"Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement,
in the thrill of creative effort. The joy, the moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten
in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost
us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves,
to our fellow men.
Recognition of that falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with
the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued
only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct
in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous
and selfish wrongdoing.
Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness
of obligations, on faithful protection, and on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933
Globalization and free trade are fast becoming dirty words. That’s because they are culprits
for major shocks—like the 2008 financial crisis. In the United States alone, median household
income has been practically stagnant for about three decades, the labor market continues to be anemic,
manufacturing jobs have been lost, and many have experienced a significant deterioration in living standards.
Much of the post-Brexit and primary election conventional wisdom seems to be stuck in a political
narrative in which the Brexit vote and the rise of Trump_vs_deep_state in the United States are seen as symbols
of the populist revolution. These symbols are combined with a nationalist tide has been sweeping
not only the United Kingdom and the United States, but also many other parts of Europe, including
Poland, Hungary, France, The Netherlands and Scandinavia, not to mention, Russia, Turkey, India and
According to this narrative, economic insecurity and cultural anxiety that reflect sociodemographic
trends have given momentum to ethnonationalism and religious separatism in both the United States
and the United Kingdom. The Rust Belt is pitted against New York City, and the Midlands against London.
All this means that the crisis of neoliberalism, which started in 2008 now obtained political
dimension, when the institutions created by neoliberalism are under attacks from the disgruntled
population. The power of neoliberal propaganda, the power of brainwashing and indoctrination of
population via MSM, schools and universities to push forward neoliberal globalization started to
This is about the crisis of neoliberal ideology and especially Trotskyism part of it
(neoliberalism can be viewed as Trotskyism for the rich). The following integral elements of this
ideology no longer work well and are starting to cause the backlash:
High level of inequality as the explicit, desirable goal (which raises the productivity).
"Greed is good" or "Trickle down economics" -- redistribution of wealth up will create (via
higher productivity) enough scrapes for the lower classes, lifting all boats.
"Neoliberal rationality" when everything is a commodity that should be traded at specific
market. Human beings also are viewed as market actors with every field of activity seen as a
specialized market. Every entity (public or private, person, business, state) should be governed
as a firm. "Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating,
or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market
techniques and practices." People are just " human capital" who must constantly tend to their own
present and future market value.
Extreme financialization or converting the economy into "casino capitalism" (under
neoliberalism everything is a marketable good, that is traded on explicit or implicit exchanges.)
The idea of the global, USA dominated neoliberal empire and related "Permanent war for
permanent peace" -- wars for enlarging global neoliberal empire via crushing non-compliant
regimes either via color revolutions or via open military intervention.
Downgrading ordinary people to the role of commodity and creating three classes of
citizens (moochers, or Untermensch, "creative class" and top 0.1%), with the upper class
(0.1% or "Masters of the Universe") being above the law like the top level of "nomenklatura" was
in the USSR.
"Downsizing" sovereignty of nations via international treaties like TPP, and making
transnational corporations the key political players, "the deciders" as W aptly said. Who
decide about the level of immigration flows, minimal wages, tariffs, and other matters that
previously were prerogative of the state.
So after 36 (or more) years of dominance (which started with triumphal march of neoliberalism in
early 90th) the ideology entered "zombie state". That does not make it less dangerous but its power
over minds of the population started to evaporate. Far right ideologies now are filling the vacuum,
as with the discreditation of socialist ideology and decimation of "enlightened corporatism" of the
New Deal in the USA there is no other viable alternatives.
The same happened in late 1960th with the Communist ideology. It took 20 years for the USSR to
crash after that with the resulting splash of nationalism (which was the force that blow up the
USSR) and far right ideologies.
It remains to be seen whether the neoliberal US elite will fare better then Soviet nomenklatura
as challenges facing the USA are now far greater then challenges which the USSR faced at the time.
Among them is oil depletion which might be the final nail into the coffin of neoliberalism and,
specifically, the neoliberal globalization.
Advocates of the neoliberalism constantly repeat the refrain that "there is no alternative" (TINA).
Brexit is a powerful demonstration that this is not true (Back to (our) Future)
A major crack has appeared in the edifice of globalization, and the neoliberal order that has
dominated the world’s economy since the end of World War II is now in danger.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, by any means. But poisonous weeds are just as likely as green
shoots to grow up through those cracks. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy: Those who make constructive
evolution impossible may be making destructive devolution inevitable.
We now know that Great Britain, itself an amalgam of older nations, is divided. England and Wales
voted to leave Europe, while Scotland, Northern Ireland, and ethnically diverse London voted to remain.
This vote was a stunning rejection of Great Britain’s political establishment. “Leave” prevailed
despite opposition from all three major political parties. Prime Minister David Cameron, who will
now step down, called on voters to “Remain.” So did socialist Jeremy Corbin, the most left-wing Labor
leader in a generation. Barack Obama crossed the Atlantic to stand beside Cameron and offer his support.
Voters rejected all of them.
The uprising has begun. The question now is, who will lead it going forward?
Globalism’s Shadow Self
The world’s financial and political elites must now face the fact that resistance to their economic
order, which has shaped the world since the Bretton Woods conference of 1944, is a major phenomenon.
These elites are apparently more out of touch with the citizens of the industrialized world than
at any time in modern memory.
Make no mistake: The “Leave” vote was a rejection of globalization, at least as it’s currently
structured. This was a revolt of working class Britons who have seen their postwar prosperity erode
around them and their social contract eviscerated by the corporate and financial oligarchy.
But it was also the sign of a darker and more sinister worldwide phenomenon: the resurgence of
global nativism and xenophobia. This worldwide turn toward fear of the Other is globalization’s shadow
But this near-victory wasn’t won with leftist arguments about resisting the global oligarchy.
The left was too divided to make that case clearly or forcefully. It was largely won by stirring
up bigotry against immigrants, cloaked in flimsy arguments about excessive regulation. Legitimate
economic grievances were channeled into nationalist hostility.
Many “Leave” voters felt powerless, that they no longer had much of a say in their own destinies.
They weren’t wrong. The European Union was largely a creation of transnational financial forces driven
by a self-serving neoliberal ideology of “free” markets, privatization, and corporate economic governance.
But ,even at its worst, the EU is a symptom and not a cause. Great Britain’s citizens haven’t
been losing control over their fate to the EU. They’ve been losing it because their own country’s
leaders – as well as those of most other Western democracies – are increasingly in thrall to corporate
and financial interests.
The British people have lost more sovereignty to trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP then they
could have ever surrendered to the European Union. Their democratic rights are trampled daily, not
by faceless EU bureaucrats, but by the powerful financial interests that dominate their politics
and their economy.
Low Information Voters
This vote won’t help the middle class. British workers will no longer be guaranteed the worker
rights that come with EU membership. British corporations will be less regulated, which means more
environmental damage and more mistreatment of employees and customers. They will not, in the words
of William Blake, “build Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.”
Most “Leave” voters probably don’t know that, because the media failed them too. Instead of being
given a balanced understanding of EU membership’s advantages and disadvantages, the British people
were fed a constant diet of terror fears and trivial anti-government anecdotes meant to reinforce
the notion that EU was needlessly and absurdly bureaucratic.
Martin Fletcher explains, Boris Johnson played a key role in degrading the performance of Britain’s
corporate press back in his days as a journalist. Other outlets were all to eager to mimic his anti-government
and anti-Europe stereotypes. And now? It’s as if Sean Hannity’s
deceptive sensationalism had made him a top presidential prospect.
Johnson and UKIP leader Nigel Farage played the same role in the Leave campaign that Donald Trump
is playing in US politics. Like Trump, they have used economic fears to stoke the anti-immigrant
fear and hatred that is their real stock in trade. Their slogan might just as well have been “Make
England Great Again.”
The campaign’s fearmongering and hate has already claimed a victim in Jo Cox, the Labor MP who
was violently martyred by a white British racist. Tellingly, her murder was not described as an act
of terrorism, which it clearly was. The decision to restrict the “terrorist” label to Muslims, in
Great Britain as in the United States, feeds precisely the kind of hatred that fuels movements like
Great Britain’s immigrant population
by 4.5 million under EU membership. But in a just economy, that would lead to growth for the
existing middle class. Britain’s immigrants didn’t wound that country’s middle class. They’re scapegoats
for rising inequality and the punishing austerity of the conservative regime.
What happens next? Markets are already reacting, retrenching in anticipation of new trade barriers
and political uncertainty.
Before the voting,
estimates of a Leave vote’s effect on Britain’s economy ranged from “negative” to outright “calamitous.”
The outcome will probably fall somewhere between the two.
Will the reprehensible Mr. Johnson, who pushed aggressively for Brexit, now lead his party -perhaps
even his country? How much will this boost UKIP? By rejecting the EU, will Great Britain soon experience
even harsher economic austerity measures than Cameron’s?
Scotland may once again pursue independence so that it can rejoin Europe. Sinn Fein is calling
again for the reunification of Ireland. Suddenly anything seems possible.
There are already calls for a similar referendum in France.
British workers are likely to be
worse off without EU protections, especially if the far right prevails in future elections as
the result of this vote.
Trade deals will need to be negotiated between Britain and the EU, along with the terms of separation.
Judging by its behavior toward Greece, Germany prefers to punish any nation impertinent enough to
try guiding its own economic destiny. These negotiations won’t be pleasant.
The New Resistance
The current order is unstable. The uprising has begun. But who will lead it?
All over the world there are Boris Johnsons and Nigel Farages poised to capitalize on the chaos.
The US has Trump, who was quick to
tie himself to the vote. Greece has Golden Dawn. Germany has the far-right, anti-immigrant AfD
party. Scandinavia has the Sweden Democrat Party and the Danish People’s Party. Hungary’s ruling
Fidesz party, itself nationalistic and totalitarian by nature, is in danger of being outdone by the
racist and anti-Semitic Jobbik party.
Hungary is already building a Trump-like wall, in fact, a barb-wired fence meant to keep Syrian
refugees out of the country and Jobbik out of political power.
There is also also a growing democratic counterforce, poised to resist both the global elites
and the nationalist bigots. It includes Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, and the Corbin movement
in Great Britain (although Corbin’s fate is unclear in the wake of this vote). In the US it has been
seen in both the Occupy movement and, more recently, in the newly resurgent left inspired by Bernie
The global financial order is fracturing. But will it fall? It’s powerful and well organized.
