Monday, July 7, 2008

Our trade agreement with Colombia would help in their fight against Communist guerrillas

Senator Obama is quite selective over which governments go on his blacklist. One explanation is that he opposes governments that fight Communism but supports governments that promote Communism.

For example, the Colombian government is standing up to Communist guerrillas supported financially and militarily by the leftist government of its oil-rich neighbor Venezuela, and Senator Obama opposes a new free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia.

On the other hand, the Communist government of China is intentionally manipulating trade and has already stolen up to 2.5 million US manufacturing jobs. Yet Obama is pleased that China is growing economically and is politically stable. Specifically, here is a selection from Obama's remarks when he spoke to the Alliance for American manufacturing in Pittsburgh on April 14 2008:

Seeing the living standards of the Chinese people improve is a good thing - good because we want a stable China, and good because China can be a powerful market for American exports. But too often, China has been competing in ways that are tilting the playing field.

Obama is dreaming if he thinks that China will be a powerful market for American exports. The Chinese government is practicing a policy called "mercantilism" which intentionally maximizes exports but intentionally minimizes imports in order to steal industry from its trading partners.

Senator McCain is completely the opposite of Obama regarding the Colombian and the Chinese governments. Not only does he support our trade agreement with Colombia, but he was also realistic about China's government in a column that he wrote with Senator Lieberman on May 27. They wrote:

China's rapid military modernization, mercantilist economic practices, lack of political freedom and close relations with regimes like Sudan and Burma undermine the very international system on which its rise depends. The next American president must build on the areas of overlapping interest to forge a more durable U.S.-China relationship. Doing so will require strong alliances with other Asian nations and a readiness to speak openly with Beijing when it fails to behave as a responsible stakeholder.

Unfortunately, neither candidate is proposing anything that would deal with Chinese mercantilism. Obama at least supports a bill that, if acted upon by the Secretary of Treasury, could address Chinese currency manipulations. McCain has not yet proposed any action whatsoever. Both talk about free trade as if free trade were beneficial even when it is totally one-sided.

The latest story from Colombia illustrates the support that the Communist guerrillas are getting from the Venezuelan government. The Colombian government staged a rescue of hostages by flying in an unmarked helicopter while pretending to be acting for the guerrillas' leaders. The guerrillas readily cooperated.

You can read the story in James Taranto's Wall Street Journal online column. First he quotes the Associated Press story which told what happened from the viewpoint of rescued hostage Ingrid Betancourt:

The stunning caper involved months of intelligence gathering, dozens of helicopters on standby and a strong dose of deceit: The rebels shoved the captives, their hands bound, onto a white unmarked MI-17 helicopter, believing they were being transferred to another guerrilla camp.

Looking at helicopter's crew, some wearing Che Guevara shirts, Betancourt reasoned they weren't aid workers, as she'd expected--but rebels. This was just another indignity---the helicopter "had no flag, no insignia." Angry and upset, she refused a coat they offered as they told her she was going to a colder climate.

But not long after the group was airborne, Betancourt turned around and saw the local commander, alias Cesar, a man who had tormented her for four years, blindfolded and stripped naked on the floor.

Then came the unbelievable words: "We're the national army," said one of the crewmen. "You're free."

The helicopter crew were soldiers in disguise. Cesar and the other guerrilla aboard had been persuaded to hand over their pistols, then overpowered.

Then James Taranto finished off the story with a good Israeli joke from Haaretz:

An Israeli pilot whose helicopter was in trouble over the sea lands on an aircraft carrier. The captain chastises him: "How dare you? This is an American aircraft carrier." "Really?," says the Israeli innocently. "I thought it was one of ours."

This joke, however, misses the point. The Communist guerrillas must have had reason to believe that the helicopter could be one of their own. Most likely they knew that the Venezuelan government was providing them with helicopter support.

Howard

2 comments:

Jesse Richman said...

You argue that McCain is more in line with our views on trade than Obama. I have not yet seen enough from either man to lead me to believe that he fully understands the problems, let alone is willing to act to address them. I do like McCain's use of "Mercantilist".

Howard Richman said...

Jesse,

I just added in a paragraph to that effect. Specifically:

"Unfortunately, neither candidate is proposing anything that would deal with Chinese mercantilism. Obama at least supports a bill that, if acted upon by the Secretary of Treasury, could address Chinese currency manipulations. McCain has not yet proposed any action whatsoever. Both talk about free trade as if free trade were beneficial even when it is totally one-sided."

Howard