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Internationalist? Only if Detroit and Big Cattle Say So

(Disclosure: Global Trade Watch has no preference among the candidates.)

With polls and protests casting the a shadow over the U.S. image in the world, how do you win hearts and minds in other countries? Is it by forcing them to dismantle consumer protections? Is it be forcing them to dismantle an industrial system which offered its workers much greater security than our downsized and offshored auto workers? Americans don't want what is left of the Progressive and New Deal and 1970s eras dismantled, and it appears that other countries don't either.

Emphasizing shared class and consumer interests would be a great way to unite the interests of Koreans and Americans, and overcome some of the animosity that Koreans feel towards the U.S. government. The Obama campaign is not helping its internationalist street cred by making the sole focus of its criticism of the Korea FTA that Korea has standards that are too high. Instead, they should be supporting higher U.S. food and product standards so that our producers can gain global credibility without having to resort to deregulatory shenanigans. In fact, take it a step further and commit to working with the Koreans at the WTO to ensure that country's retain full policy space to enact food and product standards without risking trade sanctions.

Don't get me wrong: I understand the domestic political advantage you can gain by beating up on other countries and making it seem like you're sticking up for the national interest. But you can also gain a similar advantage by critiquing corporations in the name of consumer and worker interests. And using big stick trade "diplomacy" for the benefit of special interests does not do many favors to our long term diplomatic interests.

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