Posts Tagged 'Foreign Relations'

The Most Anti-Israel Administration of All Time?

By Caomhin

The more time passes the more this headline becomes crystal clear.  Our closest allies such as Britain, France, and Japan have all been severely let down, if not agitated by the Obama Administration, but Israel has been faced with an Administration that is constantly hounding them and seeking to curtail their ability to run their own nation.  As arrogant as they are, I cannot believe that the Administration is simply upset that Israel had announced settlement policies while Joe Biden was visiting the nation and have sought what they see as some sort of retribution in their mind for the timing of the announcement.  I may be inclined to think that if the Administration had not previously chastised Israel for they way they handle their internal matters.  Hillary Clinton blasted Israel for having the audacity to building homes for people to live in:

The length and unusually blunt tone of Clinton’s call underscored the administration’s concern about prospects for the negotiations it has been trying to organize for more than a year and its anger over Israel’s refusal to heed U.S. appeals not to make provocative gestures.

Everyone wants to see peace in the Middle East, I do not think that is a question here.  What is at question is to what we expect from each party.  What is apparent here is that the use of the phrase “provocative gestures” is clearly in tune with the way that the Arab States and the Palestinians see this.  A different phrase with less negative connotations would have served the Administration better if they were truly interesting in being an intermediary in the dispute rather than an active advocate for one side over the other.  The track record of the Administration, while not overtly pro-Palestinian, is however becoming clear to be “anti-Israeli.”

Once again I find my self in strong disagreement with Obama Administration in how they treat our strongest allies.  Obama has made it clear he wants to seek new relations with other states, but denouncing Israel at every turn, upsetting Britain over a number of issues, such as the Falkland Islands, and angering France over protectionism makes you wonder if he even respects our existing relationships.  I know if these thoughts are in my mind, there is no doubt it is in their minds as well.

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Free Trade is Necessary For A Strong Economy

By Caomhin

Pushed into the background during this year’s presidential campaign (and quite curiously so) is the issue of free trade and the pursuit of such agreements.  Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are a means by which two sovereign nations negotiate terms in which their exports are free from tariffs.  The results of such achievements are an increase in utility among consumers of both nations, who have now have access to new products and services at a lower cost to them.

Among several other benefits of free trade agreements are the availability of new investments by members of both nations, improved relations and cultural understandings that result from an exchange of goods, services, ideas, etc., both amongst the people and governments, as well as higher levels of competition, the end result of which, leads to the improved quality of goods and services.  FTAs benefit citizens at a variety of levels.

While we remain in tough economic times, the pursuit of FTAs must not be forgotten, rather, they must be aggressively pursued for the benefits that they reap.  History has taught us the dangers and naivety of protectionist and isolationist stances, which have led to economic, political, and military disasters.

The defense of our nation’s sovereignty is of the utmost importance, to be sure.  However, FTAs, when negotiated directly with other nations, do not undermine our sovereignty or do harm to our nation; instead, they greatly benefit our nations.  Disputes are handled through additional negotiations between trading partners or through the World Trade Organization.  While many seem to have negative connotations associated with the WTO, this is a fallacy.  Free Trade benefits the members of all nations involved, regardless of the disinformation being provided by special interest groups.

We can work through international organizations and direct negotiations with other countries in ways that do not deplete our national independence.  This is done through solid legislation and negotiations.  The ability to back out of an agreement if the deal is fundamentally flawed or unfair is of course retained and thereby maintains sovereignty.  We must not enter into lopsided deals that put us into a competitive disadvantage, but rather seek to have tariff free agreements on both imports and exports.

I strongly urge the legislature to complete the implementation of the trade agreements with Peru and Oman and to pass the FTAs with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.  One of the panaceas we seek to the ailing economy is to open up new opportunities and new markets that will benefit both consumers and producers, allow for new flows of investments, and to have a positive impact for the citizens our nation.  Following through on these agreements is a great step towards fixing that which ails us.


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