Do be sure to take a few minutes to read the unintentionally funny NYT editorial in defense of the Colombian trade pact. I'd say that the paper is damning the agreement with faint praise but I know that the corporate protectionist NYT is seriously pushing for its passage. Their reasoning goes something like this: sure, American workers have reason to be worried since they've been getting hammered by "free trade" deals just like this one. But the American economy (i.e. the same people who always benefit from these deals) will benefit from this deal and so Congressional Dems shouldn't stand in the way. And even though we've seen free trade deals bring nothing but pain to the lower classes of practically every other country on the planet, this time it's going to be different and Colombia will magically beat the odds and "extricate itself from the mire of poverty that provides sustenance to drug trafficking and a bloody insurgency." It will also cure cancer and make penguins fly.
Plus, we need to strengthen our relationship with one of the only countries in the region that doesn't hate us. Sure, the ruling regime is horrible and violence is "way too high," and all those murdered trade unionists are of concern - BUT - fewer trade unionists were killed last year than in 2001 and Colombia is setting up a justice system to investigate the murders and prosecute the suspects. They're doing all that because we told them that they would get this deal. Not giving it to them would be rude. And it would send the wrong message: The perfect is the enemy of the good. I hate perfect. Nobody's perfect! If we waited for Colombia to be perfect, then we'd never sign the deal and our rich would never get richer, I mean, we'd never help the poor Colombians realize their dream of having their markets flooded with cheap goods. How could that possibly help advance human rights in Colombia? It can't, that's how.
The editorial ends:
The Democrats are right to demand assistance for American workers, and the Bush administration should work with Congress to expand the safety net for workers displaced by globalization. But this should not stop the Colombian trade pact from coming to fruition.
Those Dems are adorable. They're like Jiminy Cricket or something. And they are absolutely right to ask for crucial changes to be made to the deal but by no means should they let getting those changes actually made stand in the way of the deal passing as is. That would just be wrong.