Even if it does, what will replace it: a more humane global order, or a world torn by nationalism
and hate? Should these new progressive parties and factions form a transnational movement?
That’s the goal of economist
Yanis Varoufakis, among others. Varoufakis confronted the EU’s economic leadership directly when
he negotiated with them as Greece’s first Finance Minister under Syriza. They prevailed, and Varoufakis
is now a private citizen.
The Greeks chose economic autonomy when they voted for Syriza. They didn’t get it. The British
aren’t likely to get what they want from this vote either. No matter what happens, British citizens
will still be in thrall to corporate financial forces – forces that can rewrite the rules they go
Greece’s fate has been a cautionary tale for the world, a powerful illustration of the need for
worldwide coordinated resistance to today’s economic and political elites. We can vote. But without
economic autonomy, we aren’t truly free. In the months and years to come, the people of Great Britain
are likely to learn the truth: We are all Greece now.
Globalization is not a one-dimensional phenomenon, and some of its aspects are still intact.
Hollywood dominance, Internet, English language dominance, West technological dominance, will
not reverse any time soon.
What is under attack by Trump, Brexit, etc. is neoliberal globalization, and, especially
financial globalization, free movement of labor and outsourcing of manufacturing and services
Neoliberal globalization was also based on the dollar as world reserve currency (and oil
trading in dollars exclusively). But this role of dollar recently is under attack due to the
rise of China. Several "anti-dollar" blocks emerged.
Trump tariffs are also anathema for "classic neoliberalism" and essentially convert
"classic neoliberalism" into "national neoliberalism" on the state level. BTW it looks like
Russia switched to "national neoliberalism" earlier than the USA. No surprise that Trump
feels some affinity to Putin ;-)
Attacks against free labor movement also on the rise and this is another nail in the
coffin of classic neoliberalism. In several countries, including the USA the neoliberal elite
(especially financial elite after 2008, despite that no banksters were killed by crowds) does
not feel safe given animosity caused by the promotion of immigration and resorts of
conversion of the state into national security state and neo-McCarthyism to suppress
I think those attacks will continue, immigration will be curtailed, and "classic
neoliberalism" will be transformed into something different. Not necessarily better.
Several trends are also connected with the gradual slipping of the power of the USA as the
chief enforcer of the neoliberal globalization. Which is partially happened due to the
stupidity and arrogance of the USA neoliberal elite and neocons.
Another factor in play is the total, catastrophic loss of power of neoliberal propaganda
-- people started asking questions, and neoliberal myths no longer hold any spell on
population (or at least much less spell). The success of Bernie Sanders during the last
election (DNC was forced to resort to dirty tricks to derail him) is one indication of this
trend. This "collapse of ideology" spells great troubles for the USA, as previously it spells
great troubles for the USSR.
"Trumpism" as I understand it tried to patch the situation by two major strategies:
(1) splitting Russia from China
(2) Attempt to acquire dominant position in regions rick in hydrocarbons (Iraq, Iran,
Libya, Venezuela, etc)
But so far the decline of neoliberalism looks like Irreversible. It never fully recovered
from the deep crisis of 2008 and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Another powerful factor that works against neoliberal globalization is the end of cheap
oil. How it will play out is unclear, Much depends whether we will have a Seneca cliff in oil
production or not. And if yes, how soon.
This is the end of classic neoliberalism, no question about it, and the collapse of
neoliberal globalization is just one aspect of it
"... Two U.S. 'realists', Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, had always warned that the 'west' must keep China and Russia apart if it wants to keep its leading global position. Nixon went to China to achieve that. ..."
"... Years later the U.S. fell for the myth that it had 'won' the Cold War. It felt invincible, the 'sole superpower' and sought to 'rule them all'. It woke up from that dream after it invaded Iraq. The mighty U.S. military was beaten to pulp by the 'sand niggers' it despised. A few years later U.S. financial markets were in shambles. ..."
"... Crude attempts to further encircle Russia led to the Chinese-Russian alliance that now leads the SCO and soon, one might argue, the world. There will be no photo like the above from the SCO summit. The Chinese President Xi calls Russia's President Putin 'my best friend'. ..."
"... Agreed! But what will the US psychopaths do to maintain their grip when they realize they are really losing it? Nuclear war? ..."
"... Watching the two meetings play out has really been interesting, that the West is dead is not in question. And once it started it seems to be gaining momentum. I don't know how many readers here watch CGTN but it is amazing. My IQ goes up every time I watch. Astonishing how much more valuable information you get from a "heavily censored" Chinese news compared to MSM. The website is a little slow at times but it is well worth the wait. ..."
G-7 summits are supposed to symbolize "the west", its unity and its power. The summits pretended to set policy directions for
the world. We are happy to see that they are dead.
Trump was obviously not inclined to compromise.
Before attending the summit Trump trolled his colleagues by inviting Russia to rejoin the G-7/G-8 format without conditions. Russia
had been kicked out after Crimea voted to join its motherland. Merkel, who had negotiated the Minsk agreement with Russia, was furious.
She wants to use such an invitation as an element of future negotiations. (It is stupid talk. Russia is not interested in rejoining
the G-7/G-8 format.)
There are now many fields where the U.S. and its allies disagree: climate change, the Iran deal, trade are only the major ones.
As he prepared to depart early from the G-7 summit in Charlevoix, Canada, to head to Singapore ahead of his planned meeting with
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump delivered an ultimatum to foreign leaders, demanding that their countries reduce trade
barriers for the U.S. or risk losing market access to the world's largest economy.
"They have no choice. I'll be honest with you, they have no choice," Trump told reporters at a news conference, adding that
companies and jobs had left the U.S. to escape trade barriers abroad. "We're going to fix that situation. And if it's not fixed,
then we're not going to deal with these countries. "
The row at the G-7 meeting was in stark contrast to the more important other meeting that happened today, the 18th Shanghai Cooperation
Organization (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China:
Dazzling against the city skyline of Qingdao, fireworks lit up the faces of guests who traveled across the vast Eurasian continent
to the coast of the Yellow Sea for the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, on Saturday night.
It is the first such summit since the organization's expansion in June 2017 when India and Pakistan joined as full members.
The Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit
of common development , was stated in the Charter of the SCO, a comprehensive regional organization founded in 2001 by China,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and later expanded to eight member states.
This weekend Xi will chair the summit for the first time as Chinese president, which is attended by leaders of other SCO member
states and four observer states, as well as chiefs of various international organizations.
The SCO has grown to be an organization covering over 60 percent of the Eurasian landmass, nearly half the world's population
and over 20 percent of global GDP.
Two U.S. 'realists', Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, had always warned that the 'west' must keep China and Russia
apart if it wants to keep its leading global position. Nixon went to China to achieve that.
Years later the U.S. fell for the myth that it had 'won' the Cold War. It felt invincible, the 'sole superpower' and sought
to 'rule them all'. It woke up from that dream after it invaded Iraq. The mighty U.S. military was beaten to pulp by the 'sand niggers'
it despised. A few years later U.S. financial markets were in shambles.
Crude attempts to further encircle Russia led to the Chinese-Russian alliance that now leads the SCO and soon, one might argue,
the world. There will be no photo like the above from the SCO summit. The Chinese President Xi calls Russia's President Putin 'my
The 'west' has lost in Eurasia.
The U.S. is reduced to a schoolyard bully who beats up his gang members because their former victims have grown too big. Trump is off to Singapore to meet Kim Yong-un. Unlike Trump North Korea's supreme leader will be well prepared. It is likely that
he will run rings around Trump during the negotiations. If Trump tries to bully him like he bullies his 'allies', Kim will pack up
and leave. Unlike the U.S. 'allies' he has no need to bow to Trump. China and Russia have his back. They are now the powers that
can lead the world.
The 'west' is past. The future is in the east.
Posted by b on June 9, 2018 at 03:14 PM |
Yeah, I was just thinking that. Trump is running full-speed into isolation. It's an ancient policy, which recalls the 1920s. What
does America need of the outside world? Good question.
I would think we will hear in the not too distant future of a European replacement of the US exchange systems, such as VISA.
The Americans have become too unreliable. Obviously the Russians and Chinese do have their own systems, but that won't do for
Independence is going to be forced, and the consequences will be permanent.
Watching the two meetings play out has really been interesting, that the West is dead is not in question. And once it started
it seems to be gaining momentum. I don't know how many readers here watch CGTN but it is amazing. My IQ goes up every time I watch. Astonishing how much more
valuable information you get from a "heavily censored" Chinese news compared to MSM. The website is a little slow at times but
it is well worth the wait.
Last year during the border standoff with India they had on strident Indian voices arguing the Indian position every day. Imagine
if CNN had on Mexican reps regarding the wall - never happen.
Because Iran was under sanctions levied by the United Nations earlier, it was blocked from admission as a new member of the Shanghai
Cooperation Council [SCO]. The SCO stated that any country under UN sanctions could not be admitted. After the UN sanctions were
lifted, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced its support for Iran's full membership in SCO during a state visit to Iran in January
2016.Iran must join the SCO ASAP it is also a military alliance and should prepare itself for a big effort at regime change by
the US and lackeys. The moral of the story unless they hang together, the US will hang them separately.
Well, China as the text books say was always ' half the human story' - only eclipsed by Western connivance in the 1860's .I remember
my father argueing with high ranking Australian government and commercial figures in 1970.
My father argued Australia needed
to find its own voice with China and Chinese policy . They replied sneeringly '' Ralph , their just red communists and will never
amount to anything ' . Shortly thereafter Nixon flew to Beijing and my father sat back in his living room with a sardonic look
on his face !
You may like Freedland's article yesterday, which unusually I agreed with, that in fact Trump is a poor negotiator, and gives
away tricks he doesn't have to. Why no concession from Israel, over the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem? Why give away the
honour to NK of a one-to-one with the US president? I'd be surprised if NK surrenders, when they know what will happen if they
"President Putin is the leader of a great country who is influential around the world," Xi said. "He is my best, most intimate
friend." Xi promised Russia and China would increase their coordination in the international arena.
Putin expressed his thanks for the honor and said he saw it as an "evaluation" of his nation's efforts to strengthen its relationship
with its southern neighbor.
"This is an indication of the special attention and respect on which our mutual national interests are based, the interests
of our peoples and, of course, our personal friendship," Putin said.
Interesting that Trump has said Russia should be invited back into the west's G7/G8 at this time. In cold war 1.0, Soviet Union
was the main enemy of the US and China was split away from the Soviet Union. In this war, Trump sees China's economy as the main
threat to the US and is trying but failing to pull Russia away from China.
