Remember those people who kept criticizing Bush for his unilateralism, for going it alone when the rest of the world was going Kyoto, for going to war alone without making sure everyone loved us, first? You can google “Bush unilateralism” to get your fill of examples.
Now we have a case where Bush didn’t go it alone, where he tried to cooperate with other countries: (WSJ, Sep 13, “Mexican Roadblock”) Clinton was the unilateralist on this one.
Under the 1993 Nafta accord, Mexican trucking companies should have been delivering their loads to U.S. destinations for more than a decade by now. But since the Clinton Administration banned Mexican trucks in 1995, they have had to offload their cargo at the border and transfer it to Teamster trucks, raising costs for U.S. consumers.
In 2001 a Nafta arbitration panel ruled the U.S. ban on Mexican trucks violated the treaty and granted Mexico the right to retaliate. The Bush Administration crafted the pilot program to open the market and at the same time address safety concerns. The program would allow limited cross-border trucking in both directions, with inspections required. The Teamsters sued, but even the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied their request for a stay. So the Teamsters turned to Congress, which is now obliging under the whip of North Dakota protectionist Byron Dorgan.
Now it’s the Bush-haters in Congress who want the U.S. to go unilateralist.
And next time the question is asked, “Why do they hate us?” we know where to look for an answer.