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A recent, very good post at Naked Capitalism by Clive, suggests:

.  .  . Dear readers, you may think that writing to your elected representative, commenting negatively on articles you read in the mainstream media about the TPP and generally kicking up a bit of a fuss, making some noise, is a waste of effort. That is not so. The world does watch what goes on in the US. If popular sentiment is against something, the US government has a much harder job of convincing foreigners that it’s just them being awkward and reactionary and not getting the big, progressive, reform-minded, modernising picture.
I agree that this is a good proposal for one way the American public could register its objections to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with foreign leaders. But, I think that such letters ought also to point out that even if the TPP were railroaded successfully in the next few months, then it is unlikely to stick. After all, it is only a Treaty. Wouldn’t an electoral victory here by a movement dedicated to overturning corporate control of the political system, result in withdrawal from the TPP before any concrete legislation likely to conflict with it was passed by Congress?

The TPP is one of those things that would really engender paranoia here in the United States. In turn, this would become a continuing foundation for anti-government and second American Revolution buffs to use in building a much bigger movement.

After all, the TPP clearly compromises US sovereignty and Congress's ability to pass legislation approved by the heavy majority of Americans. There’s no way for the TPP to avoid perceived sovereignty violations, especially in the medium term. Each one of these incidents would be played up by nationalists and their protests would make good and continuing fodder for the media. The Treaty, in operation, would be a constant source of outrage. Over time, the anger against politicians and parties that passed the TPP is sure to build, and that anger will burst forth in one or more new nationalist movements that will first rival and then surpass what we've seen from the tea party.

So, other nations can legitimately be warned that agreement with the United States on the TPP would be the worst thing they can do if they care about political stability and a reasonable foreign policy emanating from the United States, since the medium term result of any such treaty is likely to be a wave of xenophobia and isolationism in the United States. The last thing that Asian nations need from the United States is that result; and the best thing they can do to get what they need least is to pass the TPP – the perfect political tool for the xenophobes and isolationists to use to build a radical nationalist movement.

Do other nations negotiating the TPP recognize this likely result yet? Do they really want to feed the underlying conditions for that kind of explosion in the United States? I doubt it. So, we need to inform them both of what American public opinion really thinks about the TPP right now, and also about the likely future of the TPP and American and international political stability if they follow the lead of the United States and pass the Treaty.

(Cross-posted from New Economic Perspectives.)

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Comment Preferences

  •  This sentence -- (7+ / 0-)
    Wouldn’t an electoral victory here by a movement dedicated to overturning corporate control of the political system, result in withdrawal from the TPP before any concrete legislation likely to conflict with it was passed by Congress?
    What would such a movement look like?  We can say for sure that no such movement arose, neither in the United States nor Canada nor Mexico, to disband NAFTA even given the harm it has done to the environment and to the jobs situation...

    "Why are there 40 million poor people in America? When you ask that question you begin to question the capitalistic economy."- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 08:32:38 PM PST

    •  It Would Look Like the Continental Congress, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, PhilK

      the original Tea Party and similar developments.

      A movement of domestic upper middle ownership that had enough of being crowded by global business and its foreign occupier ownership.

      Oh wait, it was a war not an electoral victory, and it was won by forces presently fighting with global business against the people.

      You're right, I don't think anyone knows what such a movement could be.

      Everybody with good idea for the United States starts with the day it has been transformed into a responsible democracy.

      Nobody anywhere at any time has presented a credible plan for how to get from this moment of the rising nobility and the declining masses, even as far as a 90° turn to halting the two trends at any given present position.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 08:53:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Clinton/Bush Administrations and the Fed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus, ItsaMathJoke

      masked dissatisfaction over the TPP with tech and Housing bubbles, and easy credit, raising the nominal value of homes and allowing them to be used as piggy banks. This shielded people from feeling the full negative effects of NAFTA until after the collapse of 2008. Also, the effects of the TPP on inequality and the daily lives of people will likely be much worse than NAFTA, and will create much greater violations of sovereignty. There WILL be  nationalist reaction. One question is: who will use it and how? I hope progressives use it to reduce economic inequality, rather than letting the Koch brothers use it to reinvigorate the tea party diversion toward fascism.

  •  Americans suffer from information deprivation. (7+ / 0-)

    They can't object to something they don't even know exists.  The information on the senate.gov website is over-the-top propaganda. I'm surprised they didn't include a banner that says Forget Jesus, Free-trade is your savior.
    It's that bad. Link. This stuff doesn't write itself. It's written to spec to advance an agenda.

    A week ago at the Senate Finance committee hearing, Sherrod Brown spoke about the provisions that provide an arbitration tribunal for businesses that object to the laws and regulations in the host country where they operate. He cited an example involving Philip Morris and Australia.

    2 of the 4 witnesses said they weren't knowledgeable enough to answer the question he asked them about this element of the agreements. What more does anyone need to know?

    If transparency would lead to widespread opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 08:51:49 PM PST

  •  xeno (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    A couple years ago we passed FTAs with Korea, Colombia and Panama, but we haven't seen more than the usual xenophobia.  I don't see how TPP engenders any different result.

    Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

    by Sky Net on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 08:52:10 PM PST

    •  Previous agreements (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox, aliasalias

      don't allow multinationals to sue in supranational global tribunals to overturn duly passed laws and collect enormous damages based on claims that these laws compromise their future profit potential. What if we wanted to pass a law limiting fossil fuel emissions radically, removing the oil depletion allowance, and simultaneously subsidizing solar and wind industries to accelerate the pace at which they would replace fossil fuel-based power? Under TPP, BP could sue the United States Government in an international closed proceedings tribunal for potential lost profits, perhaps in the Trillions of dollars. If they won, the cost of paying them off would color our fiscal policy for God knows how long, and be completely disruptive of our politics.

      •  Previous agreements (0+ / 0-)

        Have the exact same provisions.  

        Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

        by Sky Net on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 03:45:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, (0+ / 0-)

          all reports on TPP, say its provisions are much worse and more comprehensive than previous agreements.

          •  Afraid not (0+ / 0-)

            You said previous trade agreements didn't allow investors to sue in arbitration tribunals.  That's untrue.  You obviously weren't aware of it before, so I don't know how you suddenly know that the investor-state provisions in TPP are "worse" than in previous agreements.

            At any rate, my point still stands.  There's nothing substantially different in the TPP from other trade agreements so I certainly wouldn't expect any different reaction post-TPP that you've seen after other FTAs passed.

            Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

            by Sky Net on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 04:16:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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