HAVING IT BOTH WAYS IN SEATTLE

A hallmark of the presidency of Bill Clinton, twice elected and once impeached, has been the ability to have it both ways on demand.

But the dope smoker who didn't inhale had to stretch even his rare gifts of connivance last week in Seattle.

The World Trade Organization meeting there was supposed to have been Clinton's post-dalliance gesture of serious purpose, a political build on his early-term triumph with the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Alas, politics intruded. And the President who staged a pep rally on the White House lawn after being impeached just couldn't pass up the chance to demand to have it both ways again. He turned a meeting designed to create an agenda for the next round of international trade talks into a domestic political forum.

Clinton knows that his legacy would benefit from succession by Vice-President Al Gore. But the Gore campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination stumbled in its early going. It looked for a while as though former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey might swipe the candidacy.

So Gore cashed in his liberal chits with organized labor and environmentalists, who can deliver the so-called superdelegates who play an especially strong role in the Democratic Party's nomination process. Clinton, although held at a conspicuous distance by Gore, has been only to eager to oblige by pandering to the liberal groups. If Gore somehow wins the presidency and back-casts symbolic legitimacy on Clinton's 8 years in office, who will remember how he snubbed his boss during the campaign?

So the World Trade Organization approaches its meeting in Seattle with Clinton saying the right things in support of the concept of international trade but introducing a couple of twists where specifics are concerned. He first signs an executive order requiring environmental reviews for trade negotiations. Then, as talks begin, he brazenly stiff-arms developing countries by demanding that trade agreements include core labor standards, enforceable by sanctions.

The man thus demands it one way where trading partners are concerned and a quite different way for domestic labor unions and environmental radicals. He wants it one way in international affairs and another way in domestic politics. Most politicians wouldn't even try to get away with such duplicity. Clinton thrives on it.

In Seattle, protests against the WTO turned violent as assorted malcontents kicked in store windows to demonstrate the maturity of their beliefs and the sophistication of their politics. Most of them, to the extent they were able to utter anything intelligible at all, held up labor or environmental issues as causes for which to self-righteously whiff tear gas and log jail time.

This reprise of the 1960s was supremely embarrassing to the US. In the absence of firm leadership, the civil disruption coupled with Clinton's labor and environmentalist torpedoes might well succeed in setting back trade negotiations. That means less economic growth than would otherwise be possible and, therefore, less demand for oil and gas. For the oil and gas industry, hungry people of the world, and anyone else with a stake in economic progress, the fiasco in Seattle is no small matter.

It might also scramble politics for the Democrats, who only months ago were trashing Republicans as isolationist. Who's isolationist now?

It all seemed to inspire the President this week, however. Having lauded free trade in general for international audiences while sabotaging it on behalf of pet domestic constituencies, the President deplored the violence but implored the WTO to listen to what the protestors had to say.

Smoking without inhaling again. No one does it better.

Related Articles

Mahawar named ONGC director, onshore

08/04/2015 Ved Prakash Mahawar has been named director, onshore, of Oil & Natural Gas Corp. In his new role, Mahawar will oversee all onshore operations.

Sharma named ONGC Videsh director, exploration

08/04/2015 Sudhir Sharma has been named director, exploration, of ONGC Videsh Ltd. Most recently, Sharma served as the company’s country manager and legal rep...

US LNG export prospects are uncertain, Brookings analyst says

08/04/2015 US LNG export projects face an uncertain future despite continued discoveries and production growth, a Brookings Institution analyst said. “More li...

Rangeland forms new midstream partnership

08/04/2015 Rangeland Energy, Sugar Land, Tex., has received a $300 million equity commitment from EnCap Flatrock Midstream and formed Rangeland Energy III LLC...

Minister: GAIL ‘running behind schedule’ on three pipeline projects

08/03/2015

India’s minister of petroleum and natural gas says GAIL (India) Ltd. is “running behind schedule” on three pipeline projects.

Devon elects Hager as president, chief executive officer

08/03/2015 Devon Energy Corp. has elected Dave Hager, most recently the company’s chief operating officer, as its president and chief executive officer. Hager...

Woodside lets contract for Browse FLNG project

08/03/2015 Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has let a 12-month, $6-million contract to Wood Group Kenny (WGK) to carry out a front-end engineering and design job for t...

Energy panel votes to send broad policy bill to Senate floor

08/03/2015 The US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee sent the broad energy policy bill developed by Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) and Ranking Mino...

Starting with what's possible

08/03/2015 Before anyone snickers too loudly that the "comprehensive" energy bill the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee planned to ma...
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

When Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected