The Trans Pacific Partnership TPP on Environment and Labour

Published on Global, by Binoy Kampmark, Oct 8, 2015: Global Markets Imperilled by “Unfree Trade”.

… The estranged political classes continued their defiance of democratic practice by signing, again without the involvement of non-trade interests, a document that has been sold as a choice between the rash and the damned. The delegates at the Atlanta round of talks for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement came from twelve states, and some of them were acutely aware that domestic matters were pressing. The election cycle in the United States is starting to gain steam. Canada faces a close election on October 19. Australia’s new prime minister is hunkering down.  

The TPP is a monster in design on several levels. While it has been reported that China “cautiously” welcomes the agreement, there is little doubt that it has been shaped as a form of financial weaponry against the giants of the Asia-Pacific. Towards Russia, there is the Trans Atlantic Investment Agreement, framed to incorporate the European Union. Then comes the enveloping Trade Services Agreement … //

… From the start of the TPP, a broader agenda for the control of trade from Washington’s perspective was pushed. Obama has never shied away from the feeling that the Chinese economic juggernaut will, at some point, pry away American power, counting it among countries “that would like to take away America’s mantle of economic leadership.”[7]

Such parochialism finds expression in an email from the president to the White House email list in February. “My top priority as President is making sure that more hardworking Americans have a chance to get ahead. That’s why we have to make sure the United States – and not countries like China – is the one writing this century’s rules for the world’s economy.”[8] Never could a more startlingly direct statement on hegemony be stated.

That said, such enunciations of US hegemony show bloody minded determination and daftness. Both come in equal measure – the pugilist’s determination to bloody opponents who might get the better of you, claiming that pockets will be filled; and the self-delusion that you are actually benefiting yourself in embracing such a policy.

Obama’s persistence on emphasising the sanctity of the US work force in the face of the global market is discordant: the policy of the boardroom tends to often cut through the politics of labour and parliamentary representation. Wealth may well be created, but it remains corporate, concentrated and distant. Those citizens who trudge on Main Street remain the squeezed, the patronised and the belittled.

(full text, notes).

(Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He is lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne - Email).


Turning point? EU Commission head says relations with Russian ‘must be improved,’ US ‘can’t dictate’, on Russia Today RT, Oct 9, 2015: Europe must treat Russia with more decency, improve the relationship, and not let EU policies be dictated by Washington, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a surprise speech in Germany …;
(see also: F**k US imperialism, Germany’s ex-finance minister slams defense secretary’s Europe visit, on Russia Today RT, June 23, 2015);

Selected Articles: Can Putin’s “Real” War on Terror Prevent a World War III Scenario? on Global, by divers authors, Oct 8, 2015;

TPP has single backer among 16 Democrats, on The Japan Times, Oct 8, 2015 (Clinton flips to oppose pact; Republicans in Congress skeptical);

The True Cost of Terrorism – Tunisia’s Tourism Industry Struggles to Survive, on Spiegel Online International, by Alexander Osang, Oct 8, 2015 (Photo Gallery): At the end of June, 37 guests of a Tunisian resort hotel died in a hail of terrorist gunfire. Since then, tourists have stayed away, and the tragedy has only just begun;

Open Wallet, Closed Doors – Exploring Japan’s Low Acceptance of Asylum Seekers, on Migration Policy Institute MPI, by Naohiko Omata, Oct 7, 2015: even as forced displacement has reached an unprecedented scale globally, with war in Syria, violence and political instability in parts of Africa and the Middle East, and persecution in Asia and South America sending millions fleeing within and beyond their countries, Japan has remained largely untouched …;

Syrian Asylum Seekers Sue Government of Japan for Failure to Recognize Refugee Status, on RefLAW/Blog (Univ of Michigan Law School), by Sarah Alsaden, Oct 2015: UNHCR predicts that the number of individuals that will be affected by the conflict in Syria will continue to rise in 2015. Currently there are approximately
3,029,465 Syrian refugees that are displaced and seeking protection throughout the world …;
(see also: Syrian asylum seekers sue for refugee status, on The Japan Times/english, by TOMOHIRO OSAKI, March 17, 2015);

Japan’s Role in the Refugee Crisis, on The Diplomat, by Mina Pollmann, Sept 11, 2015: Japan has been quick to donate money, but slow to welcome refugees.

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