By Eric Zuesse
Like the foie gras producer ramming food down ducks’ throats in order to create diseased super-fatty livers that some humans find acceptable to eat, American President Barack Obama is trying to ram dictatorship down Europeans’ throats, for the benefit of billionaires. And, like the sweet words of the foie-grass lobbyists who say it’s all just the ‘free market’ at work, Obama’s commercial-treaties salesman is saying it’s all being done in order to support ‘free trade’.
Thus, on May 31st, a big promoter of ‘free trade’, Britain’s Economist, headlined “Europe and US in race to keep TTIP on track”, and reported the U.S. President’s propaganda; they provided to his trade tsar Michael Froman their platform, as an unpaid ad (‘news’ story):
“Speaking in Stockholm on a European tour to push TTIP, Michael Froman, US President Barack Obama’s trade tsar, warned that there was no ‘Plan B’ if talks were not concluded this year.
“We either work together to help set the rules of the world or we leave that role to others.”
Bypassing the World Trade Organisation
In other words: Obama, via Froman, via this freebie publicity provided by the Economist, is telling the Economist’s readers that the way to advance free trade is by imposing the rules that govern it, so as to supply advantage to the people who impose the rules and sign Obama’s document, and thereby to disadvantage everybody else — all people who are outside the blessed self-selected closed circle of power-holders.
Naturally, being good propagandists, the Economist provides no real counter-argument to that (such as by pointing out that Obama is actually trying to replace “the rules of the world” that have already become established during decades by the far less partial World Trade Organization or WTO — replace those global rules by the discriminatory treaty-based trading-blocs rules that he wants in order for international corporations to be placed directly into the driver’s seat), but instead the Economist continues immediately with this caricature of such:
“TTIP’s supporters have also been blindsided by increasing opposition to trade deals in the US, where Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has built his campaign around an anti-trade message and Democrat Hillary Clinton, facing a challenge from the left, has abandoned her support for a similar Pacific trade pact.”
In other words, according to the Economist: the domestic opposition to Obama’s trade-deals is comprised of two categories: of ‘anti-trade’ populists and leftist yahoos who don’t know that Marxism is dead and ended ever since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990. Both categories of yahoos are simply behind-the-times, according to the Economist. Pity those non-subscribers to mega-corporate propaganda such as this.
Then, this Economist ‘news’ ‘report’ (a.k.a.propaganda) continues:
“With the clock running out on Mr Obama’s presidency, officials on both sides now believe that the window is closing for a deal to be reached and approved in legislatures in Europe and the US before the end of the year. EU officials stress that they want to agree a working text by July.
“A failure to complete the agreement before a change in US administration could condemn the pact to years of drift.”
Get it done now!
Get it done now, is the propaganda message. But, the intelligent reader will still be asking: should it be done at all? Viewed in narrowly economic terms alone, the three independently done (as opposed to mega-corporate funded) studies indicate that the major stockholders in international corporations (especially ones that are based in the U.S.) would benefit from these deals, at the expense of everyone else and especially at the expense of consumers, and of employees.
However, that’s only the economics of it. More broadly, what Obama’s treaties will do if they become passed into law is to achieve internationally the dream of fascists ever since the time of Mussolini: to transfer sovereignty away from the public in a democracy, to, instead, as Mussolini himself sometimes called his fascist ideology, “corporationism,” which he defined as:
“The corporation plays on the economic terrain just as the Grand Council and the militia play on the political terrain. Corporationism is disciplined economy, and from that comes control, because one cannot imagine a discipline without a director. Corporationism is above socialism and above liberalism. A new synthesis is created.”
“Labor in all forms, intellectual, technical and manual, is a social duty. In this sense, and in this sense only, is it protected by the State. From the national point of view all production is a unit; its objects are unitary and can be defined as the wellbeing of the producers and the development of national strength.”
He didn’t mention there “the wellbeing of the workers,” nor “the wellbeing of consumers,” because his ideology wasn’t concerned about those matters. He even asserted that labor “is a social duty. In this sense, and in this sense only, is it protected by the State,” so that workers’ rights have no protection in fascism. Only workers’duties do. “National strength” was his goal, just as it is Barack Obama’s, and they don’t believe that workers’ rights are part of this. That’s why it’s ignored in Obama’s proposed treaties.
“National strength” is, of course, largely a military phenomenon. Here is Obama speaking on 28 May 2014 to graduating cadets at America’s academy for its future military leaders, West Point:
“Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums. And even as developing nations embrace democracy and market economies, 24-hour news and social media makes it impossible to ignore the continuation of sectarian conflicts and failing states and popular uprisings that might have received only passing notice a generation ago. It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world…
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is and always will be the backbone of that leadership.”
