Brigadier General: TPP is a threat to America's national security

Retired Brigadier General John Adams served for 30 years, including a stint as a military intelligence officer: in an op-ed in The Hill, he says that while he supports trade deals, the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership has almost nothing to do with trade, and will hasten America's de-industrialization, making it harder for the US military to source the materiel it needs, and making it vulnerable to price gouging by foreign powers, who might even go so far as to block America's ability to source certain vital items altogether.

As Adams points out, only 6 of the 30 chapters in TPP deal with trade, and America already has open trade relationships with 80% of the people in the TPP zone (the remaining markets are only slightly less available to American business, but are still in the WTO and thus virtually tariff-free zones for American exports). The remaining TPP chapters are just gimmes for multinational corporations, most notably, the notorious Investor-State Dispute Settlement systems that allow corporations to sue governments to get rid of environmental, safety, and labor laws that interfere with profitability (for example, existing ISDS actions include lawsuits by tobacco companies to force governments to give up anti-smoking campaigns).

Our military is now shockingly vulnerable to major disruptions in the supply chain, including from substandard manufacturing practices, natural disasters, and price gouging by foreign nations. Poor manufacturing practices in offshore factories lead to problem-plagued products, and foreign producers—acting on the basis of their own military or economic interests—can sharply raise prices or reduce or stop sales to the United States.

The link between TPP and this kind of offshoring has been well-established. The proposed deal would not only repeat but magnify the mistakes of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), offering extraordinary privileges to companies that move operations overseas. Just this spring, an official U.S. government study by the International Trade Commission noted that the pact would further gut the U.S. manufacturing sector. This, following the loss of 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000, is a perilous proposition.

Foreign policy and national security have long been the arguments of last resort for backers of controversial trade deals. A quarter century ago, we were warned that, unless NAFTA and deals with eight Latin American nations were enacted, China would come to dominate trade in the hemisphere. NAFTA passed, but America's share of goods imported by Mexico fell, while China's share rose by a staggering 2,600 percent. Today, following the implementation of several additional major trade deals, we're still waiting for China to comply with its WTO commitments, and we're still waiting for progress in dealing with our astronomical trade deficit.

The national security case against TPP
[John Adams/The Hill]

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image DSCF4099, Joe Loong, CC-BY-SA)