BREAKING: Trump pulls U.S. out of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

From Newser

By John Johnson
January 23, 2017

President Trump had a busy morning, signing three executive orders on trade, abortion, and federal hiring, and issuing a warning to US companies that they’ll be penalized if they move overseas. Details:

  • TPP: As promised, Trump signed an order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the New York Times points out is President Obama’s most important trade deal, though it was never ratified by Congress. Coupled with Trump’s promise to renegotiate NAFTA, Trump’s trade stance is “a drastic reversal of decades of economic policy in which presidents of both parties have lowered trade barriers and expanded ties around the world.”

http://www.newser.com/story/237277/trump-signs-3-big-executive-orders.html

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Council on Foreign Relations’ grand strategy: China must be defeated, the TPP is essential to undermine China

In examining the CFR report on China, this excellent article provides possible background into the recent terrorist attack in Mali. It also gives perspective on Robert Legvold, invited by the Valdai Club to moderate the final key session with President Putin at its recent symposium. Legvold is connected with CFR and the Rockefeller-founded Harriman Institute.
Global Research, May 05, 2015
china-us

Wall Street’s Council on Foreign Relations has issued a major report, alleging that China must be defeated because it threatens to become a bigger power in the world than the U.S.

This report, which is titled Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China,” is introduced by Richard Haass, the CFR’s President, who affirms the report’s view that, “no relationship will matter more when it comes to defining the twenty-first century than the one between the United States and China.” He says that the report he is publishing argues that “strategic rivalry is highly likely if not inevitable between the existing major power of the day and the principal rising power.” Haass says that the authors “also argue that China has not evolved into the ‘responsible stakeholder’ that many in the United States hoped it would.” In other words: “cooperation” with China will probably need to become replaced by, as the report’s authors put it, “intense U.S.-China strategic competition.

Haass gives this report his personal imprimatur by saying that it “deserves to become an important part of the debate about U.S. foreign policy and the pivotal U.S.-China relationship.” He acknowledges that some people won’t agree with the views it expresses.

The report itself then opens by saying: “Since its founding, the United States has consistently pursued a grand strategy focused on acquiring and maintaining preeminent power over various rivals, first on the North American continent, then in the Western hemisphere, and finally globally.” It praises “the American victory in the Cold War.” It then lavishes praise on America’s imperialistic dominance:

“The Department of Defense during the George H.W. Bush administration presciently contended that its ‘strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor’thereby consciously pursuing the strategy of primacy that the United States successfully employed to outlast the Soviet Union.”

The rest of the report is likewise concerned with the international dominance of America’s aristocracy or the people who control this country’s international corporations, rather than with the welfare of the public or as the U.S. Constitution described the objective of the American Government: “the general welfare.”

The Preamble, or sovereignty clause, in the Constitution, presented that goal in this broader context:

 ”in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

The Council on Foreign Relations, as a representative of Wall Street, is concerned only with the dominance of America’s aristocracy. Their new report, about “Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China,” is like a declaration of war by America’s aristocracy, against China’s aristocracy. This report has no relationship to the U.S. Constitution, though it advises that the U.S. Government pursue this “Grand Strategy Toward China” irrespective of whether doing that would even be consistent with the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble.

The report repeats in many different contexts the basic theme, that China threatens “hegemonic” dominance in Asia. For example:

“China’s sustained economic success over the past thirty-odd years has enabled it to aggregate formidable power, making it the nation most capable of dominating the Asian continent and thus undermining the traditional U.S. geopolitical objective of ensuring that this arena remains free of hegemonic control.”

The report never allows the matter of America’s “hegemonic control” to be even raised. Thus, “hegemony” is presumed to be evil and to be something that the U.S. must block other nations from having, because there is a “traditional U.S. geopolitical objective of ensuring that this arena remains free of hegemonic control.” In other words: the U.S. isn’t being “hegemonic” by defeating aspiring hegemons. The report offers no term to refer to “hegemony” that’s being practiced by the U.S.

The report presents China as being supremacist, such as what (to quote again from the report) “historian Wang Gungwu has described as a ‘principle of superiority’ underwriting Beijing’s ‘long-hallowed tradition of treating foreign countries as all alike but unequal and inferior to China.’ Consistent with this principle, Henry Kissinger, describing the traditional sinocentric system, has correctly noted that China ‘considered itself, in a sense, the sole sovereign government of the world.’” America’s own ‘Manifest Destiny’ or right to regional (if not global) supremacy is not discussed, because supremacism is attributed only to the aristocracies in other countries, not to the aristocracy in this country.

