George Graham

Behind Closed Doors



Do you wonder what those world leaders are talking about this week as they huddle in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit? I do. And we will never really know. The Chinese are experts when it comes to controlling the information they allow to become public.

And if you think the American government is transparent – especially on world affairs – you need help.

As for the media, well, you can draw what conclusions you like from the fact that one news story  from Beijing is about Vladimir Putin wrapping a shawl around the shoulders of Xi Jinping’s wife (photo above). And even that silliness was expunged from Chinese media outlets presumably because it made the Chinese President seem less gallant than Putin.

We are allowed to know that the global powers have agreed to proceed on China’s proposed free trade plan for the Asia Pacific area, which analysts see as a response to the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (which excludes China).

But I doubt that we will hear or read about the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s contents.

Apparently those details have already been worked out, and the bureaucrats are tying up the loose ends.

The agreement is a big secret, but there have been leaks. And the leaks are troubling.

The trade pact was reportedly drafted by corporate lobbyists and – according to the information that has leaked out so far – it gives global corporations authority over individual governments in such sensitive areas as environmental protection.

It also seems to be a NAFTA-like pact, which would cost America thousands of jobs.

As Americans are finding out, such trade agreements create a race to the bottom, as investment capital shops the various countries for the lowest wages and loosest safety and environmental regulations.

Reportedly, this agreement even restricts internet freedom​.

American authorities are asking Congress to “fast track” the agreement, meaning Congress would skip the amendment process and vote on the entire  pact – most likely before members of Congress even read it.

With the new Republican Congress, the pact’s approval is more likely than ever. Global corporations invested millions in the midterms and they expect a return on their investment.

There will be opposition of course. We can count on Senator Elizabeth Warren, for one. She has already sounded the alarm, opining that, “if the American people knew what was going on, they would be opposed.”

But the voices of dissent get fewer and fewer in this “conservative” age. Corporate power and corporate greed reign supreme. It remains to be seen what that means for you and me.

Click for more on the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Click for more on China’s plan.

Click for more on the economic summit.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for