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January 07, 2004 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 7, 2004


Ulbe Etchtim &dIu


SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Micpigan Daily.

It's just
amazing to know
that I'm going to
have something
new that will be a
quarter my dad."
- Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, on
being pregnant, as reported yesterday
by the website ananova.com.

hnad z, CC r - 1+ e
m h,4 -PYr~Y



Go back to your country

s someone who
fancies himself an
international travel-
er, maybe not in actual trav-
eling sense but more in
spirit and hope of actually
seeing most of the world
one day, the events that
transpired over the vacation
were of great importance to
my global exploits and me. While getting ready
to travel shortly after the break, there was noth-
ing but comforting terrorist threats and the rain-
bow vision of the Homeland Security Advisory
System. Watching Tom Ridge ramble in circu-
lar arguments about how this could be the most
dangerous time since Sept. 11 was not what I
needed. Nothing gets you ready to travel like
reading a report on surface-to-air shoulder mis-
siles. That's grounds for a Red Alert if I've ever
seen one. And to sweeten the pot, the Bush
administration decides to capture Saddam after
months of floundering right on the eve of my
vacation, raising new heights of paranoia.
All these painstaking efforts are made to
assure American safety but what the result ends
up providing is more anxiety for the American
people and the global population as well. In fact
,since every terrorist attack has occurred over-
seas since Sept. 11 we are reasonably safe here.
However, keeping with my "citizen of the
world" attitude this is a disturbing trend. At a
time when the very concept of free trade and
international relationships are continuously
being questioned, the last thing needed are valid

reasons for countries to retreat into an isolation-
ist mindset again.
The rash actions and military parading of
the Bush administration are dangerous to place
outside of Texas and even America. The image
of American troops parading Saddam Hussein
around is the kind of photo-op the shamelessly
self-aggrandizing Bush administration makes
no qualms in engaging in. But the myopic
view of the government keeps the country
engaging in ridiculously unilateral short-term
solutions that only deepen this international
quicksand. The number of attacks on coalition
troops decreased from November to Decem-
ber, but is now on the rise again for January.
The short-term rallying effects and opinion-
poll increases that these photo-ops create con-
tinue to send folded flags back to families
across America and well, since it's a "coalition
force," families across the world.
And there is Afghanistan, the orphan child
that sits in the corner all but forgotten. The
only coverage comes with the next mass mur-
der explosion. No one really remembers what
the goal was over there and this is reflected
clearly through the Pentagon's recent decision.
In what appears to be military minutiae, the
administration has blurred the distinctions
between each engagement. In rewarding our
soldiers medals for their service, troops serving
in Iraq and Afghanistan have both been given
something called the Global War on Terror
Expeditionary Medal.
So wait, does that mean Iraq wasn't about
weapons of mass destruction? Was a war on ter-

ror also? (And what exactly happens when you
win such a war? Is no one ever afraid again?)
Anyway, this has obviously enraged military
personnel since they would like to think of their
efforts as individually recognized contributions
and not a mass lump in the Bush imperialization
squad. Even those who served in World War II
received individual medals for their missions.
Soldiers in the Vietnam and Korean Wars who
all fought under the banner of anti-Communism
in what I imagine today would be called the
War on Ideology received specific accolades for
their sacrifice. And the Pentagon refuses to rec-
ognize any distinction between the two. Maybe
because it's all a big fight against the dirty A-
rabs so it doesn't seem all that different to the
parties that decide it all. It might seem small but
it bothers me. This is representative of the lack
of definitive foresight and honest disclosure
between the Bush cabal and the world public,
who are really just mildly engaged participants
in Bush's world-shaping game.
Hopefully after graduation as I establish my
roots in the post-Michigan era I can engage in
some of the world touring I have planned
actively throughout my undergrad and random
daydreams. I can't honestly hope that the vision
of our supposed leaders becomes a bit more
extroverted and encompassing than what we are
seeing now. This administration is utterly
immutable but I can at least hope that the path
we have been set down is not irreversible.
Rahim can be reached at

Rejecting the protectionist ruse

Lost service jobs. Lost textile jobs. Jobless
recovery. Bangalore call centers. Chinese bras.
Free trade has come under increasing attack in
the past several months from the political estab-
lishments of both major parties. President Bush
has imposed import quotas on foreign steel, a
measure which was eventually repealed, and tar-
iffs on textiles. More than 10 years after coura-
geous bipartisan stewardship led to the
establishment of the North American Free Trade
Agreement, the 2004 Democratic candidates are
taking a new approach to trade. After a decade of
widespread international economic growth,
fueled in part by globalization and international
economic integration, many leading Democrats
have had enough. On Jan. 4, Rep. Dick Gephardt
of Missouri attacked frontrunner Howard Dean of
Vermont, saying, "Howard, you were for
NAFTA ... you were for the China agreement ...
it's one thing to talk the talk, you've got to walk
the walk." Candidates are now sparring about
who has the best record of opposing NAFTA and
similar free trade agreements.
Others have challenged the value of free trade
in the context of globalization. In yesterday's
New York Times, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-
N.Y.) and Paul Craig Roberts, a Reagan adminis-
tration Treasury official, penned an op-ed which
argued that the fundamental logic of free trade
was no longer relevant in a global economy.
Advances in communications technology and
rapid increases in the educational attainment of
the underdeveloped world's population, the
authors wrote, have made free trade an economic
disaster for the United States. They call for "new
thinking and new solutions" on trade. In actuality
the vague strategy that Schumer and Roberts pro-
pose closely resembles the pet initiatives of the

