got a bad name even among colonialists. The Walloons, who oppressed the Flemings. There were cases of Dutch speakers being condemned to death in courts that were in French and refused to provide translation.

And yet the Walloons, a singularly unsuccessful people, are derailing a bad trade deal.

Enlightening times. And times in which we cannot assume that we know where our allies will come from.

DJG October 21, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Liberation weighs in with an interesting analysis: La Vallonie considers CETA to be a Trojan horse bearing the subsidiaries of U.S. companies into Belgium:

http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2016/10/21/libre-echange-waterloo-pour-le-ceta_1523569

Although the writer couldn't resist a French swipe at the Belgians for their messy politics.

[Oct 22, 2016] China is to build a deepwater tanker port in Malaysia off the Malacca Strait, a key gateway for Chinese oil imports

Oct 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

L October 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Shipping: "China is to build a deepwater tanker port in Malaysia off the Malacca Strait, a key gateway for Chinese oil imports.The $1.9bn port, located on the coast of Malacca City, will be able to accommodate very large crude carriers" [Lloyd's List].

But, if the point of the TPP is to hem in China by excluding them and bringing Malaysia into our "orbit" then why would they do this?

Unless, of course they know that any deal will make Malaysia a key gateway to the American market and thus allow them to use it to wash their goods through the TPP for cheap market access in the exact same way that they do it now via Mexico.

[Oct 22, 2016] Belgium's Wallonia has put a nail on the coffin of the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) by vetoing it

Oct 22, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. : http://rodrik.typepad.com/dani_rodriks_weblog/2016/10/the-walloon-mouse.html

OCTOBER 22, 2016

The Walloon mouse

It appears Belgium's Wallonia has put a nail on the coffin of the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) by vetoing it. The reasons, The Economist puts it, "are hard to understand."

Well, yes and no. Canada is one of the most progressive trade partners you could hope to have, and it is hard to believe that Walloon incomes or values are really being threatened. But clearly something larger than the specifics of this agreement is at stake here.

Instead of decrying people's stupidity and ignorance in rejecting trade deals, we should try to understand why such deals lost legitimacy in the first place. I'd put a large part of the blame on mainstream elites and trade technocrats who pooh-poohed ordinary people's concerns with earlier trade agreements.

The elites minimized distributional concerns, though they turned out to be significant for the most directly affected communities. They oversold aggregate gains from trade deals, though they have been smallish since at least NAFTA. They said sovereignty would not be diminished though it clearly was in some instances. They claimed democratic principles would not be undermined, though they are in places. They said there'd be no social dumping though there clearly is at times. They advertised trade deals (and continue to do so) as "free trade" agreements, even though Adam Smith and David Ricardo would turn over in their graves if they read, say, any of the TPP chapters.

And because they failed to provide those distinctions and caveats now trade gets tarred with all kinds of ills even when it's not deserved. If the demagogues and nativists making nonsensical claims about trade are getting a hearing, it is trade's cheerleaders that deserve some of the blame.

One more thing. The opposition to trade deals is no longer solely about income losses. The standard remedy of compensation won't be enough -- even if carried out. It's about fairness, loss of control, and elites' loss of credibility. It hurts the cause of trade to pretend otherwise.
Reply Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 09:32 AM Peter K. -> Peter K.... , -1

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21709060-tiny-region-belgium-opposes-trade-reasons-are-hard-understand-wallonia

Wallonia is adamantly blocking the EU's trade deal with Canada

"HEY Canada, f!@# you." Within hours this tweet (the result of a hack) from the Belgian foreign minister's account was replaced with a friendlier message: "keep calm and love Canada". Yet his country's actions are closer to the original. On October 14th the regional parliament of Wallonia voted to block the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a trade deal between the European Union and Canada.

[Oct 20, 2016] The hand wringing over Clinton's stance on the TPP was even more evident in another batch of hacked emails posted by WikiLeaks on Wednesday

Oct 20, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

TPP: "CLINTON ADVISERS WALK THE KNIFE'S EDGE ON TPP: The hand wringing over Clinton's stance on the TPP was even more evident in another batch of hacked emails posted by WikiLeaks on Wednesday. The exchange from Oct. 6, like other emails allegedly* from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, is focused on the Democratic candidate's statement following the conclusion of TPP negotiations last October and how to balance the former secretary of State's previous support for the deal with demands from her base. 'The goal here was to minimize our vulnerability to the authenticity attack and not piss off the WH [White House] any more than necessary," wrote chief speechwriter Dan Schwerin when sending out a draft of the statement" [ Politico ]. The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. * Politico, can we can get an asterisk on that allegedly? Something like "* Bob from Legal made us put this 'allegedly' in, after he got a call from John." What say?

TPP: "El Salvador Ruling Offers a Reminder of Why the TPP Must Be Defeated" [ The Nation (Re Silc)]. "Last week, the tribunal at the center of the proposed TPP ruled against a global mining firm that sued El Salvador, but only after seven years of deliberations and over $12 million spent by the government of El Salvador. Equally outrageous, legal shenanigans by the Australian-Canadian firm OceanaGold around corporate ownership will likely prevent El Salvador from ever recouping a cent…. [N]o one should be complacent about defeating the TPP. Despite Hillary Clinton's professed opposition to the agreement, she is not picking up the phone to convince members of Congress to vote no."

TPP: "The Case for the TPP: Responding to the Critics" [ United States Chamber of Commerce ]. These guys are rolling in dough. Is this really the best they can do? Claim: "The TPP Will Undermine Regulations Protecting Health, Safety and the Environment."The COC's answer: "ISDS has been included in approximately 3,000 investment treaties and trade agreements over the past five decades. These neutral arbitrators have no power to overturn laws or regulations; they can only order compensation." In the billions, right? No chilling effect there!

TISA: "Meanwhile, news out of Europe cast doubt on whether negotiators will actually finish TISA this year because the EU cannot agree on how to handle cross-border data flows. The European Commission's trade and justice departments have been squabbling for months over the issue, which Froman acknowledged is an important outstanding concern. EU trade officials want data flows included in the pact, opening up new markets for Europe's data economy to expand, while data protection officials are more concerned about strong safeguards for privacy" [ Politico ].

[Oct 12, 2016] One interesting irony is that in Obama's TPP "The worst part is an Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision, which allows a multinational corporation to sue to override

Notable quotes:
"... Now we're in a situation in which superexploitation options are largely gone. Routine profit generation has become difficult due to global productive overcapacity, leading to behavioral sinkish behavior like the US cannibalizing its public sector to feed capital. ..."
"... Since the late 19th century US foreign policy has been organized around the open markets mantra. It may be possible for the Chinese, with their greater options for economy manipulation, to avoid the crashes the US feared from lack of market access. ..."
"... But the current situation on its face does not have anything like the colonial escape valve available in the 19th century. ..."
"... To the extent that colonialism or neocolonialism does not actually hold fixed boundary ground is irrelevant, since assets are more differential and flexible needing only corporate law to sustain strict boundaries on possession or instruments that convert to the same power over assets. No one, of course, wants to assess stocks and bonds as instruments of global oppression or exploitation that far exceeds 19th century's crude colonial rule. ..."
"... The TPP is a corporate power grab, a 5,544-page document that was negotiated in secret by big corporations while Congress, the public, and unions were locked out. ..."
"... Multinationals like Google, Exxon, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, UPS, FedEx, Apple, and Walmart are lobbying hard for it. Virtually every union in the U.S. opposes it. So do major environmental, senior, health, and consumer organizations. ..."
"... The TPP will mean fewer jobs and lower wages, higher prices for prescription drugs, the loss of regulations that protect our drinking water and food supply, and the loss of Internet freedom. It encourages privatization, undermines democracy, and will forbid many of the policies we need to combat climate change ..."
"... "Though the Obama administration touts the pact's labor and environmental protections, the official Labor Advisory Committee on the TPP strongly opposes it, arguing that these protections are largely unenforceable window dressing." ..."
Oct 12, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
any U.S. law, policy, or practice that it claims could limit its future profits."

hemeantwell October 12, 2016 at 8:36 am

global scenario that the down-to-earth presidents of China and Russia seem to have in mind resembles the sort of balance of power that existed in Europe.

The article floats away here. China and Russia might want to have something that "resembles" that time, but the analogy overlooks the fact that the relatively calm state of affairs - Franco-Prussian war? - on the European continent after Napoleon coexisted with savage colonial expansion. The forms of superexploitation thereby obtained did much to help stabilize Europe, even as competition for colonial lands became more and more destabilizing and were part of what led to WW1.

Now we're in a situation in which superexploitation options are largely gone. Routine profit generation has become difficult due to global productive overcapacity, leading to behavioral sinkish behavior like the US cannibalizing its public sector to feed capital.

Since the late 19th century US foreign policy has been organized around the open markets mantra. It may be possible for the Chinese, with their greater options for economy manipulation, to avoid the crashes the US feared from lack of market access.

But the current situation on its face does not have anything like the colonial escape valve available in the 19th century.

BRUCE E. WOYCH October 12, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Of course, duplicitous political COPORATISM means systems over a systemic characterized by marked or even intentional deception that is now sustained and even spearheaded by state systems.

Many contemporary liberal idealists living in urban strongholds of market mediated comfort zones will not agree to assigning such strong description to an Obama administration. It is too distant and remote to assign accountability to global international finance and currency wars that have hegemonic hedge funds pumping and dumping crisis driven anarchy over global exploit (ruled by market capital fright / fight and flight).

To the extent that colonialism or neocolonialism does not actually hold fixed boundary ground is irrelevant, since assets are more differential and flexible needing only corporate law to sustain strict boundaries on possession or instruments that convert to the same power over assets. No one, of course, wants to assess stocks and bonds as instruments of global oppression or exploitation that far exceeds 19th century's crude colonial rule.

Recall, however, how "joint stock" corporations first opened chartered exploit at global levels under East and West Trading power aggregates that were profit driven enter-prize. So in reality the current cross border market system of neoliberal globalization is, in fact, a stealth colonialism on steroids.

TPP is part of that process in all its stealthy dimensions.

BRUCE E. WOYCH October 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm

(TPP In a Nutshell http://labornotes.org/2016/09/october-all-hands-deck-stop-tpp )

"The TPP is a corporate power grab, a 5,544-page document that was negotiated in secret by big corporations while Congress, the public, and unions were locked out.

Multinationals like Google, Exxon, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, UPS, FedEx, Apple, and Walmart are lobbying hard for it. Virtually every union in the U.S. opposes it. So do major environmental, senior, health, and consumer organizations.

The TPP will mean fewer jobs and lower wages, higher prices for prescription drugs, the loss of regulations that protect our drinking water and food supply, and the loss of Internet freedom. It encourages privatization, undermines democracy, and will forbid many of the policies we need to combat climate change."

