Monday, April 28, 2008

Fareed Zakaria Being Sensible about John McCain’s League of Democracies

Here, I posted a warning about John McCain’s democratic embrace. Fareed Zakaria plays the game much better, as he looks at it from the U.S. perspective. Not to worry though; the Democratic candidates can pop off on NAFTA because they know that Canada and Mexico are not going to renegotiate, while the Republican candidate can talk about kicking Russia out of the G-8 because he knows that the rest of the original G-7 will never let him do it. At least our politicians’ pandering is (mainly) about money, and our own at that.

Sorry, that wasn’t nice. Actually, the resemblance to a child throwing a tantrum is only superficial, for there’s a reason why the U.S. gets away with this and much, much more. Like it or not, the U.S. is the ultimate guarantor of the global system. None of us, not the EU, not Russia, not China, certainly not Japan, are willing to share the very real responsibility that the U.S. has staked out for itself.

Can it go on much longer? Should it?

4 comments:

Janne Morén said...

For NAFTA, there is a very real risk that the Democratic candidate will have painted themselves in a corner and will actually be forced to reopen negotiations a year or two from now. And as has been observed elsewhere, both Canada and Mexico have real, substantial (and what looks like completely justified) issues with the current agreement and will only be willing to shift it further in their favour, not the other way around.

Reopening negotiations would likely be the death of NAFTA, and substantial economic damage for all three economies, but most, I suspect, for the US.

Jun Okumura said...

My guess is that a Democratic President will ask his/her Canadian and Mexican counterparts to hold talks on NAFTA and they'll reluctantly agree. They'll talk for a while, then come up with some nice words on improvements regarding implementation. More substantial issues will be left on the table for further discussions. The Democratic President will be pleased to call this process "negotiations".

Janne Morén said...

My reading of especially the Canadian feelings on NAFTA are a bit different (especially after the recent judgement on timber exports blatantly ignored by the USA). They'll certainly talk, but unless the US counterpart shows up with very specific, concrete improvements (along the lines of, Mexico truck drivers can drive anywhere they want; Canadian timber can indeed be exported freely), the talks are likely to be mostly about how to shut down NAFTA altogether. Canadian opposition especially really is not to be underestimated.

Jun Okumura said...

You mean the saga of the Canadian softwood lumber continues? Boy, that one’s as old as sin. No, Janne, Canada will never threaten to shut NAFTA down over it; there aren’t enough lumberjack votes for that, even in Canada. Maybe if they enfranchised beavers…