CAFTA Fight Shows We Can Stop FTAA|
by Tom Gow
The New American, August 22, 2005 Issue
The closeness of the CAFTA vote — despite the political pressures the administration applied — shows that we can defeat the FTAA.
Adapted from "Block the Globalists' Next Stepping Stone to World Tyranny -- STOP the FTAA!" by Tom Gow, August 5, 2005.
In the wee hours of July 28, pro-CAFTA forces squeaked out a razor-thin victory in the House by a vote of 217 to 215 — overcoming their final hurdle. The administration had signed the Central American Free Trade Agreement in May of 2004, but refused to allow Congress to vote on the agreement for more than a year, until sufficient support could be lined up. The fact that the administration dared not submit the agreement to Congress sooner, and then had to engage in an embarrassingly transparent display of arm-twisting and vote-buying to get it passed, is powerful testimony to what the informed opposition against CAFTA had accomplished.
We had high hopes of defeating CAFTA. But we are not discouraged, since the CAFTA battle has helped us enormously to build opposition to a more dangerous threat — the Free Trade Area of the Americas — and to make it more difficult for the global architects who want to impose an EU-style supranational government on the Americas to move forward with the FTAA.
On January 16, 2002, President Bush declared "we're determined to complete [the FTAA] negotiations by January of 2005." Those negotiations are still not completed. Moreover, the FTAA agreement was to have been approved by Congress and put into effect this year. That timetable appears to have been shoved back at least a year.
The momentum in the battle to stop the FTAA may be swinging our way. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution noted, "Free trade supporters cheered the Central American trade pact's passage … but said the narrow victory may provide little momentum for reaching their larger goal: a trade zone spanning the Western Hemisphere."
So-called free trade pacts are no longer a theory to many Americans, as was the case when Congress approved NAFTA in 1993. Almost a million Americans have lost jobs as a result of NAFTA alone. Moreover, the trend toward open borders is becoming increasingly visible. Indeed, the CAFTA battle has bought us valuable time to more fully inform and activate Americans who already recognize these alarming trends.
It was a welcome surprise that CAFTA proponents had to work so hard to assemble their majority. Since much of the opposition to CAFTA was based on partisan politics and narrow economic concerns, we were pleased that the pro-CAFTA forces had so much difficulty.
Many who mistakenly view CAFTA as a "minor trade agreement" were undoubtedly puzzled by the amount of persistence, determination, and back-room dealing the administration and the GOP congressional leadership applied to get CAFTA passed. The sheer volume of political pressure is only puzzling, however, until it is understood that CAFTA is not about exporting more American goods to a handful of small countries with little purchasing power.
CAFTA-FTAA proponents have necessarily kept CAFTA's real significance hidden from public view, even downplaying the fact that CAFTA is a steppingstone to the FTAA. Instead, they deceptively argued that CAFTA was about "free trade." This same deception is being used to build support for the FTAA. The real purpose — to integrate the Western Hemisphere and to eradicate our borders — is being ignored and even denied.
This same strategy of deception was also employed decades earlier to get the unsuspecting peoples of Europe to accept the Common Market and (much more recently) the European Union. Europeans were told that the Common Market was needed to facilitate trade and build prosperity, but the intent all along was to build a regional government as a steppingstone to world government. Of course, to expose the NAFTA-CAFTA-FTAA process, we have the advantage of being able to point to the Common Market-EU process as well as to the fact that FTAA architects approvingly cite the EU as their model.
To stop the FTAA, we must focus our opposition on the conspiratorial agenda to build an EU-style government of the Western Hemisphere, not on partisan politics or even on economic grounds. We must also keep in mind that the NAFTA-CAFTA-FTAA scheme, like the Common Market-EU scheme, is a process. Not everything is revealed in the agreements, and if the FTAA is approved, the envisioned power grab (like the EU) will unfold over time. And so we must expose the forces and long-term goals.
We also must apply informed pressure on Congress by building solid, informed constituent clout. Clout, not reason, is the primary language of politicians. Unfortunately, too many congressmen are schooled that their primary accountability is to their party leaders, whom they believe can control their careers. These party leaders are in turn under the sway of the Power Elite whose objective is to consolidate power in a world government.
Building and applying the necessary clout to expose and overcome this top-down conspiracy is only possible through organization. By far the best way to build grassroots opposition and stop the FTAA is to become active in a local chapter of The John Birch Society. During the CAFTA battle, JBS chapters were the focal point of inspiring determined action to pressure Congress to vote no. The closeness of the CAFTA battle shows that the battle to defeat the FTAA is winnable.