July 4, 2008


Obama's trade pledge may hurt U.S. (Andres Oppenheimer, July 4, 2008, Miami Herald)

When I asked Mexican President Felipe Calderón about Democratic presumptive presidential candidate Barack Obama's pledge to renegotiate the U.S. free-trade agreement with Mexico, I expected him to say that such a move would be catastrophic for Mexico.

Interestingly, his first reaction was to say that it would be catastrophic for the United States.

The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement among the United States, Mexico and Canada was be raised by Republican presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain during his just concluded visit to Mexico. McCain is courting U.S. Latino voters, claiming that his pro-NAFTA stance makes him a better friend to Latin America than Obama.

In a wide-ranging interview at the presidential palace, Calderón – a conservative by Mexican standards – told me that he sees a dangerous protectionist wave in the United States. Reopening NAFTA, as Obama proposes, would hurt the United States as much as Mexico, he said.

No Way to Treat an Ally: Democrats disdain Colombia. (Mona Charen, 7/04/08, National Review)

The rescue of three Americans from the jungles of South America is a terrific Fourth of July present to the nation. (And John McCain gets high marks for timing in being present for the happy event.) American contractors Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes, and Marc Gonsalves had been captured by the Colombian communist guerrilla group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) when their antinarcotics surveillance plane crashed in rebel territory five years ago. At the time, considering the weakness of the Colombian government, the growing strength of the neighborhood bully Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and the terror that FARC inflicted upon the Colombian people, the future looked grim for them and for the hundreds of hostages held in various remote areas. Ingrid Betancourt, a former presidential candidate who was likewise snatched and held by FARC, was freed with the Americans on July 2.

The rescue operation involved deception. Colombian army officers disguised themselves as FARC guerrillas in order to fly the hostages by helicopter to a supposed meeting with the FARC commander. When she saw them sporting Che Guevara T-shirts, Betancourt told reporters, “I thought, ‘This is FARC.’” Hmm, is this the same Che Guevara that adorns so many dorm rooms and faculty lounges at America’s leading institutions of higher learning? It is. The same Che whose photo, superimposed over a Cuban flag, decorated the Houston Obama for president office? Obama may not have known of this, but it gives you the flavor of some of his enthusiasts.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at July 4, 2008 8:23 AM
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