The first round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations has been proceeding this week (July 8 through 12) in Washington, D.C. largely under the radar. Although there has been relatively little coverage of the confab thus far, European and American officials and privileged “stakeholders” are busily negotiating agreements on a host of issues that would, if adopted, radically transform America.
The TTIP is being billed as a trade agreement and marketed by the Obama administration and corporate sponsors as an initiative that will almost magically create millions of jobs and usher in wave after wave of innovation and prosperity. But as we have reported in our in-depth look at TTIP, “Secretly Trading Away Our Independence,” there is a stealth agenda behind this “trade” agreement; the ultimate aim of the TTIP promoters is the economic and political merger of the United States with the European Union. They say so in their own words, though usually not in forums for the general public.
“In TTIP, we have the opportunity to accomplish something very significant for our economies, for our relationship, and for the global trading system as a whole,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman at the opening plenary session on July 8. Froman continued:
We have an opportunity to spur growth and to generate significant increases in the already substantial number of jobs supported by transatlantic trade and investment.
We have the opportunity to complement one of the greatest alliances of all time with an equally compelling economic relationship.
And we have the opportunity to work together to establish and enforce international norms and standards that will help inform and strengthen the multilateral, rules-based trading system.
In the last sentence above, we catch a glimpse of the real purpose of the current negotiations: “to establish and enforce international norms and standards” and “strengthen the multilateral, rules-based trading system.” International rules, with international enforcement.
As we have reported previously, the clear goal of the architects of the TTIP is to ensnare the United States in the same ever-tightening process of economic and political integration and convergence that has transformed Europe from a continent of independent nation-states into a supranational federation ruled by unelected and unaccountable oligarchs in Brussels, unrestrained by any constitutional impediments. When this process began in Europe decades ago, following World War II, wise observers warned that the promised trade benefits were a ruse to hide the real fact that every step forward along this path was a step for centralizing and concentrating power, while simultaneously stripping away local autonomy and national sovereignty. (See “United States of Europe.”)
Now the nations of the European Union are trapped, and many of its citizens are trying desperately to extricate their countries from the tightening EU noose. They are being forced to pay for bailouts for the big banks, corporations, unions, and government boondoggles. They are being forced to accept regulations dictated by Brussels bureaucrats over all areas of their lives.
The same kind of micro-managing-by-bureaucracy is being planned for the EU-U.S. “partnership.” Here is a list of the areas that are being negotiated in the current round of TTIP talks, as listed by the U.S. Trade Representative’s website:
Agricultural Market Access
Customs and Trade Facilitation
Electronic Commerce and Telecommunications
Energy and Raw Materials
Environment Financial Services
Intellectual Property Rights
Market Access and Industrial Goods Tariffs
Regulatory Coherence and Transparency
Rules of Origin
Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures
Sectoral Annexes/Regulatory Cooperation
Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
As sweepingly broad as this list may seem, we can be sure that it is merely a start, as the EU experience has plainly shown; if allowed to be established, it would soon mushroom to cover virtually every aspect of life.
Privileged “Stakeholders”: Phony “Transparency” and “Consensus”
Who are the folks crafting this new transatlantic “relationship”? In addition to government officials (led, for the United States, by the U.S. trade representative and the State, Treasury and Commerce Departments), an assortment of corporate, industry, trade association, and NGO activist “stakeholders” have been assigned special rights at the negotiating table. These include:
Friends of the Earth
Humane Society of the U.S./ Humane Society International
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
Consumer Federation of America
Public Citizen's Global Access to Medicines Program
Center for Science in the Public Interest
These and other left-tilting groups are supposedly balanced by the following stakeholder organizations, which are usually described as “pro-market”:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
National Manufacturing Association
American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers
Grocery Manufacturers Association
Computer & Communications Industry Association
American Association of Exporters & Importers
While many of the players in this supposedly diverse cast will hold clashing opinions on a multitude of issues, they tend to agree on one fundamental issue: global governance, which is merely a euphemism for global government. The one side wants to see a global regime that would enforce global environmental and social policy, while the other seeks the alleged benefits of a global regime that would make regulations uniform and easier for businesses to navigate. Both are willing to sacrifice national sovereignty and all that goes with it — the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, checks and balances, states' rights —to obtain their Holy Grails. It does not appear that there is a single organization among the assembled TTIP stakeholders to represent the interests of national sovereignty and independence as bonafide goods worthy of contending for.
Some of the stakeholder organizations give the appearance of championing national sovereignty while actually pushing for even greater global controls. Regular readers of The New American will not be surprised to find Lori Wallach among the TTIP’s controlled opposition. As we pointed out more than a decade ago (“Organized Anarchy”), when Wallach was put forward as the leading opponent of the World Trade Organization, her main problem with the WTO is that she wants it to have more power over more areas of our lives! Wallach represents Global Trade Watch, a subsidiary of Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen. The Ford Foundation, a primary source of funding for numerous radical groups, has been one of the principal funders for Global Trade Watch.
Interdependence vs. Independence
On June 19, just two weeks before America’s Independence Day this year, and three weeks before the start of the current TTIP round, The National Interest, a neoconservative journal appealing to a wide array of Beltway policy elites, published an article entitled “A New Declaration of Interdependence” arguing for quick passage of TTIP. The article was co-authored by Aart De Geus, chairman and CEO of the Bertelsmann Foundation, and Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. Both organizations are major boosters of the EU, TTIP, and most other globalist projects. Kempe is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which has been the principal brain trust in the United States pushing for world government for most of the past century.
The highly influential CFR journal Foreign Affairs has likewise been busy lobbying for TTIP support among public policy and business elites. A July 10 Foreign Affairs article, “Getting to Yes on Transatlantic Trade,” and earlier articles such as “For Transatlantic Trade, This Time Is Different” and “Reviving the West: For an Atlantic Union”, are an integral part of the massive CFR lobbying offensive now underway to marshal support for TTIP, building toward votes in Congress on the matter next year.
United States of Europe (A prophetic warning from nearly a quarter century ago)