Must read article by Eric Zuesse on Washington’s Blog today concerning the Trans-Atlantic Trade Pact or whatever name it goes under these days and how it would undermine any remaining traces of democracy pretty much everywhere. See this as well.
This isn’t about free trade at all. It’s about imposed trade, if the word “trade” can even be used in this context. It’s about allowing large corporate entities to have more of a say in the daily lives of the people in the signatory countries to this abomination than their own governments. If signed, Europe will be inundated with even more of what passes for food in the US. As if McDonald’s, Starbuck’s, KFC, and the recently re-opened BurgerKing franchises weren’t enough ( see this and this ), Europe risks losing its protections against an invasion of GMOs and the toxic factory-farmed meat and poultry products of which the US seems so proud.
It’s a crystal clear example of how the US has managed to increase its hegemony over Europe, using the creation of EU to eliminate as much democracy as possible and then pretty much controlling (or attempting to do so) everything that happens in Brussels. As Stiglitz points out in the first link above, sure, any country can pass a law prohibiting toxic products or practices as long as they are willing to write billion dollar checks to the corporations as compensation for future lost profits. That’s the point of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) part of the treaty. How’s that for a protection racket?
Cecile Malström, European commissioner for Commerce, tried defending the treaty by saying that Europe can still pass laws to protect itself from large scale abuses, but as Stiglitz and others point out, the fact that ISDS is included in the treaty, Europe can pass all the laws it wants as long as it pays for passing those laws. That’s the kind of under-handed “defense” of Europe that Brussels provides, trying to persuade “the People” that Brussels is working for them. Yeah. Right.
In a sense, it’s the classic military “pincer movement” used in an economic sense. If both the TPP and the TIPP are signed, the US will have surrounded the planet with treaties that will force costs down even lower than they already are, playing one area of the planet against the other, reducing labor to serfdom, increasing the already glaring inequalities apparent worldwide, reinforcing dollar hegemony and the grip of an ever-decreasing number of individuals over world commerce.
Were “Europe” still a continental grouping of independent countries, each with its linguistic and cultural heritages intact, able to confront, each one in its own way, the menace of junk food and junk politics, able, via the available technology, to communicate amongst themselves without the intermediary of a corrupt central entity in Brussels, the US, given its incredible cultural ignorance, would have a much more difficult time in trying to establish its nefarious policies. This is the Achilles Heel of US foreign policy. It no longer knows about, is curious about, or cares about what goes on in the rest of the world. It treats the entire planet as it treated the New World. As la Clinton so eloquently cackled concerning the murder of Gaddafi: “We came. We saw. He died.”
That’s where we’re headed.