Workers pitted against each other
This was a statement that America’s economic competitors are to be addressed not only by economic means (such as his economic sanctions against Russia) but also by military means, and that these cadets are therefore to think of their nation’s economic competitors as additionally being also America’s enemies. He even said there that all nations except the U.S. are dispensable; and his precise words to assert this type of American exceptionalism were that “the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation.” Consequently, for example, Russia and China (like any other enemy) are ‘dispensable’ (because only one is not: America).
Of course, some fascist leaders, such as Francisco Franco, haven’t similarly held their nation to be the only ‘indispensable’ nation. Not all fascist leaders do, but Adolf Hitler certainly did believe that his was, and he too was a fascist, though not a member of Mussolini’s party, the Fascist Party, because Hitler had his own fascist party, the Nazis.
Obama is a member of the Democratic Party, which has existed ever since the beginning of the American republic. Fascism didn’t even exist back then. Furthermore, U.S. President FDR was passionately anti-fascist, and he led the Democratic Party during the time of Mussolini and Hitler, and went to war against them. However, there is evidence that Obama is a fascist in the sense that Mussolini initiated as not merely the Fascist Party, but more germane here, in the more basic sense, as the fascist ideology.
For example, Michael Froman has insisted that a country which systematically and regularly ignores whenever a labor union organizer gets murdered, isn’t therefore disqualified from being included in trade agreements such as the U.S. is now proposing. Obama, quite evidently (from his proposed trade treaties) feels that it’s quite okay for American workers to be competing against workers in foreign countries where labor union organizers are like free-fire-zone targets for corporations that want them to be (mysteriously) eliminated.
Of course, Obama’s rhetoric doesn’t say any such thing; he’s far more genteel than was Mussolini. But Obama’s actions, and the people whom he appoints to run the federal offices for him and who carry out his policies (such as Froman), show the real person, not merely the verbal front, and his agents make quite clear that, where the ideological rubber actually hits the policy highway, Barack Obama is, in fact, a classic fascist, in the sense that the first fascist leader, Mussolini, was. Obama’s concept of ‘free trade’ is the fascist version, not the democratic one.
I previously noted that, “Mussolini … had learned his fascism from the economist Vilfredo Pareto, whose teachings had inspired the young Mussolini.
“As Pareto himself said, 1 September 1897, in his essay “The New Theories of Economics”: “Were I of the opinion that a certain book would contribute more than any other to establish free trade in the world at large I would not hesitate an instant to give myself up heart and soul to the study of this particular work, putting aside for the time all study of pure science.” But what the international corporations call “free trade” isn’t quite the same thing that supporters of democracy would mean by that phrase.
The same article also documented extensively that Pareto specifically condemned “the empty words of meaning of the famous Declaration of the Rights of Man,” and that he rejected equality of rights. He set forth the ideology upon the basis of which (for example) Michael Froman might ‘justify’ American workers competing against ones in countries where labor union organizers can be murdered with impunity: only the corporation’s owners should have the right to collective bargaining (via their management, lobbyists, etc.). Pareto was very big on the rights of owners, but that’s all.
Global fascism and corporate dictatorship
Barack Obama’s ‘free trade’ is entirely in keeping with fascism. It’s simply extending that, globally, and excluding from the mega-trading-blocs that he is creating, the BRICS nations (now just the RICS nations, because of the successful coup in Brazil). This is in accord with his having told West Point cadets that they might be called upon by their nation to treat those nations where “rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums,” as being America’s enemies, to be killed or captured — conquered. Perhaps this is to be the new gunboat diplomacy.
Irrespective of Obama’s rhetoric, which is often in accord with the tradition of America’s Founders, his proposed trade treaties are in blatant violation even of the U.S. Constitution itself, as well as of the very clearly expressed intentions of the chief individuals who drafted it and who led this nation during its earliest years.
All knowledgeable people are aware that Obama is pushing not only for a locked-in American domination of the world, but for U.S. corporate dictatorship. As I previously headlined, “UN Lawyer Calls TTP & TTIP ‘a dystopian future in which corporations and not democratically elected governments call the shots’.” But, what the UN’s legal expert on these matters has to say about them, doesn’t receive nearly as much freebie promotion as is provided to even just one of the U.S. White House’s fascist puff-pieces; so, the UN’s expert gets drowned out by the fascist cacophony.
Consequently, though the public, both in the U.S. and EU, is opposed to these ‘free trade’ treaties (notwithstanding all the PR for them), the governments can just go ahead and sign them. This is Western ‘democracy’. The publics are the ducks, and the people who control things need to fatten up our livers a bit more, regardless of what we think. Obama and his allies are preparing this meal, and the people who paid them to do it are hungry, and are demanding to be served this feast, ASAP. The ducks (despite all the pretty sounds about how nutritious this food will be) might squawk about it, but, after all, the ducks don’t own the farm, and the people who do are the actual decision-makers — in accord with what Mussolini and his teacher Pareto said should be the case.
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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.