They did win the Cold War. That's how they became the'sole superpower'.
If winning the Cold War is about vanquishing communism, they flat out lost. Because, while they were concentrating on the end
of the USSR and celebrating, China was going up and up and up. They never saw her coming, yet to this day and for the foreseeable
future, China is a socialist, Marxist country.
So the new, desperate Western spin is to try to argue that China has "succumbed" to capitalism. Yeah, right, a country where
all the private companies have to have members of the CPC on their board and hand over enough shares to the state to grant it
veto powers, not to mention the Central bank and all its major companies are state-owned... Lol.
After the collapse of the USSR the consensus - even of the alt-media (what little of it existed) was that a new American century
was on the way and the whole world would be better off for it. A decade later in 2003 the consensus (post 'shock & awe' Gulf War
2) was that America had the ability to re-structure the Asian /African world and that it would all be for good.
15 years later we are all sick of the fruit of that delusion. So we look to another power to save us... Do we understand nothing?
Without the accountability of multi-polarity, Western supreme power all became security-obsessed privilege, self-aggrandizement,
blatant plunder and total disregard for moral value and life. Power corrupts - it knows no exceptions.
If the West is truly dead, the East will be no different.
Interesting that Trump has said Russia should be invited back into the west's G7/G8 at this time.
Thought of a moment to annoy the Europeans. It is obvious that Trump was pissed off about having to attend, and left at the earliest
opportunity. The Europeans heard that, and will draw the inevitable conclusions.
Lea @ 13 Socialist, Marxist, Capitalist, what does it matter: it seems to work for China, at least for the time being. It's success
makes me think that a bit more government control of corporations might not be such a bad thing.
The summit with Kim will be fascinating to observe. In my view, NK has finessed the US and the Trump administration to a degree
I would not have thought possible, even from native US insiders. To do it long range from the other side of the world speaks to
me a lot about the power of Asia, and the clarity of view from there.
I agree with Laguerre @9 that Trump is a terrible negotiator (forgive that I didn't read the Guardian piece). I would take
this much further and say that all the US institutions themselves are culturally crippled in terms of understanding what's happening
in the ascendancy of Asia. All of their negotiation is feeble, because their grasp on their own true position is based on yesterday's
view of their power. You cannot go into negotiation without knowing what you hold.
Every day, I become more confident in the ability of the elder nations to put the young western empires to rest without their
being triggered into death spasms.
Red Ryder @11 - I see China's full-on drive for the one Road as its way of waging total war, its strategic masterstroke to
render the enemy powerless without the enemy's realizing that it is being attacked. Russia as the other half of the Double Helix
mesmerizes the west with weaponry while China undercuts the ground. Both countries are fully at war, and winning, while unseeing
commenters complain that it's time for them to "do something." How superb the silk rope drawn so softly around the throat.
It's a beautiful play. I very much hope - and truly expect - that we can all survive to be able to sit back and admire it as
the years unfold.
I have a small quibble with b's wording but thank him for following and reporting on our evolving world.
The U.S. is reduced to a schoolyard bully who beats up his gang members because their former victims have grown too big.
The global elite have their US puppet acting like a schoolyard bully who beat up his gang members because their former victims
have grown too big.
The West is trying to consolidate power and control while they still have some ghost of a chance. How they hold countries after
this global divorce will be interesting.
At his time the West has little to offer humanistically except its vice grip on most economic interaction and the tools including
banking underpinning the "system". The elite have deluded the public in the West for centuries about private finance behind the
scenes of all/most conflict......pointing to other religions but never their own.
It sure is getting interesting. IMO, the two Koreas are going to announce a reconciliation that requires the removal of America
military forces/bases et al, which fits in with the fake nationalism efforts of Trump.
That the US and the EU and their respective camps are at loggerheads over trade and perhaps other economic issues should not (I
hope) lead readers to assume that one side has the interests of the public it represents uppermost in mind. As the US and the
Anglosphere is dominated by one set of neoliberals, so Germany and the lackey EU nations following Berlin are dominated by another
set of neoliberals in thrall to an export-led mercantilist ideology. Just as the elites in charge of US power structures are only
interested in enriching themselves, the same can be said for those in charge of power structures in Europe. Whether under the
US or the EU, the public suffers.
Notice that Germany benefits from being the major economic power in the EU while its fellow EU nations around the Atlantic
and Mediterranean rim flail under a huge debt (and Greece is being punished back into the impoverished colonial status it held
under Nazi German occupation) and eastern European EU members are following suit running their economies into the ground and having
to beg NATO into setting up bases in their territories to attract money. At the same time German workers are becoming poorer,
they are not benefiting from Berlin's economic policies, they are not reproducing fast enough so Berlin needs to bring in more
foreign workers in the guise of "refugees" to prop up factories and keep wages low.
@ Madderhatter67: The US did not win the Cold War because the Cold War was only ever a propaganda front for the secret war
waged by US / UK elites against Russia and China to dominate and rob these nations and their neighbours of their natural resources.
thanks b - and for the laugh with the marjorie and homer pic for comparison!
i think this parallel you draw is a good one.. the west is certainly floundering... i am not sure how global finance responds
here... i can't imagine the 1% being on the wrong side of a bet on the direction of things here either..
@6 harry law.. did iran make it into the sco? it sounds like it did.. good!
@14 les7.. regarding your last line - i tend to agree with that viewpoint..
@19 jen... do you think it will be somehow different if the power shifts to russia/china? i guess i am not so sanguine over
power, regardless of who holds it.
Very well put, only issue that as to be dealt with is all those Stan Countries, they are a hibernating and breeding ground for
Terrorists and Arms dealers , who don't care who they sell arms to and how they get them to rogue regimes.
I see China's full-on drive for the one Road as its way of waging total war, its strategic masterstroke to render the enemy
powerless without the enemy's realizing that it is being attacked.
I do think you're exaggerating there.
China's past history has been one of a country very contented with itself, much like the US, because defended geographically
by vast deserts. A longer history, so some foreigners did traverse the deserts.
The Chinese exported their products by foreign ships (Arabo-Persian) arriving at Canton, and buying cargoes, or camel caravans
arriving in the north and buying silk. The Chinese themselves did not travel abroad very much, and so didn't know very much about
surrounding countries, or the rest of the world. There was a fleet of Chinese junks which arrived in the Gulf in the 14th century,
but it was the only one.
Today's situation is not so different. There are Chinese interventions in Africa, but their diplomacy is pretty ham-fisted.
The Belt-and-Road initiative is in fact intended to bring up to speed Central Asian countries like Tajikistan. Fine, Tajikistan
needs it, but it's not world-changing.
The rail freight from Beijing to Frankfurt works better as an intermediate between sea and air freight, but essentially it
is what has always happened - foreigners export Chinese products. The Chinese don't know how to run a foreign policy.
from their body language, I would say that Japan is surely 'with' Trump and the US, but that's only because that arch-reactionary
Abe is in power.....and when he goes, and go he will, there will be a big period of adjustment...some day.
The scambastic Trump could be inclined to make a slightly more fair deal in Singapore just to make a deal, but he is going extra
early (no jet lag) and will be controlled by Pompeo with his 'Grim Reaper' CIA-dog/warhawk/translator/born & raised S. Korean
with multiple relations in their South KCIA (NIS) and cabinet leadership, Andrew Kim (born Kim Sung-hyun). Kim's purpose will
be to control Trump's spontaneaous decision making, inform him on what he reads as N. Korea's intent, and give baseline hawkish
color to the translations for his own hawkish viewpoint.
bjd, bolton is trump's overseer, making sure he doesn't step out of line.
Trump is a poor negotiator, and gives away tricks he doesn't have to. Why no concession from Israel, over the move of the
US embassy to Jerusalem?
Laguerre, you have it backwards. the embassy move, the iran deal, and the appointment of bolton are all concessions trump made,
as payback for adelson's millions to both the gop and his campaign. possibly also has a little something to do cambridge analytica,
honey traps or whatever.
The imprint of the 84-year-old's political passions is seen in an array of Donald Trump's more controversial decisions, including
violating the Iran nuclear deal, moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and appointing the ultra-hawkish John
Bolton as national security adviser.
......The New York Times reported that Adelson is a member of a "shadow National Security Council" advising Bolton
James @ 21: I think one should always be a bit suspicious of those who hold power, especially those who find themselves holding
the uppermost hand in power as a result of victory in war (whether in the form of actual military combat, trade war or other wars
in soft power).
Russia under Vladimir Putin and China under Xi Jinping may be fine but will their successors know not to abuse the power they
may gain from the New Silk Road projects encompassing Eurasia and Africa?
Of course, it is about Iran. It's the Iranian deal that the EU needs to continue. They benefit as the biggest vendors to Iran.
They want to get inside that developing 70 million person market, also.
Bolton wants regime change. The EU knows that will be worse than Iraq. And economically, the EU will be in the dumps for 2
decades if there's another war they are forced to join. And they will be forced to join. They cannot say No to the Hegemon.
The EU 2, Germany and France, are at a historic moment of truth.
They could have a great future with Russia, China, Iran, the BRICS, SCO, OBOR and EAEU or they could be crippled by the Empire.
"...But Canada, which pushed for Russia to get the boot in 2014, is not onside. 'Russia was invited to be part of this club
and I think that was a very wise initiation, and an invitation full of goodwill,'[FM Chrystia Freeland] she told reporters at
the summit. 'Russia, however, made clear that it had no interest in behaving according to the rules of Western democracies..."
it's kind of wonderful to see all these imperialist and former neo-colonial powers fighting among themselves.
unfortunately, like the old African proverb goes, when the elephants fight it's the grass and small animals that suffer.
I see no reason for optimism for the peoples of europe at this point, as the stranglehold of the Trioka is perhaps as strong
as ever, and hundreds of millions of people are suffering; the people simply have to get organized at all levels and take back
their sovereignty at least as a start
The US still has the power of the dollar in its arsenal. The UK and EU, and any nation that deals with Wall Street, are addicted
to US investment in dollars. Since the EU is run by the banks, and western banks can't function with the dollar, any statements
by the EU that they're going to avoid US sanctions over Iran are meaningless.
