Are the Republicans as crooked as we think they are? Part II – Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL), Wal-Mart and NAFTA
No accusation against the Republicans is starker than the contention that the war in Iraq, originally titled Operation Iraqi Liberation, was about the oil. The BBC has reported that the original war plan had documents already drawn up for the new government privatizing the Iraqi oil fields, as well as its completed application for the World Trade Organization. On the face of it, it would seem that the attack on Iraq was all about securing oil rights for American corporations. Was the rationale for this merely to enrich other members of the millionaires club, or is there something else to it? Before we come to an answer, let us consider another case.
The rise of Wal-Mart has led to the demise of both Main Street and much of what remains of several American industries, as Wal-Mart guides its vendors into relationships with Chinese factories. As a result, American plants in some industries are closing at a rapid rate. This has put pressure on unionized plants to exact wage concessions or simply close. Meanwhile, the profits of the firms that relocate operations, and indeed ownership, overseas go up – as do those of Wal-Mart and other big box stores. Is this another case of millionaire enrichment, or is something else going on?
Wal-Mart is only one case in a general trend toward free trade, which has been embraced by both Republicans and “New Democrats.” What began with NAFTA and the first President Bush is to be extended to an all American free trade zone including the entire western hemisphere. Article 12 of NAFTA, as well as the proposed trade pact, contain protections for corporations against local governmental interference. Why would a party so keen on American prerogatives surrender sovereignty to foreign corporations and an international tribunal to mediate disputes? Is this another example of corporatism run amok, or is something else going on here?