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/09/30/ttp-ttip-map-shows-

how-trade-deals-would-enable-polluter-power-grab

TTP & TTIP: Map Shows How Trade Deals Would Enable 'Polluter Power-Grab'
by Andrea Germanos

The new, interactive tool 'gives people a chance to see if toxic trade is in their own backyard'

Dead Squashed Kissinger October 12, 2016 at 8:54 am

This is very handy, thanks. However the conclusion stops short of what the SCO is saying and doing. They have no interest in an old-time balance of power. They want rule of law, a very different thing. Look at Putin's Syria strategy: he actually complies with the UN Charter's requirement to pursue pacific dispute resolution. That's revolutionary. When CIA moles in Turkey shot that Russian jet down, the outcome was not battles and state-sponsored terror, as CIA expected. The outcome was support for Turkey's sovereignty and rapprochement. Now when CIA starts fires you go to Russia to put them out.

While China maintains its purist line on the legal principle of non-interference, it is increasingly vocal in urging the US to fulfill its human rights obligations. That will sound paradoxical because of intense US vilification of Chinese authoritarianism, but when you push for your economic and social rights here at home, China is in your corner. Here Russia is leading by example. They comply with the Paris Principles for institutionalized human rights protection under independent international oversight. The USA does not.

When the USA goes the way of the USSR, we'll be in good hands. The world will show us how developed countries work.

BRUCE E. WOYCH October 12, 2016 at 1:26 pm

"RULE OF LAW" up front and personal (again?)
Now why would the USA be worried about global rule of law?
An Interesting ideal. No country above the law.

"…US President Barack Obama has vetoed a bill that would have allowed the families of the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia.

In a statement accompanying his veto message, Obama said on Friday he had "deep sympathy" for the 9/11 victims' families and their desire to seek justice for
their relatives.

The president said, however, that the bill would be "detrimental to US national interests" and could lead to lawsuits against the US or American officials for actions taken by groups armed, trained or supported by the US.

"If any of these litigants were to win judgements – based on foreign domestic laws as applied by foreign courts – they would begin to look to the assets of the US government held abroad to satisfy those judgments, with potentially serious financial consequences for the United States," Obama said."
-----------------------
To the tune of "Moma said…" by The Shirelles –
….Oh don't you know…Obama said they be days like this,
…..they would be days like this Obama said…

BRUCE E. WOYCH October 12, 2016 at 1:48 pm

One interesting irony is that in Obama's TPP "The worst part is an Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision, which allows a multinational corporation to sue to override any U.S. law, policy, or practice that it claims could limit its future profits."

(source: http://labornotes.org/2016/09/october-all-hands-deck-stop-tpp )

"Though the Obama administration touts the pact's labor and environmental protections, the official Labor Advisory Committee on the TPP strongly opposes it, arguing that these protections are largely unenforceable window dressing."

[Oct 09, 2016] The top trade negotiators involved in the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) will meet in Washington later this month to review their latest market access offers and prepare the groundwork for a final deal in December

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente . ..."
Oct 09, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

TPP/TTIP/TISA

"The top trade negotiators involved in the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) will meet in Washington later this month to review their latest market access offers and prepare the groundwork for a final deal in December" [ Bloomberg ]. "The high-level meeting follows a successful September negotiating round and recent signals from Washington that a TiSA deal could be forged before the end of the year." Yikes! Dark horse coming up on the outside!

"TTIP AG TALKS SET TO DRIFT: The U.S. summarily rejected a European Union request for three days of agriculture talks at this week's Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership round, further indicating that political uncertainty has limited what either side is able to discuss in the negotiations, sources close to the talks say" [ Politico ].

"'I think we can get there,' Lew said, referring to a vote on the Asia-Pacific pact. He argued that voting for TPP should be easier than voting for last year's Trade Promotion Authority bill because it has tangible benefits that will grow the economy. He said current voter angst is not due to TPP itself but rather to other domestic needs that the government has not adequately addressed" [ Politico ]. "'If we were investing more in infrastructure, which I believe we should, if we were investing more smartly in education and training and in child care, I'm not so sure we'd be in the same place,' Lew said." I think "hysteresis" is the word for the fact that you can't reverse a 40-year screw job handwaving about a policy pivot. And whenever you hear a liberal use the word "smart," get your back against the nearest wall.

"The American Brexit Is Coming" [James Stavridis, Foreign Policy ]. "The case for the TPP is economically strong, but the geopolitical logic is even more compelling. The deal is one that China will have great difficulty accepting, as it would put Beijing outside a virtuous circle of allies, partners, and friends on both sides of the Pacific. Frankly, that is a good place to keep China from the perspective of the United States…. Over 2,500 years ago, during the Zhou dynasty, the philosopher-warrior Sun Tzu wrote the compelling study of conflict The Art of War. There is much wisdom in that slim volume, including this quote: "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." The United States can avoid conflict best in East Asia by using a robust combination of national tools - with the TPP at the top of the list. Looking across the Atlantic to the Brexit debacle, we must avoid repeating the mistake in the Pacific." And we get?

"12 U.S. Senators Outline TPP's Fundamental Flaws, Tell President Obama it Shouldn't Be Considered Until Renegotiated" (PDF) [ Public Citizen ]. Brown, Sanders, Blumenthal, Merkley, Franken, Markey, Schatz, Casey, Warren, Whitehouse, Hirono, and Baldwin call for renegotiation. "It is simply not accurate to call an agreement progressive if it does not require trading partners to ban trade in goods made with forced labor or includes a special court for corporations to challenge legitimate, democratically developed public policies."

"The way ahead" [Barack Obama, The Economist ]. "Lifting productivity and wages also depends on creating a global race to the top in rules for trade. While some communities have suffered from foreign competition, trade has helped our economy much more than it has hurt. Exports helped lead us out of the recession. American firms that export pay their workers up to 18% more on average than companies that do not, according to a report by my Council of Economic Advisers. So, I will keep pushing for Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to conclude a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the EU. These agreements, and stepped-up trade enforcement, will level the playing field for workers and businesses alike." I should really get out my Magic Marker's for this one.

Steve C October 7, 2016 at 4:45 pm

"Global race to the top" is vintage Obama propaganda. A "smart" sounding phrase meant to obscure the impact of TPP on the non-elite. The adoring comments make it all the worse. He sure knows the lingo to appeal to educated professionals.

This is a lot of patented, soaring Obama verbiage that boils down to surrendering to global corporations and the big banks.

Pat October 7, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Yeah, no one is thinking through the analogy to note that there are very few races where everyone wins. In point of fact, except for those where finishing is considered an accomplishment like marathons, there is only one winner and what's left are also ran and losers. So why are we involved in a situation where most are going to lose?

[Oct 06, 2016] TPP/TTIP/TISATPP/TTIP/TISA discussion at Water Cooler 10-5-2016

Oct 06, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

naked capitalism

"Morning Trade was let down - along with many on Twitter - that there was no mention of the TPP [in the Vice-Presidential Debate], a deal that both vice presidential candidates initially supported until they signed on as running-mates and flip-flopped" [ Politico ]. Especially given that in Trump's strong first half-hour, he hammered Clinton with it.

"In conference at Yale Law School, DeLauro pushes to stop controversial Trans Pacific Partnership" [ New Haven Register ]. Detailed report of speech. ".S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, said the administration will be "relentless" in its pursuit of a positive vote on the Trans Pacific Partnership in the lame duck Congress, something she and a coalition in Congress are hoping to stop…. '(T)he agreement is undemocratic in its drafting, undemocratic in its contents and it cannot be passed during an unaccountable lame duck period,' she told Yale Law students and staff in attendance."

"Obama Hails Enforcement on Trade Deals to Win Support for T.P.P." [ New York Times ]. "Such actions against other countries' subsidies, dumping and market barriers, however, do not address two big concerns of trade skeptics: currency manipulation and workers' rights."

"The French decision follows Uruguay and Paraguay leaving the controversial US backed TISA negotiations last year and the recent humiliating back down of the EU on Investor State Dispute Resolution. With Germany and France so critical and Great Britain on the way out of the EU, it is hard to see how the European Commission can continue the negotiations" [ Public Services International ].

[Oct 06, 2016] It was just too easy to pander to the predatory class with investor friendly trade agreements and trickle down monetary policy.

Oct 06, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... October 06, 2016 at 07:58 AM , October 06, 2016 at 07:58 AM

Yes, inclusive growth is a huge problem, largely ignored until now. It was just too easy to pander to the predatory class with investor friendly trade agreements and trickle down monetary policy.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/white-working-class-men-increasingly-falling-behind-as-college-becomes-the-norm/2016/10/05/95610130-8a51-11e6-875e-2c1bfe943b66_story.html

Now the predatory class claims to be aghast at what its policies have enabled--Trump. But are Trumps policies really the problem...or is the problem that doesn't use the reassuring, coded language that the predatory class has carefully crafted to cover its exploitation?

[Sep 28, 2016] TPP implies the increased protectionism, in the form of longer and stronger patent and copyright protections. which are equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent on the protected items. As they apply to an ever growing share of the economy, the resulting economic losses might be huge.

Notable quotes:
"... It is not clear what the NYT thinks it is telling readers with this comment. The economy grows and creates jobs, sort of like the tree in my backyard grows every year. The issue is the rate of growth and job creation. While the economy has recovered from the lows of the recession, employment rates of prime age workers (ages 25-54) are still down by almost 2.0 percentage points from the pre-recession level and almost 4.0 percentage points from 2000 peaks. There is much research ** *** showing that trade has played a role in this drop in employment. ..."
"... It is not surprising that Ford's CEO would say that shifting production to Mexico would not cost U.S. jobs. It is likely he would make this claim whether or not it is true. Furthermore, his actual statement is that Ford is not cutting U.S. jobs. If the jobs being created in Mexico would otherwise be created in the United States, then the switch is costing U.S. jobs. The fact that Michigan and Ohio added 75,000 jobs last year has as much to do with this issue as the winner of last night's Yankees' game. ..."
"... The piece goes on to say that the North American Free Trade Agreement has "for more than two decades has been widely counted as a main achievement of [Bill Clinton]." It doesn't say who holds this view. The deal did not lead to a rise in the U.S. trade surplus with Mexico, which was a claim by its proponents before its passage. It also has not led to more rapid growth in Mexico which has actually fallen further behind the United States in the two decades since NAFTA. ..."
"... It is worth noting that none of the analyses that provide the basis for this assertion take into the account the impact of the increased protectionism, in the form of longer and stronger patent and copyright protections, which are a major part of the TPP. These forms of protection are equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent on the protected items. As they apply to an ever growing share of the economy, the resulting economic losses will expand substantially in the next decade, especially if the TPP is approved. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

anne said... \ September 28, 2016 at 04:55 AM

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/nyt-editorial-in-news-section-for-tpp-short-on-substance

September 28, 2016

NYT Editorial In News Section for TPP Short on Substance

When the issue is trade deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the New York Times throws out its usual journalistic standards to push its pro-trade deal agenda. Therefore it is not surprising to see a story * in the news section that was essentially a misleading advertisement for these trade deals.

The headline tells readers that Donald Trump's comments on trade in the Monday night debate lacked accuracy. The second paragraph adds:

"His aggressiveness may have been offset somewhat by demerits on substance."

These comments could well describe this NYT piece.

For example, it ostensibly indicts Trump with the comment:

"His [Trump's] first words of the night were the claim that "our jobs are fleeing the country," though nearly 15 million new jobs have been created since the economic recovery began."

