After eight less-than-euphoric months in office, the Age of Clinton is witnessing a slow return of the political themes - and even the players - of 1992. This is part of a historical process that the stale interlude of the Clinton presidency can't reverse, and the main theme is the slow and seismic resurgence of American nationalism.
The occasion for its reappearance is the coming congressional debate on the North American Free Trade Agreement, and just recently, as Ross Perot's new book opposing NAFTA was about to hit the bookstores, who else should return to center stage but columnist Pat Buchanan, who also has a few things to say about the agreement.
Buchanan called a news conference with several friends and colleagues to announce a new group called Americans Against NAFTA At the news conference were Llewellyn Rockwell Jr. of the free market and free trade Ludwig von Mises Institute; James Sheehan of the free trade Competitive Enterprise Institute; William von Raab, the not-so-free-trade customs commissioner under Ronald Reagan; and veteran Mexico watcher Chris Whalen.
The grounds for their opposition vary. The free traders don't like NAFTA because it isn't really free, but managed, trade, and its labyrinthine rules and regulations would lock environmental laws into place for-ever. Economic nationalists such as Buchanan don't like it because it would sacrifice American jobs to a shadowy "development" somewhere down the highway.
Moreover, almost all at the news conference don't care for NAFTA because it would weaken American sovereignty and constitutional procedures. But mainly, it's safe to say, they all oppose NAFTA because it is a spiked gauntlet across the face of the American nation.
Negotiated in secret, slapped on a legislative "fast track" that won't even permit its amendment in Congress, pushed by millions of Mexican dollars to Washington public relations firms and lobbyists, NAFTA essentially points a shotgun at this country and commands marriage with a global regime in which our own identity and interests as a nation would vanish before the honeymoon was over.
Thus, NAFTA booster Henry Kissinger enthuses that the pact is only "the first vital step for a new kind of community of nations, built on a common base of democratic values, drawn strongly together by the free exchange of goods, services and capital, dedicated to human rights and committed to the preservation of the common environment. …