The equation is essentially this: you can have your sovereignty or you can have the benefits of the dollar that make your 1%
very rich. You can't have both. Since the EU is ruled by the 1% banker/investor class they will forestall any attempts to regain
sovereignty by the people. In a sense, Europe is like Russia 10-15 years ago, thinking that the US is the key to the golden calf.
Russia learned the hard way they needed to establish some independence (although to this day Russia doesn't have nearly the financial
independence one might hope), and China saw from Russia's example they needed to do so as well. This led them to team up on many
economic initiatives while seeking to reduce the dominance of the dollar.
Perhaps someday Europe will learn this lesson. But as long as the EU exists, I kind of doubt it. The EU-crats will cry and
criticize Trump but the bankers love US money too much to let them actually do anything serious.
If the West is dead and the East is the future, then why are so many Chinese buying houses and living part time in Canada, Australia,
and the USA? Why is there so much emphasis put on Western education facilities by Asians?
there is only a bunch of paid of administrators running the countries and the corporations that pay them.
Trumps quid pro quo is deals that benefit his family. I don't thinks he cares one bit about the GOP and how the party fundraises.
He cares about advancing his family and keeping the loot.
maybe we should realize that the concepts of east and west, as much as neo liberalism or neo conservatism or any other moniker
that we could apply to loot and steal - legally and without shame under the guise of trade - are concepts of the past.
the future is for the strongest, irrespective of their origins or philosophy. we are burning this planet down with a vengeance
and we - the people - are to numerous and too expensive to keep.
while we debate and some even chuckle with delight as to how the west is treated by trump, or how much the west deserves to
be made redundant and all hail the Russians and the Chinese - the king is dead, long live the king - it is us who dies in the
wars, it is our children that are being kidnapped and locked up in prison when arriving on the border seeking asylum, it is us
who will watch the women in our live die in childbirth because of lack of medical care, it is us who will die of black lung, hunger,
thirst and general malice.
and while we gossip, they laugh all the way to the bank.
b, we have no doubt that the North Korean leadership is ready for the Americans and know the score with a rising Eurasia and a
sinking NATO. However, your last assumption of Kim being more than ready to go toe-to-toe with DJT smacks of some of the worst
tendencies of many posters here who are ready to venerate Kim without him ever even making formal address of more than a few words
to a) his people, 2) his allies, or D) even the world. This is a laughable assumption from you and it would be like having the
most beautifully-made garment handy for a long while, desperate for anyone to come along so you could fling it on them to prove
they were the most amazing supreme leader in all the world!
This is not to say I do not want the NoKos to succeed in their endeavors of getting a fair deal...hardly: I think they will
succeed eventually because they are shrewd. But this is an attempt to squash the unbelievably propagandistic (or naive) attempts
to place the mantle of imperviousness, all-knowingness, utterly-innocentness, and insurmountably-cleverousness onto the boy that
would be king. DJT could eat a boy like Kim for breakfast if left alone from their advisors.
If Europe is to break free from the Outlaw US Empire, Merkel must be jettisoned and independent-minded leaders must take control
of Germany and EU. I'm not at all surprised with how events went in Canada. However, I see the Policy as the Bully, not Trump,
the policy still being the attempt to gain Full Spectrum Domination. What's most important, IMO, is this spectacle will not go
unnoticed by the rest of the world. The Outlaw US Empire cannot make it any plainer that it's the primary enemy state of all except
the Zionist Abomination. I think Abe wonders why he's there and not in Qingdao.
Although this item focuses on Kashmir , it should be read after the longer article linked above. There's little news as of
yet coming from Qingdao other than who's cooking what and sideline meets. I expect more coming out beginning Monday. Of course,
Kim-Trump begins now, it being the 10th in Singapore already.
The difference between the two projects- the western Empire and the Eurasian schemes exemplified by OBOR- is that the former,
as 500 years of experience teaches us, relies on ethnic divisions, wars and competition while the latter requires peace and co-operation.
In a sense that answers Jen @ 32. It really doesn't matter who runs the governments of China and Russia, provided that they
can prevent the imperialists from distracting them into rivalry. It was that which, thanks to plenty of stupidity on both sides,
gave rise to the tensions of which Nixon and Kissinger took advantage.
Had the USSR and China ironed out their small differences on the sixties- and Vietnam gave them a perfect excuse to do so,
history would have been very different and probably much less bloody.
The truth is that, as b asserts, the SCO is already much more important than the G7- America and the Six Dwarfs. How much more
important is shown by the role of Freeland (the neo-Nazi Ukrainian apologist) in insisting on holding the line against Russia's
re-admission to a club that it almost certainly does not want to rejoin.
Trump may not be a 'good negotiator' but he has a position of relative strength vis a vis the rest of the G7 who cannot negotiate
because they do as they are told. If they won't do what Trump tells them to do they will be on the lookout for someone else to
give them orders-they have no idea of independence or sovereignty. Just watch most of them scuttle back to Brussels for ideas,
or set up back channels to Moscow- once a puppet always a puppet.
The Sino-Soviet Split occurred while Stalin was still alive--he refused to allow the Chinese to develop "Communism with Chinese
Characteristics" just like any other European Orientalist. And as the Monthly Review article I linked, the Chinese must
beware of becoming/being seen as Imperialistic in their zeal to push BRI--Imperialist behavior will kill the Win-Win concept as
it will revert to just another Zero-sum Game.
One of the factors which has been killing the 'Democratic' West is that its bribed & blackmailed leaders have alienated themselves
from The People whose views they were elected to represent.
No-one living in a so-called democracy is prepared to tolerate a leader who spends too much time praising, and making excuses
for, the crimes of the racist-supremacist Zionist Abomination (h/t karlof1) and its Piece Process in Palestine. It can be persuasively
argued that embrace of and fealty to the Z.A. is the only factor which Western Leaders have in common. And it's neither a coincidence
Grrr! I still don't get why so many humans believe anything good comes from chucking aside one greedy oppressive arsehole then
replacing it with another. Sure the SCO has a founding document laden with flowery words and seemingly wonderful concepts but
I say "So what" check out the UN charter or the amerikan constitution and you'll find the same.
These issues of justice & equity
cannot be fixed by swapping bosses because every society has its share of pathologically fucked up greedies who have the means
and lack of empathy to destroy anything and everyone in their lust for whatever it is they imagine they need.
We have to accept that will never change and that trying to purge the planet of those types just creates more of them from
within the structure most successful in effecting the swap.
I know I sound like a scratched disc but the only fix that could hope to work is one that smashes the conglomerations into
tiny shards, reducing the world to thousands of small self governing entities; sure some places will still end up being taken
over by low self esteem motivated arseholes, but not only will they not be able to do as much damage, arseholes stand out in a
small society where more 'normal' humans interact with them - currently all the pr1cks coagulate in spots such as the G7 and few
non-pr1cks ever get close enough to see them for what they are. A low count on the old degrees of seperation register makes it
much more difficult for the scum to rise. Making sure that no chunk is sufficiently big to force its will on another would also
That won't fix everything, but who outside some totally screwed up anal regressive would want that anyway? I just want to live
in a world where no one cops it like the entire Yemeni population currently is. I see no benefit in moving the horror from Yemen
to Uigar-land or whatever place the new bosses decide should be their fun palace of hate, murder and misery.
The Congo and/or Nigeria another coupla sites of misery for money. Timor Leste aka East Timor, now that the Portuguese expats
in the form of the man with the Nobel stamp of obeisance to the monied
Jose Ramos Horta have done over the
locals, something Xanana Gusmão always said could happen. Horta's arseholeness made the wealthiest nation in the world (divide
resources by population) riven by poverty, lack of health and education services plus of course old favourite, racist oppression.
Check out these kids here untroubled
by issues like getting a decent phone signal or their ranking on Twitch - wondering where their next decent feed is coming from
is prolly their most pressing issue.
Swapping SCO for G7 will do SFA for them or anyone else unlucky enough to be living on top of whatever the current 'must have'
is deemed to be.
Humanity either learns how to live with itself on an equal basis or it will perish; it's really that simple. The likes of the
Outlaw US Empire, its NATO vassals and the Zionist Abomination are shining examples of what MUST be exorcised for ever more.
Leaders are routinely confronted with philosophical dilemmas. Here's a classic one for our Trumptopian times: If you make enemies
out of your friends and friends out of your enemies, where does that leave you? What does winning (or losing) really look like? Is
a world in which walls of every sort encircle America's borders a goal worth seeking? And what would be left in a future fragmented
international economic system marked by tit-for-tat tariffs, travel restrictions, and hyper-nationalism? Ultimately, how will such
a world affect regular people? Let's cut through all of this for the moment and ask one crucial question about our present cult-of-personality
era in American politics: Other than accumulating more wealth and influence for himself,
, and the
Trump family empire , what's Donald J. Trump's end game as president? If his goal is to keep this country from being, as he likes
to complain, " the world's
piggy bank ," then his words, threats, and actions are concerning. However bombastic and disdainful of a history he appears to
know little about, he is already making the world a less stable, less affordable, and more fear-driven place. In the end, it's even
possible that, despite the upbeat economic news of the moment, he could almost single-handedly smash that piggy bank himself, as
he has many of his own
ventures . Still, give him credit for one thing: Donald Trump has lent remarkable new meaning to the old phrase "the imperial
presidency." The members of his administration, largely a set of aging white men, either conform to his erratic wishes or get fired.
In other words, he's running domestic politics in much the same fashion as he oversaw the boardroom on his reality-TV show The
Apprentice . Now, he's begun running the country's foreign policy in the same personalized, take-no-prisoners, you're-fired
style. From the moment he hit the Oval Office, he's made it clear at home and abroad that it's his way or the highway. If only,
of course, it really was that simple. What he will learn, if "learning process" and "President Trump" can even occupy the same sentence,
is that "firing" Canada, the European Union (EU), or for that matter China has a cost. What the American working and the middle classes
will see (sooner than anyone imagines) is that actions of his sort have unexpected global consequences. They could cost the United
States and the rest of the world big-time. If he were indeed emperor and his subjects (that would be us) grasped where his policies
might be leading, they would be preparing a revolt. In the end, they -- again, that's us -- will be the ones paying the price in
this global chess match.
The Art of Trump's Deals
So far, President Trump has only taken America out of trade deals or threatened to do so if other countries don't behave
in a way that satisfies him. On his
third day in the White House, he honored his campaign promise to remove the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership,
a decision that opened space for our allies and competitors, China in particular, to negotiate deals without us. Since that grand
exit, there has, in fact, been a boom in side deals involving China and other Pacific Rim countries that has weakened, not strengthened,
Washington's global bargaining position. Meanwhile, closer to home, the Trump administration has engaged in a barrage of NAFTA-baiting
that is isolating us from our regional partners, Canada and Mexico.
