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[Opinion] New York Times’ Support of Bush

Posted November. 20, 2008 08:20,   


The New York Times speaks up for homosexuals, supports affirmative action, abortion and gun control, and opposes the Iraq war and the death penalty. The leading U.S. newspaper has endorsed Democratic candidates for president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. Dwight Eisenhower was the last Republican candidate to gain the daily’s support. Due to its strident liberal slant, the New York Times has often locked horns with the Bush administration. One of its columnists, Maureen Dowd, dislikes Bush so much, she refers to him as “W.”

Now the newspaper has openly expressed its support for Bush`s lame duck administration. In an editorial Tuesday, it urged Congress to ratify the free trade agreement with Colombia, saying, “We don’t say it all that often, but President Bush is right.” The Democrat-led Congress is opposing the ratification, citing human rights abuses in the Latin American country. The newspaper said the Democrats could seek to deny Bush a foreign policy victory.

The New York Times said the deal is good for American workers and companies whose exports to Colombia are hobbled by huge tariffs, and will help enhance ties with an important ally in Latin America, a continent where the United States has few friends. America has suffered a trade deficit with Columbia because it imposes preferential tariffs on Columbian imports to support Bogota’s fight against narcotics. Walking away from the deal will undermine U.S. credibility and send a message to its allies that Washington does not want free trade, said the newspaper.

U.S. opposition to the free trade agreement with Korea will also result in the same negative effects for the United States. As Bloomberg rightly put it, the lackluster sale of American cars in Korea is because of their low quality, not because of hefty tariffs. Free trade is beneficial not only for Korea but also for American consumers. Just as Washington cooperates with Bogota in the war on drugs, the free trade deal with Seoul can help the United States and Korea further cooperate in the war on terrorism and ending North Korea’s nuclear ambition. Hopefully the New York Times will carry another editorial in support of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement.

Editorial Writer Chung Sung-hee (shchung@donga.com)