Rather than the “general welfare,” this document emphasizes “U.S. Vital National Interests,” which are the interests of America’s aristocrats, the owners of America’s large international corporations.

This report urges:

“The United States should invest in defense capabilities and capacity specifically to defeat China’s emerging anti-access capabilities and permit successful U.S. power projection even against concerted opposition from Beijing. … Congress should remove sequestration caps and substantially increase the U.S. defense budget.”

In other words: the Government should spiral upward the U.S. debt even more vertically (which is good for Wall Street), and, in order to enable the increased ‘defense’ expenditures, only ‘defense’ expenditures should be freed from spending-caps. Forget the public, serve the owners of ‘defense’ firms and of the large international corporations who rely on the U.S. military to protect their property abroad.

The report says that China would have no reason to object to such policies: “There is no reason why a China that did not seek to overturn the balance of power in Asia should object to the policy prescriptions contained in this report.” Only a “hegemonic” China (such as the report incessantly alleges to exist, while the U.S. itself is not ‘hegemonic’) would object; and, therefore, the U.S. should ignore China’s objections, because they would be, by definition ‘hegemonic.’ Or, in other words: God is on our side, not on theirs.

“Washington simply cannot have it both ways—to accommodate Chinese concerns regarding U.S. power projection into Asia through ’strategic reassurance’ and at the same time to promote and defend U.S. vital national interests in this vast region.”

The authors make clear that U.S. President Obama is not sufficiently hostile toward China: “All signs suggest that President Obama and his senior colleagues have a profoundly different and much more benign diagnosis of China’s strategic objectives in Asia than do we.”

Furthermore, the report ends by portraying Obama as weak on the anti-China front: “Many of these omissions in U.S. policy would seem to stem from an administration worried that such actions would offend Beijing and therefore damage the possibility of enduring strategic cooperation between the two nations, thus the dominating emphasis on cooperation. That self-defeating preoccupation by the United States based on a long-term goal of U.S.-China strategic partnership that cannot be accomplished in the foreseeable future should end.”

The report’s “Recommendations for U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China” urges Congress to “Deliver on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, … as a geoeconomic answer to growing Chinese economic power and geopolitical coercion in Asia,” but it fails to mention that the Obama Administration has already embodied the authors’ viewpoint and objectives in the TPP, which Obama created, and which cuts China out; it could hardly be a better exemplar of their agenda. The authors, in fact, state the exact opposite: that Obama’s objective in his TPP has instead been merely “as a shot in the arm of a dying Doha Round at the World Trade Organization (WTO).” They even ignore that Obama had cut China out of his proposed TPP.

Furthermore, here is what President Obama himself told graduating West Point cadets on 28 May 2014:

“Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums.”

He was saying that these future military leaders will be using guns and bombs to enforce America’s economic dominance. This is the same thing that the CFR report is saying.

His speech also asserted:

I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. … The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come.”

(That even resembles: “Henry Kissinger, describing the traditional sinocentric system, has correctly noted that China ‘considered itself, in a sense, the sole sovereign government of the world.’” Obama is, in a sense, saying that America is the “sole sovereign government in the world.”)

He made clear that China is “dispensable,” and that the U.S. must stay on top.

However, there is a difference between Obama and the CFR on one important thing: Obama sees Russia as the chief country over which the U.S. must dominate militarily, and China as the chief country to dominate economically. But in that regard, he is actually old-line Republican, just like his 2012 opponent Mitt Romney is. The only difference from Romney on that is: Obama wasn’t so foolish as to acknowledge publicly a belief that he shared with Romney but already knew was an unpopular position to take in the general election.

Furthermore, whereas the CFR report ignores the public’s welfare, Obama does give lip-service to that as being a matter of concern (just as he gave lip-service to opposing Romney’s assertion that Russia is “our number one geopolitical foe”). After all, he is a ‘Democrat,’ and the authors of the CFR report write instead as if they were presenting a Republican Party campaign document. No ‘Democrat’ can be far-enough to the political right to satisfy Republican operatives. The pretense that they care about the public is therefore far less, because the Republican Party is far more open about its support of, by, and for, the super-rich. Mitt Romney wasn’t the only Republican who had contempt for the lower 47%. But even he tried to deny that he had meant it. In that sense, the CFR’s report is a Republican document, one which, quite simply, doesn’t offer the public the lip-service that Obama does (and which he politically must, in order to retain support even within his own party).