Conversely, the art-of-the-deal aficionado has yet to sign a single new bilateral trade deal. Despite steadfast claims that he
would serve up the best deals ever, we have been left with little so far but various tariffs and an onslaught against American trading
partners. His one claim to bilateral-trade-deal fame was the
renegotiation of a six-year-old
deal with South Korea in March that doubled the number of cars each US manufacturer could export to South Korea (without having to
pass as many safety standards).
As White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders
it , when speaking of Kim Jong-un's North Korea, "The President is, I think, the ultimate negotiator and dealmaker when it comes
to any type of conversation." She left out the obvious footnote, however: any type that doesn't involve international trade.
In the past four months, Trump has imposed tariffs, exempting certain countries, only to reimpose them at his whim. If trust were
a coveted commodity, when it came to the present White House, it would now be trading at zero. His supporters undoubtedly see this
approach as the fulfillment of his many campaign promises and part of his
classic method of keeping both friends and enemies guessing until he's ready to go in for the kill. At the heart of this approach,
however, lies a certain global madness, for he now is sparking a set of trade wars that could, in the end,
cost millions of American jobs.
On May 31st, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
confirmed that Canada, Mexico, and the EU would all be hit with 10 percent aluminum and 25 percent steel tariffs that had first
made headlines in March. When it came to those two products, at least, the new tariffs bore no relation to the previous average 3
percent tariff on US-EU traded goods.
In that way, Trump's tariffs, initially supposed to be
China (a country whose president he's praised to the skies and whose trade policies he's lashed out at endlessly), went global.
And not surprisingly, America's closest allies weren't taking his maneuver lightly. As the verbal-abuse level rose and what looked
like a possible race to the bottom of international etiquette intensified, they threatened to strike back.
In June, President Trump ordered
that a promised 25 percent tariff on
$50 billion worth of imported
goods from China also be imposed. In response, the Chinese, like the Europeans, the Canadians, and the Mexicans, immediately
promised a massive response in kind. Trump countered by threatening another
$200 billion in tariffs against China. In the meantime, the White House is targeting its initial moves largely against products
related to that country's "
Made in China 2025 " initiative, the Chinese government's strategic plan aimed at making the country a major competitor in advanced
industries and manufacturing.
Meanwhile, Mexico began adopting retaliatory tariffs on American imports. Although it has a far smaller economy than the United
States, it's still the second-largest importer of US products, buying a whopping
$277 billion of them last year. Only Canada buys
more. In a mood of defiance stoked by the president's
hostility to its people, Mexico
executed its own trade gambit, imposing
$3 billion in 15
percent–25 percent tariffs against US exports, including pork, apples, potatoes, bourbon, and cheese.
While those Mexican revenge tariffs still remain limited, covering
just 1 percent
of all exports from north of the border, they do target particular industries hard, especially ones that seem connected to President
Trump's voting "base." Mexico, for instance, is by far the largest buyer of US pork exports, 25 percent of which were sold there
last year. What its 20 percent tariff on pork means, then, is that many US producers will now find themselves unable to compete in
the Mexican market. Other countries may follow suit. The result: a possible loss of up to 110,000 jobs in the pork industry.
Our second North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partner (for whose prime minister, Justin Trudeau, there is "
a special place in hell ," according to a key Trumpian trade negotiator) plans to invoke tariffs of up to 25 percent on about
$13 billion in US products beginning on July 1st. Items impacted
range "from ballpoint
pens and dishwasher detergent to toilet paper and playing cards sailboats, washing machines, dish washers, and lawn mowers." Across
the Atlantic, the EU has similarly announced retaliatory tariffs of 25 percent on 200 US products, including such American-made classics
as Harley-Davidson motorcycles, blue jeans, and bourbon.
Trump Disses the Former G7
As the explosive Group of Seven, or G7, summit in Quebec showed, the Trump administration is increasingly isolating itself from
its allies in palpable ways and, in the process, significantly impairing the country's negotiating power. If you combine the economies
of what might now be thought of as the G6 and add in the rest of the EU, its economic power is collectively larger than that of the
United States. Under the circumstances, even a small diversion of trade thanks to Trump-induced tariff wars could have costly consequences.
President Trump did try one "all-in" poker move at that summit. With his game face on, he first suggested the possibility of wiping
out all tariffs and trade restrictions between the United States and the rest of the G7, a bluff met with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Before he left for his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, he even suggested that the G7 leaders "consider
removing every single tariff or trade barrier on American goods." In return, he claimed he would do the same "for products from their
countries." As it turned out, however, that wasn't actually a venture into economic diplomacy, just the carrot before the stick,
and even it was tied to lingering
threats of severe penalties.
The current incipient trade war was actually launched by the Trump administration in March in the name of American "
." What should have been highlighted, however, was the possible "national insecurity" in which it placed the country's (and the
world's) future. After all, a similar isolationist stance in the 1920s and the subsequent market crash of 1929 sparked the global
opening the way for the utter devastation of World War II.
European Union countries were
incredulous when Trump insisted, as he had many times before, that the "U.S. is a victim of unfair trade practices," citing the
country's trade deficits, especially with
Germany and China. At the G7 summit, European leaders did their best to explain to him that his country isn't actually being
treated unfairly. As French President Emmanuel Macron
explained , "France runs trade
deficits with Germany and the United Kingdom on manufactured goods, even though all three countries are part of the EU single market
and have zero tariffs between them."
"... The official who described this to me said Trump believes that keeping allies and adversaries alike perpetually off-balance necessarily benefits the United States, which is still the most powerful country on Earth. ..."
"... "No," the official said. "There's definitely a Trump Doctrine." "What is it?" I asked. Here is the answer I received: "The Trump Doctrine is 'We're America, Bitch.' That's the Trump Doctrine." ..."
In an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland on Saturday, President
Trump named the European Union -- comprising some of America's oldest allies -- when asked to
identify his "biggest foe globally right now."
"Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us
in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe. ..."
The second-best self-description of the Trump Doctrine I heard was this, from a senior
national-security official: "Permanent destabilization creates American advantage." The
official who described this to me said Trump believes that keeping allies and adversaries
alike perpetually off-balance necessarily benefits the United States, which is still the most
powerful country on Earth.
The best distillation of the Trump Doctrine I heard, though, came from a senior White
House official with direct access to the president and his thinking. I was talking to this
person several weeks ago, and I said, by way of introduction, that I thought it might perhaps
be too early to discern a definitive Trump Doctrine. "No," the official said. "There's
definitely a Trump Doctrine." "What is it?" I asked. Here is the answer I received: "The
Trump Doctrine is 'We're America, Bitch.' That's the Trump Doctrine."
I think Trump simply has a very prosaic, very sincere even, view about the world: he treats
his equals equally (e.g. Putin, Xi, Kim) and his unequals unequally (NATO countries'
leaders, Abe etc.).
That is, he simply views his allies for what they really are: clients. And when you go
visit clients, you expect them to stop, lower their heads, listen and obey you: that's why
he probably found strange the fact that the Europeans were insulted by his behavior during
the NATO summit and the individual countries official visits. He must have been
particularly thunderstruck over the popular protests in Scotland: from his point of view,
Scotland owes everything they have now to the USA (NATO), so he, as chief of State of the
USA, has every right to go there and play golf whenever he pleases to do so. And the fact
is he's right to think so: the European peninsula is an American protectorate, a
"subState", inhabited by second-class citizens (like the peoples of Latin status of the
As for the destabilization doctrine (Trump Doctrine), it's absolutely correct: peace,
right now, is nocive to the USA. That's why Russia and China are trying to descalate: peace
(and time) is on their side. If the USA doesn't manage to trigger WWIII soon, it will start
to eat itself up, because the world didn't recover from the 2008 meltdown. The clock is
ticking for the Americans (and, by extension, for the Europeans and the Japanese).
Last, I agree completely with the theory that May is a remainer who's trying to implode
brexit without appearing to do so. She was a remainer during the camapaign, that's the
reason she was elected as Cameron's successor (it was she or Leadsom or Johnson, both
hardcore brexiters). The British elite is holding her while it can, and she is only in
office right now because she has the elite's full weight behind her: if it was a Labour MP,
he/she would've already fallen.
There is one significant weakness to Putin's patient, restrained and reasonable response
to US/NATO aggression and intimidation...
Posted by: les7 | Jul 15, 2018 12:17:17 PM | 2
If you watch the last 8 minutes of Episode 3 of Oliver Stone's Putin Interviews it'll cure
you of the habit of confusing Putin's "Our Partners" diplo-speak with the hair-raising
reality experienced by the crew of the Donald Cook in the Black Sea a couple of years ago.
It'll also dissuade you from imagining that Putin/Russia has a 'weak' or 'reasonable'
attitude toward NATO military provocations.
Imo Trump would have either watched them himself or been briefed on their contents by
someone who has.
Trump is acting out the good cop bad cop role all in one. He comes in with slashing attacks
and praise. The media only prints the slashing attacks. By placing his adversaries off
balance he seeks to gain something. I would say that he is operating like a corporate
raider. The weak kneed euro leaders just do not know how to handle this stuff.
He will not try that with Putin because he respects him. Putin is operating with a weak
hand and he cannot and will not take on the Europe on his borders conventionally when he
can possibly get what he wants in time with no bloodshed. Libya is his next target.
Putin and his family are from Stalingrad and Putin will cut off the head of the Snake
(US) before he lets that happen again. How? Think bright glowing mushroom clouds. It is
Trump wants to bring Russia back into Europe. The Anglo Europeans want more control over
Russia's vast resources and companies that control them. Offering then a role in NATO would
Putin is being conflated into an enemy of the world by a mass propaganda campaign.
Crimea and Ukraine was NATO pushing to hard to make Putin act with aggression. Crimea fell
without a shot being fired. As an independent republic full of Russians it can choose who
it wants to affiliate with.
All in all this can be solved diplomatically but not by the current crop of deep state
Trump's declaration that "trade wars are good, and easy to win" is an instant classic, right up there with Herbert Hoover's "prosperity
is just around the corner."
