EU/U.S. — Transatlantic Convergence

21 Aug

The News American – by William F. Jasper Flying largely under the radar, the first round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) took off July 8 through 12 in Washington, D.C. Although most Americans have barely heard of TTIP — if they’ve heard of it at all — this plan for economic and political merger of the United States and the European Union will assume ever greater urgency over the next year as the negotiation process concludes and we move closer and closer to a vote in Congress. The divisive national debate over NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) a decade ago provides a preview of the tumult to come. But, as with NAFTA, before any national “debate” is allowed to occur on TTIP, its advocates want to be sure they have already built up an unstoppable momentum. This strategy succeeded with NAFTA, though barely; once the American public began to learn what was in the agreement, the Clinton White House and NAFTA proponents in Congress had to resort to all-out deception, bribery, and political arm-twisting and logrolling to push it through. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could face even stiffer opposition, once knowledge of it gets out. Thus, its proponents have been busy creating what will appear to be widespread consensus in favor of TTIP — by lining up (and buying up) support from Big Business, Big Labor, Big Banking, Big Green, and Big Media — before average Americans even learn that this transatlantic freight train is about to run over them. The first public notice most of us got that the TTIP Express was headed our way was President Obama’s televised State of the Union address on February 12, 2013, in which he stated: And tonight, I’m announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union — because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs. The following day, on February 13, President Obama followed through on this commitment, joining European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to announce the initiation of TTIP negotiations. On June 17, at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Ireland, President Obama joined British Prime Minister David Cameron and Messrs. Barroso and Van Rompuy to again pitch the jobs-and-prosperity promise in a press conference to boost the TTIP. Van Rompuy gave a hint as to the deeper nature of the proposed EU-U.S. partnership. “The positive ramifications will even go beyond the economy as such,” he said. “We are making our economies all over the world more interdependent.” For those familiar with globospeak, “interdependent” and “interdependence” are instantly recognized as favorite terms of one-world activists who abhor national independence and sovereignty. It is the basis of “The Project” — which is how EU insiders refer to their burgeoning superstate. Although it was originally sold to the public of the six original member nations merely as a coal and steel collective, the architects had planned from the beginning to keep “widening” (adding more member states) and “deepening” (usurping more and more national powers). The deepening process involves “integration” and “harmonization,” which means completely intertwining the economies, political structures, policies, laws and regulations, and bringing them all under the authority of the EU institutions. Barroso provided another hint, stating that the TTIP is “a powerful demonstration of our determination to shape an open and rules-based world.” Yes, but many observers would point out that if we are to go by the “rules-based” model imposed on the EU by Barroso and his confreres, we are talking about arbitrary international rules that will be fashioned by faceless, unaccountable international rule-makers, and enforced by international bureaucrats, regulators, and tribunals. Václav Klaus, the Czech economist and president of the Czech Republic from 2003 to 2013, has repeatedly blasted the EU for fastening a new form of the Soviet system onto Europe. “Instead of dismantling socialism,” he said in a September 1, 2002 speech at Aix-en-Provence, France, “we have got … more sophisticated, more hidden and more intensive methods of government intervention and regulation, the ever-increasing size and scope of the welfare state, multiculturalism and political correctness. This is not a great victory.” What was begun under the pretext of facilitating the free movement of goods and people, President Klaus noted, “has been — slowly but surely — convened into the formation of a supranational European state aiming at centralization of power in Brussels, at elimination of European nation states and at socializing Europe.” Was President Klaus exaggerating? Not at all. Even former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev agrees, but, unlike Klaus, Gorbachev approves of the integration and socializing of Europe. In a speech in London in 2000, Gorbachev referred to the evolving EU as “the new European Soviet.” An EU-U.S. “Rolling Collective”? There is no question that the deepening integration of the European Union has brought about huge centralization of power in Brussels — and a corresponding diminution of the powers of national, state, and local governments over remits they once governed. And there is little question that the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Council, and other EU institutions are dominated by socialists, Greens, and other “progressives” — and have been from the start. The Socialist Group was one of the first political party groupings to form in 1953 in the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which evolved into the European Economic Community (EEC), which evolved into the European Community (EC), which evolved into the European Union (EU). The Common Assembly evolved into the European Parliament. The Socialist Group, which has gone through multiple name changes, has been the largest bloc in the European Parliament throughout most of that history. It is currently the second largest; together with the Greens and collectivists in the other parties, they still represent the dominant ideology, regardless of the labels. European Commission President Barroso is emblematic of the statist pedigree and mentality that is all too prevalent throughout the EU institutions. As a student leader, he was a militant Maoist, a radical in the mold of terrorist-cum-professor Bill Ayers (in words if not in deeds). As president of the EU Commission, he has continued the Soviet-style authoritarian and secretive rule of that institution, ignoring and defying the calls for transparency and representation that he claims to uphold and that the EU claims to revere. This is a style of governance that fits President Obama perfectly, since, as evidenced by his words and actions, he clearly adheres to a communitarian/socialist ideology and believes he is entitled to ignore Congress and legislate by executive order. (Not that he is completely unique in this; his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — and others before them — also shared this autocratic tendency.) All this being open knowledge, how plausible is it that Barroso’s EU deputation and Obama’s U.S. contingent will together craft a TTIP that is anything other than a socialist-tilted program that mimics the autocratic EU? We have already seen the official categories of issues that this “trade” agreement purports to deal with, and to say that it is exceedingly broad is to sin by understatement. This list alone (which we will go over, forthwith) betokens the type of transnational meddling and intrusion in national and local matters that have been the cause of so much concern throughout the EU about the “Brussels dictatorship.” Neither the American public, nor our elected representatives in Congress, have had access to the secretive negotiation process or the negotiated texts. As with NAFTA and ObamaCare, we will be handed a hopelessly complex and incomprehensible hodgepodge of hundreds (or thousands) of pages, with additional side agreements, amendments, understandings, clarifications, addendums, etc., and then we’ll be subjected to a high-pressure campaign to pass this concoction so as not to jeopardize our opportunities to participate in the supposed bonanzas it offers. Remember Nancy Pelosi’s infamous ObamaCare argument: “We have to pass it so we can find out what’s in it.” Expect more of the same when TTIP is finally unveiled. Privileged “stakeholders” — representatives of business, labor, and environmental groups — have been given inside seats at the TTIP table. Despite all the talk of transparency, the

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