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Tag: Franklin D. Roosevelt

Beyond NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization came into being on April 4, 1949, in Washington, DC. NATO’s first Secretary General, Lord Ismay, described its purpose with rare candor: “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

Today, some 67 years after the signing of the treaty and 77 years after the war that precipitated it, it is time to take a hard look at NATO and reach an inevitable conclusion—it has to go.

The geopolitical enemies that justified the creation of NATO—National Socialist Germany and the Soviet Union—have long since disappeared from the world stage. They have been replaced by new threats, both conventional and unconventional, that cannot be adequately faced through NATO and are, indeed, exacerbated by NATO’s antiquated defense orientation. There is a great deal of truth to Richard Sakwa’s caustic assessment that Washington is trapped in a “fateful geographical paradox—that Nato exists to manage the risks created by its existence.”  

For the good of the United States and our allies in Europe, NATO must be dismantled and replaced with a new, updated organization prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Introduction

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization came into being on April 4, 1949, in Washington, DC. NATO’s first Secretary General, Lord Ismay, described its purpose with rare candor: “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”[1]

Today, some 67 years after the signing of the treaty and 77 years after the war that precipitated it, it is time to take a hard look at NATO and reach an inevitable conclusion—it has to go.

The geopolitical enemies that justified the creation of NATO—National Socialist Germany and the Soviet Union—have long since disappeared from the world stage. They have been replaced by new threats, both conventional and unconventional, that cannot be adequately faced through NATO and are, indeed, exacerbated by NATO’s antiquated defense orientation. There is a great deal of truth to Richard Sakwa’s caustic assessment that Washington is trapped in a “fateful geographical paradox—that Nato exists to manage the risks created by its existence.”[2]

For the good of the United States and our allies in Europe, NATO must be dismantled and replaced with a new, updated organization prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The Origins of “Atlanticism”

NATO, like most treaties, is inescapably a product of its time. The Atlanticist school of thought was based on the idea of a strategic bond between the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe.[3] But this no longer has the hard geopolitical grounding it did in the days of the Interwar and Cold War periods. There is no longer a hostile superpower on the eastern edge of the Atlantic sphere. And the familiar binary of “Freedom vs. Socialism” is no longer a useful model for describing the ideological and political divisions in today’s world.

Reality has moved on, but Atlanticism has stayed put.

1. Hitler’s Germany

Adolf Hitler’s Germany was the main threat to Atlanticist (that is, British, French, and American) power up until the end of the Second World War in 1945. Despite Germany’s leniency towards retreating British forces in the early days of the war, and its attempts at a reconciliation with London, Churchill’s Britain was fundamentally unable to accept a peace agreement.[4]

The continuation of the war required a willing ally in the United States, provided by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Lend-Lease and the Atlantic Charter of 1941 were early indications of this Atlantic alignment against continental power (centered in Berlin). The “Allies” coalition and United Nations followed, and were crystallized in postwar NATO. The Atlantic Charter was ratified by Washington and London on August 14, 1941—months before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States’ full entrance into the war. Lend-Lease, which supplied materiel to the UK, France, China, and Soviet Union, was begun even earlier, in March of that year. While Lend-Lease demonstrated Washington’s commitment to defeating Germany, the Atlantic Charter outlined the Atlanticist vision of the world after the war: free trade, freedom of the seas, “self-determination” of individual nation-states (with echoes of The League of Nations and Woodrow Wilson), and global cooperation for social welfare and the disarmament of “aggressor states.”[5]

While the Allies were assembled primarily to defeat Germany, NATO was designed to keep it defeated. And after near-total physical destruction in 1944-45, the replacement of existing German political institutions with U.S.-created ones, and an extensive policy of “de-nazification,” West Germany became a U.S. protectorate. (An analogous process with East Germany occurred in the Soviet sphere.) Put bluntly, Germany was humiliated, divided, and neutered. And even after reunification in 1990, it has never presented a real threat to Washington’s objectives.

2. Stalin’s Russia

While Germany inspired NATO’s precursors, Stalin’s Soviet Union inspired NATO itself.[6] After extensive cooperation with the Atlantic powers during the Second World War, the USSR became the chief competitor to the United States, Britain, and France immediately following 1945. In the wake of the annihilation of Hitler’s Germany, the Soviet Union became such a threat that the Allies developed a contingency plan “to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire.”[7] Though this plan remained unimplemented due to its low odds of success—and potentially catastrophic consequences—the geopolitical balance of power between the two superpowers (the U.S. and the USSR) was set in stone for the next four decades. The Cold War had begun.

Predictable economic, political, and moral problems eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the chaotic period of 1989-91.[8] The Russian Federation, the legal successor state to the USSR, was half the size of its predecessor in population. American interests quickly waged economic war on a weakened Russia, manipulated major elections[9], and expanded the influence of NATO and U.S.-backed organizations like the European Union, all the way into former Soviet states on Russia’s border.

In February 1990—after the Berlin Wall had been dismantled but before the Soviet Union had dissolved—Washington and Moscow negotiated the reunification process for Germany. West Germany would effectively absorb East, and the new state would enter NATO; however, James Baker (George H. W. Bush’s Secretary of State) offered “ironclad guarantees that NATO’s jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward,” according to declassified transcripts.[10]

Baker’s “Not one inch eastward” was a promise Washington was unwilling to keep. By the turn of the century, NATO membership had been offered to Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, followed a few years later by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. This was accompanied by NATO’s “humanitarian” bombing campaign in Yugoslavia (a traditional Russian ally), and Washington’s attempts, in conjunction with various non-governmental organizations, to inspire changes of regime in various countries in the former Soviet sphere (the “Color Revolutions”).[11]

It is understandable that Russian foreign-policy makers view NATO, not as a “defensive” organization, but as one bent on encircling Russia, perhaps even engaging in regime change in Moscow. Moreover, despite the American and Western European media’s depiction of Russian military activity in Ukraine and Syria as “aggressive,” the geopolitical reality is that they are last-ditch attempts to prevent U.S. encroachment into Russia’s remaining circle of influence around its own borders and few foreign military bases. A Russian invasion of Western Europe, let alone the American mainland, is the stuff of a fever dream or Hollywood blockbuster.

New Enemies, New Threats

While Germany has been remade into a vassal and Russia, displaced from superpower status,[12] threats to the United States and Europe have not subsided—they’ve multiplied. The new threats do not come from traditional European great powers, however, but from a number of non-European states and unconventional non-state actors. History has not ended, as Francis Fukyama imagined in the 1990s,[13] but has taken unforeseen and unpredictable turns.

1. The Specter of Radical Islam

The morning of September 11, 2001, marked a turning point in America’s place in the world. Radical Islamic terrorism— inspired by Wahhabi Islam out of Saudi Arabia—established itself as a major threat to Western hegemony and set the stage for the next decade of American foreign policy.[14]

Islamic terrorism, as it is understood today, did not exist during the creation of NATO in 1949, and was effectively unthinkable. Arab states spent the Cold War mostly aligned with the atheist Soviet Union, and they flirted with secular pan-Arab nationalism (the Ba-ath Party, founded in 1947 and existing to this day, being a prime example). It was not until the late 1970s that the seeds of contemporary Islamic terrorism were sown, ironically, largely by the U.S. and its NATO allies.[15]

Even before the Soviet Union’s ill-advised entrance into Afghanistan in 1979, Washington had funded and trained radical Muslim insurgents in the region.[16] During the 10-year Soviet-Afghan War, the U.S. used these non-state actors (“the Mujahideen”) as pawns to be played against a greater power. It was a strategy with terrible unintended consequences, as the networks and individuals (which included none other than Osama bin Laden) would soon exchange one “Great Satan” for another.

After two major U.S. wars in the Muslim world and an international “War on Terror” that has stretched on more than a decade, radical Islamism has not been defeated; it has exploded.[17] Buoyed and supported discreetly by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Western (particularly U.S.) intelligence agencies playing fast-and-loose with Islamic proxy groups, Islamic terrorists have attained a greater position than ever before. This dangerous strategy is particularly obvious in the current Syrian war.

Their reach is evidenced by more frequent, more violent, and more brazen attacks on civilian and military targets in France, Germany, Belgium, and the U.S. mainland, such as the recent atrocities committed in Paris, Nice, and San Bernardino. NATO’s conventional military structure is ill suited for dealing with non-state threats like these, to put it mildly. Garrisons stretched across the European continent—which made NATO powerful in confronting the Soviet Union—are close to useless in addressing the challenge of Islamic terrorism.

2. Turkey—A Dangerous Ally

In 1951, Turkey joined NATO as a junior partner. Today, an increasingly Islamist and assertive Turkey, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dreams of re-creating the Ottoman Empire.[18] Erdogan’s moves have directly supported and emboldened radical Islamic terrorist groups, destabilized the Middle East, and threatened the safety of millions of Europeans who are supposedly under U.S. protection.

Turkey’s substantial support of the Islamic State (IS) and other criminal groups in Syria is an open secret.[19] Moreover, Turkey’s complicity in the 2015-16 “refugee” crisis continues to endanger Europeans and Americans. Its control over the flow of millions of non-European migrants who want to reach Europe is an unacceptable bargaining chip that has corroded European sovereignty and security. Ankara has exploited its geographic location, promising to cut the refugee flow for billions of Euros in aid and accelerated EU membership talks.[20] Attempts by Turkey to reassert its erstwhile dominance over the Balkan Peninsula (which includes Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, and Greece) can be expected if NATO remains as it is.

3. Managing the Rise of China

Enmeshed in a brutal civil war until 1950, China was not an immediate threat to U.S. or European interests, despite the eventual victory of Mao Zedong’s Communist forces over the nationalist Kuomintang and the alignment of China with the Soviet Union.

China’s fortunes turned around considerably in the 1970s under the reign of Deng Xiaoping, following the death of Chairman Mao. China was on the rise as early as 1971-72, with the transfer of the permanent Chinese seat on the United Nations Security Council from the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the People’s Republic of China and U.S. President Richard Nixon’s famous “visit to China.”[21]

Today, with the world’s largest population, China’s economy is greater than the United States by some measures.[22] The Chinese leadership is putting its newfound might to use militarily, testing their reach in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

Speculation about a Chinese superpower has not been unfounded. Though economic relations are good and military confrontation is unlikely, China’s trajectory puts it on a direct collision course with the U.S. presence in Asia, in the form of military installations in Japan and South Korea. Indeed, being that America and China have achieved such economic interdependence —a relationship commonly known as “Chimerica”–Washington should seriously consider continuing such a presence, which can only be viewed by Beijing as a threat or expression of superiority.

Chinese intelligence operations and cyber-warfare will only intensify in the United States and NATO-aligned countries as time goes on. Much as with terrorism, NATO is neither equipped nor designed to deal with this kind of threat coming from this region of the world.

4. The Collapse of Mexico

Mexico has never been a paragon of stability and security, but the total collapse of the Mexican state and surrender to narco-terrorists and drug cartels in the last 20 years is unprecedented. With a relatively unguarded 2,000-mile border with the United States, Mexico’s colossal drug trade and the associated violence have spilled over into the U.S.[23] Such chaos has rendered some areas of the United States effectively controlled by Mexican drug cartels, according to local law enforcement.[24] This violation of national sovereignty should be of paramount concern, but goes unaddressed, while Washington pursues spectacular boondoggles in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The outdated, Eurasian orientation of NATO has more than a little to do with this failure of defense policy. The threat posed by non-state actors in Mexico to the United States homeland is not just outside the bounds of NATO but unrecognizable to it. Without a major change in defense and foreign policy, particularly policy regarding NATO, incursions across the U.S. border will only increase without any way for U.S. defense forces to reorient themselves away from Eurasia and towards Central America.

Replacing NATO

In the seven decades since the formation of NATO, the greatest threats to U.S. and European security have shifted from Russia and Germany to the Middle East, China, and Mexico. The dissolution of NATO would require a new treaty or set of treaties to formalize a foreign policy current with the latest geopolitical developments.

This new defense orientation would require the following three key principles.

1. Cooperation with Russia

American policy towards Russia since 1991 has consistently been one of aggression, typically cloaked under the guises of economic and political “development.” Based largely off Cold War inertia, this policy culminated in the 2013-14 U.S.-backed coup in neighboring Ukraine, which threw the country into chaos and prompted a military response from Russia.[25]

The threat of nuclear war—Russia inherited the Soviet Union’s entire arsenal—precludes an attempt to intimidate or force Russia into submission. The threats from Islamic terrorism, a rising Turkey, and an ascendant China require cooperation with the only significant power in the region with major exposure to all three—Russia.

Recognition of the changes in the security situation since 1949 requires sincere cooperation with Russia and the cession of Russia’s traditional sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, the Caucuses, and Central Asia. A stable power equilibrium will need to be reached to defend against external threats common to both the U.S. and Russia.

2. Reviving Western Europe

Western Europe has depended heavily on the U.S. military for defense since the end of the Second World War. Size and spending of the U.S. military dwarf those of Washington’s closest European allies and former colonial powers.[26]

With the Soviet Union broken up and Russia returned to its traditional status, it is time to also break up the unnecessary American “empire” in Europe. The dissolution of NATO must send a strong message to Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the rest of Europe that they must defend themselves.

The defense of Europe from Soviet Communism required tremendous American might and a unified military command, but the threats faced by Europe today require strong national militaries, intelligence services, and borders. Cooperation between the U.S., Europe, and Russia must be done on the basis of sovereign states with mutual interests, not clients servicing behemoths and far-off imperial capitals.

Europeans, in turn, must get tough and recognize that the American shield they have lived under for some 70 years will, eventually, vanish, due to Washington’s unwillingness to maintain Cold War-era military structures or its bankruptcy.

3. An Eye to Common Threats

The threats to Atlantic security outlined above—Islamic terrorism, Turkey, and China—also directly threaten the states of Europe and Russia. (Mexico is a North American problem.)

Europe and Russia[27] are prime targets of Islamic radicals in the Middle East, both due to interventions in the Middle East and large, troubling Muslim minorities at home that provide safe haven to terrorists. Russia’s bipolar relationship with Erdogan’s Turkey is well-known, as is Europe’s combative and losing diplomatic war against him. China, though a tentative ally of Russia, is eyeing sparsely-populated Siberia.[28] Chinese money flows freely into Europe, buying property and influence.

A post-NATO U.S. foreign policy needs to be based on countering the common threats faced by the U.S., our European allies, and the Russian Federation.

Conclusion

The change in the geopolitical situation since 1991 demands the dissolution of NATO and a common pan-European defense policy that allows the United States, Europe, and Russia to work as allies against clear and rising threats from across the globe, rather than repeat the unsustainable and outdated dynamics of the Cold War.

While the 20th century might have demanded NATO, the 21st century requires something very different. In this regard, it’s helpful to return to Lord Ismay’s famous trinity of “out,” “down,” and “in.” The U.S. needs to keep, not Russians, but Islamic radicals out of Europe. The Germans do not need to be kept down, but the Turks and Chinese most certainly do. And it’s debatable whether America needs to be in Europe at all.


  1. Jospeh Nye, The Paradox of American Power (London: Oxford University Press, 2002), 33. ↩︎
  2. Richard Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (London: I.B.Tauris, 2015), 4. ↩︎
  3. Tim Dunne, “‘When the shooting starts'”: Atlanticism in British security strategy,” International Affairs, Vol. 80, October 2004, 893–909. DOI: 10.1111/j. ↩︎
  4. Benjamin Schwarz, ”Rethinking Negotiation With Hitler,” New York Times, November 24, 2000, accessed October 1, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/25/arts/rethinking-negotiation-with-hitler.html. ↩︎
  5. Douglas Brinkley and David Facey-Crowther (Eds.), The Atlantic Charter, The World of the Roosevelts (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994). ↩︎
  6. “A Short History of NATO,” North Atlantic Treaty Organization, accessed October 1, 2016, http://www.nato.int/history/nato-history.html. ↩︎
  7. David Reynolds, From World War to Cold War: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the International History of the 1940s (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006), 250. ↩︎
  8. Leon Aron, “Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union Is Wrong,” Foreign Policy, June 20, 2011, accessed October 1, 2016, http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/06/20/everything-you-think-you-know-about-the-collapse-of-the-soviet-union-is-wrong/. ↩︎
  9. Michael Kramer, “Rescuing Boris: The Secret Story of How Four U.S. Advisors Used Polls, Focus Groups, Negative Ads and All the Other Techniques of American Campaigning to Help Boris Yeltsin Win,” Time, July 15, 1996, Vol. 148, Issue 4, accessed October 1, 2016, http://people.bu.edu/tboas/Kramer.pdf. ↩︎
  10. Mary Elise Sarotte, “Not One Inch Eastward? Bush, Baker, Kohl, Genscher, Gorbachev, and the Origin of Russian Resentment toward NATO Enlargement in February 1990,” Diplomatic History, Vo. 34, No. 1, January 2010.

    Joshua Shifrinson, “”Not an Inch East”: How the West Broke Its Promise to Russia,” November 3, 2014, accessed October 1, 2016, http://russia-insider.com/en/germany_military_politics_ukraine_opinion/2014/11/05/04-31-59pm/not_inch_east_how_west_broke_its.

  11. See Andrew Korybko, “Hybrid Wars: Syria & Ukraine,” Oriental Review, March 11, 2016, accessed October 1, 2016, http://orientalreview.org/2016/03/11/hybrid-wars-2-testing-the-theory-syria-and-ukraine/. ↩︎
  12. Ashley Wiederhold, “Russia: Not The Super Power It Once Was,” World Policy Journal, World Policy Institute, April 25, 2014, accessed October 1, 2016, http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2014/04/25/russia-not-super-power-it-once-was. ↩︎
  13. Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992). ↩︎
  14. George Friedman, “9/11 and the 9-Year War,” Stratfor Geopolitical Weekly, Stratfor Enterprises, September 8, 2010, accessed October 1, 2016, https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100907_911_and_9_year_war. ↩︎
  15. Deepak Tripathi, Breeding Ground: Afghanistan and the Origins of Islamic Terrorism (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2011). ↩︎
  16. Robert Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 145-46. ↩︎
  17. Lauren B. O’Brien, “The Evolution of Terrorism Since 9/11.” Federal Bureau of Investigation, September 8, 2011, accessed October 1, 2016, https://leb.fbi.gov/2011/september/the-evolution-of-terrorism-since-9-11. ↩︎
  18. Ishaan Tharoor, “Why Turkey’s President Wants to Revive the Language of the Ottoman Empire,” Washington Post, December 12, 2014, accessed October 1, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/12/12/why-turkeys-president-wants-to-revive-the-language-of-the-ottoman-empire/. ↩︎
  19. Nafeez Ahmed, “The elephant in NATO’s room: state-sponsorship of Daesh,” Medium, July 22, 2016, accessed October 1, 2016, https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/turkeys-secret-pact-with-islamic-state-exposed-by-operative-behind-wave-of-isis-attacks-6b35d1d29e18#.nu9tjjkv7. ↩︎
  20. “EU, Turkey: In Search of a Lasting Migrant Deal,” Stratfor, June 9, 2016, accessed October 1, 2016, https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/eu-turkey-search-lasting-migrant-deal. ↩︎
  21. Margaret MacMillan, Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World (New York: Random House, 2007). ↩︎
  22. Ben Carter, “Is China’s Economy Really the Largest in the World?” BBC News, British Broadcasting Corporation, December 16, 2014, accessed October 1, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30483762. ↩︎
  23. Yelena Tuzova, “Cartels at war: Mexico’s drug-fueled violence and the threat to US national security,” Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol. 24, Issue 4, 2013, 769-70. ↩︎
  24. Jerry Seper and Matthew Cella, “Signs in Arizona Warn of Smuggler Dangers,” Washington Times, August 31, 2010, accessed October 1, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/31/signs-in-arizona-warn-of-smuggler-dangers/. ↩︎
  25. Conn Hallinan, “NATO’s Dangerous Game: Bear-Baiting Russia,” Foreign Policy In Focus, Institute for Policy Studies, May 2, 2016, accessed October 1, 2016, http://fpif.org/natos-dangerous-game-bear-baiting-russia/. ↩︎
  26. Adam Taylor and Laris Karklis, “This Remarkable Chart Shows How U.S. Defense Spending Dwarfs the Rest of the World,” Washington Post, February 9, 2016, accessed October 1, 2016, http://fpif.org/natos-dangerous-game-bear-baiting-russia/. ↩︎
  27. Gillis, Charlie. “Unwanted Exposure.” Maclean’s 127.2 (2014): 28-29. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Sept. 2016. ↩︎
  28. Frank Jacobs, “Why China Will Reclaim Siberia,” International New York Times, January 13, 2015, accessed October 1, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/07/03/where-do-borders-need-to-be-redrawn/why-china-will-reclaim-siberia. ↩︎
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NAFTA Turns Twenty

NAFTA is another nail in the coffin of the white working class and another reminder to look above and beyond the “Generic American Party.”

The ancient historian Tacitus famously said, “Laws were most numerous when the commonwealth was most corrupt.” In looking over the enormity of the actual document that is NAFTA, one wonders what the honorable Tacitus would have said upon discovering that “Petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons other than: ethylene, propylene, butylene and butadiene, in purities over 50 percent” fell under Annex 603.6 of Chapter Six (Energy and Basic Petrochemicals) in Part Two (Trade In Goods). Annex 603.6 lists exceptions to Article 603, and states that “For only those goods listed below, Mexico may restrict the granting of import and export licenses for the sole purpose of reserving foreign trade in these goods to itself.” Unless my legalese is not as sharp as I would like to think, this means that NAFTA is a guest sign-in book for America, Canada, and Mexico’s greatest lobbyists.

