Obama makes a blatant threat that if we vote for Brexit we’ll be at the back of the queue for trade deals.
So, let’s be clear…do what Obama says or else. So much for a special relationship.
Back last year the US said there would be no deals…so ‘back of the queue’ seems like an improvement in some ways, however it is clearly a staged threat designed to get the headlines and scare people into voting to stay aboard the sinking ship….the US is in fact, like the EU, very, very keen to sign up countries to free trade deals…
Obama was sending a clear signal about strategic priorities. “His [Michael Froman] appointment is further proof that trade issues are front and centre for this administration.
And of course does much of its work through the World Trade Organisation whose rules are designed to free up trade and minimise tariffs…
Trade Agreements can create opportunities for Americans and help to grow the U.S. economy.
The United States has free trade agreements (FTAs) in effect with 20 countries. These FTAs build on the foundation of the WTO Agreement, with more comprehensive and stronger disciplines than the WTO Agreement. Many of our FTAs are bilateral agreements between two governments. But some, like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement, are multilateral agreements among several parties.
UNDERSTANDING THE WTO: THE AGREEMENTS
Tariffs: more bindings and closer to zero
The bulkiest results of Uruguay Round are the 22,500 pages listing individual countries’ commitments on specific categories of goods and services. These include commitments to cut and “bind” their customs duty rates on imports of goods. In some cases, tariffs are being cut to zero. There is also a significant increase in the number of “bound” tariffs — duty rates that are committed in the WTO and are difficult to raise.
The BBC seems remarkably sanguine about Obama’s threat and indeed seems to think it is worth repeating endlessly but without any critique of what Obama is saying….here the BBC randomly inserts the phrase into a report on other things Obama said but which are otherwise unrelated…
US President Barack Obama has urged young people to “reject pessimism and cynicism” and “know that progress is possible and problems can be solved”. Speaking in London, he said: “Take a longer, more optimistic view of history.”
Earlier, the US president visited the Globe theatre and watched actors perform scenes from Hamlet. It came a day after he said Britain would be at “the back of the queue” for US trade deals if it left the EU.
No need for that, nothing to do with the report.
There’s scant discussion on Obama’s claims of the glories of the EU being the result of Britain’s membership..
“The UK is at its best when it’s helping to lead a strong European Union. It leverages UK power to be part of the EU. “I don’t think the EU moderates British influence in the world, it magnifies it.”
The BBC suggests that the Brexit campaign needs to answer questions raised by Obama, curious that the BBC doesn’t similarly interrogate the Remain camp when they make sweeping claims of doom and anarchy if Britain goes independent and gave Osborne’s dodgy dossier from the Treasury a free pass with hardly a look askance.
What of the EU and security? Does the EU make us safer? Curiously Obama didn’t think so in March…
Mr Obama reflects on “what went wrong”, saying: “There’s room for criticism, because I had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up.”
Mr Cameron, he said, became “distracted by a range of other things”. He also criticised former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, saying he had tried to claim the spotlight.
He also criticised what he called “free riders” in the interview, saying European and Gulf countries were calling for action against Gaddafi, adding: “But what has been a habit over the last several decades in these circumstances is people pushing us to act but then showing an unwillingness to put any skin in the game.”
Hang on though…a few weeks later, a week before he is due to come to Europe to peddle Cameron’s script on the marvels of the EU, he sees it all differently…..
Asked for his worst mistake while in office, Mr Obama named the failure to plan for the aftermath of Col Gaddafi’s ousting as Libyan leader, which sparked years of instability that are only just showing signs of easing.
What can have changed? Is he on the campaign trail for Cameron and any old cynical about-face will do? People will forget won’t they?….looks like the media has forgotten, so maybe he’s right and he’ll get away with it as the headlines are full of his dire warnings about Brexit.
What the BBC doesn’t point out is that the EU was always an American project as much as anyones with massive sums of money and support propping up the status quo from day one….