Trump obviously believes that trade is a game in which he who runs the biggest surplus wins, and that America, which imports more
than it exports, therefore has the upper hand in any conflict. That's also why Peter Navarro predicted that
nobody would retaliate against Trump's
tariffs. Since that's actually not how trade works, we're already facing plenty of retaliation and the strong prospect of escalation.
But here's the thing: Trump's tariffs are badly designed even from the point of view of someone who shares his crude mercantilist
view of trade. In fact, the structure of his tariffs so far is designed to inflict maximum damage on the U.S. economy, for minimal
gain. Foreign retaliation, by contrast, is far more sophisticated: unlike Trump, the Chinese and other targets of his trade wrath
seem to have a clear idea of what they're trying to accomplish.
The key point is that the Navarro/Trump view, aside from its fixation on trade balances, also seems to imagine that the world
still looks the way it did in the 1960s, when trade was overwhelmingly in final goods like wheat and cars. In that world, putting
a tariff on imported cars would cause consumers to switch to domestic cars, adding auto industry jobs, end of story (except for the
In the modern world economy, however, a large part of trade is in intermediate goods – not cars but car parts. Put a tariff on
car parts, and even the first-round effect on jobs is uncertain: maybe domestic parts producers will add workers, but you've raised
costs and reduced competitiveness for downstream producers, who will shrink their operations.
So in today's world, smart trade warriors – if such people exist – would focus their tariffs on final goods, so as to avoid raising
costs for downstream producers of domestic goods. True, this would amount to a more or less direct tax on consumers; but if you're
afraid to impose any burden on consumers, you really shouldn't be getting into a trade war in the first place.
But almost none of the Trump tariffs are on consumer goods.
Chad Bown and colleagues
have a remarkable chart showing the distribution of the Trump China tariffs: an amazing 95 percent are either on intermediate goods
or on capital goods like machinery that are also used in domestic production: KS
Is there a strategy here? It's hard to see one. There's certainly no hint that the tariffs were designed to pressure China into
accepting U.S. demands, since nobody can even figure out what, exactly, Trump wants from China in the first place.
looks very different. It doesn't completely eschew tariffs on intermediate goods, but it's mostly on final goods. And it's also
driven by a clear political strategy of hurting Trump voters; the Chinese, unlike the Trumpies, know what they're trying to accomplish:
What about others?
is complicated by its direct response to aluminum and steel tariffs, but those industries aside it, too, is following a far more
sophisticated strategy than the U.S.:
Except for steel and aluminum, Canada's retaliation seemingly attempts to avoid messing up its engagement in North American
supply chains. In broad terms, Canada is not targeting imports of American capital equipment or intermediate inputs, focusing
instead on final goods.
And like China, Canada is clearly trying to inflict maximum political damage.
Trade wars aren't good or easy to win even if you know what you're trying to accomplish and have a clear strategy for getting
there. What's notable about the Trump tariffs, however, is that they're so self-destructive.
[M]any District contacts expressed concern about the possible adverse effects of tariffs and other proposed trade restrictions,
both domestically and abroad, on future investment activity; contacts in some Districts indicated that plans for capital spending
had been scaled back or postponed as a result of uncertainty over trade policy. Contacts in the steel and aluminum industries
expected higher prices as a result of the tariffs on these products but had not planned any new investments to increase capacity.
So Trump and company don't actually have a plan to win this trade war. They may, however, have stumbled onto a strategy that will
lose it even more decisively than one might have expected.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above
On Tuesday, his trade representative Robert Lighthizer released a list of $10% tariffs
to be imposed on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
A senior Trump regime official falsely said it's "roughly equal to their exports to" the
US. It's around 40% of the 2017 total.
Newly announced tariffs won't take effect before completion of a two-month review process,
concluding at end of August. Trump warned he may order tariffs on $500 billion worth of Chinese
In 2017, imports from China were $506 billion, US exports to the country $130 billion. The
trade deficit was $375 billion last year.
It's because so much of industrial America was offshored to China and other low-wage
countries, millions of US jobs lost, Washington under Republicans and undemocratic Dems
permitting what demands opposition.
The Investment-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system incorporated into US trade deals like
NAFTA and others, letting a corporate controlled extrajudicial tribunal resolve disputes,
promotes offshoring of US jobs.
China called the latest announced tariffs "totally unacceptable" bullying, urging other
countries to unite against Trump's trade policy, promising to retaliate in kind.
Along with earlier duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, newly announced ones raise
the total to half of Chinese imports – maybe all of them to be targeted ahead if China
retaliates in kind as expected.
China Association of International Trade senior fellow Li Yong believes one Beijing
retaliatory measure may be a greater push to attract foreign investment other than from the US,
Trump "closed the door for negotiations. It's up to (him) to open the door again."
Trade policy expert Eswar Prasad believes
"(t)he internal political dynamics in both countries make it unlikely that either side
will stand down and offer conciliatory measures that could deescalate tensions and lead to a
resumption of negotiations."
Economist Stephen Roach called trade wars "not easy to win easy to lose, and the US is on
track to lose (its) trade war" with China, adding:
"This is live ammunition. This is not just rhetorical discussion anymore. We're in the
early stages of fighting skirmishes in a real, live trade war."
"The question is, how far does it go? And how significant will the ammunition be in the
Roach believe China has lots of ammunition to hold firm and fight back with.
"The US is hugely dependent on China as a source for low-cost goods to make ends meet for
American consumers. We're hugely dependent on China to buy our Treasuries to fund our budget
deficits," he explained.
Beijing has lots of ways to retaliate against Washington besides imposing duties on US
Beijing "will never back down when faced with threats and blackmail, neither will it waver
its resolution in safeguarding the global free trade and multilateral trade system,"
"The US is undermining global trade rules and causing problems for the global economy.
(Its) mentality not only brings negative impacts to both parties directly involved, but also
to every country on the global industrial chain."
China's Global Times called Trump's trade policy "extortion," stressing "countermeasures"
will be taken.
Markets believe both sides eventually will show restraint. There's no sign of it so far
– just the opposite.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research
based in Chicago.
Trump's declaration that "trade wars are good, and easy to win" is an instant classic, right up there with Herbert Hoover's "prosperity
is just around the corner."
Trump obviously believes that trade is a game in which he who runs the biggest surplus wins, and that America, which imports more
than it exports, therefore has the upper hand in any conflict. That's also why Peter Navarro predicted that
nobody would retaliate against Trump's
tariffs. Since that's actually not how trade works, we're already facing plenty of retaliation and the strong prospect of escalation.
But here's the thing: Trump's tariffs are badly designed even from the point of view of someone who shares his crude mercantilist
view of trade. In fact, the structure of his tariffs so far is designed to inflict maximum damage on the U.S. economy, for minimal
gain. Foreign retaliation, by contrast, is far more sophisticated: unlike Trump, the Chinese and other targets of his trade wrath
seem to have a clear idea of what they're trying to accomplish.
The key point is that the Navarro/Trump view, aside from its fixation on trade balances, also seems to imagine that the world
still looks the way it did in the 1960s, when trade was overwhelmingly in final goods like wheat and cars. In that world, putting
a tariff on imported cars would cause consumers to switch to domestic cars, adding auto industry jobs, end of story (except for the
In the modern world economy, however, a large part of trade is in intermediate goods – not cars but car parts. Put a tariff on
car parts, and even the first-round effect on jobs is uncertain: maybe domestic parts producers will add workers, but you've raised
costs and reduced competitiveness for downstream producers, who will shrink their operations.
So in today's world, smart trade warriors – if such people exist – would focus their tariffs on final goods, so as to avoid raising
costs for downstream producers of domestic goods. True, this would amount to a more or less direct tax on consumers; but if you're
afraid to impose any burden on consumers, you really shouldn't be getting into a trade war in the first place.
But almost none of the Trump tariffs are on consumer goods.
Chad Bown and colleagues
have a remarkable chart showing the distribution of the Trump China tariffs: an amazing 95 percent are either on intermediate goods
or on capital goods like machinery that are also used in domestic production:
Is there a strategy here? It's hard to see one. There's certainly no hint that the tariffs were designed to pressure China into
accepting U.S. demands, since nobody can even figure out what, exactly, Trump wants from China in the first place.
looks very different. It doesn't completely eschew tariffs on intermediate goods, but it's mostly on final goods. And it's also
driven by a clear political strategy of hurting Trump voters; the Chinese, unlike the Trumpies, know what they're trying to accomplish:
What about others?
is complicated by its direct response to aluminum and steel tariffs, but those industries aside it, too, is following a far more
sophisticated strategy than the U.S.:
Except for steel and aluminum, Canada's retaliation seemingly attempts to avoid messing up its engagement in North American
supply chains. In broad terms, Canada is not targeting imports of American capital equipment or intermediate inputs, focusing
instead on final goods.
And like China, Canada is clearly trying to inflict maximum political damage.
Trade wars aren't good or easy to win even if you know what you're trying to accomplish and have a clear strategy for getting
there. What's notable about the Trump tariffs, however, is that they're so self-destructive.
[M]any District contacts expressed concern about the possible adverse effects of tariffs and other proposed trade restrictions,
both domestically and abroad, on future investment activity; contacts in some Districts indicated that plans for capital spending
had been scaled back or postponed as a result of uncertainty over trade policy. Contacts in the steel and aluminum industries
expected higher prices as a result of the tariffs on these products but had not planned any new investments to increase capacity.
So Trump and company don't actually have a plan to win this trade war. They may, however, have stumbled onto a strategy that will
lose it even more decisively than one might have expected.
The trend is definitely against EU. But Britain may be crushed, like Brazil and Argentina into accepting neoliberal world order
"... Maybe Johnson the Brexiter can now launch an inner party coup and push Theresa May out. According to a YouGov poll she lost significant support within her conservative party. Besides the Brexit row she botched a snap election, lost her party's majority in parliament and seems to have no clear concept for anything. It would not be a loss for mankind to see her go. ..."
"... Boris the clown, who wins within his party on 'likability' and 'shares my political outlook', would then run the UK. A quite amusing thought. Johnson is a man of no principles. While he is currently pretending to hold a pro-Brexit position he would probably run the same plan that May seems to execute: Delay as long as possible, then panic the people into a re-vote, then stay within the EU. ..."
"... There is an excellent piece in the Boston Review on the EU- https://bostonreview.net/class-inequality/j-w-mason-market-police ..."
"... Iy makes the point that "The European Union offers the fullest realization of the neoliberal political vision. Its incomplete integration -- with its confusing mix of powers -- is precisely the goal." ..."
