Kerry to Congress: If you don't pass TPP, that will be bad because I said you would

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Thursday September 29th, 2016

Where have we heard this before? Oh. Right. Same Lurch.

This is the same crap he pulled with the Iran deal. Having gone to the leaders of another nation on his own and made assurances he could not back up, John Kerry then came back to the United States and threw a snit before Congress because they saw what he didn’t – that the deal Kerry negotiated was bad for the United States.

But . . . but! You have to pass it! America will look bad in front of other world leaders if we don't! I said we would!

Actually it's not America that looks bad when John Kerry makes promises he can't keep. It's John Kerry. He tried this argument with Congress when he was trying to get the horrible Iran nuclear deal ratified. And now he's using the same insane argument to try to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. Don't make John Kerry look bad! John Kerry won't like it:

Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress on Wednesday to adopt a landmark 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade deal, arguing that rejection would badly damage U.S. credibility and national security.

Kerry said failure to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership would not only hurt American business but embolden rivals and enemies like China and North Korea as well as cast doubt among U.S. allies in the region over American resolve.

He said rejection would amount to "a unilateral ceding of American influence and power and will have grave consequences," notably in the Asia Pacific.

"Either the United States of America is an Asia-Pacific power or we are not and the 'not' carries with it serious consequences," Kerry said. He said China and North Korea would see rejection of the deal as a sign of U.S. weakness. Beijing would see it as an invitation to continue aggressive activities in the South China Sea, and Pyongyang would be less likely to halt provocative nuclear and missile rests.

"The TPP will reinforce our status as a world leader," Kerry said. "We can't sit on the sidelines and expect to send a credible message to partners or potential partners. They would be affected by us turning our back on an agreement."

Personally I'm agnostic on TPP. I'm a free-trader as a general proposition, and I've never believed the idea that breaking down trade barriers causes the U.S. to lose jobs. When we lose jobs, it's because our labor can't produce sufficiently to justify what it costs. The solution to that problem isn't trade barriers. It's a reconsideration of the labor cost/value proposition. Free trade is good.

But if Kerry has negotiated a trade deal that Congress doesn't believe is in the nation's best interests, then he's the one whose credibility deserves to be damaged. And I really don't care what world leaders think of us. I care that we do the right thing, first for ourselves and then for our allies and world markets. If our interests diverge with those of other nations and that upsets foreign leaders, too bad.

That has never been the thinking of the Obama Administration, of course, which is only too happy to cede American interests to internationalist institutions. I realize it irritates John Kerry that Republicans in Congress aren't enthusiastic about that agenda. And as a general rule, I'd say the more things that are irritating John Kerry, the better things are going for America.

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