Perhaps on account of the CFR report’s condemning Obama for not being sufficiently right-wing — even though he is actually a conservative Republican on all but social issues (where China policy isn’t particularly relevant) — the report has received no mention in the mainstream press, ever since it was originally issued, back in March of this year. For whatever reason, America’s ‘news’ media ignored the report, notwithstanding its importance as an expression of old-style imperialistic thinking that comes from what many consider to be the prime foreign-affairs mouthpiece of America’s aristocracy — the CFR. The report’s first coverage was on 2 May 2015 at the World Socialist Web Site, which briefly paraphrased it but didn’t even link to it. Then, two days later, Stephen Lendman wrote about the CFR report. He briefly paraphrased it and passionately condemned it. He did link to the report. But he didn’t note the WSWS article, which had first informed the public of the CFR report’s existence — an existence which, until the WSWS article, all of America’s ‘press’ had simply ignored.

The present article is the first one to quote the CFR report, instead of merely to paraphrase and attack it. The quotations that were selected are ones presenting the report’s main points, so that readers here can see these points stated as they were written, rather than merely as I have interpreted them. My interpretation is in addition to, rather than a substitute for, what the report itself says.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal reached

Global Research, October 05, 2015

The corporatists have agreed on the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

If ultimately approved by Congress — and this is less than certain — the TPP will expand the North American Free Trade Agreement into Japan, Australia, Chile, Peru and several southeast Asian nations.

Obama is a keen advocate of the “free trade” deal, but has faced staunch opposition from the left side of his party, notably trade unions and environmentalists.

Republican presidential candidates, including frontrunner Donald Trump, also oppose the deal and passage by Congress is less than certain.

FT reports:

Only a handful of Democrats support Mr. Obama’s trade policy, and Republican support is unpredictable in the 2016 election year, depending on the stance of presidential candidates and new leadership in the House. As it is, the deal can’t go to a vote before Congress until early next year.

The odds of passage in Congress will hinge in large part on the final language in a number of provisions, ranging from the strengthening of rights for labor unions to whether U.S. cigarette companies will face special limitations within TPP countries.

If passed the deal will allow corporate tribunals to overrule Congress and violate the national sovereignty of the United States. The process will be authoritarian and not have an appeal process or exit provisions.

“Packaged as a gift to the American people that will renew industry and make us more competitive, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a Trojan horse,” Zero Hedge noted on Monday. “It’s a coup by multinational corporations who want global subservience to their agenda. Buyer beware. Citizens beware.”

If enacted the TPP will ultimately reduce America to third world status.

The global elite and their corporatist partners are determined to impoverish humanity, consolidate wealth and power and reinvent and modernize the feudal system of the Middle Ages.

TPP is their weapon of choice.

U.S. Senate passes Obama’s TPP Fast-Track trade proposal — House of Representatives vote next

Posted on Global Research, May 16, 2015
From Zero Hedge
By Tyler Durden

Two days ago there was some rejoicing and much surprise when the “Warren-faction” of Senate liberals turned against Obama, and failed to vote for a fast-track approval of the TPP. That surprise lasted for about 48 hours when moments ago, in a 65-33 vote, the Senate finally advanced a measure allowing Obama to expedite approval of trade agreements, a bill with bipartisan support in that chamber which however according to Bloomberg may run into strong opposition from House Democrats.

The vote followed separate votes sought by Democrats to pass proposals curbing currency manipulation and boosting imports from sub-Saharan Africa. The Senate plans to consider amendments to the fast-track trade proposal next week.

As previously reported, a rebellion Tuesday among Senate Democrats seeking the currency provision previews what may be fiercer battle ahead between Democrats and House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican.

“There’s a broad feeling we have to do something against China” on currency manipulation, New York Senator Charles Schumer, the chamber’s third-ranking Democrat, told reporters before the vote on advancing the trade bill. He called the currency measure “a shot across China’s bow that we’re not going to just sit there and do nothing.”

Bloomberg reports that the fast-track bill would allow Obama to submit trade agreements to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments. He hopes to complete a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and send it for fast-track approval.

On Tuesday, Democrats blocked Republicans from advancing the fast-track bill without also voting on the currency measure. Many Democrats remain stung by the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, which is blamed by labor unions for a decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The trade bill, H.R. 1314, would give Obama and the next president fast-track powers for six years.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Thursday the agreement to separate the two measures from the broader trade bill was a sensible plan.

