24 January 2009

Free Trade For Colombia

Those who read my works know that I am not a freetraderite:  I do not see 'free trade' as the best of all possible ways for a Nation State to work with other Nation States and secure liberty at home and help it to spread, abroad.  I stated that clearly nearly two years ago with this as my view for Jacksonian based foreign policy:

There are three classes of Foreign Nations:

  1. Those that the US shall have Free and Unfettered Trade with.
  2. Those that shall undergo normal trade restrictions and have tarriffs applied.
  3. Those Nations we do not like and will have nothing to do with.

The First Group will consist of all Foreign Nations that have had good, honest and open relationships with the United States and has not undermined the concept of expanding the Freedom of the Individual. This set will also include all Foreign Nations that have been under tyrranical rule and have recently been freed and have kept faith with the United States as a People and seek Our help to be Free. These Foreign Nations shall have free access to Our markets and give us the same access to Theirs, save for those individuals or companies that traffick or work with Foreign Nations that are within the Third Group. These Nations may be Freely invested in and will be considered to have no taxation restrictions save those posed for normal investment within the United States. Immigration shall be as Congress warrants, but shall involve no more background checks than are necessary to ensure that Enemies of the United States do not seek entry.

The Second Group shall consist of all Foreign Nations that are not unfriendly to the United States, but have shown little friendliness and familiarity with the United States. All trade of goods and services shall have a set tarriff of no less than 10%. Nations that have proven unhelpful but not overtly or covertly hostile to the interests of the United States shall fall into this category.

The Third Group is all Foreign Nations that have shown hostility or enmity to the United States or that have worked to undermine the relations of the United States with other Nations. All Foreign Nations trafficking with Transnational Terrorist organizations in any way shall fall into this category as they are seeking to undermine the Rule of Nations and orderly conduct between Nations. No trade or banking may take place between the United States and these Foreign Nations. Any individual or company from within the United States or its Free Trade partners that trafficks with these Foreign Nations shall not be able to invest or have banking relationships with the United States nor purchase goods and services from the United States. Such individuals and companies are considered to be pariahs and are unwelcome to visiting the United States.

That first group I sum up to be the 'Friends & Allies' of the United States.  These are the folks who show up with us over and over on the battlefield, at the diplomacy tables and help us while we... generally spite them for being such naive fools as to believe the US would actually RECOGNIZE and SUPPORT them.  Generally we have, as a Nation, Congress after Congress, Administration after Administration, given those seeking out support to help them in building liberty abroad the absolute and definitive Cold Shoulder.

Liberals are not alone in this, but are a main problem.  I could go through the litany of terror groups we are supposed to 'understand' and Nation States fighting terrorism that we are supposed to ignore, like Israel, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Greece, and now Iraq.

A quick question for Liberals:  do you support liberty and freedom as a human species-wide concept or not?

If you *do* then *why* don't you support Nations put together to secure peace and who seek our help in combating those who would destroy civil order?  For people to be accredited the high term of 'civilian' they must act to uphold the concept of civil rule so as to stem the rising tide of those humans who revert to the Law of Nature.  That is a fundamental and profound human liberty, being able to have a society in which people do not wantonly kill each other at whim based on purely personal feelings... or decide to take up the weapons of war against Sovereign Nations.  If all you can find is 'moral equivalence' then could you please tell me where supporting those seeking to undermine civil systems via destroying them and bringing strife ON THEIR OWN is exactly equal to a Nation State defending itself through regulated and accountable civil channels?


I'd like to know the author who raised barbarism to the level of civilization so I could give my neck the side-to-side workout at how daft that notion is.

Conservatives don't get off easy on this, either, since, as a class, they have decided to that 'economic efficiency' somehow spreads liberty.  It does not.  Often it doesn't even spread wealth, not to speak of liberty.  I went over this ill-founded concept when I looked at NAFTA, and pointed out that 'free trade' without acknowledging the economic, social and physical environs of those we trade *with* can have deleterious and often disastrous effects.  We have gone from having Mexico being a relatively poor Nation with subsistence farming and the rare 'insurgent' trying to push Communism to having Mexico being poor, no subsistence farming and fostering a turbo-charged criminal insurgency that now threatens the order of the United States in the desert Southwest.

