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back to article Delusional thoroughbred chief wants US out of GATS

In a bizarrely rambling and ill-informed interview with Interactive Gaming News last week, National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) head Alex Waldrop advocated that the United States try to remove gambling services from the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), thereby circumventing a string of negative rulings …

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Business as usual

The United States has only ever participated in world treaties when it benefited them. Anything decided outside of US territory that does not fall in agreement with the White House will be ignored, even if it is necessary and good (i.e. Kyoto treaty on carbon emission reduction).

Thus, not thinking about putting US law in compliance with an international organisation is obviously the only acceptable outcome - it's the American Way, literally, and no other.

The automotive industry of America fought for decades against making engines more efficient. The excuse was that it would hurt employment. The result ? Today the number one car dealer in America is no longer American. How's that for hurting employment ? How's that for short-sightedness ?

I believe the proper term is arrogance. And Waldrop seems to possess that in abundance.

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I'll take "Dubya" for $1000

Are you SURE this guy isn't George W Bush? This statement seems to be a dead giveaway:

"Keep in mind we're not a party to it, so we're just monitoring it. We're not monitoring it."

Which is it, then? Are you monitoring it, or not monitoring it?

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Doh! Stupid me...

The "we're monitoring it, we're not monitoring it" statement is clearly doublethink!

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US and Treaties

There is a problem for the US when it comes to ratifying international treaties and this problem is a direct result of how the Constution designed check and balances into the structure of the American government.

It is the executive - in the form of the President, Secretary of State and so on who negotiate treaties with the International community, but these must be ratified by the legislature - Congress.

Unlike the UK where the majority of the legislature and the executive are almost always from the same party (and the executive sit amongst the legislature), it is quite possible for the President to be from an opposing party to the party that commands a majority in one or both Houses in Congress.

So a President might negotiate a treaty in good faith (say Kyoto or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) with the International community, but be completely unable to get it through Congress.

The US model of government has great advantages - the legislature can and does regularly haul the executive over the coals and block unreasonable laws - compare that to Britain's supine House of Commons; but the same power of the legislature can bring about completely dysfunctional government where nothing ever gets agreed - up to and including the budget, or indeed, saving the planet.

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So what next, does the WTO have any teeth ?

So the US has been found guilty, been found still guilty at appeal, and still guilty at another apeal. At what point does something happen beyond "a stern telling off" ?

When to serious economic sanctions kick in ? When are arrest warrants for senior public figures issued ?

Or is this WTO one of those bodies that is worthless because all it can do is tell countries off - and if, like the US they don't care, be completely ignored ?

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The American way

Simon Hobson, if the US ignores WTO rulings against it, the rest of the world can ignore WTO rulings on US complaints against them. The prime example being China. This results in antagonisms against the US. Then they wonder why other people dislike/despise them !!

And to think that the author of the book - How to win friends and influence people - was an American !!

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