BULL STREET - The art of the Con















GATT[27] and the WTO[28] 1948-1995

Humanity over the years has created more than its share of idiotic regulations and laws. Customs have been passed down from generation to generation only out of ignorance and fear without the slightest examination of what the backdrop for these imperious edicts were any whether they were based on anything that we have come across in the real world. Leaders looked at their own boundaries as the beginning and end of the universe, however, at that time; they also thought that the sun revolved around the earth. Nations made treaties with each other that only seemed to be intended to lull their victims into a more somnambulant sleep. Hitler’s pact with Russia regarding Poland or the Trojan house that was sent as a gift would be excellent examples of international dealings gone badly.

However, no one with a modicum of sense would ever had taken this tripe to be meaningful; all that the compendium of nations were gong to do what was in their best interests, in spite of the fact that this determination was made by a genetically inferior leader whose genes had become so unbalanced because centuries of incestuous inter-marriage that he could not longer put on his underwear. It was this type of leadership that sent Europe into the Dark Ages and allowed them to linger there centuries after a bell should have rung somewhere.

You couldn’t tell the sanity of the players without a scorecard and until Democracy came along, in spite of great documents like the Magna Carta, the same unstable leadership continued to torture prisoners for their own sadistic pleasure and send men into wars that were either ego driven of the works of madmen. World War One was such an event.

The Government of the United States saw the grave misunderstandings that had ignited a series of wasteful wars which killed and maimed tens-of-millions. AS weapons became more sophisticated, it became a more accepted fact that future conflicts could wipe out the entire globe. Thus, it was necessary to create an environment where nations could get along. One in which there would be no misunderstandings. However, since the demise of the League of Nations, it was seen that world government did not work. There would have to be more of a carrot and stick approach in order to create an environment where Global players would have a reason to actively participate. Moreover, there had to be a reason to force people to the table without armies massing on borders. A number of ideas were kicked around towards the end of World War II, especially at Bretton Woods.

Out of these meetings, such auspicious organizations as the World Bank and The International Monetary Fund were created. While these were well intended organizations, they hardly accomplished anything but show their incompetence. The United Nations also came into being about this time and it established a wonderful old-age home with full-benefits for over-the-hill bureaucrats. However, throughout the years, that organization has only proven to be a bully pulpit for bullies and pressure groups. They have about as much power of dictating international relationships as a frog.

However, out of the blackness of night came an organization called the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It was originally to be an International Trade Organization (ITO), the third part of the triumvirate which included the IMF and World Bank. However, the ITO contained many aspects of that the U.S. Congress felt were diametrically opposed to U.S. interests and while approving its trade concessions, tariff arrangements, trade concessions and rules of conduct, the overall plans were never followed up. When the smoke had cleared in 1948, 23 nations had signed the agreement which was meant to be a temporary plan. By the time that the successor organization was formed, the World Trade Organization (WTO), there were 128 countries that had come aboard.

GATT was replaced by WTO and finally there was an organization in place that had the power of establishing an economic world order. The rules required that all nations automatically agree to any Agreements put forward by the organization with but a few exceptions. The WTO was substantially more expansive than GATT and we are all well aware of the hoops that China had to go through to gain membership in many diverse fields. While WTO is far from ideal and still a major work in progress, the 21st century will be one of economic conflict rather than military operations. As times moves smartly ahead, this could be the source of sanity for the next century.



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