Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Creeping Protectionism: Obama Gives in to History

It's no surprise that protectionism has become the latest phenomena in the downturn. Fear, driven by nationalism, job losses, general malaise, and xenophobia results in a hostile and economically reactionary constituency. Lawmakers, and in particularly Obama, despite their true selves are servants to a greater master than ideology, education, party, or accumulated knowledge. We have seen this in almost every downturn in the 20th century, and this is no exception.

They are servants of populism - the plague of any downturn. If truth is the first casualty of war, then reason is the first casualty of a recession. Case in point:
WASHINGTON — Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement on Wednesday slammed the Democratic-led U.S. Congress for expanding "injurious" Buy American rules that bar Canadian firms from bidding on American economic-stimulus projects, suggesting Capitol Hill lawmakers are ignorant to the potential for their actions to backfire on the U.S. economy.

Unfortunately for the US, "Buy American" and other assorted assanine policies driven by an inwardly focused electorate mean that others may retaliate for the continuing idiocy of Congress:
Brazilian President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva paid a visit to his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, this week, with a view to boosting trade between the two emerging economies and promoting what Lula called a “new economic order” that relies less on the US dollar.


”I think the trip that I am about to embark on…is one of the most important I am going on to defend a new economic order and a new commercial policy in the world,” Lula told journalists before he left Brazil, AFP reported.

China and other major trade partners, including Canada, have been waiting for a sensible US trade policy for a long time. The "Buy American" policies may be a last straw for the US' biggest partners.

Witness Canada's push for a oil deals away from the US, China and Canada's continued push for European trade integration and diversification away from the US trade hegemony.

It was inevitable that the American and world believers in Obama (this blog included) would be disappointed by Obama because of his need to have as large a tent possible. The short-sightedness of certain actions (not releasing more torture photos, keeping Gitmo's military trials, etc) has made the world wonder if Obama's better instincts and image have not been permanently damaged by adhering to a populist agenda that requires bending over backwards to satisfy the most backward of the US' interest groups.

I declare the world's honeymoon with the new president over.

It's back to earth, and back to playing hardball with one more compromised and damaged politician, beholden to satisfy idiocy as opposed to Obama's supreme intellect and abilities.

So much for the PHD's from the University of Chicago he surrounded himself with. What a waste.

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