Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Election's Second Casualty

First the elections took out Rumsfeld, and good riddance. But the next casualty seems to be free trade. The populist sentiments formed around the mishandling of the Iraq war and the immigration issue are likely to have profound consequences for our relations with other countries.

On the eve of Bush's trip to Southeast Asia, Congress rejected a new trade agreement with Vietnam.

The thinking goes that the newly-empowered embittered electorate wants a tougher stance with China and more protection of U.S. wages. Probably correct as a political calculation, but it seems strange to me that the election is also being trumpeted as a victory for moderates.

Another interesting aspect of the failure free trade agreement was the new Republican math. Even though the GOP still holds the lame-duck majority, it claims the failure of the bill was the Democrats' fault. It's awfully intemperate, this new moderation: protectionism, isolationism, and partisan bickering.


august said...

Hmm, I see the delicious problem. But I really, really don't want to change all my nics to august the cat.

Keifus said...

George W. Bush in Vietnam. Who knew?

I confess that I've been following the news less closely this past week, but I don't find the rejection of an Asian trade agreement surprising. This is the same body that leapt to impose tariffs on steel and on Canadian lumber. (I've been doing so much renovation over the last five years, I really felt that second one.) And let's not forget their staunch opposition to immigration, in the name of the American worker among other things.