You couldn't get from there to here without NAFTA destroying the economy and subsistence farming system in Mexico, dislocating millions of people, having them get then lose jobs in under a decade due to 'efficient business practices' going to the Far East, and having lots of narcotics money flowing around needing people to protect it... of which there were now plenty of non-farming capable unemployed in Mexico to take up those jobs from the employer of last resort, organized crime.

The boon to the US?

We now get to prepare for a COIN deployment on US SOIL!


For nothing and the blood flowing in the streets of Mexico and coming strong to America is on YOUR HANDS.

And when a 'conservative' trots out Adam Smith and Wealth of Nations, I point out that even Adam Smith bowed to the concept that the Law of Nations over-rules economic efficiency and prosperity based on trade.  That I went over in Trade, agriculture and Wealth of Nations.  Those who believe trade is everything are obviously not understanding the basis for trade as Adam Smith describes it and the fact that the Law of Nations makes trade POSSIBLE between Nations on a regularized basis via treaty.


I am NO freetraderite.  It is not the soothing balm of curing all economic ills and boosting liberty abroad.  Trade is the exterior aspect of the Nation State properly controlled by the Sovereign Power of that Nation and is a demonstration of how good or ill its people are towards other peoples and Nations.  Sorry, no knee-jerkism here, try Daily Kos.

One of the great understandings that President Jackson put down was that the US could trade with a Nation and still compete with it without going to war.  His outreach to the Ottoman Empire to provide it with Naval Vessels was to compete head-on with a Nation we were regularizing trade with: Great Britain.  He was willing to put the US naval shipbuilding capability head-to-head in competition with the best in the world.  And *still* work with the UK to open up trade between the US and the Crown Colonies!  Here is the view on that from him in 1829:

With Great Britain, alike distinguished in peace and war, we may look forward to years of peaceful, honorable, and elevated competition. Every thing in the condition and history of the two nations is calculated to inspire sentiments of mutual respect and to carry conviction to the minds of both that it is their policy to preserve the most cordial relations. Such are my own views, and it is not to be doubted that such are also the prevailing sentiments of our constituents. Although neither time nor opportunity has been afforded for a full development of the policy which the present cabinet of Great Britain designs to pursue toward this country, I indulge the hope that it will be of a just and pacific character; and if this anticipation be realized we may look with confidence to a speedy and acceptable adjustment of our affairs.

He even transmitted concerns from Congress overseas as he saw that as a duty to perform - being the Head of State and all that. Just the cursory examination of his papers that are easily available at the Avalon Project reveals a President who is not: uncouth, barbaric or, indeed, overtly hostile across the board. 

I will take a moment to try and clear up a thing or two about that Administration of  Andrew Jackson's.  He did do many things that others decried, but for those supporting the idea of 'majority rule' NOW you had best look to see where the majority was THEN.  If you don't like the Indian Removal Act, remember that it did go through Congress, was passed by the Democratic majority and enforced not only by Jackson but his successors, as well.  And do remember that he and the rest of the Nation had to deal with the idea of Indian Nations as actual Nations which had not been a clear point up to then.  Consider his concerns later in that annual presentation to Congress:

Your particular attention is requested to that part of the report of the Secretary of War which relates to the money held in trust for the Seneca tribe of Indians. It will be perceived that without legislative aid the Executive can not obviate the embarrassments occasioned by the diminution of the dividends on that fund, which originally amounted to $100,000, and has recently been invested in United States 3% stock.

The condition and ulterior destiny of the Indian tribes within the limits of some of our States have become objects of much interest and importance. It has long been the policy of Government to introduce among them the arts of civilization, in the hope of gradually reclaiming them from a wandering life. This policy has, however, been coupled with another wholly incompatible with its success. Professing a desire to civilize and settle them, we have at the same time lost no opportunity to purchase their lands and thrust them farther into the wilderness. By this means they have not only been kept in a wandering state, but been led to look upon us as unjust and indifferent to their fate. Thus, though lavish in its expenditures upon the subject, Government has constantly defeated its own policy, and the Indians in general, receding farther and farther to the west, have retained their savage habits. A portion, however, of the Southern tribes, having mingled much with the whites and made some progress in the arts of civilized life, have lately attempted to erect an independent government within the limits of Georgia and Alabama. These States, claiming to be the only sovereigns within their territories, extended their laws over the Indians, which induced the latter to call upon the United States for protection.

