While Bill and Hillary Clinton disagree on whether a free trade agreement with Colombia is appropriate at this time – Hillary apparently opposes it because of Colombia’s human rights record – neither seems to be arguing against the human rights record of free trade agreements.
You might be wondering what this has to do with the Cold War and we will get to that in just a second.
On November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall came crashing down piece-by-piece, pebble-by-pebble. Along with the "Sinatra Doctrine" many saw this as the end of the Cold War. But perhaps the Cold War wasn’t really the war we thought it was, and perhaps it didn’t end (or begin) when we thought it did. Worse still, perhaps it never ended at all.
To most the Cold War was a period of conflict between the U.S. and Soviet Union along with their respective allies. However, this was a mutual "conflict" where direct military actions were largely avoided and the real conflicts centered on each super power consolidating power and influence. The real enemy was their own populations and national liberation movements in countries where their subjugation was an imperialistic necessity (i.e. Latin America, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia and so on).
Which brings us to the problem of not only when it began but also if it has ever ended. I am of the persuasion that it never ended. Since the alleged end of the "Cold War" we have seen an escalated expansion of corporate control over people’s lives through institutions like the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and various "free trade agreements." While a competitor was removed the war continued.
On July 5,2006 Gen. Caldwell, then Spokesmen for the Multi-National Force in Iraq, advised reporters that, "obviously we’ve got what we call ministry advisory teams that work with the ministries to help them think through some of these challenges and issues. Price liberalization is a key aspect. Part of the World Bank’s requirements, as they move on for their monetary fiscal responsibility they have to establish here in this country, and they have certain gates where they’re supposed to be going through the liberalization of gas prices. They haven’t always been well-announced in advance, which leaves people to believe sometimes it’s a last-minute decision, but it’s not at all. You can actually lay that out and see when that should be occurring by what they had — they, the Iraqi government, had worked out with the World Bank and others."
In other words, the U.S. military is assisting the "World Bank and others" in furthering their economic agenda in occupied Iraq.
When President Bush signed the newest "defense" budget, H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, he threw in one more of his infamous "signing statements" because "sections 841, 846, 1079, and 1222, purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations." One section in particular that is revealing is Sec. 1222:
SEC. 1222. LIMITATION ON AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES RELATING TO IRAQ.
No funds appropriated pursuant to an authorization of appropriations in this Act may be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:
(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.
(2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.
One might wonder how establishing permanent bases and controlling Iraq’s oil is a "constitutional obligation" but considering the roles being played by the U.S. militaries ministry advisory teams and the close relationship between the White House and the World Bank this might help make sense of things.
All around us walls of corporate dominance are being built up to solidify their control. Some of these walls – like the "free trade agreements" or the purse-string “aid” of the World Bank and IMF – are figurative while others – like those being put along the border with Mexico – are literal. Either way, it is past time for all of us to stand firm and say, "Mr. Bush, tear down this wall!"