It is not clear what the NYT thinks it is telling readers with this comment. The economy grows and creates jobs, sort of like the tree in my backyard grows every year. The issue is the rate of growth and job creation. While the economy has recovered from the lows of the recession, employment rates of prime age workers (ages 25-54) are still down by almost 2.0 percentage points from the pre-recession level and almost 4.0 percentage points from 2000 peaks. There is much research ** *** showing that trade has played a role in this drop in employment.

The NYT piece continues:

"[Trump] singled out Ford for sending thousands of jobs to Mexico to build small cars and worsening manufacturing job losses in Michigan and Ohio, but the company's chief executive has said 'zero' American workers would be cut. Those states each gained more than 75,000 jobs in just the last year."

It is not surprising that Ford's CEO would say that shifting production to Mexico would not cost U.S. jobs. It is likely he would make this claim whether or not it is true. Furthermore, his actual statement is that Ford is not cutting U.S. jobs. If the jobs being created in Mexico would otherwise be created in the United States, then the switch is costing U.S. jobs. The fact that Michigan and Ohio added 75,000 jobs last year has as much to do with this issue as the winner of last night's Yankees' game.

The next sentence adds:

"Mr. Trump said China was devaluing its currency for unfair price advantages, yet it ended that practice several years ago and is now propping up the value of its currency."

While China has recently been trying to keep up the value of its currency by selling reserves, it still holds more than $4 trillion in foreign reserves, counting its sovereign wealth fund. This is more than four times the holdings that would typically be expected of a country its side. These holdings have the effect of keeping down the value of China's currency.

If this seems difficult to understand, the Federal Reserve now holds more than $3 trillion in assets as a result of its quantitative easing programs of the last seven years. It raised its short-term interest rate by a quarter point last December, nonetheless almost all economists would agree the net effect of the Fed's actions is the keep interest rates lower than they would otherwise be. The same is true of China and its foreign reserve position.

The piece goes on to say that the North American Free Trade Agreement has "for more than two decades has been widely counted as a main achievement of [Bill Clinton]." It doesn't say who holds this view. The deal did not lead to a rise in the U.S. trade surplus with Mexico, which was a claim by its proponents before its passage. It also has not led to more rapid growth in Mexico which has actually fallen further behind the United States in the two decades since NAFTA.

In later discussing the TPP the piece tells readers:

"Economists generally have said the Pacific nations agreement would increase incomes, exports and growth in the United States, but not significantly."

It is worth noting that none of the analyses that provide the basis for this assertion take into the account the impact of the increased protectionism, in the form of longer and stronger patent and copyright protections, which are a major part of the TPP. These forms of protection are equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent on the protected items. As they apply to an ever growing share of the economy, the resulting economic losses will expand substantially in the next decade, especially if the TPP is approved.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/28/us/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-trade-tpp-nafta.html

** http://www.nber.org/papers/w21906

*** http://economics.mit.edu/files/6613

-- Dean Baker

[Sep 28, 2016] Mook Spooked Clinton Campaign Manager, Other Top Dems Dodge Questions on Whether Hillary Wants Obama to Withdraw T

www.breitbart.com
Hillary Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook and other top Democrats refused to answer whether Clinton wants President Barack Obama to withdraw the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) from consideration before Congress during interviews with Breitbart News in the spin room after the first presidential debate here at Hofstra University on Monday night.

The fact that Mook, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon, and Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Donna Brazile each refused to answer the simple question that would prove Clinton is actually opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership now after praising it 40 times and calling it the "gold standard" is somewhat shocking.

After initially ignoring the question entirely four separate times, Mook finally replied to Breitbart News. But when he did respond, he didn't answer the question:

BREITBART NEWS: "Robby, does Secretary Clinton believe that the president should withdraw the TPP?"

ROBBY MOOK: "Secretary Clinton, as she said in the debate, evaluated the final TPP language and came to the conclusion that she cannot support it."

BREITBART NEWS: "Does she think the president should withdraw it?"

ROBBY MOOK: "She has said the president should not support it."

Obama is attempting to ram TPP through Congress as his last act as president during a lame duck session of Congress. Clinton previously supported the TPP, and called it the "Gold Standard" of trade deals. That's something Brazile, the new chairwoman of the DNC who took over after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) was forced to resign after email leaks showed she and her staff at the DNC undermined the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and in an untoward way forced the nomination into Clinton's hands, openly confirmed in her own interview with Breitbart News in the spin room post debate. Brazile similarly refused to answer if Clinton should call on Obama to withdraw the TPP from consideration before Congress.

[Sep 27, 2016] TPP is practically written by the lobbyists from the multi-international corporations that exploit every possible tax laws, labor laws, environmental and public health regulations, legal representations and consequences. It is imperialism 2.0 in the 21st century

Sep 27, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

wumogang

22h ago 12 13

TPP is practically written by the lobbyists from the multi-international corporations that exploit every possible tax laws, labor laws, environmental and public health regulations, legal representations and consequences. It is imperialism 2.0 in the 21st century, exclusively serving the interests of top point one percent while greatly depressing the wages of middle class; it is overwhelmingly opposed by the public opinion, law makers of all sides and current president candidates. There is zero chance Obama could make it through legislation before his exit; Clinton will not even consider bringing it back if she wins the election because she already flip-flopped once on the issue during her campaign; and it would seriously damage her chance of re-election if she does. As for Trump, I leave it to anyone's imaginations.

[Sep 26, 2016] Barack Obama's 'Asian pivot' failed. China is in the ascendancy

Notable quotes:
"... Conventionally the US is being outplayed but it is possible that it is playing a different game in which it is complicit in the transition from nation state to corporate oligarchy. Isn't that the Neoliberal end game? ..."
"... The biggest mistake was to enact a policy shunning Russia, when Russia should be a key, partner of Europe and the US. ..."
"... And the USA invaded Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua with the contras, Iraq, Afghanistan, are currently bombing the crap out of another dozen nations, has militarily occupied another 100 nations with their bases and you are worried about Russia with Georgia and The Ukraine? What in Hades is wrong with this picture? ..."
"... "Barack Obama's 'Asian pivot' failed. China is in the ascendancy" says the heading. So Obama's "Asian pivot" was meant to thwart China's development. ..."
"... And the big problem with Trump's approach is that good ol' American corporations are the ones who are profiting wildly from business in China. They wanted access to the Chinese labor force, e.g. Walmart and every other manufacturer who now peddles goods made in China in US stores. They are the entities that cost western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits. ..."
"... They are wealthy beyond measure and anyone who wants to alter this system whereby American corporations manufacture in China and ship products around the world, inc. to the US, would have to fight them. And if anyone believes that Trump would succeed in this battle, they are delusional. ..."
"... "These two juggernauts are on a collision course" is far too alarmist. Relying mainly on right-wing US thinktanks for analysis doesn't help. ..."
"... Now we are waking up to the realisation that we are the big loosers of globalisation. ..."
"... "The west has been long living under the illusion that the so called globalised world would be beneficial for all. " No, actually they thought it would be beneficial for the Western countries mostly. And it was, but whatever benefits developing countries received allowed them to rise to the level of a potential future threat to the unquestionable Western dominance. And now the US is looking for a way to destroy them preemptively. The US is paranoid. ..."
"... I think this "ascendancy" and nationalistic fervor is actually a sign of internal turmoil. ..."
"... The labor supply is assured because there are still multi millions in poverty and signing up as cheap labor is exactly what brings them out of poverty. I assume you've never been to China and therefore have never heard of Chunyun, the largest human migration in the world. This is partly the ruralites returning home from the cities with their years spoils. This year individual journeys totalled almost 3bn. ..."
"... By the way, China is reducing it's land army by a third over the next few years and has just concluded very constructive summits with all it's neighbours during last weeks ASEAN bunfight. ..."
"... a collapse of the chinese economy would collapse the American economy as well ..."
"... Fascinating & well structured article - except for one glaring omission - the LNP selling of the Port of Darwin to a Chinese Government business. Yeh, sure it's a '99 year lease' but for all effective purposes it's a sellout of a strategic port to the Chinese Government. ..."
"... America is in terminal decline, beset by economic and fiscal crises, sapped by imperial overstretch, a victim of a cosmopolitan ennui and fecklessness, divided politically and culturally, belligerent and militant to the extreme. An empire in decline is at its most dangerous. America today is a far greater threat to world peace than China. Simply witness America's accommodation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the odious Saudi theocracy, and how its insane policy in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan has led to hundreds of thousands of lives lost and millions displaced ..."
"... The US has no significantly greater percentage of debt than any of the other Western nations except Germany. If you think the Americas bankrupt then you'd have to think a whole lot of other nations including the UK is as well. ..."
"... "China has divided and conquered certain countries in SE Asia." These certain SE Asian countries would say that it's because they are not willing to be Uncle Sam's "yes man". ..."
"... The US is still so very powerful but the problem is they feel powerless from time to time with their hammer in hand against flying mosquitos. Why they always wanted to solve problems using force is beyond stupidity. ..."
"... It also destabilises the entire region. Something the Americans are masters of. ..."
"... Were the US to form a cooperative instead of confrontational relationship with China the world would be a better place. The same could be said for the US relationship with Russia. ..."
"... Of course the military-industrial-banking-congressional complex that governs Washington's behavior would not be happy. WIthout confrontation the arms industries can't sell their weapons of war, banks' profits take a hit and congress critters don't get their kickbacks, err, "donations". ..."
"... Given the way the US government has screwed the Philippines over steadily since 1898, it's not surprising that Pres. Dutarte has decided to be friendly with his neighbor. Obama of the Kill List lecturing other countries about human rights abuses! What hypocrisy. ..."
"... Is what China doing in the south china sea different from what the USA does in the gulf of Mexico or in Panama... not to mention that Chi a is litterally surounded by US bases that sit squarely across all its sea trading routes: Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Fillipines ..."
"... China has been accumulating debt at unprecedented rates to try to maintain faltering growth. In 2007 Chinese debt stood at $7 trillion. By 2014 it had quadrupled to $28 trillion. That's $60 billion of extra debt every week. It's still rising rapidly as the government desperately tries to keep momentum. ..."
"... TPP is practically written by the lobbyists from the multi-international corporations that exploit every possible tax laws, labor laws, environmental and public health regulations, legal representations and consequences. It is imperialism 2.0 in the 21st century, exclusively serving the interests of top point one percent while greatly depressing the wages of middle class; it is overwhelmingly opposed by the public opinion, law makers of all sides and current president candidates. There is zero chance Obama could make it through legislation before his exit; Clinton will not even consider bringing it back if she wins the election because she already flip-flopped once on the issue during her campaign; and it would seriously damage her chance of re-election if she does. As for Trump, I leave it to anyone's imaginations. ..."
"... Globalisation is another word for one world government and all that brings, one currency, one police force, taxation, dissolution of borders, an end to sovereignty and all of our hard won freedoms. Freedom is a thing of the past, with MSM owned by the globalist elites, enforcing a moratorium on truth, and a population that has no idea what is going on behind the scenes. ..."
"... Another brilliant thought from Rand; when in doubt, shoot from the hip .... ..."
"... They tell their employers what they want to hear. ..."
"... Do Americans not realize that Chinese and Russians read this too and plan accordingly? This is madness. I am fairly certain preemptive strikes are against international law. Why nobody has the guts to call the US out on this kind of illegal warmongering? ..."
"... The dilemma is clear: amid rising nationalism in both countries, China is not willing to have its ambitions curbed or contained and the US is not ready to accept the world number two spot. These two juggernauts are on a collision course. ..."
"... What does the criticism in USA get you? It is just blah blah blah. ONly criticism that matters is from the corporations and wealthy individuals like Koch bros and Sheldon Edelson and their ilk. Rest can watch football. ..."
"... Simon Tisdall and many Europeans as well as the US GOP party still thinks that US is an empire similar to what the British had in the 18th century. This assumption is completely wrong especially in the 21th century where Western Europe, Japan, Korea if they want can be spend their money and also become global military power. ..."
"... Being a large country surrounded by many other occasionally threatening powers, the governments' priority is and always has been defending its territorial integrity. China is happy enough to leave the command and conquer stuff, sorry "democratization" to the US. ..."
"... Why did Obama say that his greatest regret was Libya.? Because Obama's policy is/was to manage the decline of US power. To manage the end of US hegemony. I doubt that Obama believes that any pivot to any where can restore or maintain US dominance on planet earth. ..."
"... China wishes to expand trade and improve economic conditions for its people and for those with whom it trades. That is not aggression except when it interferes with US global economic hegemony. ..."
"... The most belligerent nation in the world the nation with its army in over 100 countries, the nation bombing and conducting perpetual war throughout the middle east, the country invading countries for "regime change" and creating only misery and death -- it is not China. ..."
"... The US and its Neoliberal capitalist system must expand to grow - plus they clearly want total global domination - the US and its Imperial agents have encircled both China and Russia with trillions of dollars of the most destructive weapons in the world including nuclear weapons - do you thin they have done that for "security" if so you simply ignore the aggression and hubris of an Imperial US. ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.theguardian.com
Vermithrax , 2016-09-26 18:48:09
Before the pivot could even get underway the Saudis threw their rattle out of the pram and drew US focus back to the Middle East and proxy war two steps removed with Russia. Empires don't get to focus, they react to each event and seek to gain from the outcome so the whole pivot idea was flawed.

Obama's foreign policy has been clumsy and amoral. It remains to be seen whether it will become more so in an effort to double down. Under Clinton it definitely will, under Trump who knows but random isn't a recommendation.

Conventionally the US is being outplayed but it is possible that it is playing a different game in which it is complicit in the transition from nation state to corporate oligarchy. Isn't that the Neoliberal end game?

Boyaca, 2016-09-26 18:41:19
So the Rand Think Tank would sooner have war now than later. Who wouldda guessed that.

The Chinese want to improve trade and business with the rest of the world. The US answer? destroy China militarily. so who best to lead the world. I think the article answers that question unintentionally. The rest of the world has had it up to the ears with American military invasions, regeime changes, occupations and bombing of the world. They are ready for China´s approach to international relations. it is about time the adults took over the leadership of the world. Europe and the USA and their offspring have clearly failed.

AmyInNH, 2016-09-26 17:07:12
China has been handed everything it needs to fly solo: money, factories, IP, etc. Fast forwarding into the western civic model limits (traffic, pollution, etc.), its best bet is to offload US "interests" and steer clear.

No clear sign India's learned/recovered from British occupation, as they let tech create more future Kanpurs.

Shein Ariely , 2016-09-26 17:06:51
Obama failed worldwide. Next USA president either Democrat or Republican will have a difficult job fixing his colossal mistakes in ME- Euroep-Asia
yermelai, 2016-09-26 10:12:58
The biggest mistake was to enact a policy shunning Russia, when Russia should be a key, partner of Europe and the US.

Was it really worth expanding NATO to Russia's borders instead of offering neutrality to former Soviet States and thus retain Russia's confidence in global matters that far out weigh the interests of the neo-cons?

Hermanovic -> yermelai , 2016-09-26 10:50:07
neutrality? Russia invaded non-NATO members Georgie, Ukraine, and Moldavia, and created puppet-states on their soil.

The Jremlin-rules are simple: the former Sovjet states should be ruled by a pro-Russian dictator (Bella-Russia, Kazachstan, etc. etc...). Democracies face boycots, diplomatic and military support of rebels, and in the end simply a military invasion.

The only reason why the baltic states are now thriving democracies, is that they are NATO members.

Boyaca -> Hermanovic, 2016-09-26 18:57:23
And the USA invaded Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua with the contras, Iraq, Afghanistan, are currently bombing the crap out of another dozen nations, has militarily occupied another 100 nations with their bases and you are worried about Russia with Georgia and The Ukraine? What in Hades is wrong with this picture?
macel388, 2016-09-26 10:08:03
"Barack Obama's 'Asian pivot' failed. China is in the ascendancy" says the heading. So Obama's "Asian pivot" was meant to thwart China's development.
MicheNorman, 2016-09-26 09:36:41
When Obama took office his first major speech was in Cairo - where he said

"I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world," US President Barack Obama said to the sounds of loud applause which rocked not only the hall, but the world. "One based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles-principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."

He displayed a dangerous mix of innocence, foolishness, disregard for the truth and misunderstanding of the nature of Islamic regimes - does the West have common values with Lebanon which practices apartheid for Palestinians, Saudi, where women cannot drive a car, Syria, where over 17,000 have died in Assad's torture chambers, we can go on and on.

And on China - Trump has it right - China has been manipulating its currency exchange rate for years, costing western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits and something needs to be done about it.

ReinerNiemand -> MicheNorman, 2016-09-26 10:21:20
" America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles-principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. "

He spoke about the whole of Islam, not specific " Islamic regimes ". And he is correct on it. All religions share a great deal of values with the USAmerican constition and even each other .

The overwhelming majority of USAmerican muslims have accepted the melting pot with their whole heart, second generation children have JOINED its fighting forces to protect the interest of the USA all over the world. Normally this full an integration is reached with the third generation.

The west has won against those religious fanatics. How else to explain that exactly the people those claim to speak turn up with us?

Calvert -> MicheNorman, 2016-09-26 11:21:45
And the big problem with Trump's approach is that good ol' American corporations are the ones who are profiting wildly from business in China. They wanted access to the Chinese labor force, e.g. Walmart and every other manufacturer who now peddles goods made in China in US stores. They are the entities that cost western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits.

They are wealthy beyond measure and anyone who wants to alter this system whereby American corporations manufacture in China and ship products around the world, inc. to the US, would have to fight them. And if anyone believes that Trump would succeed in this battle, they are delusional.

hartebeest, 2016-09-26 09:35:14
"These two juggernauts are on a collision course" is far too alarmist. Relying mainly on right-wing US thinktanks for analysis doesn't help.

Interesting in particular to see RAND is still in its Cold War mindset. There's famous footage of RAND analysts in the 60s (I think) discussing putative nuclear war with the USSR and concluding that the US was certain of 'victory' following a missile exchange because its surviving population (after hundreds of millions of deaths and the destruction of almost all urban centres) would be somewhat larger.

China's island claims are all about a broader strategic aim- getting unencumbered access to the Pacific for its growing blue water navy. It's not aimed at Taiwan or Japan in any sort of specific sense and, save for the small possibility of escalation following an accident (ships colliding or something), there's very little risk of conflict in at least the medium term.

It's crucial to remember just how much China and the US depend upon each other economically. The US is by far China's largest single export market, powering its manufacturing economy. In return, China uses the surplus to buy up US debt, which allows the Americans to borrow cheaply and keep the lights on. Crash China and you crash the US- and vice versa.

For now, China is basically accepting an upgraded number 2 spot (along with the US acknowledging them as part of a 'G2'), but supporting alternative governance structures when it doesn't like the ones controlled by the US/Japan (so the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS etc.).

This doesn't mean that the two don't see each other as long term strategic and economic rivals. But the risks to both of rocking the boat are gigantic and not in the interest of either party in the foreseeable future. Things that could change that:

a. a succession of Trump-like US presidents (checks and balances are probably sufficient to withstand one, were it to come to that);
b. a revolution in China (possible if the economy goes South- and what comes next is probably not liberal democracy but anti-Japanese or anti-US authoritarian nationalism);
c. an unpredictable chain of events arising from N Korean collapse or a regional nuclear race (Japan-China is a more likely source of conflict than US-China).

MrMeinung, 2016-09-26 09:13:57
The west has been long living under the illusion that the so called globalised world would be beneficial for all.

Now we are waking up to the realisation that we are the big loosers of globalisation.

Time for a change of plan.

freeandfair -> MrMeinung , 2016-09-26 14:29:49
"The west has been long living under the illusion that the so called globalised world would be beneficial for all. " No, actually they thought it would be beneficial for the Western countries mostly. And it was, but whatever benefits developing countries received allowed them to rise to the level of a potential future threat to the unquestionable Western dominance. And now the US is looking for a way to destroy them preemptively. The US is paranoid.
Zami99, 2016-09-26 08:30:36
The writing is on the wall: the future is with China. All the US can do is make nice or reap the dire consequences. If China can clean up its human rights record, I would be happy to see them supplant or rival the US as a global hegemon. After all, looked at historically, haven't they earned it? - An American, born and bred, but no nationalist
Calvert -> Zami99, 2016-09-26 11:24:26
Well, that is naïve. Look at China and how the Chinese people are governed. Look at the US. And please don't tell me you don't see a difference. I'll take a world with the US as the global hegemon any day.
Leandro Rodriguez -> Zami99, 2016-09-26 16:15:42
The US never cleaned up their human rights record...
Sven Ringling, 2016-09-26 08:16:37
A regional counter balance is needed. Cooperation is hindered by Japan. They should be the center point of a regional alliance strong enough to contain China with US help, but it doesn't work: whilst everybody fears China, everybody hates Japan.

The reason is they failed miserably to rebuild trust after WWII, rather than going cap in hand, acknowledging respondibility for atrocities and other crimes and injustice, and compensate victims, they kept their pride and isolation. They are now paying the price - possibly together with the rest of us.

Maybe a full scale change after 7 decades of to-little-to-late diplomacy can still achieve sth.

The ass the US should kick sits in Tokyo - something they failed to do properly after WWII, when they managed it well in West Germany (ok - they had help from the Brits there, who for all their failings understand foreign nations far better), where it facilitated proper integration into European cooperation.

ArabinPatson , 2016-09-26 07:28:26
I think this "ascendancy" and nationalistic fervor is actually a sign of internal turmoil. Countries that do well don't need to crack down on dissidents to the point of kidnappings or spend millions of stupid man made islands that pisses everyone off but have all the military value of a threatening facial tattoo. The South China Sea tactics is partially Chinese "push until something pushes back" diplomacy but also stems from the harsh realisation that their resources can be easily choked of and even the CPC knows it can't hold down a billion plus Chinese people once the hunger sets it.

China is facing the dilemna that as it brings people out of poverty it reduces the supply of the very cheap labor that makes it rich. You can talk about Lenovo all you want, no one is buying a Chinese car anytime soon. Nor is any airline outside of China going to buy one of their planes. Copyright fraud is one thing the West can retaliate easily upon and will if they feel China has gone too far. Any product found in a western court to be a blatant copy can effectively be banned. The next step is to refuse to recognize Chinese copyright on the few genuine innovations that come out of it.

Plus the deal Deng Xiaoping made with the urban classes is fraying. It was wealth in exchange for subservience. The people in the cities stay out of direct politics but quality of life issues, safety, petty corruption and pollution are angering them and scaring them hence the vast amount of private Chinese money being sunk into global real estate.

The military growth and dubious technobabble is just typical Chinese mianzi gaining. If you do have a brand new jet stealth jet fighter, you don't release pictures of it to the world press. They got really rattled when Shinzo Abe decided the JSDF can go and deliver slappings abroad to help their friends if needed. Because an army that spends a lot of time rigging up Michael Bayesque set maneuvers for the telly is not what you want to pit against top notch technology handled by obsessive perfectionists.

No one plays hardball with China because we all like cheap shit. But once that is over then China is a very vulnerable country with not one neighbour they can call a friend. They know it. Obama hasn't failed.. It's the histrionics that prove it not the other way round.

250022 -> ArabinPatson , 2016-09-26 11:34:31
Fundamentally incorrect.

The labor supply is assured because there are still multi millions in poverty and signing up as cheap labor is exactly what brings them out of poverty. I assume you've never been to China and therefore have never heard of Chunyun, the largest human migration in the world. This is partly the ruralites returning home from the cities with their years spoils. This year individual journeys totalled almost 3bn.

No-one is buying a Chinese car? Check the sales for Wuling. They produce the small vans that are the lifeblood of the small entrepreneur. BYD are already exporting electric buses to London. The likes of VW, BMW, Land Rover, are all in partnership with Chinese auto-makers and China is the largest car market in the world.

Corruption has been actively attacked and over a quarter of a million officials have been brought to book in Xi's time in office. The pollution causing steel and coal industries are being rapidly contracted and billions spent on re-training.

Plus the fact that while the Chinese are mianzi gazing, the last thing they think about is politics. They simply don't want to know.

By the way, China is reducing it's land army by a third over the next few years and has just concluded very constructive summits with all it's neighbours during last weeks ASEAN bunfight.

The conclusion is that bi-lateral talks, not US led pissing contests are the way forward.

http://english.sina.com/china/s/2016-09-26/detail-ifxwevmf2233637.shtml

alfredwong -> Jonathan Scott , 2016-09-26 05:44:58
"What has happened is the ICA has ruled against China in the SCS..." Nothing new. The UN Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf had also ruled against the UK and the International Court of Justice had ruled against the US.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/29/falkland-islands-argentina-waters-rules-un-commission

http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-defiance-of-international-court-has-precedentu-s-defiance-1467919982

"Also, China still has little force projection"

A country only needs a lot of force projection if it seeks to dominate the world.

"and a soon to collapse economy."

You are entitled to have such dream.

vidimi -> Jonathan Scott, 2016-09-26 09:41:28
a collapse of the chinese economy would collapse the American economy as well
ChristosHellas, 2016-09-26 04:17:59
Fascinating & well structured article - except for one glaring omission - the LNP selling of the Port of Darwin to a Chinese Government business. Yeh, sure it's a '99 year lease' but for all effective purposes it's a sellout of a strategic port to the Chinese Government.

Just look at how gobsmacked the US Military & President were over such a stupidly undertaken sale by the LNP. This diplomatically lunatic sell off by the LNP of such a vital national asset has effectively taken-out any influence or impact Australia may have, or exert, over critical issues happening on our northern doorstep.

If there was ever a case for buying back a strategic national asset, this is definitely the one. Oh, if folks are worried about the $Billions in penalties incurred, simple solution - just stop the $Billions of Diesel Fuel Rebates gifted to Miners for, say, 10 years..... Done!

JeffAshe, 2016-09-26 04:05:15
America is in terminal decline, beset by economic and fiscal crises, sapped by imperial overstretch, a victim of a cosmopolitan ennui and fecklessness, divided politically and culturally, belligerent and militant to the extreme. An empire in decline is at its most dangerous. America today is a far greater threat to world peace than China. Simply witness America's accommodation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the odious Saudi theocracy, and how its insane policy in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan has led to hundreds of thousands of lives lost and millions displaced.

Europe is under siege by endless tides of refugees that are the direct consequence of America's neo-Conservative and militant foreign policy. Meanwhile, America's neo-liberal economic and trade policies have not only decimated her own manufacturing base and led to gross inequality but also massive dislocations in South America, Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Tired, irritated, frustrated, exhausted, cynical, violent, moral-less, deeply corrupt, and rudderless, America is effectively bankrupt and on the verge of becoming another Greece, if not for the saving grace of the petro-Dollar. Europe would be well-advised to keep the Yanks at arm's length so as to escape as much as possible the fallout from her complete collapse. As for Britain, soon to be divorced from the EU, time draws nigh to end the humiliating, one-sided servitude that is the 'Special Relationship' and forge an independent foreign policy. The tectonic plates of history is again shifting, and there nothing America can do to stop it.

scss99 -> JeffAshe, 2016-09-26 05:14:43
I don't know America probably occupies the most prime geographical spot on the planet, and buffered by two oceans. It doesn't have to worry about refugees and the other problems and ultimately they can produce enough food and meet all of its energy needs domestically. And it's the third most populous nation on earth and could easily grow its population with immigration.

The US has no significantly greater percentage of debt than any of the other Western nations except Germany. If you think the Americas bankrupt then you'd have to think a whole lot of other nations including the UK is as well.

Given the facts it would be daft a write off America. Every European nation have lost their number one spot in history and they seem to be doing just fine. Is there some reason why this can't be America's destiny as well? Does it really have to end in flames?

macel388 -> itsfridayiminlove, 2016-09-26 14:17:29
"China has divided and conquered certain countries in SE Asia." These certain SE Asian countries would say that it's because they are not willing to be Uncle Sam's "yes man".
CalvinLyn, 2016-09-26 03:47:56
The US is still so very powerful but the problem is they feel powerless from time to time with their hammer in hand against flying mosquitos. Why they always wanted to solve problems using force is beyond stupidity.

Pivot to Asia is about one thing only, sending more war ships to encircle China. But for what purpose exactly? It does one thing though, it united china by posing as a threat.

hobot CalvinLyn, 2016-09-26 04:44:28
It also destabilises the entire region. Something the Americans are masters of.
Stieve, 2016-09-26 02:09:34
Those blaming Obama most stridently for not keeping China in its box are those most responsible for China's rise. American and Western companies shafted their own people to make themselves more profit. They didn't care what the consequences might be, as long as the lmighty "Shareholder Value" continued to rise. Now they demand that the taxes from all those people whose jobs they let go be used to contain the new superpower that they created. As usual, Coroporate America messes things up then demands to know what someone else is going to do about it
MountainMan23, 2016-09-26 01:49:38
Were the US to form a cooperative instead of confrontational relationship with China the world would be a better place. The same could be said for the US relationship with Russia.

Of course the military-industrial-banking-congressional complex that governs Washington's behavior would not be happy. WIthout confrontation the arms industries can't sell their weapons of war, banks' profits take a hit and congress critters don't get their kickbacks, err, "donations".

freeandfair -> MountainMan23, 2016-09-26 02:02:27
The US doesn't know what the word "cooperation" means. To Americans "cooperation" means giving orders and others following them.
LivingTruth, 2016-09-26 00:41:25
America has this absurd notion that it must always be number 1 in world whatever that means world could be better when east is best
Zhubajie1284, 2016-09-26 00:16:50
Given the way the US government has screwed the Philippines over steadily since 1898, it's not surprising that Pres. Dutarte has decided to be friendly with his neighbor. Obama of the Kill List lecturing other countries about human rights abuses! What hypocrisy.
thomasvladimir, 2016-09-26 00:11:36
fuck his pivot.....this ain't syria.....having destroyed the middle east it was our turn.....this is americas exceptionalism........stay #1 by desabilising/destroying everyone else.....p.s. shove the TPP also..........
Fabrizio Agnello, 2016-09-25 23:45:41
The real question is why should not China be more dominant in Asia... i understands the USA tendency especially since the fall of the soviet union at seing themselves as the only world superpower. And i understand why China would like to balance tbat especially in her own neighborhood.

Is what China doing in the south china sea different from what the USA does in the gulf of Mexico or in Panama... not to mention that Chi a is litterally surounded by US bases that sit squarely across all its sea trading routes: Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Fillipines,... and considering that the chinese have a long memory of werstern gunboat diplomacy and naval for e projection, if i was them i would feel a little uncomfortable at how vulnerable my newfound trade is... especially when some western politician so clearly think that china needs to be contained...

Bogoas81, 2016-09-25 23:44:41
China has been accumulating debt at unprecedented rates to try to maintain faltering growth. In 2007 Chinese debt stood at $7 trillion. By 2014 it had quadrupled to $28 trillion. That's $60 billion of extra debt every week. It's still rising rapidly as the government desperately tries to keep momentum.

Much of this money has been funnelled into 'investments' that will never yield a return. The most almighty crash is coming. Which will be interesting to say the least.

RodMcLeod -> Bogoas81, 2016-09-26 00:07:24
Now that is interesting but odd. They are buying phuqing HUGE swathes of land in Africa, investing everywhere they can on rest of the planet. All seemingly on domestic debt then.
Bogoas81 -> RodMcLeod, 2016-09-26 10:09:36
Yes. The Japanese went on a spending spree abroad in the 1980s, while accumulating debt at home, and when that popped the economy entered 20 years of stagnation, as bad debts hampered the financial system.

The Chinese bubble is far larger, and made worse by the fact that much of the debt has been taken on by inefficient state owned enterprises and local government, spending not because the figures make sense but to meet centrally-dictated growth targets. Much of the rest has been funnelled into real estate, which now makes up more than twice the share of the Chinese economy than is the case in the UK. Property prices in some major Chinese cities have reached up to 30 times local incomes, making London look cheap in comparison.

