Principalities & Powersrnby Samuel FrancisrnPoker on the TitanicrnIf any single act showed the essentialrnfraudulence of the ballyhooed “RepublicanrnRevolution” we were supposed to bernenjoying this year, it was the last officialrnvote of the previous Congress, less thanrna month after the 1994 elections, tornpass the General Agreement on Tariffsrnand Trade by a bipartisan majority. Ofrncourse, the GATT vote took place beforernthe arrival of the new congressmen andrnsenators and so cannot fairly be chargedrnagainst them, but it can be chargedrnagainst the Republican leaders of the lastrnas well as the current Congress, NewtrnGingrich and Robert Dole, both ofrnwhom did all they could to ensure therncreation of the global trade leviathan andrnto smother opposition to it from thernright. Just in case anyone doubted thernmessage the Stupid Party’s princelingsrnwere sending, both gentlemen alsornhustled to endorse President Clinton’srnbizarre bailout of Mexico only a fewrnweeks into the new Congress, again inrnthe face of a somewhat more militantrnopposition from within the Republicanrnright, in Congress and out. In the event,rnhowever, not even the support of thernnew majority leadership could saKagernthe original $40 billion in loan guaranteesrnMr. Clinton was so eager to offer therngiant basket case across the Rio Grande,rnand the President and his millionairernadvisors were finally forced to rely onrnexecutive powers over which Congressrnhad little control to pull the Mexicansrnand their Wall Street dependents backrnfrom the lip of disaster.rnRevolution, if it means nothing else,rninvolves a transfer of power, political asrnwell as economic and cultural, from onernset of rulers to another, and, aside fromrnthe specific flaws of GATT and thernbailout, what the GOP’s support forrnthem showed was the falsit}’ of the party’srn”revolutionary” pretensions. Bothrnmeasures transparently reflected the interestsrnof the American managerial eliternand its global cousins in Mexico and therntransnational bureaucracies that thern”global economy” entrenches, and bothrnmeasures threaten ruin to the peoples,rnAmerican and other, over whose fatesrnthese elites preside. The “RepublicanrnRevolution,” insofar as it possesses anyrnreality at all, seems to be directed onlyrnagainst the Democratic Party and thernincumbent administration, though byrntrying to bail Mr. Clinton out of one ofrnthe most unpopular decisions of his twornyears in office, even the impulse towardrnpartisan political rebellion seemed tornwither when the interests of the dominantrnglobal elites were at stake.rnOpposition to GATT and the Mexicanrndeal was mobilized by an unlikelyrncoalition consisting of hard right nationalistrnand populist forces led by PatrnBuchanan and the soft left of RalphrnNader and various labor and environmentalistrngroups. Ross Perot was noticeablyrnabsent and uncharacteristicallyrnsilent, and probably his mixture of conspiracyrntheory and egomania would notrnhave contributed much toward successrnanyway. But there is one opponent ofrnGATT who received little attention, perhapsrnin part because he is not an Americanrnat all and in part because what hernhad to say about the agreement andrnwhat it represents is so devastating thatrnthe GATT-erats would have few bulletsrnwith which to shoot back.rnThat opponent is Sir James Goldsmith,rnwho like Mr. Perot is a self-madernbillionaire but who unlike the Texan isrnnot given to interrupting his sermonsrnwith tales of terrorists in his backyardrntrying to kidnap him. Mr. Goldsmith isrnalso a member of the E^uropcan Parliament,rnand much of what he has to say inrnhis book The Trap (Carroll and Graf Publishers,rnNew York, $20) reflects his experiencernand his misgivings about therncurrent plans for European unification,rnwhich arc to the continent what NAFTArnand GATT arc to the United States andrnits neighbors. The Trap was a best-sellerrnin France when it was published in 1993,rnbut its English translation, appearingrnin this countrv the following year, wasrnbarely noticed, despite the imminence ofrnthe GATT debate.rnMr. Goldsmith’s arguments againstrnGATT involve a good deal more than thernspecific economic objections one mightrnexpect from a businessman. Indeed, hisrnargument involves an assault on thernwhole fabric of the global regime thatrnhas come to be called the New WorldrnOrder and the elites that run it, and thernmain danger he sees in the agreement,rnthe regime, and its elites is that they seekrnto replace national autonomy with arntransnational apparatus of power underrntheir own control, divorced from eitherrnpopular or legal restraints.rnMr. Goldsmith rejects the concept ofrnfree trade, arguing that the internationalizationrnof economies renders the Ricardianrndoctrine of comparative advantagernobsolete. Hence, nations can no longerrnspecialize in producing and selling goodsrnfor which they are particularly suitedrnbecause “political systems can be transformed,rntechnology can be transferredrninstantaneously anywhere in the worldrnon a microchip, and capital is free to berninvested wherever the anticipated yieldsrnare highest.” The populations of undevelopedrnnations are thus new entrants tornthe world economy “in direct competitionrnwith the work forces of developedrncountries,” and the latter can expect tornsee global free trade drain their nationsrnof their jobs, capital, and, eventually,rntheir sovereignty. Those who stand torngain from the entrenchment of the freerntrade global empire will be “those whorncan benefit from an almost inexhaustiblernsupply of cheap labor. They will be therncompanies who move their productionrnoffshore to low-cost areas; the companiesrnwho can pay lower salaries at home; andrnthose who as a result will receive largerndividends. But they will be like pokerrnplayers on the Titanic. The wounds inflictedrnon their societies will be too deep,rnand brutal consequences will follow.”rnBut of course the national states inrnwhich these corporate elites are headquarteredrnare ceasing to be “their societies”rnin any significant sense. “The newrnphenomenon of our age,” he writes, “isrnthe emergence of transnational corporations,rnwith the ability to move productionrnat will anywhere in the world, inrnorder to systematically benefit fromrnlower wages wherever they are to bernfound.. .. The globalization of the marketrnis vital to them, both to producerncheaply and to sell universally. Becausernthey do not necessarily owe allegiance tornthe countries where they operate, there isrna divorce between the interests of thern8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn