Free trade and Foreign policy: Campaign Issues
The leader of the last remaining superpower on the planet. The last two standing candidates for the right to call the White House their home for the next four years are Arizona Senator John McCain and Illinois Senator Barack Obama. The current issue of free trade and foreign policy has been on the mind of many American voters. What do these candidates say about these two issues? Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate in the presidential race, generally is an advocate of free trade initiatives, but does not support initiatives that do not include provisions for labor and environment policy protection (Council for Foreign Relations).
Obama has reiterated on the campaign trail that he will not affix his signature on a free trade deal unless specific provisions are in the agreement that would stipulate protection for the environment and US workers (Council). Obama has vowed to work for a trade policy that not only would benefit the foreign companies doing business in the United States but also the average American family (Council). Taking a swipe at toys that allegedly contained lead, Obama recognizes the need for the United States to engage in foreign trade (On the Issues).
But this trade does not mean that the United States will just keel over and import these lethal items (On the Issues). Obama states the United States must be able to forge a strong safety and environmental protocols and labor practices (On the Issues). Obama is also a staunch critic of the United States’ two free trade agreements, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (Mason) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) (Obama).
On the issue of the NAFTA, Obama believes that the agreement did not accomplish its vision, as wages of workers in Mexico, as well as the United States, and their benefits did not improve as envisioned in the treaty (Mason). CAFTA, on the other hand, caught Obama’s attention as the covenant basically did not do anything to improve the standards of American workers (Obama). Arizona Senator John McCain, for his part, is an advocate of free trade, anchoring his belief on the premise that the incidence of globalization is an avenue for present and future American employees (On the Issues).
He defends free trade as part of the process to stimulate free trade and economic growth with the view of raising living stations of Americans (Brendan Steinhauser). McCain is putting Obama into a frame that tends to put the Democratic candidate in a rather bad light, saying that he (McCain) is for and always has been for free trade (Steinhauser). On the other hand, McCain pictures Obama as one who is trying to say two things, opposing trade covenants with countries such as Colombia and South Korea (Tom Baldwin).