“I’d like to thank the president too,” McConnell said. “No, you’re not hearing things. President Obama has done his country a service by taking on his base and pushing back on some of the more ridiculous rhetoric we’ve heard.

And in other news, just as the TPP fast-track news hit, perpetual warmonger and neocon John McCain announced that as part of a $613.2 billion Defense Authorization Bill, approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the US just added funds for 12 more F/A-18 fighter jets. More importantly the Bill authorizes sending arms to Ukraine.

More details from Bloomberg:

Bill has $523b in base funding, $90.2b in war funds, Reed says.

Reed says he voted against bill on “off-budget gimmick” in which Republicans transferred extra funds from base budget to overseas contingency operations to avoid budget controls.

Amendment to eliminate war funding account rejected, cmte Chairman John McCain says.

Bill would preserve A-10 close-air combat plane; authorizes arms to Ukraine, McCain says.

Cmte approves more for F-35, F-18 fighters, McCain says; bill authorizes adding 6 F-35B fighters.

Bill requires approval of Guantanamo closing plan, he says. Presidential veto of bill would be “very serious step”: McCain.

In other words, since the Fed can’t print trade, either the world will trade with the US voluntarily… or it will be forced to do so. And if that fails, there is always the Ukraine war escalation option.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-14/senate-passes-obamas-tpp-fast-track-trade-proposal

http://www.globalresearch.ca/senate-passes-obamas-tpp-fast-track-trade-proposal/5449892

The TTIP and TPP power grab: handing the corporate thieves the key to your home

The time to stop these two agreements is now. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the other agreement affecting Pacific nations.

President Obama wants fast-track authorization in the U.S., which eliminates normal Congressional oversight, and speeds the authorization.

These agreements are still secret, though portions have been leaked. They signal the end of freedom, and the rule of corporations over virtually everything. Even lawmakers are not permitted to know the content of these agreements.

A group in the U.S. Congress is working to stop fast-track authorization. It will take a loud and active public to stop these agreements in every country.

Go here to access the open letter (also available as PDF in English with all the signatures and in French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, Danish, Italian, Slovenian, Bulgarian and Portuguese) sent to MEPs, and send it to your officials with your letter of support.

From Global Research, March 5, 2015
By Colin Todhunter

Some 375 civil society organisations from across Europe have today called on EU decision-makers to protect citizens, workers, and the environment from threats the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) it poses.  

The call comes as European Parliament committees are discussing a draft resolution on the TTIP negotiations to be voted upon in May. It will not be legally binding on negotiators but will be a significant political signal, as any final TTIP deal would have to pass a vote in the European Parliament.

In an open letter sent to MEPs today, groups from 25 countries – including trade unions, consumer, environmental, and civil rights organizations – warn that TTIP could strengthen the influence of big business and undermine public services, the protection of public health, the environment, food and workers’ rights.

For a TTIP resolution that puts people and the environment before short-term profit and disproportionate corporate rights, the letter calls on all MEPs to agree on a strong resolution that makes clear that the European Parliament will reject any future trade or investment agreements that will not serve the public interest and threaten important rights acquired by ordinary people in long struggles in the EU, US and the rest of the world.

The letter forwards the following key demands:

1) Transparency now: all documents relating to the TTIP negotiations, including draft consolidated texts, must be made public to allow for an open and critical public debate on the TTIP.

2) A democratic process to allow for the scrutiny and assessment of the negotiation texts and which would ensure that policies are in the public interest.

3) No ISDS: any provision containing Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms must be taken permanently out of the negotiations.

4) No regulatory cooperation council: all regulation must be fully in the hands of democratically controlled bodies and processes.

5) No deregulation of standards which safeguard and serve the public interest: EU standards need to be respected and not “harmonised” down to the lowest common denominator.

6) No further deregulation and privatisation of public services.

7) The promotion of humane and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices and protection of small family farming.

8) Public authorities must keep the political power and structures necessary to protect certain sensitive sectors and safeguard standards important to our quality of life. Internationally-agreed labour and environmental standards must be respected and enforced. The continuous violation of labour standards should be addressed by imposing monetary fines.

Go here to access the letter sent to MEPs today and to see the full list of signatories.

A blatant corporate power grab in secret  

Negotiations over the TTIP are happening behind closed doors, without comprehensive and effective public consultation. The lack of transparency makes it impossible for citizens and civil society to monitor the negotiations in order to ensure that public interests are being protected. Business lobby groups are given privileged access to information and opportunities to influence the negotiations.

