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Economic NATO – or Atlantic Union, Federal or Otherwise?

Published: February 24, 2013
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GlobalisationPolitical pundits are comparing Senator Chuck Hegal to former Representative Paul Findley. Hegal, like Findley, is a politician who dared to speak out against the influence of the AIPAC in Congress. Paul lost his job in the 80s because he challenged the Israeli lobby, and now Chuck is having a tough time becoming Secretary of Defense. Their willingness to oppose neoconservative thought is not their only philosophical bond.

Chuck Hegal and Paul Findley share another commonality—they are both Atlanticists. Findley championed the Atlantic Union idea during his best years in Congress, and now Hegal and friends at the Atlantic Council of the United States are advancing the “Economic NATO” idea. It would be easier to call this idea what it truly is, a resurrection of the Atlantic Union idea—but that would open up a can of worms as well as inconvenient history.

Few Americans realize that the Atlantic Council of the United States was spawned by the Atlantic Union Committee. The AUC was established in 1949 under the leadership of former Under Secretary of State Will Clayton (Marshall Plan, GATT, ITO), former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts, and author of Union Now, Clarence K. Streit. By 1955, the AUC membership roster read like a who’s who list of leading globalists within the entertainment, industrial, and academic industries.

The Atlantic Union Committee, with the assistance of a bipartisan movement in the United States Congress, helped inspire the Atlantic Convention of 1962, which drafted the Declaration of Paris. In 1960, Congress passed a watered-down version of the Atlantic Union Resolution under the leadership of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Secretary of State Christian A. Herter. After Kennedy defeated Nixon, Democrats in Congress oversaw the appointment of delegates to the U.S. Citizens Commission on NATO. Not surprisingly, the Commission was led by proponents of Atlantic “Federal” Union of the Free.

John F. Kennedy, who co-sponsored resolutions introduced on behalf of the United World Federalists as a Senator, essentially transformed into an Atlanticist after his repeated attempts to achieve general and complete disarmament fell short. On July 4, 1962, Kennedy did, after all, call for an Atlantic Partnership that “would serve as a nucleus for the eventual union of all free men—those who are free and those who are vowing that some day they will be free.” Kennedy’s transatlantic economic agenda was tragically cut short. Now it’s Barack’s turn.

Perhaps President Obama nominated Senator Chuck Hegal to become Secretary of Defense because he now sees himself completing JFK’s transatlantic legacy. John’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy, was also a strong supporter of the Atlantic Union idea. It doesn’t seem as if Obama has the cojones to advance
a vision, like RFK, that at least paid lip service to America’s greatest contribution to political thought – federalism. No, in the words of Streit, Barack and Boehner will choose to “nibble and gnaw” like rodents.

NATO is a military alliance. Americans have already placed their blood and treasure on the line to defend Europe. Almost a month after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed an Economic NATO in December, the Atlantic Council, under the leadership of former Senator Chuck Hegal, chimed in, voicing their support of the so-called “Economic NATO” idea. The Republican leadership in the House, Representatives Boehner and Eric Cantor, will welcome Barack’s Atlanticist gesture. They are, after all,
members of the Transatlantic Policy Network.

Missing from the proposed economic pact between the United States and Europe is citizenship and legislative accountability. At least Atlantic Unionists of the past had the decency to suggest that a federal system of checks and balances would be necessary to govern such a political, military and economic entanglement in accordance with the Declaration of Independence. Why would an American support economic regulation without appropriate representation? Free trade for the 1% seems to be the order
of the day. So much for BHO championing the economic rights of the middle class!

Let’s put the propaganda and/or obvious political discretion aside and call this duck a duck. An Economic NATO is simply a rehash of the Atlantic Union idea. In a cowardice manner, Members of Congress would rather pursue a gradual approach, hoping that military and economic integration will eventually inspire political integration. To the dismay of the State Department, the Monnet/Schumann approach to integration did not yield a united Europe based on federalist principles. Instead, they got a dysfunctional economic union which is now crumbling.

Saving the West from economic collapse by integrating the United States with another economic corpse is not a viable solution. Harmonizing the means of government planning and intervention in the market on a transatlantic scale will not solve our monetary, trade and unsustainable debt problems – it will only exacerbate them. Promises of economic integration with Europe may foster temporary bipartisanship in Washington, but only at the expense of our future.

It is a shame that a member of FreedomWorks, C. Boyden Gray, would advocate “aligning US and European regulatory frameworks in order to obtain greater inter-operability through increased cooperation, mutual recognition, or convergence.” The United States needs to focus on reducing its regulatory burden, not solidifying it through an Atlantic regulatory partnership. Making it easier for multinational corporations to increase the wealth of nations is not always the best way to increase the
wealth of individuals—the true economic foundation of our free market system.

Try this on for size. Republicans want to secure the border before they discuss immigration reform. Freedomists, like myself, wish to re-secure personal and economic liberty and justice for all before discussing more pseudo-Atlantic unions with people who are not legitimately free. Government planning and intervention in the market is the problem—not the size of our free trade areas.

It’s time to realign for liberty. Freedom comes first. Economic prosperity and peace will follow.

Richard R. Biondi is a former Executive Consultant for the Association to Unite the Democracies and author of World Order Strategy: Atlantic Union Resolutions which chronicles the Atlantic Union Movement in the U.S. Congress from 1949 to the mid-1970s. WOS is available at

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