There is also a huge 'shadow' banking system in China which means no-one really knows who owes money to whom, which will make it impossible to be confident in who remains creditworthy when the crisis occurs. Estimates are that bad debts (non-performing loans) by Chinese banks already total more than $2 trillion and are rising fast: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/22/fitch-warns-bad-debts-in-china-are-ten-times-official-claims-sta/

wumogang, 2016-09-25 22:44:50
TPP is practically written by the lobbyists from the multi-international corporations that exploit every possible tax laws, labor laws, environmental and public health regulations, legal representations and consequences. It is imperialism 2.0 in the 21st century, exclusively serving the interests of top point one percent while greatly depressing the wages of middle class; it is overwhelmingly opposed by the public opinion, law makers of all sides and current president candidates. There is zero chance Obama could make it through legislation before his exit; Clinton will not even consider bringing it back if she wins the election because she already flip-flopped once on the issue during her campaign; and it would seriously damage her chance of re-election if she does. As for Trump, I leave it to anyone's imaginations.
Narapoia01 -> wumogang, 2016-09-26 01:53:17
Don't believe for a second Hillary won't ram through a version of the TPP/IP if she wins. What she's actually said is that she's against it in its current form

Remember she is part of an owned by the 0.1% that stand to benefit from the agreement, she will do their bidding and be well rewarded. A few cosmetic changes will be applied to the agreement so she can claim that she wasn't lying pre-election and we'll have to live with the consequences.

sanhedrin, 2016-09-25 22:22:22
I find the United States of America more frightening each day
thomasvladimir -> sanhedrin, 2016-09-26 00:53:38
failing flailing empire.......classic insanity
Ubermensch1, 2016-09-25 21:43:18
Well done all you globalists for failing to spot the bleedin obvious...that millions of homes worldwide full of 'Made In China' was ultimately going to pay for the People's Liberation Army. Still think globalisation is wonderful ?
kbg541 -> Ubermensch1, 2016-09-25 22:31:38
Quite. How can you believe in a liberal, global free market and then do business with the Socialist Republic of China, that is the antithesis of free markets. The name is above the door, so there's no use acting all surprised when it doesn't pan out the way you planned it.
moderatejohn -> Ubermensch1, 2016-09-25 22:40:32
Anything good can be made evil, including globalization. Imagine fair trade completely globalized so very nation relies on every other nation for goods. That type of shared destiny is the only way to maintain peace because humans are tribalist to a fault. We evolved in small groups, our social dynamics are not well suited to large diverse groups. If nation has food but nation B does not, nation B will go to war with nation A, so hopefully both nations trade and alleviate that situation. Nations with high economic isolation are beset by famines and poverty. Germany usually beats China in total exports and Germany is a wonderful place to live. It's not globalization that is the problem, it's exploitation and failure of our leaders to follow and enforce the Golden Rule.
BelieveItsTrue -> Ubermensch1, 2016-09-25 23:00:58
Roll out the barrel.....
Well said and you are so right.
15 years ago, I had a conversation in an airport with an American. I remarked that, by outsourcing manufacturing to China the US had sold its future to an entity that would prove to be their enemy before too long. I was derided and ridiculed. I wonder where that man is and whether he remembers our conversation.

Globalisation is another word for one world government and all that brings, one currency, one police force, taxation, dissolution of borders, an end to sovereignty and all of our hard won freedoms. Freedom is a thing of the past, with MSM owned by the globalist elites, enforcing a moratorium on truth, and a population that has no idea what is going on behind the scenes.

I despair of "normalcy bias" and the insulting term "conspiracy theorist". People have lost the ability to work things out for themselves and the majority knows nothing about Agenda 21 aka Sustainable Development Goals 2030, until the land grabs start and private ownership is outlawed.

Heaven help us.

KhusroK, 2016-09-25 21:33:12
... the study also suggests that, if war cannot be avoided, the US might be best advised to strike first, before China gets any stronger and the current US military advantage declines further ..

Another brilliant thought from Rand; when in doubt, shoot from the hip ....

Zhubajie1284 -> KhusroK, 2016-09-25 23:45:45
They tell their employers what they want to hear.
freeandfair -> KhusroK, 2016-09-26 01:04:05
Do Americans not realize that Chinese and Russians read this too and plan accordingly? This is madness. I am fairly certain preemptive strikes are against international law. Why nobody has the guts to call the US out on this kind of illegal warmongering?
KhusroK, 2016-09-25 21:24:54
1. With respect, Mr Tidsall is badly off track in painting China as the one evil facing an innocent world.

2. The fact is that US' belief in and repeated resort to force has created a huge mess in the Middle East, brought true misery to millions, and truly thrown Europe in turmoil in the bargain.

3. Besides this Middle East mess, the US neoliberal economic policies have wreaked havoc, culminating in an unprecedented financial and economic crisis that has left millions all over the world without any hope for the future

4. Hence Mr Tidsall's pronouncement:

This dilemma – how to work constructively with a powerful, assertive China without compromising or surrendering national interests – grows steadily more acute.


Ought to read:

This dilemma – how to work constructively with a powerful, assertive United States without compromising or surrendering national interests – grows steadily more acute.

5. US would be better advised to focus on its growing social problems, evident in the growing random killings, police picking on blacks, etc, and on its fast decaying infrastructure. We now read that China has the fastest computer, the largest telescope, etc, whilst US just kills and kills all over the world.

6. Mr Tidsall, may I request that you kindly focus on realities rather than come up with opinion that approaches science fiction

5566hh -> KhusroK, 2016-09-25 22:50:58
I agree that Mr Tisdall's treatment of the US is somewhat naive and ignorant. However couldn't it be that both countries are capable of aggression and assertiveness? The US's malign influence is mainly focussed on the Middle East and North Africa region, while China's is on its neighbours. China's attitude to Taiwan is pure imperialism, as is its treatment of dissenting voices on the mainland and in Hong Kong. China's contempt for international law and the binding ruling by the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal is also deeply harmful to peace and justice in the region and worldwide.

We now read that China has the fastest computer, the largest telescope, etc, whilst US just kills and kills all over the world.

Very superficial indeed - compare, just as one example, the number of Nobel prizes won by American scientists recently with those by Chinese. The US is still, in general, far ahead of China in terms of scientific research (though China is making rapid progress). (That is not intended to excuse US killing of course.)

BelieveItsTrue -> KhusroK, 2016-09-25 23:07:25
Oh well said. At least someone understands how the it works.
freeandfair -> KhusroK, 2016-09-26 01:06:32
The US follows the USSR path of increasingly ignoring the needs of its own population in order to retain global dominance. It will end the same as the USSR. That which cannot continue will not continue.
wumogang, 2016-09-25 20:23:25

Xi is not looking for a fight. His first-choice agent of change is money, not munitions. According to Xi's "One Belt, One Road" plan, his preferred path to 21st-century Chinese hegemony is through expanded trade, business and economic partnerships extending from Asia to the Middle East and Africa. China's massive Silk Road investments in central and west Asian oil and gas pipelines, high-speed rail and ports, backed by new institutions such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, are part of this strategy, which simultaneously encourages political and economic dependencies. Deng Xiaoping once said to get rich is glorious. Xi might add it is also empowering.

The most realistic assessment on Xi and China.

The dilemma is clear: amid rising nationalism in both countries, China is not willing to have its ambitions curbed or contained and the US is not ready to accept the world number two spot. These two juggernauts are on a collision course.

A Grim and over-paranoid predicament: US is not in decline and need not worry about China's "ambition"; China is well aware it remains a poor nation compared to developed world and is decades behind of US in military, GDP per capital and science, that is not including civil liberty, citizen participation, Gov't transparency and so on. China is busy building a nation confident of its culture and history, military hegemony plays no part of its dream.
BelieveItsTrue -> wumogang, 2016-09-25 23:14:42

US is not in decline and need not worry about China's "ambition"

Oh come on, $20 Trillion in debt and with Social Security running out of money, there will be no more to lend the government.

China has forged an agreement with Russia for all its needs in oil ( Russia has more oil than Saudi Arabia) and payment will not be in US dollars. Russia will not take US$ for trade and the BRICS nations will squeeze the US$ out of its current situation as reserve currency. When the dollars all find their way back to the USA hyperinflation will cause misery.

Zhubajie1284 -> wumogang, 2016-09-25 23:49:17
The US sure looks in decline. Bridges falling into rivers, tens of millions homeless. Yet some how our elites can always find money for another war.
Riverdweller, 2016-09-25 19:33:09
Before the Chinese or anyone else gets any ideas, they should reflect on the size of the US defence budget, 600 billion dollars in 2015, and consider what that might imply in the event of conflict.
fragglerokk -> Riverdweller, 2016-09-25 20:14:35
a third of that budget goes in profit for the private companies they employ to make duds like the F35 - so you can immediately reduce that to 400 billion. The US have been fighting third world countries for 50 years, and losing, their military is bloated, out of date and full of retrograde gear that simply wont cut it against the Russians. Privately you would find that most top line military agree with that statement. They also have around 800 bases scattered world wide, spread way too thin. Its why theyve stalled in Ukraine and can't handle the middle east. The Russians spend less than $50 billion but have small, highly mobile forces, cutting edge missile defence systems (which will have full airspace coverage by 2017). The Chinese policy of A2D/AD or access denial has got the US surface fleet marooned out in the oceans as any attempt to get close enough to be effective would be met with a hail of multiple rocket shedding war heads. The only place where it is probable (but my no means certain) that the US still has the edge is in submarine warfare, although again if the Russians and Chinese have full coverage of their airspace nothing (or little) would get through.
Two theorys are in current operation about the election and the waring factions in the NSA and the CIA. 1) HRC wins but is too much of a warmonger and would push america into more wars they simply cannot win 2) there is a preference for Trump to win amongst the MIC because he would (temporarily) seek 'peace' with the Russians thus giving the military the chance to catch up - say in 3 or 4 years - plus all the billions and billions of dollars that would mean for them.

Overwhelming fire power no longer wins wars, the US have proved that year in year out since the end of the second world war, theyve lost every war theyve started/caused/joined in. Unless you count that limited skirmish on British soil in Grenada - and I guess we could call Korea a score draw. The yanks are bust and they know it, the neocons are all bluster and idiots like Breedlove, Power and Nuland are impotent because they don't have right on their side or the might to back it up. The US is mired in the middle east, locked out of asia and would grind to halt in Europe against the Russians. (every NATO wargame simulation in the last 4 years has conclusively shown this) Add to that the fact that the overwhelming majority of US citizens dont have the appetite for a conventional war and in the event of a nuclear war the US would suffer at least as much as Europe and youve got a better picture of where we are at.

goenzoy -> Riverdweller, 2016-09-25 20:48:37
Well it is just ABOUT money.Also during Vietnam and Iraq war US was biggest spender.
Nobody in US still thinks that Vietnam war was a good idea and the same applies to Iraq.Iraq war will be even in history books for biggest amount spend to achieve NOTHING.
Mrpavado -> Riverdweller, 2016-09-25 21:30:20
Chinese military spending is at least on a par with American. A huge part of American military money goes to personnel salary while China does NOT pay to Chinese soldiers for their service as China holds a compulsory military service system.
Liang1a, 2016-09-25 19:24:05
This article assumes China is evil and the US is the righteous protector of all nations in the SE Asian region against the evil China which is obviously out to destroy the hapless SE Asian nations. This assumption is obviously nonsense. The US itself is rife with racial problems. Everybody has seen what it had done to Vietnam. Nobody believes that a racist US that cares nothing for the welfare of its own black, Latino and Asian population will actually care for the welfare of the same peoples outside of the US and especially in SE Asia.

The truth is China is not the evil destroyer of nations. The truth is the US is the evil destroyer of nations. The US has brought nothing but bloodshed and destruction to the SE Asian regions for the last 200 years. The US had killed millions of Filipinos during it colonial era. The US had killed millions of Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. The US had incited pogroms against the ethnic Chinese unceasingly. The May 13 massacre in Malaysia, the anti-Chinese massacres in the 1960's and the 1990's in Indonesia, and many other discrimination and marginalization of ethnic Chinese throughout the entire SE Asia are all the works of the US. It is the US that is the killer and destroyer.

