Thursday, 19 April 2018

Trump Walks Back Pro-TPP Remarks, Touts Bilateral Deals

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After suggesting last week that the U.S. government would seek to rejoin the sovereignty-shredding Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), President Donald Trump took to social media on April 18 to slam the controversial “free trade” regime that he once described as the “rape of our country.” Instead, Trump is seeking a bilateral agreement with remaining Pacific-rim governments such as Japan. Grassroots conservatives celebrated the announcement. But establishment voices were less than happy about it.

Writing after a meeting at his Mar-a-Lago estate with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump suggested he was still opposed to TPP and preferred a bilateral trade deal with Japan. “While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don’t like the deal for the United States,” Trump said, to the delight of his base. “Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers. Look how bad WTO is to U.S.”

The latest announcement on TPP came after a series of news reports quoting comments from lawmakers and officials suggested that Trump was hoping to re-join TPP — a scheme he campaigned against and withdrew from almost immediately upon taking office, drawing bipartisan support. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who campaigned as a constitutional conservative but has often sided with neocons and globalists, even claimed that Trump had ordered his top economic officials to “get it done,” referring to re-joining TPP.

“President Trump said he was deputizing [economic adviser Larry] Kudlow and [U.S. Trade Representative Robert] Lighthizer to look at reentering TPP negotiations,” Senator Sasse was quoted as telling Fox News after a meeting at the White House last week in which pro-TPP lawmakers and officials tried to pressure the president. “President Trump looked at Larry Kudlow and said, ‘Get it done.’”

Whether those words were actually spoken remains unclear, as others who have commented on the incident had somewhat different recollections of it. But virtually everybody who was in the meeting and was quoted in the establishment press afterward did say that Trump had at the very least expressed interest in exploring the possibility of re-joining the transnational “trade” scheme. And it seems that almost everybody in the meeting was at least wishing that to be true.  

“The best thing the United States can do to push back against Chinese cheating now is to lead the other eleven Pacific nations that believe in free trade and the rule of law,” Sasse said in a statement, either obliviously or deceitfully ignoring the fact that the Communist Chinese regime has been invited to join TPP by top U.S. officials such as then-Secretary of State John Kerry. “It is good news that today, the President directed Larry Kudlow and Ambassador Lighthizer to negotiate U.S. entry into TPP.”    

If true, it may have been good news for globalists hoping to undermine self-government and national sovereignty while imposing what then-U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions referred to as a European Union-styled Pacific Union over the United States and the 11 other nations in TPP. Establishment media organs and top globalists were celebrating. But for Trump's base, grassroots conservatives, constitutionalists, workers, labor unions, advocates of U.S. independence, and others, it was received as a devastating blow.

Perhaps sensing the mood among his supporters, Trump quickly took to Twitter after those media reports to clarify his stance and express his preference for bilateral deals. “Would only join TPP if the deal were substantially better than the deal offered to Pres. Obama,” Trump said that day, as his aides tried to tamp down expectations on TPP. “We already have BILATERAL deals with six of the eleven nations in TPP, and are working to make a deal with the biggest of those nations, Japan, who has hit us hard on trade for years!”  

Establishment media outlets such as CNBC reported the latest news by citing alleged “experts” who claimed Trump could “take on China's unfair trade practices” and “secure America's economic role in Asia” by rejoining TPP. It also dishonestly tried to characterize the opposition to TPP, which on the conservative side has centered on sovereignty concerns, by saying the TPP was criticized because it “could add to the trade deficit and send American jobs overseas.”

However, as John Birch Society CEO Art Thompson explained, talking about whether TPP is a “good” or “bad” deal is actually a “trap.” The real problems are far more fundamental. “We are talking about sovereignty and independence as well as abrogating the Constitution by taking the regulation of commerce with foreign nations out of the hands of Congress,” he said. “This is a major step toward regionalization on the road to a one-world government controlled by the United Nations. This is what matters, and we should not be cornered into arguing on the basis of how the insiders want it discussed.”

Indeed, as this magazine and other publications have documented extensively, the TPP would take a battering ram to U.S. sovereignty and self-government. Among other concerns, the TPP establishes international kangaroo “tribunals” with the purported power to overrule America's own courts and elected officials. It also establishes an EU-style “TPP Commission” that is very similar to the EU Commission, a hybrid legislative and executive body that now rules over the formerly sovereign nations of Europe virtually unchecked.

“This new structure is known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission — a Pacific Union — which meets, appoints unelected bureaucrats, adopts rules, and changes the agreement after adoption,” said then-Senator Sessions of Alabama, an early Trump supporter who went on to become attorney general in the administration. Sessions, who helped lead the opposition to TPP in Congress, also slammed the “open-ended global governance authority” contained in the agreement. Making matters worse, Islamic and Communist dictatorships in TPP would have the same vote as the U.S. government in the new governing body.     

Still, the Trump administration includes more than a few senior officials who are working overtime to get the U.S. government entangled in the TPP and other pseudo-“free trade” schemes that would undermine U.S. sovereignty. One of the key figures on that front is U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer, a member of the globalist-minded Council on Foreign Relations that has led the charge in surrendering U.S. sovereignty to international bodies. He is currently working to expand and empower NAFTA. Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and a member of the secret Skull and Bones society, has also indicated support for such schemes. Even Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly been making pro-TPP noises in meetings with foreign leaders, most recently in Peru.    

Nevertheless, the news about Trump's continuing opposition to TPP was met with celebration among his supporters. Commentators in the conservative media also suggested the news would energize Trump fans worried after the Syria strikes, the TPP waffling, and more. “This will be music to the ears of conservatives who were worried Trump had gone wobbly on a major campaign promise,” wrote Waldo Crane at the conservative-leaning Big League Politics. “Staying out of the deal is certainly a good deal for Americans who voted for the President.”

Grassroots conservatives who supported Trump partly due to his defense of sovereignty also celebrated. Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, for example, whose namesake gave Trump massive credibility among conservatives as an early and firm supporter of his campaign, was a fierce critic of the TPP, and recognized Trump's opposition to it. The scheme was “hatched and worked out in secret, and even members of Congress were denied access to the negotiations and documents,” she explained.  

Continuing that campaign, PS Eagles President Ed Martin highlighted the significance of Trump's latest comments. “Trade and the TPP are some of the main issues that propelled Donald Trump to victory in 2016,” he observed. “Americans want someone who stands up for them and opposes bad deals for our country. We support the work Trump has done so far in removing us from these deals and we encourage him to stick to it!”

Noting that there was still a great deal of pressure being used to get the United States involved in international agreements, Martin called on Congress to put American interests and workers first. “We need actions that decrease our trade deficits with other nations — just as the President suggested in the better use of bilateral deals,” he said, calling on Washington, D.C., to stand strong in defense of America “no matter what political or international pressure comes.”

Of course, trade existed long before multinational governance structures masquerading as “trade” regimes came into existence. And as long as America remains free and independent, Americans can continue to trade with people all over the world on America's own terms. But if sovereignty is surrendered via the TPP or other “deals,” getting it back will be much more difficult than giving it away in the first place.   

While U.S. involvement in the TPP may well be dead for now, the globalist swamp that still dominates D.C. is not going to let the issue go away — even if it means lying to the American people, and quietly waiting until a better opportunity to ram it through presents itself. That means Americans hoping to preserve U.S. sovereignty, liberty, and prosperity must continue educating others about the dangers of TPP and other pseudo-“free trade” regimes. The stakes are much higher than the “fake news” will admit.

Photo of President Trump: Gage Skidmore 

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU or on Facebook.

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