US officials trying to rebuild and stabilize postwar Europe worked from the assumption that it required rapid unification, perhaps leading to a United States of Europe. The encouragement of European unification, one of the most consistent components of Harry S. Truman’s foreign policy, was even more strongly emphasized under his successor General Dwight D.Eisenhower. Moreover, under both Truman and Eisenhower, US policymakers conceived of European unification not only as an important end in itself, but also as a way to solve the German problem.
The use of covert operations for the specific promotion of European unity has attracted little scholarly attention and remains poorly understood
Marshall suggested that European countries in need of aid should join in drawing up a program for presentation to the United States. Great Britain and France invited twenty-two countries to participate in a conference to draft a blueprint for European reconstruction. Sixteen nations responded, forming a Committee for European Economic Cooperation.
From the Telegraph…
DECLASSIFIED American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement.
The documents confirm suspicions voiced at the time that America was working aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into a European state.
The State Department also played a role. A memo from the European section, dated June 11, 1965, advises the vice-president of the European Economic Community, Robert Marjolin, to pursue monetary union by stealth.
It recommends suppressing debate until the point at which “adoption of such proposals would become virtually inescapable”.
When reporting the words of Obama perhaps the BBC should be making more effort to put a bit of context into that and remind us that the EU is one of the Americans’ pet projects so that we can judge his words more fairly.
And remember just how much our ‘friendship’ with the US meant in 2010 when the sabres were rattling over the Falklands again…
So far, the mounting Falklands conflict has been met with deafening silence from Washington. …..[which] demonstrates an extraordinary level of indifference towards America’s closest ally.
Obama is keen to appease the likes of Hugo Chavez as part of his policy of engagement with dictatorial regimes, and does not want to rock the boat in Latin America. Thirdly, the alliance with Britain has been given extremely short shrift by the Obama team, who seemingly care little for the Anglo-American partnership or the broader transatlantic alliance. It is at times of crisis that you know who your real friends are.
Obama….Keen to appease dictators and those who run oppressive regimes…but quite happy to throw the democratic Brits to the sharks….and now keen to appease the EU and push the UK under a Euro-bus.
At 07:09 this morning on the Today programme we had a little heads up on the EU and Obama, and again no dismay or surprise at Obama’s blackmail but they did insist the Brexit campaign had to answer questions raised by Obama, though the BBC itself wasn’t bothering to tackle what he said in any critical way despite telling us that ‘controversy reigns over his words’. The BBC seems to hold the Brexiteers to a higher standard than the EU’s fellow travellers when having to explain themselves.
We heard later on from Justin Webb that the US doesn’t want to make free trade deals with individual countries and prefers to make them with big blocs…..not true….
The United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) entered into force on January 1, 2005. U.S. two-way trade with Australia was $26.7 billion in 2009, up 23 percent from 2004. U.S. goods exports were $18.9 billion in 2009, up 33 percent from 2004, and U.S. goods imports were $7.8 billion, up 3.5 percent from 2004.
Jon Sopel thinks that, ‘you know what’, Obama said what he said about the back of the queue not because he was trying to help Cameron, no, no, but because he believes it…and even when he leaves office that will be the US policy. Just a little helpful nudge from Sopel for the Remain campaign there.
Webb has usually managed to hold the line on Europe and give a balanced presentation on the Today programme but it all went a bit awry in this interview with the former head of UK Trade & Investment Sir Andrew Cahn and Former Labour Foreign Secretary and a member of Vote Leave Lord Owen.
Webb starts his interview well….raising an ‘important point’ that we do good trade now with the US that works perfectly well for us and that’s not likely to get worse if we leave the EU.
It goes down hill from there generally as Cahn feeds us a line that Britain created the single market, that Britain made Europe enlarge itself eastwards and it was Britain that made Europe liberal, and that Obama wants that influence to continue making Europe a more liberal, open, free trading place benefiting from Britain’s political wisdom [LOL]…you might be sceptical about that long list but Webb wasn’t insisting to Lord Owen that ‘Look Lord Owen, you’d want that wouldn’t you?’ suggesting that Webb was onboard with that argument however false and self-serving it is.
