Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(114,904 posts)
Thu Aug 18, 2016, 09:22 AM Aug 2016

The national security case against TPP

The Republican and Democratic conventions showcased an extraordinarily rare point of bipartisan consensus: stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yet, in the dog days of summer, Americans have received a rude awakening that the unpopular 12-nation trade deal is still on the table. This past Friday, President Obama put Congress on notice that a vote on TPP is coming in the lame duck period after the election.

While the President recently conceded that TPP critics are “coming from a sincere concern about the position of workers and wages in this country,” he's also been hammering home a familiar and often-unchallenged fallback case for trade agreements: that TPP is essential for foreign policy and national security priorities.

As a retired Brigadier General and 30-year veteran of the U.S. Army, I’ve long considered arguments for trade deals as national security strategies, including arguments for the TPP specifically as a “way to keep the peace in the Pacific” and counter China as it “flexes its economic and military muscle.” While I respect President Obama and the pact’s military backers, I believe these arguments miss a crucial point: By facilitating the further offshoring of America’s manufacturing base, the trade pact would actually undermine America’s military readiness and global economic standing. TPP would hurt our national security interests more than it would help.

In 2013, the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board put forward a remarkable report describing one of the most significant but little-recognized threats to US security: deindustrialization. The report argued that the loss of domestic U.S. manufacturing facilities has not only reduced U.S. living standards but also compromised U.S. technology leadership “by enabling new players to learn a technology and then gain the capability to improve on it.” The report explained that the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing presents a particularly dangerous threat to U.S. military readiness through the “compromise of the supply chain for key weapons systems components.”



2 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
The national security case against TPP (Original Post) cali Aug 2016 OP
Well, damn! I go back and forth on this topic! True Dough Aug 2016 #1
It is true. And I've spent years researching the TPP and reading it cali Aug 2016 #2

True Dough

(17,246 posts)
1. Well, damn! I go back and forth on this topic!
Thu Aug 18, 2016, 09:44 AM
Aug 2016

I can't make up my mind. I just read Yallerdawg's thread "Why President Obama is pushing the TPP," and I felt like the TPP could make sense if there are proper provisions. But reading the op-ed you posted, Cali, I'm now leaning the other way again.

If what the author writes is accurate, it's significant to consider:

While the TPP’s backers present our choice as one of trade versus protectionism, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We already have free trade agreements with the six TPP countries that account for more than 80 percent of the promised trade. Because all TPP nations are currently members of the World Trade Organization, their tariffs have already been cut to minimal levels.

So that blunts a lot of what the TPP would supposedly accomplish.

Then there's this damning statement:

Just this spring, an official U.S. government study by the International Trade Commission noted that the pact would further gut the U.S. manufacturing sector. This, following the loss of 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000, is a perilous proposition.

And, finally, this reiteration of the growing power of multinational corporations does give on pause:

Of TPP's 30 chapters, only six deal with traditional trade issues. The rest deal primarily with special privileges for multinational corporations and investors—like establishing the rights of companies to sue governments for cash compensation over the impacts of health and safety regulations. These dominant features of the TPP would vastly expand the rights of multinational firms that do not necessarily represent America’s national interests.

I don't know if I'll ultimately come out in favor of the TPP or not. I'm striving to find out whether the bad overshadows the good, and this link of yours makes it sound like that's the case.
Latest Discussions»General Discussion»The national security cas...