The proposed investment protection chapter, particularly the inclusion of an Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision, would give investors exclusive rights to sue states when decisions made by public institutions are considered to have negative impacts on their anticipated profits. These mechanisms rely on rulings by tribunals that operate outside the national court systems and thereby undermine national and EU legal systems and existing structures for formulating laws and policies.

The creation of new governance structures and procedures that aim to ‘harmonise regulations’ like the proposed regulatory cooperation council would make the TTIP and other agreements a moving target, constantly developed in secret by unelected bureaucrats and big businesses. These structures threaten to lower important standards and rules designed for the protection of public interests or prohibit future improvements, regardless of necessity and public mandate.

Evidence from business and industry lobbying documents reveals that the focus on non-tariff barriers and regulatory convergence is being used to push for deregulation, further investment guarantees, intellectual property rights’ monopolies and ultimately a race to the bottom.

Pia Eberhardt of lobby-watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory says:

“TTIP is an attempted corporate coup d’etat where big business on both sides of the Atlantic is trying to achieve in secret negotiations what it could not get in open and democratic processes – from watering down food safety standards to rolling back regulations in the financial sector.”

Paul de Clerk of Europe’s largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth Europe says:

 “TTIP is like a Trojan horse. In the end we find out that it results in lower food, environmental, labour standards and the sacrificing of democratic rights for corporate interests. MEPs have to clearly reject the dangerous provisions in TTIP, such as giving corporations vast new powers to sue governments in corporate biased tribunals and regulatory cooperation as the ultimate tool for business lobby groups to stop new regulation.”

More than 1.5 million people in Europe have signed a self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative calling on EU decision-makers to stop the TTIP negotiations and to not ratify the EU-Canada trade deal CETA.

Erich Foglar of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) says:

 “Trade unions will not support trade deals that lead to job losses, increase inequalities and undermine democracy. But the negotiation texts and independent studies we see, show that this is exactly what TTIP is about. What we need is a trade policy which respects democracy, helps generate decent jobs and enhances workers’ rights.”

For a thorough outline of the history of the negotiations concerning the TTIP, see ‘A Brief History of an Agenda for Corporate Plunder’.

If you want your food poisoned even further with like likes of chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef, GMOs and even lower thresholds for pesticides, do nothing.

If you want Monsanto or Syngenta determining policies (more than they do already) in secretive meetings in Brussels, do nothing.

If you want Unilever, Kraft or Nestle determining what is allowed in your food, do nothing.

If you want governments to be made even more spineless and compelled to further bend to the threats, demands and power of corporations and unscrupulous speculators, do nothing.

In the UK, do not let the main parties sideline TTIP during the general election campaign.

Be informed and take action:

https://stop-ttip.org/

http://corporateeurope.org/

http://www.foeeurope.org/

http://www.s2bnetwork.org/

https://www.lobbycontrol.de/schwerpunkt/ttip/

http://www.alter-eu.org/

http://www.tradejustice.ca/take-action/

Letter is here;

http://corporateeurope.org/international-trade/2015/03/meps-must-protect-public-eu-us-trade-deal-threat

Website on TPP is here:
http://stoptpp.org/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-ttip-power-grab-handing-the-corporate-thieves-the-key-to-your-home/5434894

 

Russian power will keep Lugansk lights on for the holidays

DNR-LNR.ru
December 6, 2014

A creation of alternative energy systems of Lugansk Peoples Republic has been  completed. Lugansk is no longer dependent on TPP [thermal power plants] in the town of Schastye, said the head of the Center of Management of the Restoration of the Lugansk Republic (CUV LNR), Alexander Drobot -reported a correspondent of IA “Novorossia”.

According to the head of Center, now, in the event of a power outage at Lugansk TPP, which is located in the town of Schastye, controlled by Ukrainian troops, the power grid of the Republic will switch to direct power supply from Russia.

Consequently, the Ukrainian punishers will not be able to inflict significant damage to the power grid of the Republic. The head of CUV LNR assured that the citizens of the Republic are soundly protected in the energy department.

“Now residents of LPR are not afraid that they might be left without lights. The Republic cares for a stable future for its citizens”, – said the head of the CUV. Recall that the press service of DTEK announced that Lugansk TPP has three days of coal reserves left.

Translated by Kristina Rus

Posted on
http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2014/12/russian-power-will-keep-lugansk-lights.html

Original article:
http://dnr-lnr.ru/novosti-lnr/969-lugansk-bolshe-ne-zavisit-ot-tes-goroda-schaste.html