Wednesday, June 25, 2003

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Empty and stupid threat of the year

Here's more evidence that the Iraq debate is driving people batty -- A Financial Times article on Congressional reaction to European opposition on Iraq. Most of it falls into the garden-variety blowing-off-steam category. Then there's this idiocy:

His [House Speaker Dennis Hastert's] comments reflect a growing resentment in Congress that may yet result in punitive legislation, directed mainly at France but also extending to other European countries, including Germany....

Reflecting the toughening attitude, Bill Thomas, the powerful Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has already suggested that if the EU does not substantially reform its agricultural policy the Congress may vote to leave the World Trade Organisation. Congress is due to vote on renewing the US's WTO membership in 2005. (emphasis added)

Look, I could yammer on endlessly about all the reasons why this move is idiotic, but it boils down to this: pulling out would be stupid for selfish reasons. At this moment, the U.S. receives more benefits from the WTO than any other international organization -- why destroy it? Furthermore, such a move would succeed in causing a collapse of the global trade regime, a triumph for EU protectionism, and perhaps a global depression. That's a recipe for instability and violence -- not in our interests either.

I must congratulate Thomas for coming up with the single dumbest foreign policy proposal of 2003. I seriously doubt anyone else will be able to top it in the next nine months.

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus has more on another Thomas policy initiative.

posted by Dan on 06.25.03 at 02:31 PM