Texas: Keystone State of the FTAA
New American | November 14, 2005
by Robert L. Dacy
Because of its location, Texas is integral to the creation of the FTAA and the eventual merger of North and South America under a single regional government like the EU.
Based in Austin, Texas, Robert L. Dacy is a political researcher and host of The Simple Truth, a TV talk show.
A little more than two years ago, political allies of Texas Governor Rick Perry quietly passed legislation creating the "Trans-Texas Corridor" (TTC). With the connivance of a largely silent press, the most expensive project in the state's history became law with scant public notice.
It's bad enough that the TTC will cost at least $185 billion, much of it derived from new toll taxes imposed on existing free roads. It's even worse that the project -- 4,000 miles of roads, rail lines, and other infrastructure crisscrossing the state, bypassing all of the cities -- will be built by a Spanish contractor rather than a firm based in the United States. But worst of all is the role to be played by this hugely expensive boondoggle in linking the transportation system of the United States with that of Mexico, thereby creating the infrastructure that will facilitate the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
Because of simple geography, the road to the FTAA must go through Texas. For a short time, the Texas Department of Transportation website illustrated the true purpose of the corridor via a map showing how the project would connect with the Mexican highway and railway system, and a sketch of North America showing the strategic placement of Texas, with giant arrows pointing from Texas north to Canada and south to Mexico.
The strategic significance of Texas in the scheme to amalgamate the Americas was underscored by the trinational summit held last March at Waco's Baylor University. During that event, President Bush, along with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, approved a pact to create a "Security and Prosperity Partnership" that would deepen the economic and security integration of the three countries. Last month, Baylor's Hankamer School of Business hosted an important follow-up meeting intended to shore up flagging support for the FTAA in the United States.
Appropriately, Waco sits astride Interstate Highway 35, a route parallel to the envisioned TTC -- the first of what would be several FTAA corridors gradually binding North America and the entire Western Hemisphere into a single economic and (eventually) political region.
FTAA on the Ropes?
This writer attended the recent Waco "Free Trade in the Americas Conference," held on the Baylor University Campus on October 6-7. In his speech at the conference's opening banquet, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, former director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and current secretary-general of the United Nations Council for Trade and Development, specifically mentioned connecting economic regions through international infrastructure projects. Referring to projects of this sort being undertaken in Southeast Asia, Dr. Panitchpakdi said that, "if you can link them all up, it would make a trade area that would be wide enough for everyone to participate."
It's vital to understand that Dr. Panitchpakdi is not seeking to expand participation in authentic free trade, in which private interests engage in mutually beneficial commerce without government intrusion. Rather, his vision calls for each national government to regulate trade and economic policy according to mandates handed down from the WTO and administered through regional trade blocs, such as NAFTA, CAFTA, and the proposed FTAA.
In his native Thailand, Dr. Panitchpakdi led the campaign for that government's ratification of the WTO agreement. His bio proudly states that he also worked to ensure "his government's full and faithful implementation of its obligations" under the WTO.
That perspective dominated the October FTAA conference, which also devoted a lot of time to bemoaning opposition to the proposed hemispheric merger. The assembled bankers, trade representatives, globalization experts, and professors all presented a unified picture of an FTAA on the ropes.
Felipe Frydman of the Central Bank of Argentina complained that the United States Congress was an impediment to trade negotiations. Many participants echoed the lament that the Brazilian government of Marxist Luis Inacio Lula da Silva -- which favors a more overtly socialist hemispheric arrangement -- was not cooperating. Robert Devlin of the Inter-American Development Bank went so far as to lament that all momentum for the FTAA was lost.
These frustrations were coupled with apparent indifference on the part of some invitees. A few of the scheduled speakers were absent; the dinner, breakfast, and luncheon hosted by Baylor were not overflowing with hungry attendees; and the mainstream press was largely missing. A case in point is the press conference held in the media room at the Business College at Baylor. Only two reporters -- one from the Houston Chronicle and one from THE NEW AMERICAN -- showed up for the event, which was simulcast live on the Internet.
Asked by THE NEW AMERICAN if the U.S. Congress would be able to veto decisions made involving trade disputes settled by his envisioned FTAA, Dr. Panitchpakdi responded with a rambling non-answer. A few minutes later, after reminding the former head of the WTO that Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate foreign trade, we asked if the U.S. Constitution stands in the way of the FTAA. After another discursive non-response, Dr. Panitchpakdi opined that the Constitution does not stand in the way. At that point, the eminent former head of the WTO and his entourage very quickly left the room as someone announced the press conference was over.
Don't Celebrate Yet
Encouraging as it is to see the proponents of the Free Trade Area of the Americas in such apparent disarray, celebration is premature. The credentials, statements, and governmental philosophies of the heavy hitters at the conference should cause alarm bells to sound in the ears of all freedom-loving Americans.
Dr. Panitchpakdi, the main attraction at the Baylor conference, inadvertently flashed his totalitarian underbelly when he mentioned in passing a meeting he had last July with Bo Xilai, the Trade Minister of Communist China, whom he described as "the present Trade Minister of China, whose father used to be one of the six heroes of the Chinese Revolution, one of the close colleagues to Mao Tse-Tung." (Bo Yibo, the father of Bo Xilai, is actually known as one of the "Eight Immortals" of Communist China.) Realizing that Dr. Panitchpakdi, a powerful proponent of the FTAA, referred to one of Chairman Mao's cohorts as a "hero" should suffice as a "red" flag signaling the true intentions of this FTAA cheerleader.
Another credentialed globalist at the conference was Richard Fisher, chief operating officer of the U.S. government for NAFTA, former vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, former vice chairman of Kissinger McLarty Associates, current president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Trilateral Commission (these last two organizations promote global governance).
Contrary to the pessimistic assessment offered by Robert Devlin of the Inter-American Development Bank, Fisher stated we must have the political will to achieve the FTAA, insisting that enacting the pact is a moral imperative. If we do not help the poor countries of Latin America, Fisher declared, "it becomes for us a security issue. There's your moral imperative." This is a rehash of the argument used by the Bush administration to win approval of CAFTA, namely that we owe it to the "fragile democracies" of the region to enact a trade agreement that amounts to a massive wealth transfer from the U.S. to Central America.
In response to a question concerning the huge trade deficits the United States is running, Fisher claimed that if we did not run these deficits, we would hurt other countries because we are the "consumer of last resort" to the world. "We play a role by running these deficits … we are performing a service." Which is to say that Americans have a global obligation to impoverish themselves through debt-driven consumption in order to build economies in the "developing world."
Mr. Fisher's résumé shows that he knows how to play ball, and that he's clearly not playing for the home team. He has spent a good deal of his life encouraging industrial production and jobs to leave our shores, shoveling taxpayer-funded welfare to corrupt foreign governments, debasing our currency, peddling influence, doing an end run around the Constitution, and damaging our national sovereignty by encouraging trade with an aggressive Communist Chinese government whose business interests are controlled by its military machine. He is not about to stop now, and he and his CFR teammates are adept at manufacturing the political will to turn the Western Hemisphere into a totalitarian American Union.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the great State of Texas, the fight over the Trans-Texas Corridor continues, with little awareness of the elaborate design for hemispheric convergence of which that scheme is a part. Dr. Panitchpakdi pointed out that a unified trade region requires infrastructure, and it is therefore up to patriotic Texans to see that the corridor never gets built. It is up to the American electorate to put pressure on the Congress to ensure that the FTAA never comes to fruition. Robert Fisher knows that the political road to a successful FTAA goes straight through the U.S. Congress. So do we. It is up to us to build a roadblock.