Therefore, it is a good thing that the evil intents of the US had failed. With the all but inevitable rise of China, the influence of the Japanese and the americans will inevitably wane. The only danger to China is the excessive xenocentrism of the Dengist faction who is selling out China to these dangerous enemies. If the CPC government sold out China's domestic economy, then China will become a colony of the Japanese and americans without firing a single shot. And the Chinese economy will slide into depression as it had done in the Qing Dynasty and Chinese influence in the SE Asian region will collapse.

Therefore, the task before the CPC government is to ban all foreign businesses out of China's domestic economy, upgrade and expand China's education and R&D, urbanize the rural residents and expand the Chinese military, etc. With such an independent economic, political and military policies, China will at once make itself the richest and the most powerful nation in the world dwarfing the Japanese and American economies and militaries. China can then bring economic prosperity and stability to the SE Asian region by squeezing the evil Japanese and americans out of the region.

mark john Mcculloch , 2016-09-25 19:22:11
Lets be honest what has Obama achieved,he got the Nobel peace prize for simply not being George Bush Jr he has diplayed a woeful lack of leadership with Russia over Syria Libya and the Chinese Simply being the first African American president will not be a legacy
outfitter, 2016-09-25 18:54:08
Do you know of one Leninist state that ever built a prosperous modern industrial nation? Therein lies the advantage and the problem with China. China is totally export dependant and therefore its customers can adversely affect its economy - put enough chinese out of work and surely political instability will follow. A threatened dictatorship with a large army, however, is a danger to its neighbors and the world.
fragglerokk -> outfitter, 2016-09-25 20:26:17
China are now net consumers. You need to read up on whats happening, not from just the western press. They are well on their way to becoming the most powerful nation on earth, they have access (much like Russia) to over two thirds of the population of the worlds consumers and growing (this is partially why sanctions against Russia have been in large part meaningless) China will never want for buyers of their products (the iphone couldnt be made without the Chinese) with the vast swaithes of unplumbed Russian resources becoming available to them its hard to see how the west can combat the Eurasians. The wealth is passing from west to east, its a natural cycle the 'permanant growth' monkies in the west have been blind to by their own greed and egotism. Above all the Chinese are a trading nation, always seeking win/win trading links. The west would be better employed trading and linking culturally with the Chinese rather than trying to dictate with military threats. The west comprises only 18% of the global population and our growth and wealth is either exhausted or locked away in vaults where it is doing no one any good. Tinme to wise up or get left behind.
deetrump, 2016-09-25 18:17:06
Tisdall...absolute war-monger and neo-con "dog of war". Is this serious journalism? The rise of China was as inevitable as the rise of the US in the last century..."no man can put a stop to the march of a nation". It's Asias century and it's not the first time for China to be the No 1 economy in the world. They have been here before and have much more wisdom than the west...for too long the tail has wagged the dog...suck it up Tisdall!
Dante5, 2016-09-25 17:56:56
The US grand strategy post-Bush was to reposition itself at the heart of a liberal economic system excluding China through TTIP with the EU and TPP with Asia-Pac ex. China and Russia. The idea was that this would enable the US to sustain its hegemony.

It has been an absolute failure. Brexit has torpedoed TTIP and TPP has limited value- the largest economy in the partnership, Japan, has been largely integrated in to the US for the past 70 years.

IMO the biggest failure of the US has been hating Russia too much. The Russians have just as much reason to be afraid of China as the US do and have a pretty capable army. If the US patched things up with the Russians, firstly it could redeploy forces and military effort away from the Middle East towards Asia Pac and secondly it would give the US effective leverage over China- with the majority of the oil producing nations aligned with the US, China would have difficulty in conducted a sustained conflict. It's old Cold War thinking that has seen America lose its hegemony- similar to how the British were so focused on stopping German ascendancy they didn't see the Americans coming with the knife.

Advaitya, 2016-09-25 17:54:49
America is reaping the fruits of what they sowed during the time of Reagan. It was never a good idea to outsource your entire manufacturing industry to a country that is a dictatorship and does not embrace western liberal democratic values. Now the Americans are hopelessly dependent on China - a country that does not play by the rules in any sphere - it censors free speech, it blatantly violates intellectual property, it displays hostile intent towards nearly all South East Asian countries, its friends include state sponsors of terror like Pakistan and North Korea, it is carefully cultivating the enemies of America and the west in general.

In no way, shape or form does China fulfill the criteria for being a trustworthy partner of the west. And yet today, China holds all the cards in its relationship with the west, with the western consumerist economies completely dependent on China. Moral of the story - Trade and economics cannot be conducted in isolation, separate from geopolitical realities. Doing so is a recipe for disaster.

Kamatron -> Advaitya, 2016-09-25 21:46:36
The arrogance is breathtaking.

Embrace western liberal values? Exactly what is that?

A sense of moral and ethical superiority?

Freedom to kill unarm black people?

Right to invade other countries?

Commit war crimes?

That kind of Western liberal values?

freeandfair -> Advaitya, 2016-09-26 01:15:38
The Us is reaping the results of its arrogance, you got that part right.
humdum, 2016-09-25 17:24:35
Mr Tisdall should declare his affiliation, if any, with the military-industrial complex.
It is surprising coming from a Briton which tried to contain Germany and fought two
wars destroying itself and the empire. War may be profitable for military-industrial complex
but disastrous for everyone else. In world war 2, USA benefited enormously by ramping
up war material production and creating millions of job which led to tremendous
prosperity turning the country around from a basket case in 1930s to a big prosperous power
which dominated the world till 2003.
Nuno Cardoso da Silva , 2016-09-25 17:16:24
US insistence on being top cat in a changing world will end up by dragging us all into a WW III. Why can't the US leave the rest of the world alone? Americans do not need a military presence to do business with the rest of the world and earn a lot of money with such trade. And they are too ignorant, too unsophisticate and too weak to be able to impose their will on the rest of us. The (very) ugly Americans are back and all we want is for them to go back home and forever remain there... The sooner the better...
HotPotato22, 2016-09-25 17:12:13
The world is going to look fantastically different in a hundred years time.

Points of world power will go back to where they was traditionally; Europe and Asia. America is a falling power, it doesn't get the skilled European immigrants it use to after German revolution and 2 world wars. And it's projected white population will be a minority by 2050. America's future lies with south America.

Australia with such a massive country but with a tiny population of 20million will look very attractive to China. It's future lies with a much stronger commonwealth, maybe a united military and economic commonwealth between the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Even without the EU, Europe is going to have to work together, including Russia to beat the Chinese militarily and economically. America will not be the same power in another 30-50 years and would struggle to beat them now.

China are expansionists, always have been. War is coming with them and North Korea sometime in the future.

Alex Wijaya, 2016-09-25 16:23:04
From the article above, it is clear who is the more dangerous power. While China is aiming to be the hegemon through economic means like the neo silk road projects, the US is aiming to maintain its hegemon status through military power. The US think thank even suggest to preemptive strike against China to achieve that. This is also the problem with US pivot to Asia, it may fail to contain China, but it didn't fail to poison the atmosphere in Asia. Asia has never been this dangerous since the end of cold war, all thanks to the pivot.
arbmahla -> Alex Wijaya, 2016-09-25 18:17:41
Obama is trying to maintain the status quo. China and N. Korea are the ones pushing military intimidation. The key to the US plan is to form an alliance between countries in the region that historically distrust each other. The Chinese are helping that by threatening everybody at the same time. Tisdall sees this conflict strictly as between the US and China. Obama's plan is to form a group of countries to counter China. Japan will have a major role in this alliance but the problem is whether the other victims of WW2 Japanese aggression will agree to it.
TheRealRadj -> arbmahla, 2016-09-25 18:23:24
With dozens of bases surrounding Russia and China and you call this status quo.
Fail.
CygniCygni, 2016-09-25 16:21:39
The US's disastrous foreign policy since 9/11 which has unleashed so much chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc etc... is not exactly a commendation for credibility these days.
CommieWealth, 2016-09-25 16:08:00
A useful summary of the state of play in the Pacific and SCS. It is somewhat hawkish in analysis, military fantasists will always be legion, they should be listened to with extra large doses of salt, or discussion of arguments which favour peaceful cooperation and development, such as trade, cultural relations, and natural stalemates. American anxiety at its own perception of decline, is at least as dangerous for the world as the immature expression of rising Chinese confidence. But the biggest problem it seems we face, is finding a way to accommodate and translate the aspirations of rising global powers with the existing order established post-45, in incarnated in the UN and other international bodies, in international maritime law as in our western notions of universal human rights. Finding a way for China to express origination of these ideas compatible with its own history, to be able to proclaim them as a satisfactory settlement for human relations, is an ideal, but apparently unpromising task.
BigPhil1959, 2016-09-25 15:46:39
Perhaps Samuel P Huntingdon was broadly correct when he wrote "The Clash of Civilizations" in the late 90's. He was criticized for his work by neo-liberals who believed that after the Cold War the rest of the world would follow the west and US in particular.

The problem with the neo-liberal view is that only their opinions on issues are correct, and all others therefore should be ridiculed. What has happened in Ukraine is a prime example. Huntingdon called the Ukraine a "cleft" country split between Russia and Europe. The EU and the US decided to stir up trouble in the Ukraine to get even with Putin over Syria. It was never about EU or NATO membership for the Ukraine which is now further away than ever.

A Trump presidency is regarded with fear. The Obama presidency has been a failure with regard to foreign policy and a major reason was because Clinton was Secretary of State in the 1st four years. In many ways a Clinton presidency is every bit as dangerous as a Trump presidency.

Certainly relations with Russia will be worse under Clinton than under Trump, and for the rest of the world that is not a good thing. To those that believe liek Clinton that Putin is the new Hitler, then start cleaning out the nuclear bunkers. If he is then WW3 is coming like it or not and Britain better start spending more on defence.

markwill89, 2016-09-25 15:41:59
Can people stop calling China a Communist state. It isn't. China is a corporatist dictatorship.
yelzohy -> markwill89, 2016-09-25 16:19:47
which serves only the top one tenth of one percent. Sounds familiar.
markwill89 -> yelzohy, 2016-09-25 16:23:29
The difference between the United States and China is striking. Try criticising the Chinese leadership in China and see where it gets you.
humdum -> markwill89, 2016-09-25 17:44:03
What does the criticism in USA get you? It is just blah blah blah. ONly criticism that matters is from the corporations and wealthy individuals like Koch bros and Sheldon Edelson and their ilk. Rest can watch football.
R_Ambrose_Raven, 2016-09-25 15:30:27
Never mind that a general, high-intensity war in Northern Asia would be disastrous for all involved, whatever the outcome. Never mind that much of the discussion about containing China is by warmongers urging such a conflict.

Never mind that very little depth in fact lies behind the shell of American and Japanese military strength, or that a competently-run Chinese government is well able to grossly outproduce "us" all in war materiel.

Never mind that those same warmongers and neocons drove and drive a succession of Imperial disasters; they remain much-praised centres of attention, just as the banksters and rentiers that are sucking the life from Americans have never had it so good.

Never mind that abbott encouraged violence as the automatic reaction to problems, while his Misgovernment was (while Turnbull to a lesser extent still is) working hard to destroy the economic and social strengths we need to have any chance of surmounting those problems.