intellectually chic "strategic traders" of the 1980s,
Robert Reich, Clyde Prestowitz, Lester Thurow
and others, attempted to implement protectionist
industrial and trade policies. While a host of theo-
retical models and empirical evidence questioned
the validity of these policies at the time, the past
decade of economic history has completely dis-
credited their arguments. Protectionism, even if
narrowly tailored and temporary, inevitably cre-
ates market distortions that will punish the U.S.
economy. The Chicago Tribune recently reported
Bryan, Ohio, "The Candy Cane Capital of the
World," detailing the migration of candy cane
production facilities and jobs from the United
States to Mexico. The cause? The artificially
inflated cost of sugar, which fetches 21 cents per
pound in the United States versus 6 cents per
pound on the world market. Trade barriers rever-
berate throughout the economy, resulting in eco-
nomic hardship and the loss of U.S. jobs.
More importantly, the economic growth of
China and India, much of which has been made
possible by the United States' relatively liberal
trade regime, has given the hope of economic
opportunity to hundreds of millions. The moral
imperative to lift billions of individuals from the
grip of poverty mandates that the developed
world open itself to the free exchange of goods
and services. While much of the political estab-
lishment agitates for more protection, the real
challenge facing the United States is the reconcil-
iation of political pressures with the elimination
of barriers to trade. Unfortunately, few are willing
to face this challenge. Many politicians on both
sides of the free trade debate are on the same side
of the fence when it comes to agriculture. Despite
all the rhetoric about liberalizing trade, agricul-
ture continues to be highly subsidized. The aver-
age American farmer receives $20,800 in
government subsidies. More than $3 billion is
spent on subsidizing cotton in the United States,

creating an artificial advantage over West African
cotton farmers. As a result, the United States con-
trols 40 percent of the world cotton market. With-
out subsidies, Africans would be able to produce
cotton at about 65 percent of the price American
farmers do. As a result of similar policies, the
developing world is marginalized from agricul-
tural sectors, unable to profit from its natural
advantage. If agricultural trade was truly free,
these nations would finally be able to produce
and sell their cheaper goods on the market, pro-
viding much-needed export revenue and employ-
ment. Furthermore, by dropping subsidies, the
world would save the $200 billion it spends to
prop up inefficient farming. The expiration of the
WTO's farm subsidies "peace clause" on Dec. 31
makes this a propitious moment to begin disman-
tling these barriers to trade.
In 1990, Harvard Business Prof. Michael
Porter wrote "The Competitive Advantage of
Nations," a work on industrial policy and eco-
nomic geography. Porter elegantly argued that
the presence of imports force firms to innovate
and compete, a defense of free trade that squares
perfectly with the much-feared pressures of
globalization. Countless examples, from German
printing presses to Japanese robotics to U.S.
advertising, verify that vigorous competition
from foreign imports reinforces and sustains eco-
nomic strength. Free trade and the continuation
of U.S. economic strength are not mutually
exclusive. Until political actors are genuinely
committed to this reality, the possibility of eco-
nomic growth in the underdeveloped world and
the process of "creative destruction" vital to the
economic prospects of the developed world are
unnecessarily endangered.
Momin is a member of the Daily's editorial board
and an LSA sophomore. Peskowitz is editorial
page editor and an LSA junior.


'U' should do more to help
students shop for textbooks
In case you didn't know already, you can
purchase your textbooks online, in many cases
for much cheaper than they charge at University
bookstores. I was not aware that Shaman Drum
Bookshop and other University bookstores have
become a monopoly bent on "exclusive rights."
This was related to me from a Shaman Drum
employee, when I was browsing their books the
other day. You see, what I normally do when

Ulrich's, Michigan Book and Supply and
Shaman Drum together. It could publish this list
and students could then use this to shop around,
but I assume it is because either "this is the way
it has always worked," or someone somewhere
is getting a cut of these bookstores' profits. I cer-
tainly know it isn't me.
As a graduating student, I thought I would
relate this injustice to my fellow students. I
know that when I arrived at this university,
online shopping was not as big as it is now, and
I think times have to change accordingly.

ular interception. At safety, he was and is a
showboating liability; at least when he played
corner, he depended on All-Big Ten safeties to
bail him out. It wasn't lost on me that Michi-
gan's secondary was far more effective and
consistent when Jackson wasn't playing! Same
goes for Braylon Edwards on offense: phe-
nomenal athlete, completely undependable in
the clutch. Braylon, if you want to go pro, you
must remember to catch the ball when you're
wide open in the red zone, especially in the
Rose Bowl when the ball hits you in the
hands! And Edwards' attitude is arguably
worse than Jackson's, if such a thing is possi-
ble. One week. he makes a oretty catch and


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