It’s wrong to think Trump acted well when he got rid of TTP

Naomi Klein‘s brand-new book named “No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics” has recently been released, and costs a measly 12 US dollars. That price even gets you the e-book version for free! I got the e-book for $9.

Here’s an excerpt from the book, where Klein writes about how one should not think Trump represents some good values just because he got rid of the TPP:

That same day, shortly before meeting with the union delegation, he signed an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the eleven-country trade deal that he’d railed against on the campaign trail as the “rape of our country.” At the signing ceremony where the US officially left the TPP, Trump announced, “It’s a great thing for the American worker.” Subsequently, a few people wrote to me to ask if this might be the silver lining in Trump’s presidency. Wasn’t it a good thing that trade deals that many progressives had been criticizing for decades were now on the chopping block or, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, set to be reopened and renegotiated to “bring the jobs back”? I understand the desire to find bright sides to the daily chaos unfolding in the White House. But Trump’s trade plans are not one of them.

The whole thing reminds me of all the liberal hawks who backed George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq because the war coincided with their desire to liberate Iraqis from Saddam Hussein—the “humanitarian intervention” argument. There was nothing in the Bush—Cheney track record or worldview to suggest there would be anything democratic or humanitarian about their invasion and occupation of Iraq—and, sure enough, the occupation rapidly became the site of killing fields and torture committed by the US military and its contractors, as well as out-of-control war profiteering. So what is there in Trump’s track record, in his treatment of his own workers, in the appointments he has made, in the pro-corporate policies he has already pushed through, that should cause anyone to believe that the way he will renegotiate trade deals, or “bring back the jobs,” will in any way be in the interests of workers or the environment? Rather than hope that Trump is going to magically transform into Bernie Sanders, and choose this one arena in which to be a genuine advocate for anyone who isn’t related to him, we would do far better to ask some tough questions about how it’s been possible for a gang of unapologetic plutocrats, with open disdain for democratic norms, to hijack an issue like corporate free trade in the first place.

What we are witnessing is not a silver lining of any sort. It’s the push to the finish line in the “race to the bottom” that opponents of these corporate trade deals always feared.

As Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch, put it, “for those who trusted Trump’s pledge to make NAFTA ‘much better’ for working people, it’s a punch in the face.”

A 2017 study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that Mexico’s poverty rate has risen since the 1994 implementation of NAFTA, with 20 million additional people now living in poverty—a major factor pushing Mexican migration to the United States. Meanwhile, in North America and Europe, white workers grew progressively more pissed off at having their voices ignored. This opened the space for demagogues like Trump to step in and direct workers’ rage away from plutocrats like him, who had profited so lavishly from the outsourcing opportunities enabled by these deals, and at Mexican migrants instead, victims of the same policies that were hollowing out their communities, the very same bad deals.

This is the space the Brexit campaign usurped, under its slogan “Take back control!” And it is the same rage that France’s Marine Le Pen of the far-right Front National speaks to when she tells crowds that globalization has meant “manufacturing by slaves for selling to the unemployed.” Around the world, far-right forces are gaining ground by harnessing the power of nostalgic nationalism and anger directed at remote economic bureaucracies—whether Washington, NAFTA, the WTO, or the EU—and mixing it with racism and xenophobia, offering an illusion of control through bashing immigrants, vilifying Muslims, and degrading women.

It’s a toxic combination, and it was an avoidable one. Confronting the cruelties of a system designed by and for the wealthiest interests on earth is terrain that rightly belongs to the Left. But the hard truth is that after September 11, large parts of the progressive side of the political spectrum got spooked, and that left the economic-populist space open to abuse. Politics hates a vacuum; if it isn’t filled with hope, someone will fill it with fear.

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