Yes, it is a proper precaution to have a military strength that can deny our approaches to China. Unfortunately that rather disregards that "we" have long pursued a policy of globalisation involving the destruction of our both own manufacturing and our own merchant navy. Taken together with non-existent fuel reserves, "our" military preparations are pointless, because we would have to surrender within a fortnight were China to mount even a partial maritime blockade of Australia.

ID1726608, 2016-09-25 15:28:36
What I don't quite understand is how all this comes as any surprise to those in the know. China has been on target to be the #1 economic power in the world in this decade for at least 30 years.

And who made it so? Western capitalists. China is now not only the world's industrial heartbeat, it also owns a large proportion of Western debt - despite the fact that its differences with the West (not least being a one-party Communist state) couldn't be more obvious - and while I doubt it's in its interests to destabilise its benefactorrs at the moment, that may not always be the case.

It also has another problem: In fifty or sixty years time it is due to be overtaken by India, which gives it very little time to develop ASEAN in its own image; but I suspect that it's current "silk glove" policy is far smarter and more cost-effective than any American "iron fist".

heyidontknowman, 2016-09-25 15:18:23
The US is just worried about losing out on markets and further exploitation. They should have no authority over China's interest in the South China Sea. If China do rise to the point were they can affect foreign governments, they will unlikely be as brutal as the United States. [Indonesia 1964, Congo 1960s, Brazil 1964, Chile 1973, Central America 1980s, Egyptian military aid, Saudi support, Iraq 2003, the Structural Adjustments of the IMF]
Riaz Danish, 2016-09-25 15:14:17
Simon Tisdall and many Europeans as well as the US GOP party still thinks that US is an empire similar to what the British had in the 18th century. This assumption is completely wrong especially in the 21th century where Western Europe, Japan, Korea if they want can be spend their money and also become global military power.

While many Europeans and others including our current GOP party thinks we are the global empire and we should stick our nose everywhere, our people doesn't we are an empire or we should stick our nose in every trouble spot in the world spending our blood and treasure to fight others battles and get blame when everything goes wrong. President Obama doesn't think of himself as Julius Ceaser and America is not Rome.

He will be remembered as one of our greatest president ever setting a course for this country's foreign policy towards trying to solve the world's problems through alliances and cooperation with like minded countries as the opposite of the war mongering brainless, trigger happy GOP presidents. However when lesser powers who preach xenophobia and destabilize their neighborhood through annexation as the Hitler like Putin has, he comes down with a hammer using tools other than military to punish the aggressor.

All you need to do is watch what is happening to the Russian economy since he imposed sanctions to the Mafiso Putin.

This article is completely misleading and the author is constricting himself in his statement that Obama's pivot to Asia is a failure. Since China tried to annex the Islands near the Philippines, countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, India, etc. has ask the US for more cooperation both military and economically these countries were moving away from US under Bush and others so I think this is a win for Obama not a loss. Unlike the idiotic Russians, China is a clever country and is playing global chess in advancing her foreign policy goals. While the US cannot do anything with China's annexation of these disputed Islands has costs her greatly because the Asian countries effected by China's moves are running towards the US, this is a win for the US. China's popularity around her neighborhood has taken a nose dive similar to Russian's popularity around her neighborhood. These are long term strategic wins for the US, especially if Hillary wins the white house and carry's on Obama's mantel of speaking softly but carry a big stick. Obama will go down as our greatest foreign policy president by building alliances in Europe to try stop Mafioso Putin and alliances in Asia to curtail China's foreign policy ambitions. This author's thesis is pure bogus, because he doesn't indicate what Obama should have done to make him happy? Threaten Chine military confertation?
All you have to do is go back 8 years ago and compare our last two presidents and you can see where Obama is going.

NowheretoHideQC -> Riaz Danish, 2016-09-25 15:33:01
For the allusion to Rome, I think they act like the old empire when they had to send their army to keep the peace....and it is an empire of the 21 first century, not like the old ones (Assange).
Mormorola, 2016-09-25 15:06:09
Obama and Hillary foreign country policies have been disasters one after the other:

And you wish "that woman" to become your next president?

ElZilch0, 2016-09-25 14:54:23
China needs western consumerism to maintain its manufacturing base. If China's growth impacts the ability of the West to maintain its standard of consumerism, then China will need a new source of affluent purchaser. If China's own citizens become affluent, they will expect a standard of living commensurate with that status, accordingly China will not be able to maintain its manufacturing base.

So the options for China are:

a) Prop up western economies until developing nations in Africa and South America (themselves heavily dependent on the West) reach a high standard of consumerism.

b) Divide China into a ruling class, and a worker class, in which the former is a parasite on the latter.

The current tactic seems to be to follow option b, until option a becomes viable.

However, the longer option a takes to develop, and therefore the longer option b is in effect, the greater the chances of counter-revolution (which at this stage is probably just revolution).

The long and the short of it, is that China is boned.

russian, 2016-09-25 14:35:09
Being a large country surrounded by many other occasionally threatening powers, the governments' priority is and always has been defending its territorial integrity. China is happy enough to leave the command and conquer stuff, sorry "democratization" to the US.

It's got it's hands full at home. As long as the West doesn't try to get involved in what China sees as its historical territory (i.e. The big rooster shaped landmass plus Hainan and Hong Kong and various little islands) there's absolutely nothing to worry about.

Babeouf, 2016-09-25 14:32:26
Why did Obama say that his greatest regret was Libya.? Because Obama's policy is/was to manage the decline of US power. To manage the end of US hegemony. I doubt that Obama believes that any pivot to any where can restore or maintain US dominance on planet earth. There is absolutely nothing exceptional about a power not admitting publicly what is known to many,see the outpourings of the British elites during the end of its empire.
Lafcadio1944, 2016-09-25 14:11:59
As usual the Guardian is on its anti-China horse. Look through this article and every move China has made is "aggressive" or when it tries to expand trade (and produce win win economic conditions) it is "hegemonic" while the US is just trying to protect us all and is dealing with the "Chinese threat" -- a threat to their economic interests and global imperial hegemony is what they mean.

The US still maintains a "one China" policy and the status quo is exactly that "one China" It would be great for someone in the west to review the historical record instead of arming Taiwan to the teeth. Additionally, before China ever started its island construction the US had already begun the "pivot to Asia" which now is huge with nuclear submarines patrolling all around China, nuclear weapons on the - two aircraft carrier fleets now threatening China - very rare for the US to have two aircraft carrier fleets in the same waters - the B-1 long range nuclear bombers now in Australia, and even more belligerent the US intends to deploy THAAD missals in South Korea - using North Korea as an excuse to further seriously threaten China.

China wishes to expand trade and improve economic conditions for its people and for those with whom it trades. That is not aggression except when it interferes with US global economic hegemony.

Just look around the world - where are the conflicts - the middle east and Africa - who is there with military and arms sales and bombing seven countries -- is it China?

The most belligerent nation in the world the nation with its army in over 100 countries, the nation bombing and conducting perpetual war throughout the middle east, the country invading countries for "regime change" and creating only misery and death -- it is not China.

The US and its Neoliberal capitalist system must expand to grow - plus they clearly want total global domination - the US and its Imperial agents have encircled both China and Russia with trillions of dollars of the most destructive weapons in the world including nuclear weapons - do you thin they have done that for "security" if so you simply ignore the aggression and hubris of an Imperial US.

[Sep 10, 2016] As Resistance Mounts, TPP Becoming 2016 Elections Third Rail

Notable quotes:
"... Not only are "[v]ulnerable Senate Republicans are starting to side with Donald Trump (and Democrats) by opposing President Obama's signature trade deal," as the Washington Post ..."
Aug 29, 2016 | www.commondreams.org

As the White House prepares for its final " all-out push " to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress, lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle are being made vulnerable due to growing opposition to the controversial, corporate-friendly trade deal.

"[I]n 2016," the Guardian reported on Saturday, "America's faltering faith in free trade has become the most sensitive controversy in D.C."

Yet President Barack Obama "has refused to give up," wrote Guardian journalists Dan Roberts and Ryan Felton, despite the fact that the 12-nation TPP "suddenly faces a wall of political opposition among lawmakers who had, not long ago, nearly set the giant deal in stone."

... ... ...

Not only are "[v]ulnerable Senate Republicans are starting to side with Donald Trump (and Democrats) by opposing President Obama's signature trade deal," as the Washington Post reported Thursday, but once-supportive Dems are also poised to jump ship.

To that end, in a column this week, Campaign for America's Future blogger Dave Johnson listed for readers "28 House Democrat targets...who-in spite of opposition from most Democrats and hundreds of labor, consumer, LGBT, health, human rights, faith, democracy and other civil organizations-voted for the 'fast-track' trade promotion authority (TPA) bill that 'greased the skids' for the TPP by setting up rigged rules that will help TPP pass."

Of the list that includes Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), Jared Polis (Colo.), and Ron Kind (Wis.), Johnson wrote: "Let's get them on the record before the election about whether they will vote for TPP after the election."

[Sep 05, 2016] 'AIIB The First International Financial Institution of the 21st Century'

Economist's View

'AIIB: The First International Financial Institution of the 21st Century'

Cecchetti & Schoenholtz:
AIIB: The first international financial institution of the 21st century: ...What happens when official international financial institutions (IFIs) fail to respond to a changing environment? The same thing that happens to firms that stop innovating. New, more competitive institutions (firms) arise that compel them to change or – like dinosaurs – become extinct.
We may be witnessing this process of creative destruction right now. Last month, a group of 57 founding nations led by China signed the articles of agreement to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with an initial subscribed capital of $100 billion. While most of the G20 nations, including the big European states, Australia, and South Korea, are among the founding members, the United States, Japan, and Canada are noticeably not.
No one disputes the need for more official infrastructure funding... What we find the most interesting is that the AIIB founders didn't ask member countries to approve an expansion of either the World Bank or the ADB. Instead, they opted for a new organization altogether.
Why? The problem is institutional legitimacy arising from issues of power and governance. ...
The most glaring problem with the 20th century IFI's – the BIS, IMF, World Bank and the regional development banks – is representation. ... Perhaps most important are the veto rights. ...
Is the AIIB likely to do better? There are reasons to be hopeful. ...
Of course, the proof will be in the pudding. When the AIIB begins operations, observers will be watching closely whether these ideals are realized. ...
As economists, we like competition. If the AIIB meets the high standards its leaders espouse, it will heighten the pressure on the existing IFIs' political masters to change with the times. In addition, in light of numerous potential areas of conflict between China and the United States (think cyberspace and the South China Sea for starters), wouldn't we all benefit from having these two leading economies and governments instead focus their competitive energies on improving global infrastructure finance?
From this perspective, we see a powerful argument for the United States to do two things. First, the U.S. Congress should belatedly approve the IMF's 2010 Quota and Governance Reforms to signal its support for continued global economic and financial cooperation in coming decades. And second, after failing to stop the AIIB, and refusing to participate as a founding member, the United States should join the institution as soon as it can, participating actively in holding it to the highest 21st century standards.

Posted by on Monday, July 20, 2015 at 10:39 AM in Economics, International Finance, Politics | Permalink Comments (28)



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War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes

Bulletin:

Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law

History:

Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater’s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least


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Last modified: October, 01, 2017