W Apparently Understood “What’s Good for GM Is Good for the Country…”

… to refer not to General Motors, but to Genetically Modified food:

The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.

In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.

“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.

“The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices,” said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the St Louis-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s.

It would all be funny and pathetic if it didn’t symbolize something bigger about our country.

We refuse to pursue an industrial policy in this country (aside from our unlimited subsidies for the military industrial complex, of course), forgoing the measures that our competitors use to ensure the competitiveness of their country. But we do deploy our diplomats to short circuit democratic and legal means other countries use to support their own economic sovereignty.

Update: I should note that at least one of these GM-shilling cables were written under Obama’s Administration. Though in Obama’s case, he apparently believes both General Motors and genetically modified exports are good for this country, since he bailed out the former.

  1. chetnolian says:

    One of the overarching themes of the leaks is to show how US diplomats not only diagree with but simply fail to understand the national interests of other countries, including the counties to which they are posted. The first is understandable, the second incompetent.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The diplomatic imperative is to override conflicting views of other countries, not find common ground. In a way, it’s what Republicans do to Mr. Obama, who then claims he is comprising when in fact he is giving his Republican opponents what they want or more than even they dare ask for.

        As you nicely point out, it is our subterranean subversion of our allies’ democratic and legal processes, when those conflict with what our major corporations want, that makes our diplomacy and our claimed support for “freedom” [cue Mel Gibson dub] and democracy so nauseous.

        That the governments of major countries shill for their big corporations is not new – despite the breathless reporting in today’s NYT about how we sell airliners. We’re just more hypocritical about it than most.

  2. chetnolian says:

    Oops! I need to get brain anf d fingers synchronised.In line one above read “disagree”, in line two “countries”.

  3. fatster says:

    Remember when Jimmy Carter tied foreign aid to a potential recipient country’s human rights record? At the time we thought that was the beginning of a whole different approach to foreign policy, one which emphasized helping people and promoting civil liberties. Now, in contrast, our embassy staff and others are being used to push items such as Monsanto’s GMO poisons and other enterprises as well: working with Japan against Sea Shepherd’s attempts to save the whales and selling Boeing in Europe in competition with Airbus.

  4. PeasantParty says:

    Damn! I thought business wanted to get Government out of their lives! I thought they wanted Government to leave them alone so they could do what they do best. /s

  5. al75 says:

    You have it right, EW, when you say

    We refuse to pursue an industrial policy in this country

    in fact we have the opposite: in the absence of leadership and policy, the government is increasingly controlled by special interests.

    Our “policy” is whatever the shortsighted goals of industry interest groups, who pay the lobbyists, who grease our pols.

  6. Gitcheegumee says:

    Well, if one uses the search engine of their choice, some mighty interesting info is available by searching Monsanto ,Jackson Stephens and Delta Pine and Land.

    Jackson Stephens ,Hillary Clinton and Monsanto provide some historical insight ,also.

  7. klynn says:

    One additional thought…

    The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show…

    To know that health risks and health problems have been tied to GM Corn and GM corn based products like high fructose corn syrup, is that really a trade war? Are not the countries protecting their citizens? Is that not what a responsible country is suppose to do? In a sense this is suggesting war, not “trade war”.

  8. alank says:

    So much bravado from biotech. The U.S. is not really in a position to wage trade wars, at this juncture, being so dependent on trade.

  9. mafr says:

    The usa even opposed the idea of allowing American g.m. food imports into europe, but requiring them to be labeled,

    cause the manufacturers are aware that Europeans simply will not eat g.m. food.

    American solution:

    no labels. its a restraint of trade you know.

  10. gigi3 says:

    I buy organic produce. Most of it is locally grown. My freezer is full of green beans, asparagus, broccoli, carrots and other vegetables I blanched and then sealed in vacuum bags. When you buy produce in season, then freeze or can it, you save most (if not all) the extra you spent to buy organic.

    I only buy meat and organic dairy products that are free of hormones, antibiotics, etc. Here is a good resource for finding local markets in your area:


    This is another good resource:


  11. nonpartisanliberal says:

    Actually, the TARP bail out of General Motors was carried out by Bush in December 2008.

    That’s okay. I confuse Obama with Bush and vice versa all the time.

    • OldFatGuy says:

      Weren’t there essentially two separate bailouts of the auto industry? I know the original several billions was under Bush, but IIRC a second round occurred in 2009 about the time GM and Chrysler were facing bankruptcy that led Obama to force the CEO of GM out in order to receive that second round.

      Or I might be remembering all of that wrong.

    • emptywheel says:

      True. But Hank Paulson is on the record as saying he wanted to give them just enough to get to Obama’s Admin. As it turned out, he gave GM enough, but not Chrysler.

  12. captjjyossarian says:

    Ever since the trade deals of the 1990’s, the interests of the US economy and big business have been entirely divorced. And to make matters worse, big business won custody of the US Government in the divorce settlement.

    Monsanto’s GM products are abominations which wouldn’t even exist if the US government was acting in our interests. I’m all for science and productivity but not when it’s put in the hands of monopoly men and corrupted regulators. A situation which has florished ever since Reagan.