June 13, 2008

MUCH AS WE'D LIKE NOT TO THINK THE WORST OF THEM...:

FARC Loses a Booster? (The Editors, 6/13/08, National Review)

Uribe’s victory stands as a stark reminder of a shameful moment in the history of the new Democratic majority in Congress. Instead of standing with our strongest South American ally when they had the chance, Democrats in Congress obstructed the passage of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade agreement when President Bush sent it to Capitol Hill two months ago. (Their decision to do so allowed Chávez to declare Uribe isolated and weak, “since [the Americans] even rejected the FTA.”)

The passage of the FTA wouldn’t have a big impact on the U.S. economy, but it would provide a huge boost to Colombia. As many who support the deal have pointed out, almost all of Colombia’s products already enter the U.S. duty-free under the Andean Trade Preferences Act. But Congress must renew the ATPA periodically for it to remain in effect. An FTA, by contrast, would provide the long-term guarantee that Colombia needs to secure big investments in its infrastructure.

Sen. John McCain understands this, as demonstrated by his decision to visit Colombia in July in an effort to draw attention to the languishing deal and shame the Democrats into passing it. It has become popular in Democratic circles to mock McCain for once admitting that economics “is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” But the fact that free trade fosters growth is Economics 101. Not only has McCain staked out the correct economic position, he’s staked out the superior diplomatic position as well. Uribe is winning his fight against the socialist bullies in his country and on his border. Barack Obama should explain again why exactly it is he opposes normalizing trade relations with such an ally.


...it's awfully hard to escape the feeling that Democrats are retaliating against Colombia precisely for being a steadfast ally in Latin America.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 13, 2008 11:22 AM
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