Sir James Goldsmith’s The Trap (New York, 1994) is the clearest introduction to the arguments against global free trade and its consequences for the nation. The English translation adds helpful notes and bibliography to the French original, Le Piège (Paris, 1993). In some places, however, rearrangement and omission change Goldsmith’s message.

The last chapter of Le Piège ends with a ringing endorsement of economic nationalism: “Our supreme responsibility will remain that of protecting the sovereignty, identity, territory and stability of the nation. Maastricht and GATT are trying to destroy these foundations of our society. Question: Is that why you are running for the European Parliament? Answer: Yes.” (He won a seat.) The English Trap suppresses this chapter and ends with what I call the Pocahontas chapter, a brief put-down of Christianity and praise of native folk cults and their purported vision of the goddess. Earth, translated from the penultimate chapter of the French. The last words in the English Trap come from a two-page letter supposedly written by Chief Seattle to President Franklin Pierce in 1854. (No one knows who wrote it, and there is no evidence that it was ever sent to Pierce.) We close the English Trap not with our duty to the nation, but with two pages of Transcendentalist mush, e.g., “Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. . . . The earth is not the white man’s brother but his enemy. . . . ” The French original gives us the gift Burns asked for, “to see ourselves as others see us.” Near the beginning, Goldsmith notes that although the American Gross National Product has quadrupled in the last 50 years, “American society is in serious social crisis.” In French, “La société américaine [est] profondément malade“; it is profoundly sick. Goldsmith notes in English that “The Founding Fathers originally conceived the United States as a true federation of free peoples.” He goes on to say in the French, “The original conception was little by little suffocated [étouffée] by the central authority.” Both versions tell us that Goldsmith heard Nobel Laureate James Buchanan say that Madison would be shocked if he were to return today. Only in the French does Goldsmith comment, “Our first task is to avoid degenerating into a centralized Leviathan” like the contemporary United States. Goldsmith is only one of many thoughtful Europeans who look forward to greater European unity, but always with the proviso, “we cannot allow what happened to the U.S. to happen to Europe.”

Goldsmith’s European patriotism is elided from the English Trap. “Europe has much to offer. Its civilization is far superior to the invading novelties emanating from North America.” When united, Europe will have a greater influence on international affairs. “By that I do not mean intruding into everything the way America does. I mean influencing matters that really concern us, like international trade. America is trying to impose a globalist free market. A united Europe can and must protect itself from that.” When asked what Europe can do, Goldsmith replies, “First of all, don’t be impressed by American threats.” Europe runs a large trade deficit with the United States. “Isn’t it strange to see the seller threaten his client and even stranger to see the client take these threats seriously?” If Europe will not go along with global free trade, Mickey Kantor won’t let them watch the next Jurassic Park.

The Trap is essential reading for all Americans. In French and English it explains why the European Union will be prosperous only if it is founded on the basis of prosperous and independent nations. The French original makes clear that a major obstacle to this goal is the interventionist and globalist United States regime, founded by President Roosevelt in 1933 and still very much in control. The Department of Labor has estimated that NAFTA has destroyed over 42,000 jobs in this country (New York Times, October 9, 1995). NAFTA’s passage was a bipartisan effort, led by the President and the Minority Leader (now the Speaker) of the House. To restore freedom and prosperity to the United States, we need to restore the “suffocated” original conception of “a true federation of free peoples,” isolationist in foreign policy and continentalist in economic policy. The true Contract with America is the Constitution of the United States.