Under these circumstances the question presented was whether the General Government had a right to sustain those people in their pretensions. The Constitution declares that "no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State" without the consent of its legislature. If the General Government is not permitted to tolerate the erection of a confederate State within the territory of one of the members of this Union against her consent, much less could it allow a foreign and independent government to establish itself there.

This President saw debt obligations to Natives being ill-funded by Congress and called Congress on that.  He then goes on to cite the problem of the Congressional attitude in 'civilizing' natives which became a policy of land buy-out and forcing those people to leave their native lands.  Note the major concern in the Constitution as the natives had NO pre-existing State or Nation in many areas that when erecting a new government they were clashing directly with directives set up at the Founding.  Of course he told them to stop what they were doing inside the US: that was his job as described in the Constitution as he saw it.

And what was his response to the problem this caused?  Was it avowed racism to destroy the Indian tribes?  Read on:

Our conduct toward these people is deeply interesting to our national character. Their present condition, contrasted with what they once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By persuasion and force they have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, until some of the tribes have become extinct and others have left but remnants to preserve for a while their once terrible names. Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization, which by destroying the resources of the savage doom him to weakness and decay, the fate of the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware is fast over-taking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the States does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity. It is too late to inquire whether it was just in the United States to include them and their territory within the bounds of new States, whose limits they could control. That step can not be retraced. A State can not be dismembered by Congress or restricted in the exercise of her constitutional power. But the people of those States and of every State, actuated by feelings of justice and a regard for our national honor, submit to you the interesting question whether something can not be done, consistently with the rights of the States, to preserve this much- injured race.

Apparently the answer is a resounding NO.  He recognized the ills that were done, sees the injustice of it and, recognizing that his power as President is limited brings it to the part of the US government that can and MUST deal with it:  Congress.

I bring this up to clear some of the misunderstandings that are held about President Jackson.  Understand that if these could be Nations he would then treat with them as Head of State as he had done with other foreign powers.  He even ventured that new purchased lands west of the Mississippi be set aside for such purposes so that they could be 'secured in the governments of their own choice' by common consent and form new Nations.  And he was not adverse to recognizing those Nations as witness his signing treaties with them in 1830.

When leading his truly rag-tag militia into conflict, he accepted any that were free and citizens to take up arms and help him.  Freed slaves he accepted.  Indians who were citizens he accepted.  Help from a pirate he did not disdain as a leader of his men, but he had no orders to do otherwise.  They were to be honored and respected and he would work on Veterans affairs to ensure that Revolutionary War soldiers got their due pensions and voting rights.  Thus I have problems with those wanting to discount the man on simplistic, modern terms when, on his own and via the federal system he worked in, there were and are limits on the government.  And he *praises* those limits, too...

End of interlude.  Sorry it took so long.


Back to Colombia and the good relations had by our government with that of Colombia in 1830... after turning the medal given to President Jackson over to Congress as the Constitution does not allow those holding Public Office to accept personal rewards from foreign governments... say, when did we stop doing that?  Ah, simpler times when people could actually read the Constitution.  In any event, we have this as our opening view to regularizing trade with the then new government of Colombia:

I deem the present a suitable occasion to inform you that shortly after my communication to Congress at the opening of the session dispatches were received from Mr. Moore, the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States to Colombia, stating that he had succeeded in obtaining the assent of the council of ministers to the allowance of the claims of our citizens upon that Government in the cases of the brig Josephine and her cargo and the schooner Ranger and part of her cargo. An official copy of the convention subsequently entered into between Mr. Moore and the secretary of foreign affairs, providing for the final settlement of those claims, has just been received at the Department of State. By an additional article of this convention the claim in the case of the brig Morris is suspended until further information is obtained by the Colombian Government from the Court at Carracas; and Mr. Moore anticipates its early and satisfactory adjustment. The convention only waited the ratification of the Liberator President, who was at the time absent from Bogota, to be binding upon the Colombian Government. Although these claims are not, comparatively, of a large amount, yet the prompt and equitable manner in which the application of Mr. Moore in behalf of our injured citizens was met by that Government entities its conduct to our approbation, and promises well for the future relations of the two countries.

