Balance: Both Left and Right angry with Obama on trade
posted at 1:46 pm on June 13, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Barack Obama came to Washington to be a uniter … and he succeeded in this case, although not in the manner he promised. Two stories on trade have partisans on both sides of the political divide angry at the President. The administration’s position on the proposed Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) — a costly giveaway of American sovereignty — prompted Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) to accuse the White House of attempting to pass a back-door Kyoto protocol, while setting up US businesses for massive international lawsuits:
LOST was rejected by the Reagan administration 30 years ago and never received enough Senate support under former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush to be ratified, but the internationalists in the Obama administration finally see the opportunity to muster enough votes for LOST during the lame-duck session after the November elections — the same way they rammed through the New START nuclear arms treaty following their disastrous 2010 elections.
Ratifying LOST not only means losing national sovereignty, it means losing jobs. If the United States enters this agreement, it would mean giving up billions in oil-and-gas royalties to be redistributed among developing and landlocked nations — some of whom are state sponsors of terror — and subjecting the United States to international climate change lawsuits. …
Although the treaty is meant to establish a set of rules regarding the oceans, only a few pages of it deal with purely navigational concerns. The bulk of the 288-page treaty does things like establish a new international bureaucracy in Jamaica to collect and redistribute royalties on offshore oil drilling and force the United States into international arbitration for environmental disputes.
During a recent Senate hearing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked how LOST would regulate American carbon emissions. Clinton claimed it wouldn’t, but she didn’t appear to consider several portions of the treaty that condemn and place sanctions on pollution — even those coming from land-based sources.
While conservatives fulminate over the re-emergence of LOST and its concessions, the Left is expressing outrage over a leaked document in Pacific Rim economic negotiations. The White House has apparently abandoned the pledges it made to unions and environmentalists in attempting to forge a new Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. One humanitarian group went so far as to claim that Obama turned out to be worse than George Bush on trade:
The newly leaked document is one of the most controversial of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. It addresses a broad sweep of regulations governing international investment and reveals the Obama administration’s advocacy for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws. …
Yet nearly all of those vows are violated by the leaked Trans-Pacific document. The one that is not contravened in the present document — regarding access to life-saving medication — is in conflict with a previously leaked document on intellectual property (IP) standards.
“Bush was better than Obama on this,” said Judit Rius, U.S. manager of Doctors Without Borders Access to Medicines Campaign, referring to the medication rules. “It’s pathetic, but it is what it is. The world’s upside-down.”
In this case, the Left and Right might agree even more closely. The pact would also remove jurisdiction over complaints against American companies from American courts, and would not impose the same requirements on foreign companies:
Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings.
Yeah, that sounds like a great deal for America. This is “smart power”?