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.
Photo by GlobalTradeWatch, used under Creative Commons license