For all the talk that NAFTA would be good for everyone and everything involved (Mexican peasants, American workers, the environment, etc.), it was immediately obvious to anyone paying attention that this was not the case. By January 1995 Republican NAFTA cheerleaders Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole were trying to get the U.S. Treasury to issue 40 billion dollars worth of loans to the Mexican government in order to save American corporate investments from the plummeting peso. In building up to its passage, the late libertarian polymath Murray Rothbard wondered why NAFTA was receiving so much attention in libertarian circles, as opposed to equally worthy libertarian causes like ending the Federal Reserve or decriminalizing marijuana. After some investigating, he sarcastically commented that the obsession was likely connected to the Koch Brothers purchasing over a billion dollars worth of gas pipelines in Mexico in 1992. For those of you who think this sounds conspiratorial, consider that all of Mexico’s oil refineries are state-owned, and that Mexico now refines less crude oil than it did in 1994. NAFTA’s incidences of corruption and broken promises are many, but out of all the examples, what could be called the “Subsidized-Crop-Immigration Cycle” is far and away the most illustrative.

The trouble begins, like so many things, with a program that FDR created during the Great Depression. Fearing a collapse of American agriculture, in 1933 the “Agricultural Adjustment Act” was passed which established the “Agricultural Adjustment Administration” which began dispersing large subsidies (also known as taxpayer money) to farmers across the country. The string attached to the money was that farmers had to not grow as many crops as they had been, the idea being that this would create a shortage of crops, causing their prices to go up, allowing farmers to make more profit. Say what you will of the policy’s success at the time, most everyone should be suspect of the fact that a mutated form of this bill is still with us – long after the Dust Bowl’s end, and when American farmers constitute less than 1% of the workforce, not 25%, as was the case in the 1930s.

Estimates vary, but in the last decade American taxpayers have given around 168 billion dollars over to farm subsidies, with another 195 billion estimated for the next decade. Where the money ends up is also an issue, and also not known precisely. The latter of the two sources cited above claims that about one third of subsidies go to the top 4% of farm operators. The former claims 75% go to the top 10%. Either way (or hypothetically, both), America’s largest food producers receive an incredible amount of free money.

To what end is all of this extra money used? Thanks to NAFTA, said money is used to flood Mexican markets with artificially low prices on all different kinds of food. Ten years ago Allan Wall reported that the Mexican pork industry had lost about 30% of its revenues since NAFTA because of importations, and numbers released since then show things only getting worse. Between 1997 and 2005, Mexican prices for corn, pork, poultry, beef, rice, cotton, wheat, and soybeans all fell from 44% to 67%. Unsurprisingly, 2.3 million Mexicans left the field of agriculture during this period.

What happens to these unemployed Mexican farmers? Well, during the same time the above economic study was conducted, the population of illegal immigrants in the US roughly doubled. It is a sad irony that the very same businesses that use corporate welfare to bankrupt farmers in Mexico later hire them here in the US – where one in four farmworkers is an illegal immigrant. With this influx of unemployed Mexicans comes the crime, economic displacement, and cultural change reported on almost every day at Vdare and American Renaissance.

It is worth remembering too, that along with America’s working class, Mexicans are not the real beneficiaries of this cycle either. Since 1994, Mexico’s annual GDP growth has been schizophrenic, one year it will shrink by 6% and the next it will grow by 5%, while in ‘60s and ‘70s, it was steadily growing. Additionally, the supposed benefits of NAFTA have done nothing to help Mexico surpass China as Canada or America’s second largest trading partner. One would also be hard pressed to find a Mexican who would rather pick beans at abysmal wages in the US than run a family farm in his homeland. The small matter of the Zapatistas who declared NAFTA to be death is worth mentioning as well.

The beneficiaries have been given many names – Samuel Huntington called them “Davos Men,” James Burnham called them “Managerial Elites,” and Sam Francis often referred to them more broadly as “cultural and social elites.” Regardless of the name, it is those who prioritize profits and pretension to goodness over any and all cultural, racial, or national loyalties. Understanding the presence of these elites, and what their interests are, is an essential part to navigating and surviving the American political landscape. Though I would recommend reading more on the matter, it should be understood that these elites have taken over the Republican Party: after all, only 10 of the 44 Republican senators who could vote against NAFTA did so; Republican congressmen displayed only marginally more economic nationalism – 43 out of 175.

NAFTA is another nail in the coffin of the white working class and another reminder to look above and beyond the “Generic American Party.” Not long after NAFTA kicked in, Newt Gingrich and company swept the legislative branch and once George W. Bush was elected, passed bill after bill of free-trade agreements. This November, remember NAFTA, and let the Republicans self destruct.

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