Saturday, April 12, 2008

Columbia and the US Elites

If you remember, Clinton pollster/ strategist was relieved of his position of chief at the Clinton campaign though this hardly amounted to a firing, because the campaign kept him on as pollster. The flap was over Penn's company (which he remained in control of even as he has campaigned for Clinton) which was openly campaigning for a trade deal with Columbia that Hillary ostensibly opposed. Then it turned out that Bill Clinton was connected with this trade deal as well.
So what is this deal that the Clintoids seem like so much? Matt Yglesias explains the deal.
Colombia, meanwhile, is agreeing to implement a series of neoliberal reforms on a variety of issues, most of which don't have much to do with trade as it's traditionally understood. As has become typical in these deals, Colombia agrees to undertake various intellectual property reform measures, various investment rules, something having to do with their telecommunications sector, etc. I would be very surprised if the IP rules in question were actually a good idea for Colombia, and can't really evaluate the rest of it. Colombia's getting very little out of the deal per se, but its government does get a lot of military support from the US government, and many provisions in here are of interest to American businesses and may well be the sort of thing a right-of-center government would want to do anyway but likes to use the framework of a "deal" to help sell the measure.

Basically, this is a way for a somewhat thuggish government in an unstable country to cozy up to the US business elite. I think we should weigh the thuggishness of Alvaro Uribe with the measure of stability he has brought to the country. It in nevertheless unedifying to watch this paramilitary-tied government cuddling with the US capitalist bosses to keep military hand-outs flowing.
(Posted by Ewan)

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