During his recent European tour, President Obama did his best to help beleaguered German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is under intense fire for bringing 1 million-1.5 million (or more, no one knows for sure how many) Muslim “refugee” migrants into Germany in 2015. He also made promotion of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the mammoth treaty aimed at political and economic merger of the EU and United States, a key priority of his trip.
The TTIP is still being negotiated — in secret, of course — while its counterpart, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been completed and awaits action in Congress. As we reported yesterday, public opinion has shifted dramatically in recent months against these massive “trade” treaties (the TPP is 5,544 pages long), which go far beyond trade issues to create immense global governance bureaucracies, undermine national sovereignty, and give special privileges to globalist corporate interests. During a question-and-answer session with members of the press in Hanover, Germany, Obama opined that he may still be able to move the stalled TPP forward in Congress “after the primary season is over [and] the politics settle down a little bit in Congress.”
“With respect to trade, I think what you're seeing around the world is people are unsettled by globalization,” he said, obviously mindful of the huge anti-TTIP demonstrations in Hanover the day before. President Obama continued: “And with respect to Congress and Trans-Pacific Partnership, I think after the primary season is over the politics settle down a little bit in Congress, and we’ll be in a position to start moving forward. Because I know that we have had a majority of members in the past who were in favor of this deal. Otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten the authority for me to go ahead and fast-track this agreement.”
President Obama knows that many of those former TPP fast-track supporters are now backtracking because they are feeling the anti-TPP “Trump effect.” However, he recognizes that some may be flip-flopping into the anti-TPP camp, or may be wavering on the issue, merely in order to get elected or reelected, and then will flip-flop back into the pro-TPP camp after the primaries. He commented: “But I think we all know that elections can sometimes make things a little more challenging, and people take positions, in part, to protect themselves from attacks during the course of election season.”
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the leading opponent of the TPP and TTIP in the U.S. Senate, lambasted President Obama for suggesting that he may try to push the TPP treaty after the primary elections. “Now, I would suggest,” said Senator Sessions (shown), “that the American people should be very uneasy that their president is making such a statement as that. We’ve already [heard] that there are plans by a number of forces and interest groups to try to slip this TPP treaty through after the election in a lame duck congressional session.”
“Why would that be the case?” Sessions rhetorically asks, then answers. “Well, the president says it right here. The American people are ‘uneasy’ about it, they’re not for this, support for it is sinking, elections are turning on it, and it does not need to become law.”
“I’m firmly opposed to this agreement,” the Alabama solon continued, “I believe it is bad for our country, and it bothers me that if they think it’s such a good deal, why don’t they bring it forward? Why don’t we have a debate here while the elections are on? Why are people not willing to go home and explain to their constituents how and why they voted the way they did and why and how they believe the way they do? What’s wrong with that?”
“I don’t like this,” Senator Sessions said, “I think its arrogant.” The president and the special interests pushing the TPP, he charged, know full well that the American public does not support the TPP and that resistance to it is growing, as more people become aware of its wide-ranging ramifications.
The pro-TPP interest groups are deceptively calculating ways to help their supporters in Congress get through the election cycle, arguing in effect, Sessions charged: “We just need to get this done, and so we’ll have this trade agreement, but we understand you probably shouldn’t do it right now while elections are going on because, well, you might get your clock cleaned; you might get voted out of office, so we’ll see if we can’t work up some way to get it passed in the future.”
“So, the president has made clear that he intends to continue to push through this 5,544-page trade agreement that the American people don’t want,” Sessions said. “Polls show consistent disapproval for the TPP,” he noted.
In its report on the Obama-Merkel trade deal push, the Financial Times noted that Obama’s post-primary TPP hopes are optimistic, but not impossible. The London-based Financial Times, a pro-TPP/TTIP mouthpiece that reliably retails the internationalist line on virtually all issues, noted: “In the US, the presidential primaries have been dominated by criticism of the separate trade agreement that the US has negotiated with Asian nations, which has been opposed by Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.”
The Financial Times continued,
Mr Obama said that once the primaries were over, “the politics [around trade] will settle down a little bit”, which could create an opening for the US Congress to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
However, with the primaries in both parties likely to continue into June, just before the party conventions in July, many observers of Congress believe that the chances of approving TPP before the presidential elections in November are fast disappearing.
While it is more likely that a congressional vote on the TPP will not come up until after the general elections in November, President Obama’s remarks indicate that some number crunchers and head counters among the pro-TPP forces are considering a possible vote even sooner, after the primary contests are concluded this summer. TPP opponents would be foolish to hold off on contacting their senators and representatives until the lame duck-session of Congress. Elected officials should be forced to go on record publicly for or against the TPP, and should not be allowed to equivocate on the matter, either before the primaries or before the general election.
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