Thursday, December 14, 2006

Has Nancy Pelosi gone over to the dark side?

On a different issue (Katrina), I'm on the record saying, "God bless Nancy Pelosi," and I have always had good things to say to her in connection with the Tiananmen Square issue, where she has consistently stood with the campaigners of the China pro-democracy cause.

She is supposed to be Jedi, not Sith.

Of course, she has been rising in power recently, and I wonder whether all individuals, on becoming national leaders, cross over to the Sith. On the whole, I look up to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, but I have been against every President (that's four) since him. I don't think that Jimmy Carter ever crossed over into being with the Sith.

Then again, he is the president who commenced trade with China, normalized relations, and threw Taiwan under the bus in 1979. (Hmmm.... Perhaps I should rethink Jimmy Carter.)

In 2000, Nancy Pelosi was a standout as a Representative fighting against PNTR for Communist China. I might have thought, "Aha! Here is an enlightened, trade defict-aware politician!" In the recent election cycle (that she gets great credit for winning), she recruited a series of Democratic candidates including many who are opposed to the U.S.' recent string of twisted trade deals. The vaunted Democrat victory of November 2006 brought into play "rising protectionist sentiment" in the U.S. House.

Now after the election, Nancy Pelosi has twice voted in favor of measures to grant PNTR to Communist Vietnam (H.R. 5602 and H.R. 6406). In fact, she voted against her own party in order to favor H.R. 6406.

--What gives? The combined record, of being against PNTR for China, and for PNTR for Vietnam, makes for an overall record that is not consistent. Perhaps if you spend too long in Washington, the "trade deficit agnosticism" rubs off on you; has she bought into the anti-protectionist sentiment? Is she someone who would ostracize a protectionist unless that sentiment is directed at China -- her pet issue?

Make no mistake, I am still a protectionist on China; that is to say, I am against China PNTR.
And also make no mistake, I am a protectionist on Vietnam; I am against Vietnam PNTR. That is to say, I am consistent, because the same economic (and human rights, and national security) pitfalls are entailed with both regimes.

For me, it is fitting to go farther. I am against all low-tariff trade with all communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs, with the exception of importing oil.

I am a practical idealist, and there are principled reasons of idealism as to why the free world should minimize its trade deficit with the world of tyranny. And, there are practical reasons why importing oil is unavoidable. Regimes such as China and Vietnam are able to squeeze out lower prices by way of squeezing their people -- employing slave labor. U.S. businesses are attempting to exploit the opportunity that is posed by these lower prices, but I can name three sets of victims: 1.3 billion people in China, 84.4 million people in Vietnam, and the U.S. Emancipation Proclamation. (In its economic spirit, the Emancipation Proclamation informs us that labor is worth something-not-nothing.)

Everything about free trade with tyranny is bad for the peoples and security interests of the free world. Further, a cut off, represented by rising tariff rates, would mean that U.S. businesses would find that the lowest available prices are from the poorest free world nations. (Not many jobs would come back to the U.S., but they would go to free world suppliers like India, Mexico, and South America.)

My thought as expressed above would be a boon for economies (nations) within the free world.

It could even be fair to offer this thought: We have been bypassing our natural allies -- free world nations -- to go the lowest cost producers, the unfree nations. What incentive is there for Iraq to be democratic? Once democratized, Iraq could look around and see America in love with China (and now Vietnam). If Iraq wants to get supplier and vendor contracts, they would do better to set up a tyranny, and squeeze out the lowest costs by squeezing their people.

The passage of Vietnam PNTR is the latest chapter in America's sordid and unbecoming love affair with slave labor. Iraq could be free, with no business, or Iraq could adopt forced labor, and then be wooed by delegations from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The passage of Vietnam PNTR was recently assisted by Nancy Pelosi, voting against her own party. This, at a time when we would do better to cut off all communists, dictators, tyrants and thugs.

Very naturally at this time and in this circumstance, one could ask pointed questions of Nancy Pelosi. Why does expediency trump consistency? Why swim the opposite way from your party? Why swim the opposite way from the Free China Movement and the China Support Network, along with supporters of human rights for Vietnam -- all of whom were opposed to this deal? Why must age and treachery trump youth and idealism? Why was a trade deficit bad last week, and now suddenly a trade deficit is good this week (Perish the thought!)?

The simpler question is that in my headline: Has Nancy Pelosi gone over to the dark side? In a different context, I've said "God bless Nancy Pelosi," but on the matter of Vietnam, I am given to these pointed questions.

For another tidbit, I talked to Wei Jingsheng about Nancy Pelosi, subsequent to the November elections. He knows that she has "worried Beijing." (Congratulations about that, Nancy!) He thinks that it will probably make some difference; however, he also noted that she is probably under heavy pressure from business interests, around about now. Still and all, he pointed out that she has staked quite alot of political capital into the human rights issue.

I suppose that he and I both hope that her rhetoric on China translates into something more than rhetoric. For myself, I should be feeling optimistic at this time, because of all those newly elected Democrats with the "rising protectionist sentiment." The Vietnam trade deal had to be passed, late at night on the last day of the session, by the 109th Congress, because there would be no market for it in the 110th Congress. The 110th could and, in my opinion, should repeal PNTR for both Communist Vietnam and Communist China.

The ugly "race to the bottom" should be stopped, in the interest of saving "the right side of history" -- that of freedom, democracy, and human rights in Asia.

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