Current Democratic Party dogma holds that international trade is bad; or, at least, imports are bad. I guess they want other countries to agree to exports-only trade agreements. Before long, the only country the liberals will want us to trade with is Cuba.
At the moment, what is on the table is a trade agreement with Colombia, our best South American ally. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both carrying on like bulls in a china shop, upsetting our relationship with Colombia by urging that the pact be voted down. Hence the latest shakeup in Clinton’s campaign: her chief strategist, Mark Penn, runs a PR firm called Burson-Marsteller, and Colombia has been one of the firm’s clients. Penn made the “mistake” of meeting with Colombia’s ambassador in connection with that representation. Penn’s meeting came to light, and Hillary has now fired Penn from her campaign.
The incident has further damaged our relations with Colombia, which said that it showed “a lack of respect to Colombians.” It is deeply ironic that Obama and Clinton both vow to restore America’s standing in the world, while in fact impairing our relations with allies to a degree that is remarkable for candidates who haven’t even been elected yet.
It’s a sad story, too, in that Hillary undoubtedly knows that free trade is a good thing, and passing the treaty would benefit both the U.S. and Colombia. Her husband’s administration had a mixed record, but its advocacy of free trade was one of the bright spots that contributed to the country’s growth during the 1990s. It is sad to see Hillary sell out that legacy in favor of currying favor with the most ill-informed voters.
As for Obama, it’s hard to say whether he knows enough about the business world to understand how destructive his isolationist policies would be, if implemented.
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