Sunday, November 8, 2015

View TPP Through a Bit of the Lens I believe to be President Barack Obama & then Decide YEA or NAY

Full Disclosure: I voted for President Obama – twice!

 Secretary of State John Kerry is my former United States Senator! 

I support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the context of a 21st Century setting of the global table based on the values and the principles of the United States with the potential of moving our nation closer to the President's vision of peace and prosperity in collaboration with like-minded nations

 and, I believe the President deserves to be heard before the masses render their yea or nay on TPP.

Allow me to lay out a bit of the process that brought me to my pro-TPP conclusion:

Many have said there is no “Obama Doctrine,” but I beg to differ. I think the “no Obama Doctrine” conclusion is often drawn because it cannot be explained via clever messaging but an inability to message moving from the 20th Century to the 21st Century re foreign policy in sound bites does not render a message non-existent –

 it just leaves us to do our own homework and to draw our own conclusions in the context of a vision that flows from our leader of choice.

I am very interested in the challenges of living in a “global world,” a much smaller world by it's very nature, so when I heard Barack Obama speak at the 2004 Democratic Convention and when I heard his passion and his belief in the constitutional intent of the United States a question was raised for me: How is all of this going to work in a new Century?

(It was a question I put aside during the reign of George W. Bush.)

During the 2008 Democratic Nomination process, I supported Hillary Clinton and when Barack Obama won I knew I was going to support the Democrat but I also knew I had a lot of work to do to get to know him as well as I knew Hillary -- so I paid close attention to him and it became a habit of mine!

He was hinting at a brand new foreign policy for the United States, based on engagement first and, although I hadn't connected the dots yet, I took notice. Once I began to connect those dots the Obama Doctrine became the lens through which I viewed all of what he said until finally concluding bringing The Common Good to the global table was going to be the foreign policy of this President -- an American constitutional scholar who believes in the work of perpetually creating a more perfect union with a deep understanding that the codified General Welfare of the nation is not only critical to us but that it also had game-changing potential for unavoidable globalization if done intentionally.

The Obama Doctrine is, simply stated, as interpreted by me: 

The seeking of peace and prosperity via bringing The Common Good to the global table and engaging with like-minded nations to build strong economies, strong economies that naturally call for the implementation of an array democratic principles to succeed.

Frankly, it seems to me that President Obama, via the ratification of the TPP, is handing us the best chance we have to lead the world in peace and prosperity in the 21st Century (think high tech manufacturing (as in 3-D printing), a strategic foreign policy shift away from what appears to be a region of permanently warring states to a region of non-warring states and competition with China on a whole lot of fronts -- for example).

And now, for just a few major pieces that begin with who President Obama the American in Congress was and end with who President Obama the American in the Oval Office is, the one who is bringing America to the global table in a way that really can limit war:  

Senator Barack Obama's July 2004 Democratic Convention Speech


I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us.

President Barack Obama's June 2009 Cairo University Speech


All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort -- a sustained effort -- to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.  

President Barack Obama's December 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Speech


So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. And yet this truth must coexist with another -- that no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy. The soldier's courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause, to comrades in arms. But war itself is never glorious, and we must never trumpet it as such.

So part of our challenge is reconciling these two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly. Concretely, we must direct our effort to the task that President Kennedy called for long ago. "Let us focus," he said, "on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions." A gradual evolution of human institutions.

President Obama's 2015 National Security Strategy as laid out by National Security Adviser Susan Rice

Excepted: ( From the original document which can be found here )

Any successful strategy to ensure the safety of the American people and advance our national security interests must begin with an undeniable truth—America must lead. Strong and sustained American leadership is essential to a rules-based international order that promotes global security and prosperity as well as the dignity and human rights of all peoples. The question is never whether America should lead, but how we lead.

Even as we meet these pressing challenges, we are pursuing historic opportunities. Our rebalance to Asia and the Pacific is yielding deeper ties with a more diverse set of allies and partners. When complete, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will generate trade and investment opportunities—and create high-quality jobs at home—across a region that represents more than 40 percent of global trade. We are primed to unlock the potential of our relationship with India. The scope of our cooperation with China is unprecedented, even as we remain alert to China’s military modernization and reject any role for intimidation in resolving territorial disputes. We are deepening our investment in Africa, accelerating access to energy, health, and food security in a rapidly rising region. Our opening to Cuba will enhance our engagement in our own hemisphere, where there are enormous opportunities to consolidate gains in pursuit of peace, prosperity, democracy, and energy security.

On all these fronts, America leads from a position of strength. But, this does not mean we can or should attempt to dictate the trajectory of all unfolding events around the world. As powerful as we are and will remain, our resources and influence are not infinite. And in a complex world, many of the security problems we face do not lend themselves to quick and easy fixes. The United States will always defend our interests and uphold our commitments to allies and partners. But, we have to make hard choices among many competing priorities, and we must always resist the over-reach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear. Moreover, we must recognize that a smart national security strategy does not rely solely on military power. Indeed, in the long-term, our efforts to work with other countries to counter the ideology and root causes of violent extremism will be more important than our capacity to remove terrorists from the battlefield. The challenges we face require strategic patience and persistence. They require us to take our responsibilities seriously and make the smart investments in the foundations of our national power. Therefore, I will continue to pursue a comprehensive agenda that draws on all elements of our national strength, that is attuned to the strategic risks and opportunities we face, and that is guided by the principles and priorities set out in this strategy. Moreover, I will continue to insist on budgets that safeguard our strength and work with the Congress to end sequestration, which undercuts our national security. This is an ambitious agenda, and not everything will be completed during my Presidency. But I believe this is an achievable agenda, especially if we proceed with confidence and if we restore the bipartisan center that has been a pillar of strength for American foreign policy in decades past. As Americans, we will always have our differences, but what unites us is the national consensus that American global leadership remains indispensable. We embrace our exceptional role and responsibilities at a time when our unique contributions and capabilities are needed most, and when the choices we make today can mean greater security and prosperity for our Nation for decades to come. 

And now you can find the recently released TPP agreement here

But, just before you click on the link take a look at this map and keep it in mind as you contemplate the TPP in the broader context of both domestic AND foreign policy:

^^^ Note: TPP nations include Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand and Peru (with a commitment from the Indonesian President that they are also coming on board). 

Also note: Using the South China Sea as a focal point, while considering that Russia and China hover above all of them, the nations surrounding the Sea go like this ~ above: Vietnam, Japan; in the middle, Malaysia; below right Brunei, Indonesia; below, further to the right, Australia; below left, Singapore and; much further left, Africa. 

Not terribly scientific, but it speaks to me!

G., aka Partisan Democrat

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