By Harold Pease, Ph. D
For readers who do not understand the international trade deals of the last 25 years, notably NAFTA, GATT and TPP, you will never fully grasp what President Donald J. Trump has just done for the Constitution and against the proponents of globalism. In his first day in office, pulling the United States out of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, he has done more to return us to constitutional integrity and to international free market economics than the last four presidents combined. Space permits our confining ourselves to the threat averted to the Constitution.
International trade deals have historically been a mix of oxymoron’s: Republicans for and Democrats against, with the actual trade deals finalized and implemented by Democrat presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Unions, considered left, and Tea Party folks, considered right, have been consistent opponents, as have constitutionalists. Thus, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul are on the same side, the former yelling in opposition to the TPP, “No more secret trade deals!” And, “No more special deals for multinational corporations!!”—Both accusing Obama of selling us out.
In 2013, the Washington Post was the largest newspaper to print some of the “secret” parts of the TPP observing that by then, after nearly a decade of negotiation and 19 secret meetings, had become a regional government document of a hefty 5,600 pages. “Which when finished, will govern 40 percent of U.S. imports and exports” and “26 percent of the world’s trade.” It will be the law of the land for the United States and 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region—without the input of a single member of Congress. This in violation of Article I, Section I of the U.S. Constitution that mandates that all legislative powers reside in the House and Senate and in no other body. In fact, until 2015 members of Congress had not been allowed to even see the treaty whereas privileged corporations had no problem with access.
The paper continued, “The treaty has 29 chapters, dealing with everything from financial services to telecommunications to sanitary standards for food,” demonstrating the wide variety of areas believed to be affected by it, but again, it is the secretive nature of it that is most offensive. Apparently TPP participants signed “a confidentiality agreement requiring them to share proposals only with ‘government officials and individuals who are part of the government’s domestic trade advisory process’.” That excluded you, the media, Congress, and me.
The Post acknowledged that the agreement “encompass a broad range of regulatory and legal issues, making them a much more central part of foreign policy and even domestic lawmaking.” Such is curious. The Constitution requires the approval of your two U. S. Senators and your House member for every regulation upon you. There exists no language in the Constitution that any other individual or body—especially an international body—can perform this function. And, international law should not affect “domestic lawmaking.” You have the right to know that these three have read every rule emanating from the federal government upon you. The admission that the TPP will influence foreign policy is interesting as only the U.S. Senate may influence foreign policy as per Article II, Section II. Giving a “more central part of foreign policy” to an international agency would have virtually voided the Constitution in this area.
The Post identified “60 senators (who) have asked for the final agreement to address currency manipulation.” Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden, both Democrats, have been especially vocal about the Obama “Administration’s refusal to make draft text available.” Wikileaks published the chapter on intellectual property raising “many questions about copyright protections.” Obviously this treaty, while billed as just a trade agreement, included music, film, books, the Internet and appeared to restrict everything in the industry. And this was but one of 29 chapters.
The implementation procedure of the globalists was to gain consensus among the countries signing it, all had by February 4, 2016, then present it Fast Track and without debate to both branches of Congress for a simple up or down vote. Again, this procedure flies in the face of the Constitution. Treaty making, an agreement between two or more countries, is a shared power between the president and the senate. The president “shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.” President Barack Obama did not seek Senate advice; indeed he has not even allowed the Senate to read his treaty prior to November 5, 2015, even then he accepted no changes in it. Then he presented it to both houses for a simple majority vote instead of only to the Senate for a two-thirds vote as constitutionally mandated.
Law by a single man excluding Congress is unconstitutional. International law imposed by an army of unelected bureaucrats is not freedom. The Trans Pacific Partnership would have siphoned decision-making power from the elected to the non-elected in a foreign land and would have affected every American. A signature by any member of Congress or by a president would have violated his oath of office “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Thank God Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not present it to the Senate when finished and President Trump took it off the table entirely.
Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.