"... It traces the neo-liberal project, designed to prevent democracy from controlling economic policy, back to von Mises and Hayek. Nothing is more mistaken for critics of imperialism than to buy the line that the EU represents internationalism in any sense. The fact that some racists oppose the EU-just as others support it as a 'white" bastion -- is no reason to give an institution which is profoundly and purposefully undemocratic the benefit of the doubt. ..."
"... It is a wondrous sight to see Western [neo]Liberal Democracy crumbling before our eyes. Have a look at the very founders and protectors of "freedom" corrupt to the very marrow of their bones. ..."
"... Anything bad that can happen to the UK is well-deserved. The home, the womb of Russophobia, lies and illegal wars, as well as the hub of spying against American citizens, is exposed as thoroughly bankrupt politically. ..."
"... EU is bound to collapse but Britain might be tempted to wait it out, and maybe it is the game in London: not to be the first. The most dynamic destructive work in progress is the Euro that benefit to none of its 18 members (the euro-zones) but Geramny and Nederland. Italy has understood it but is using the refugees crisis to enlarge the contestation to non-euro zone countries (Visegrad group and more). ..."
"... As Nato is the real and only cement in this enlarged un-united Europe, in an epoch of accelerating change (collapse maybe) the famous Wait and see of the Brits has just muted in a slow fox-trot. ..."
"... But the puffed up Brits do not even see this danger and would blithely fall into the arms of the mafiosi from across the pond. ..."
"... Brexit is rebellion against the US imposed world order. London money has gone along and profited from the US imposed order, but the ordinary Brits may not have. They may not know where they are going, but they do know where they do not want to be. ..."
"... ditto... status of colony... isn't that what the globalists, corporations, neo liberals and etc want? get rid of any national identity as it gets in the way of corporations having the freedom to rape and pillage as needed.. ..."
"... Trump has reversed some 70 years of US strategy to gain nothing. It is quite remarkable. Strategic vandalism is a good description. ..."
"... The thing about UK and the EU is the UK is basically the US 51st state and the US is a defacto commonwealth nation. The colonization of Europe by the US was never meant to encompass the UK and the City. As they are basically one and the same. ..."
"... EU could not possibly have been a US/CIA idea as it actually works. Yes it is undemocratic, usurps national aspirations, perverts local economies, coddles oligarchs, and all that. But that does not mean it is a US idea. ..."
"... Single union political aspirations have been around for centuries and in many countries. Dare I suggest that it is actually based on the Soviet Union of peoples and most likely a Leninist or Trotskyist plot!! :)))) ..."
"... What do the City of London, the Vatican and Washington DC have in common? Actually, Jerusalem shares many of the same traits. Bonus points for the most creative euphemism for "usurious bank." ..."
"... From my perspective, Nation-States have not been the loci of power for some time (if they ever really were). The US, with its awesome military might and (former) industrial capabilities has served as the enforcement arm of that usurious supra-national cabal throughout "the American Century." ..."
"... Obtainimg strong mandate Cameron went to Brussels to supposedly negotiate better deal with EU ESPECIALLY for security while in fact he went there trying to bully the shape future EU integration especially in political realm and even more in realm of banking Union and integration and coordination of banking rules, laws and unified controlling authorities, via threatening Brexit which would be a deadly blow to EU propaganda glue that holds together this melting pot of divided as never before nations and never since medieval times united national elites integrated in EU ruling bureaucracy. ..."
"... First it was devastating impact of further EU integration on UK banking as London has become legal under U.K. law illegal in EU, money laundering capital of the world and criminal income is huge part of the revenue of the City , US is second. ..."
"... At the passage of Brexit I believed the purpose to be to allow the City of London (the bankers) unlimited financial freedom, perhaps especially in their entering into agreements with the Chinese. This could not be the case under the original EU rules. It will be interesting to see how this works out. ..."
"... The reality of the brexit which the Tory government is determined to raiload through has been designed by elites to better oppress the hoi polloi and to sell it to the masses it has been marketed as a means of restoring 'white power'. ..."
"... That is really saying something because the current version of the UK is one of the sickest, greed is good and devil take the hindmost societies I have ever experienced -- up there with contemporary israel and the US, 1980's South Africa and by the sound of it (didn't experience it firsthand like the other examples, all down to not existing at the time) 1940's Germany. ..."
"... Brexit is nether the problem or the solution, it was just another distraction to keep the mass occupied, whilst they assist stripped the uk and a large part of the world! ..."
"... Every brexiteer I've asked why they voted for out, begins by saying "For once they had to listen to us" and that's usually followed by "there's too many people here" or "it's the E.Europeans". (My response to the europhiles is that you knew the EU was finished a dozen years ago, when all the Big Issue sellers turned into Romanian women.) UK cities are thick with destitute E.Europeans. ..."
...Hours before Boris Johnson quit his position, Brexit Secretary David Davis resigned from Prime Minister May's cabinet.
On July 6 the British government held a cabinet meeting at Chequers, the private seat of the prime minister. Following the meeting
a paper (pdf) that took a weird position towards exiting the European Union. If it would be followed, Britain would practically
end up with staying in the EU, accepting nearly all its regulations and court decisions, but without any say over what the EU decides.
The paper was clearly written by the 'Remain' side. The two top Brexiters in May's cabinet felt cheated and resigned. More are likely
The majority of the British people who voted to leave the EU must feel duped.
My hunch is that Prime Minister Theresa May was tasked with 'running out the clock' in negotiations with the EU. Then, shortly
before the March 2019 date of a 'hard Brexit' would arrive without any agreement with the EU, the powers that be would launch a panic
campaign to push the population into a new vote. That vote would end with a victory for the 'Remain' side. The UK would continue
to be a member of the European Union.
No matter how the Brexit vote will go, the powers that are will not allow Britain to exit the European Union.
Is that claim still justified?
Maybe Johnson the Brexiter can now launch an inner party coup and push Theresa May out. According to a YouGov poll she
support within her conservative party. Besides the Brexit row she botched a snap election, lost her party's majority in parliament
and seems to have no clear concept for anything. It would not be a loss for mankind to see her go.
Boris the clown, who wins within his party on 'likability' and 'shares my political outlook', would then run the UK. A quite
amusing thought. Johnson is a man of no principles. While he is currently pretending to hold a pro-Brexit position he would probably
run the same plan that May seems to execute: Delay as long as possible, then panic the people into a re-vote, then stay within the
Then again - Boris may do the unexpected.
How do the British people feel about this?
Posted by b on July 9, 2018 at 11:43 AM |
Did you notice how quickly th E U sided with the U K over Salisbury ? That was the deal.
Remain in EU and we're back you!
Then again could have been we'l create a false flag you back us and we'll stay , a suttle nuonce.
The likelihood is that the blairite faction in the Parliamentary Labour Party-which has no real political differences with the
Tories and is fanatically pro EU, as all neo-liberals are- will prop up the May government. Or a Tory government headed by another
Remainer, with Blairites in the Cabinet.
This will prevent the General Election which Tories of all parties fear.
Iy makes the point that "The European Union offers the fullest realization of the neoliberal political vision. Its incomplete
integration -- with its confusing mix of powers -- is precisely the goal."
It traces the neo-liberal project, designed to prevent democracy from controlling economic policy, back to von Mises and
Hayek. Nothing is more mistaken for critics of imperialism than to buy the line that the EU represents internationalism in any
sense. The fact that some racists oppose the EU-just as others support it as a 'white" bastion -- is no reason to give an institution
which is profoundly and purposefully undemocratic the benefit of the doubt.
@Jeff - #1 - You are correct. There will not be another referendum.
I would add that there is some chance, however small, that on March 29th the British government will tell the EU that they
just have no way to meet the requirements of Article 50 and would the EU please allow them to continue as a member of the EU and
forget about all the shenanigans of the past 2 years. The EU has said previously that they will accept such a result and allow
the UK to continue as a member. The Brexiteers will have a total meltdown, and May will most likely be thrown out of office, but
most businesses and many individuals will be quite happy for this whole thing to just go away.
It is a wondrous sight to see Western [neo]Liberal Democracy crumbling before our eyes. Have a look at the very founders
and protectors of "freedom" corrupt to the very marrow of their bones.
In the US Trump, in the UK the Torys the democracies are now openly imperial and openly corrupt. Rule of law - ask the Skripals.
Brexit, Russia, Skripals, Russia, junkies and poisons Russians - minority government - ministers resigning right and left deadlines
looming no solutions in sight.
Western civilization is based on the Enlightenment and the Enlightenment and all its ideas of "democracy" are failing. Democracy
is not a religion, it is not the end of history, it is not sacred and immutable - checks and balances have failed utterly. This
sweetly written little essay says it all.
Look for countries to unilaterally bail from the EU with little or no advance notice. They will simply abrogate and that will
trigger an avalanche of others joining in. There are various good economic reasons why they would do that, but I think the groundswell
of populism fueled by anger over the open borders cataclysm will be the prime driver.
Anything bad that can happen to the UK is well-deserved. The home, the womb of Russophobia, lies and illegal wars, as well
as the hub of spying against American citizens, is exposed as thoroughly bankrupt politically.
The current path to chaos
is well-trod. Now, we can expect national attention is on the team in Russia in the semi-finals, while the government crumbles
and tumbles. But afterward, especially if Kane fails to bring the Cup home? Oh, the chaos. Of course, it will all be Putin and
UK. Despicable. How long it has taken for folks to realize Theresa May always has been a stalking horse. Highly Likely the
UK will stew in its own piss. Put that in their White Hall dossiers, and stamp it "Kremlin Plot".
Britain won't be staying in the EU and nor will the EU be accepting May's fantasy ideas for a future relationship giving the UK
free trade on everything it needs. There's a remote possibility that a new UK government could begin working on re-joining the
EU (Article 49), but there are plenty in Europe who would not let the UK re-join, at least not in the near future.
13th is coming soon, scary stuff ?
The "Don't take No for an answer" is rather misleading. Made to vote again ..only after changes to the Treaty. France's vote
against the EU Constitution was accepted and when the Dutch also rejected it, it didn't happen.
EU is bound to collapse but Britain might be tempted to wait it out, and maybe it is the game in London: not to be the first.
The most dynamic destructive work in progress is the Euro that benefit to none of its 18 members (the euro-zones) but Geramny
and Nederland. Italy has understood it but is using the refugees crisis to enlarge the contestation to non-euro zone countries
(Visegrad group and more).