Lord Owen suggests that the EU will inevitably collapse due to the flaws in the structure of the Eurozone and we should leave rather than be dragged down with it. Webb grabs that idea of an EU falling apart and turns it on its head suggesting that Obama is saying ‘look at the state of Europe and we can’t afford to have a Europe without Britain in it’….Webb adds ‘..and that is quite telling isn’t it’.…thereby not only twisting Lord Owen’s point to defend the EU but raising his own interpretation from an interesting question to a point of fact….that the EU will be in peril without the UK. Why would that be? It’s primary raison d’être was to be a mechanism designed to defang Germany and prick the arrogance of the French and thus keep the peace. There was no role for Britain envisioned in that original purpose other than to encourage German/French entente cordial with a bit of cheerleading from the sidelines. Webb does note though that Cahn doesn’t deny that that the EU is a ‘sinking ship’ but Webb goes on to tell us we have the ‘best of both worlds’ being placed where we are right now which you might see as a pro-Remain statement.
What of the claim that the EU has protected us from fighting with each other? What really kept the peace?…Well you might think that having hundreds of thousands of US and British troops in Germany kept the peace and a German constitution that restrained military adventurism, never mind the constant threat of Soviet tank armies sweeping across the border which no doubt concentrated minds and stopped infighting…nowt to do with the EU structure as such, more to do with NATO….and never mind that Germany is now the dominant country making all the calls economically and on immigration…Germany’s unilateral decision to invite in the world will destroy Europe and in no way make it safer….and of course it is the same Obama whose foreign policy it was to stand back and let the war in Syria escalate and watch without concern as millions of people fled their homes and head towards Europe… Obama possibly not unhappy to see a white Europe invaded by people from the Middle East and Africa.
The most telling statement againsts staying actually came from the pro-Remain Cahn as he admitted that the Euro single currency was a historic mistake that is at the heart of the EU’s problems.
No exploration of that major admission…..if that is the case what is the answer? It can only be the reintroduction of national currencies and economic flexibility. Which means that EU political and economic ‘ever-closer union’ would have to be halted and a more flexible approach adopted allowing countries to swiftly adapt to changing circumstances instead of being hog-tied to the German mega-economy that forces them into poverty whilst Germany reaps all the rewards.
The EU needs to reform massively, the ‘reforms’ that Cameron claims he got were laughable and nothing more than a political con-trick. Without Britain leaving and forcing the EU to concentrate on the matter there will never be any genuine reform and the ideologically driven attempt to force so many vastly different nations into one ill-fitting Euro-empire will flounder on the rocks of the EU mandarins’ arrogance and ambitions.
Perhaps that is what is missing from the debate…just what is wrong with, and how badly wrong is, the European Union? Not only that but what are the risks attached to staying in the EU? All the attention is on the so-called risks of leaving but of those of being ever more closely tied to that ‘sinking ship’ are generally ignored when they are very, very relevant as the EU heads towards ever-closer union and will inevitably try to drag Britain in with it along with signing up to that ‘historic mistake’ of the single currency….made all the harder to refuse with a ‘remain’ vote.
Below is the BBC’s Katty Kay’s little party political broadcast on behave of the Remain campaign…..
The president’s former chief economic adviser defended Mr Obama’s decision to weigh in on Brexit so forcefully. It’s a bit like when your sister goes out with a bad date, Austan Goolsbee told me, you just have to say something. Truth is though, most Americans are not very focused on the June 23rd vote on whether Britain should stay in or leave the EU. They should be, Mr Goolsbee argued because there are knock on economic consequences. Anything that adds uncertainty to the global financial system poses a risk and Brexit, he says, does that because we don’t know what the impact will be on British and European banks’ ability to operate across continental borders.