Representing the problems great and small of the Citizens of the United States gives an opening to regularizing trade between those who have recently freed themselves under the banner of liberty and freedom.  By having reciprocity and acknowledging problems and working to resolve them, the tone for how to conduct foreign policy that helps others to secure their liberty abroad without the need for military intervention is set.  That is a friendly way to deal with the world and secure liberty and freedom:  actually helping those who DO work to secure it and HELP them. 

Not hope they might change their ways, as is the current case with China.

Relations between Colombia and the US have not always been good, since then, needless to say, but the founding principle of how we treat each other was established by President Jackson.  Indeed he would try to do that with all the governments who had their Sovereignty recognized by treaty by the UK and Spain.  While Monroe had a Doctrine of non-intervention by outsiders in the New World, Jackson had one of offering the hand of friendship to those who would build peaceful societies and have governments to help them secure liberty and freedom.

When our friends in Colombia were under siege by drug cartels AND narco-terrorists, we worked first only in one area, on the cartels, and that fed the drug trade directly to FARC, and terrorism took a ghastly turn for the worse.  FARC had, before that, served as a type of 'enforcer' in certain areas of the drug trade while, somehow, trying to say that making money via these illicit capitalist means was a good way to create socialism:  exploit the workers to do something other than exploit them.  The exploitation, however, not only did not end when the powerful cartel bosses fell, but got worse and deeper under FARC.  For a time it looked like the area that FARC was able to clear of government control might topple the entire country.  Their government turned to one of their oldest contacts they had: the United States.

Our response was lackluster at first, not wanting to go beyond the criminal portion of things.  But the corrosive effects of Private War to destabilize not just Colombia but many Nations in South America caused a change in policy under the Clinton Administration.  If President Clinton failed horrifically in addressing Islamic Terrorism, he did an adequate job in helping go after narco-terrorism in Colombia.  This was a combined military and civil plan between multiple governments to try and strangle FARC and destroy its billion dollar per year profit off the drug trade it now had majority control of in Colombia.  By 2000 they were helping multiple other terrorist organizations on a global basis and serving as the training ground for those who could pay the toll.  Hezbollah, IRA, Tamil Tigers, al Qaeda, PLO, HAMAS... a laundry list of groups large and small came to be associated with FARC.

If the US had to learn multi-ethnic COIN later in Iraq, the start of modern COIN doctrine can be placed in Colombia under President Clinton.  For that we do need to divorce our feelings about how President Clinton often did things to divert attention from personal affairs, and to recognize that he did a few things right outside of that realm.  Colombia would have collapsed without the help of the United States under President Clinton, when we could have easily supplied the training and necessary minimal war material to effect a good, long term COIN plan.  That plan started in 1996 and a mere 13 years later it has achieved astonishing successes.

When Colombia faced unrest, revolution and chaos they came to the people of the United States for help, and no matter how miserly it was, the necessary help was given and it has been one of the largest terrorist organization take-downs in history.  The hard work and credit go to Colombia and those Nations that directly helped in intervening the drug and arms trade to FARC.  In asking for that help, they now see that we are irresolute in standing by them to help build closer and stronger ties to support liberty and freedom in their land.

I do support Free Trade for Colombia.

They have earned it and deserve it and it will help draw us closer together for the common problems that plague this hemisphere and make us both stronger via that healthy competition and sharing of goods that neither can wholly do on its own.  That would be a boon to both our peoples.

I apply that same concept across the board.

Help those who seek liberty and freedom and do not fear competition with them: they are your friends and allies.

Keep those who speak but do not DO at arms length, and deny them easy boon and make them pay to support our liberty and freedom.

And to those who oppose us, they should never feel smug or confident in their ways of the world as they make themselves an enemy of the United States when embracing freedom and liberty  is so easy to do and so hard to secure.

No comments: