The Government of French President Francois Hollande has said no to the demand by the Government of American President Barack Obama that panels of international corporations be granted the power to override national laws and determine individual countries’ regulations regarding workers’ rights, consumer protections, investor protections, and other matters in which international corporations have been carrying out an international race to the bottom for non-oligarchs in order to maximize the profits of international corporations and thus the wealth and power of their controlling (i.e., oligarchic) stockholders, virtually all of whom are billionaires.
Previously, the leader of the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate (who is selected by all Democrats in the Senate and represents the Party on this matter, even in the U.S. House, because he alone possesses the power to stop this) had said no to it, but the few conservative Democrats favor it as do virtually all Republicans, and so when Republicans take control over both houses of Congress in January, President Obama will then have solid domestic congressional support for his three gigantic proposed international-trade treaties: TTIP for Europe, TPP for Asia, and TISA for all trade in services, all three of which deals include this subordination of national sovereignty to international-corporate panels. TISA is especially key for financial services, such as accounting-standards (so as to enhance corruption, so as to deceive outside investors, with increased advantages accruing to corporate executives and board-members, the insiders who control international corporations).
President Obama, like his predecessor, believes strongly that competition should drive down wages and drive up corporate stock and bond values (upon which the billionaires primarily rely), though as a politician and especially as a ‘Democrat’ (which George W. Bush, unlike Obama, never pretended to be) he cannot afford to say this; only his policies are consistently in that direction. (“Proof of the pudding is in the eating” is the phrase for that, though Obama claims that only Republicans are to blame for this result.) But France’s President Hollande has here put his foot down, and said no to that.
Perhaps one reason he said no is that the first-ever independent economic analysis of this treaty was issued last month, and it calculates that the consequences would be disastrous for European economies – the deal is biased in favor of U.S. oligarchs against EU oligarchs, and is heavily biased everywhere against workers, consumers, and outside investors. The net long-term effect would be so strongly negative, that even American insiders might ultimately be eating their own feed-corn as a result of the deal.
However, in a different decision, President Hollande has bowed down to President Obama and decided to ignore both French workers and even many French oligarchs and to “delay indefinitely” the delivery to Russia of warships that France had contracted to build for Russia and which were built and for which Russia has already paid. Obama had pressed him hard on that matter, to not deliver them, and now Hollande is giving him this gift, perhaps as a consolation-prize since Hollande won’t give America’s oligarchs the bigger prize they are demanding: replacing French sovereignty by sovereignty from panels that are appointed by international corporations.
Now that American voters have gone along with the ‘anti-government’ ideology of Republicans, and provided President Obama finally a solid-Republican Congress, this ‘anti-government’ (or actually pro-oligarchic) government – a government where sovereignty rests in international corporations, instead of in national electorates – will almost certainly pass into law whatever Obama can wrangle out of America’s major trading-nations (albeit without France), and so he could go down in history as the most-effective U.S. President since the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, though in exactly the opposite ideological direction from FDR (who was anti-oligarchic). The propagandists (paid heavily by oligarchs) in both the Democratic and Republican Parties have portrayed Obama as being ineffective against the Republicans, but he might turn out to have been instead the opposite: the most effective conservative U.S. President ever – the only one who could manage to swing such a hard turn to the political right in this country. He needed to be a ‘Democrat’ in order to be able to achieve that; so, he is a ‘Democrat.’ Only time will tell how successful his plan was. But its results are already apparent. The numbers are clear. And Obama’s trade-deals would be the crowning glory to that achievement, because undoing those deals would be far more difficult even than President Hollande’s undoing his warship-deal with Russia (if he can). Obama’s effect would last for centuries, if it could ever be reversed at all (and even that would be doubtful).
It’s not the kind of ‘world government’ that Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his followers had hoped would ultimately result. But neither would it be the type of international anarchy that had previously reigned. It would, instead, be the restoration of feudalism, but this time on a global scale: internationalized fascism – exactly what FDR went to war to defeat.
Seventy years after the end of World War II, it seems to be the direction in which the world is again heading, this time perhaps to win though by very different means, more those of ‘The Gentleman.’
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.