Thursday, April 24, 2008

Criticism From The Left On Obstruction Of The Colombia Free Trade Agreement

The obstruction of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement by Democratic leaders and the Dem presidential nominees is every bit as pathologically partisan as their stand on Iraq and Homeland Security issues, such as whether to grant immunity to the telecom industry. In none of these cases are the best interests of the U.S. and its allies considered. The carefully staked out far left positions are designed to pander to special interests and are aimed at gathering power. You can begin to realize how transparent these detestable people really are when those on the left with some degree of intellectual integrity become highly critical of their actions, as does Nicholas Kristof today on the issue of obstructing the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.


This from Mr. Kristof writing in the op-ed pages of the NYT:

For seven years, Democrats have rightfully complained that President Bush has gratuitously antagonized the world, exasperating our allies and eroding America’s standing and influence.

But now the Democrats are doing the same thing on trade. In Latin America, it is Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who are seen as the go-it-alone cowboys, by opposing the United States’ free-trade agreement with Colombia.

. . . Colombian cities like Medellín were the most dangerous cities in the world in the 1980s and ’90s, but now they are thriving and homicide rates are well below those of some American cities.

One reason is those bouquets you buy, entering duty-free from Colombia. These days Colombia is the world’s second-largest exporter of flowers after the Netherlands, and almost 200,000 people work in the flower industry. Up to 28 cargo planes a day carry flowers from Colombia to the U.S.

Better carnations than cocaine, no?

Critics of the free-trade pact worry that it would hurt American workers. But Colombian goods already enter the U.S. duty-free; what would change is that American exporters would get access to the Colombian market.

(Colombia is pushing hard for the pact not because of any immediate trade benefit but because its duty-free access to the U.S. must be regularly renewed. Businesses are reluctant to invest in flower farms or garment factories unless they know that they will be able to export to the U.S. for many years to come.)

Some Democrats point out that Colombia’s government has been tied to paramilitary units that kill union members. It was important for Democrats to raise these concerns — forcing the Colombian government to crack down on paramilitaries and prosecute those who murder unionists.

But Colombia’s progress has been immense. Assassinations of union members, while still a problem, have fallen 80 percent since 2002. Last year, the murder rate for union members was 4 per 100,000, reaching levels far below the homicide rate for the general public.

. . . The last few years have seen enormous gains in security and the quality of life in Colombia — and that’s why President Álvaro Uribe has an 85 percent approval rating.

I asked President Uribe on Monday if there was concern among Latin leaders that Democrats in Congress are tugging the U.S. away from its historic commitment to free trade. He said bluntly: "I don’t want to imagine this scenario. It would be devastating for the good relationship between the United States and our region."
To their credit, a large group of prominent Democrats from previous administrations have strongly endorsed the trade accord, declaring that it is "in both our vital national security and economic interests." But the presidential candidates aren’t listening.

Democrats instinctively criticize Mr. Bush when he harms America’s standing in the world. That’s easy. But a test of intellectual honesty is your willingness to hold your own side to the same standard and to point out pandering in those politicians you normally admire. . . .

Read the entire article.


WomanHonorThyself said...

the cartoon says it all!

MathewK said...

They are hoping that America will get blamed for it, they hope the masses will not notice that it's the Democrats who shafted this, not Bush, the usual suspect. I have a feeling that aided by the media, they are right. Most won't really care. Detestable indeed.