Now we have this Nato meeting coming and the abomination of Donald meeting Vlad that scares the whole neo-lberals, borgists,
russian haters, warmongers.
As Nato is the real and only cement in this enlarged un-united Europe, in an epoch of accelerating change (collapse maybe)
the famous Wait and see of the Brits has just muted in a slow fox-trot.
Brits, especially the Leave voters, have no real idea what the consequences of leaving the EU are, nor do they care that much.
What is uppermost in their minds is they do not want is to be in a union with "losers". Every single country on the Continent
is a loser and thus the object of contempt. The only country in Europe that is not a loser (meaning they have never lost a war)
is the United Kingdom of Roast Beef and God Save The Queen.
This British loser-phobia also explains the island nation's guttural hatred of Russia, which has bailed out Europe, and so
by definition the Brits as well, twice, thereby taking away some of the British luster. (OK the last time around they got a bit
of help from their old colonies, the Yanks, but its all the same. Yanks and Brits are the same stock.) As far as EU goes the Brits
can leave, no problem. Except that what the Continent would then be faced with was an American armed camp a few miles off shore,
not an appealing prospect to say the least. But the puffed up Brits do not even see this danger and would blithely fall into
the arms of the mafiosi from across the pond.
Boris Johnson's resignation letter. Well written.
Makes the same argument over the Checkers paper that I made above. If Johnson gets 48 back benchers on his side he could launch
a vote on no-confidence against May and possibly become PM. The Conservatives in Parliament seem quite upset over all of this.
Brexit is rebellion against the US imposed world order. London money has gone along and profited from the US imposed
order, but the ordinary Brits may not have. They may not know where they are going, but they do know where they do not want to
Dominic Raab is the new UK Brexit point-man. The previous guy, Davies, just resigned. But Raab's appointment, I think, points
to what Brexit has been about all along -- namely, labour market reform beyond the rest of Europe, and to do this the UK must
be free of the European Human Rights council and other protections it provides for workers in the member states.
@23 psychohistorian... ditto... status of colony... isn't that what the globalists, corporations, neo liberals and etc want?
get rid of any national identity as it gets in the way of corporations having the freedom to rape and pillage as needed..
it was interesting reading near the end of bjs comments "Over the last few months they have shown how many friends this country
has around the world, as 28 governments expelled Russian spies in an unprecedented protest at the attempted assassination of the
Skripals." Guilty first - we will prove it later... maybe he really ought to consider rule from Brussels or where ever, if he
can't fathom the concept of innocent until proven guilty...
The French populace rejected the EU Constitution in 2005 during the Chirac years, and you are correct that after some changes
it was accepted under the Sarkozy government.But that happened because it was the Assembly (the parliament, i.e., the political
class) that voted on it, not the people. Can't have those deplorable citizens deciding important matters like that, now can we?
@51 pft... in so far as the cia work for the financial complex - yeah, probably.. how to create a currency - the eu - that no
one has any real control over, to compete with the us$ and yen... makes sense on that level..
Western civilization is based on the Enlightenment and the Enlightenment and all its ideas ...
When we discuss ALL ideas of the Enlightenment, we must remember this:
Wikipedia: "Enlightened absolutism is the theme of an essay by Frederick the Great, who ruled Prussia from 1740 to 1786, defending
this system of government.
When the prominent French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire fell out of favor in France, he eagerly accepted Frederick's invitation
to live at his palace. He believed that an enlightened monarchy was the only real way for society to advance.
Frederick the Great was an enthusiast of French ideas. Frederick explained: "My principal occupation is to combat ignorance
and prejudice ..."
In relatively short time, the List of enlightened despots included almost all absolute monarchs in Europe.
The awful truth for the Leave campaign is that the governing establishment of the entire Western world views Brexit as strategic
vandalism. Whether fair or not, Brexiteers must answer this reproach. A few such as Lord Owen grasp the scale of the problem.
Most seemed blithely unaware until Mr Obama blew into town last week.
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has come out in support of Brexit, saying the UK would be "better
off" outside of the European Union and lamenting the consequences of migration in the continent.
The billionaire, who secured the backing of Republican voters on a staunchly anti-immigration platform, said that his support
for the UK leaving the EU was a personal belief and not a "recommendation".
"I think the migration has been a horrible thing for Europe," Trump told Fox News late on Thursday. "A lot of that was pushed
by the EU. I would say that they're better off without it, personally, but I'm not making that as a recommendation. Just my
Donald Trump accuses Angela Merkel of making 'catastrophic mistake' on refugees. President-elect tells The Times and Bild that
EU has become 'a vehicle for Germany'.
US President-elect Donald Trump said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had
made a "catastrophic mistake" with a policy that let a wave of more than one million migrants into her country.
In a joint interview with The Times and the German newspaper Bild, Trump also said the European Union had become "a vehicle
for Germany" and predicted that more EU member states would vote to leave the bloc as Britain did last June.
"I think she made one very catastrophic mistake, and that was taking all of these illegals," Trump said of Merkel, who in
August 2015 decided to keep Germany's borders open for refugees, mostly Muslims, fleeing war zones in the Middle East.
Trump has reversed some 70 years of US strategy to gain nothing. It is quite remarkable. Strategic vandalism is a good
Even when the 'light' (read truth about Brexit) is revealed, many here choose to ignore it out of sheer ignorance. For a good
description of the MOA comment section, one should consult Plato's Allegory of the Cave. And the 'left' blames external elements
for its inaptitude and demise when many it has only itself to blame.
The thing about UK and the EU is the UK is basically the US 51st state and the US is a defacto commonwealth nation. The
colonization of Europe by the US was never meant to encompass the UK and the City. As they are basically one and the same.
Its presence in the EU was never really a problem though and was useful in terms of providing a guiding hand, so long as it remained
free of the Eurozone. So I am not really sure its a change in strategy. Just another fork in the road.
It remains to be seen how it all works out. Perhaps the UK Brexit is meant to send a message to the other EU states as to the
consequences of leaving. One benefit to the US neoliberals might be that UK scraps or at least scales back its NHS due to the
economic consequences of a hard Brexit. The 0.1% will be fine at the end of the day and they are the only group that matters .
The rest are just pawns on the board.
As for Germany. Immigration in the EU was all about divide and rule and leaving fewer Euros for social programs. All part of
the neoliberal blueprint. Divide and rule is an age old tactic perfected by the British to rule the colonies. The EU and Germany
being controlled by the Anglo-American ruling elite , and basically occipied by US controlled NATO opened the doors. Reversing
this immigration can provide a plausible reason for more terrorism in Europe to empower the EU to become more of a security-police
state like US and UK.
On a side note its interesting the head of the ECB and BOE are both former Goldman Sachs employees.
Another related link suggesting the EU also serves a purpose of isolating Russia economically.
EU could not possibly have been a US/CIA idea as it actually works. Yes it is undemocratic, usurps national aspirations,
perverts local economies, coddles oligarchs, and all that. But that does not mean it is a US idea.
Zero Hedge is polishing turds now it seems.
Single union political aspirations have been around for centuries and in many countries. Dare I suggest that it is actually
based on the Soviet Union of peoples and most likely a Leninist or Trotskyist plot!! :))))
"In relatively short time, the List of enlightened despots included almost all absolute monarchs in Europe."
You are right, and that included Catherine the Great for whom Samuel Bentham worked for some years. His brother Jeremy spent
some time with him there and was a great admirer of Catherine and Potemkin. He was a key figure in the development of liberal
ideology and political economy.
'The Enlightenment' is an historical concept which obscures more than it explains. To suggest that representative democracy's
origins lie in this nebulous thing is completely misleading -- the truth is that democracy is as old as community. If anything
'The Enlightenment' movements are the beginning of the current system whereby the trappings of popular government are hung on
the reality of a kleptocrats' oligarchy.
Just in time for Emperor Trump's arrival in Britain! I do not understand Great Britain's "democracy," (the very concept
of an aristocratic House of Lords Peerage makes my head explode... and what's this about the Monarch having the authority to appoint
a Prime Minister if he/she doesn't like the one selected?). But doesn't the party with the majority get to anoint the Prime Minister?
Wouldn't that be Labour right now if Missy May is shown the door?
Furthermore, the assertion that the UK will stay in the EU is entirely plausible. I heard, early in the days after the vote, that
the govt had not expected it to go the way it did. Plans were made for a show of Brexit but that 'the idea is that everything
stays the same' , i.e., no change. Sadly for the UK, the EU will not allow that to happen. In all probability, another vote
will indeed be called. Otherwise, it's going to be a disaster for an already divided UK for many, many years to come!
The main problem with Brexit is that it is so complex that neither the officials who were set the task of drafting it knew
little more than the Ministers themselves! NOBODY knew what the fuck to do! And they still don't!
There is every chance a Vote of No Confidence is going to be called on May's government and she will finally fall, as she must
as she is the most inept PM there has probably ever been!
What do the City of London, the Vatican and Washington DC have in common? Actually, Jerusalem shares many of the same traits.
Bonus points for the most creative euphemism for "usurious bank."
Are terms such as "The Five Eyes" and "The AZ Empire"
'trumped' by all this nationalistic furor?
From my perspective, Nation-States have not been the loci of power for some time (if they ever really were). The US, with
its awesome military might and (former) industrial capabilities has served as the enforcement arm of that usurious supra-national
cabal throughout "the American Century."
But really, does anyone here really believe that a New York City conman or the latest British "mophead" is more powerful than
the dynastic power of the Rothschilds, Warburgs or Morgans... or even the nouveau riche like the Rockefellers or Carnegies?
These are dynasties so wealthy and powerful that they don't even appear on Forbes lists of "The Richest" and no one dare mention
their names when plotting the next global conflagration.
@33 -- "...and Western Australia were separate British colonies that all began as penal settlement."
Not entirely correct. Western Australia started as a capitalist investment venture (c. 1828) but suffered chronic labor shortages
as slavery was closed down (c. 1833). The colony then resorted to convict imports for a time. Much of the myth about 'criminal'
can be re-framed as political prisoners such as the Welsh Chartists (see Chartism in Wales).
One can only be confused if one ignores public and secret reasons while Cameron threatened Brexit vote already in 2015 and went
through it in 2016. Officially it was about antiterrorism, security and hence controlling immigration flagship of Tory political
campaign that brought them overwhelming electoral win as well as some noises that EU rules and laws stifle economic development
and the British lose more in EU payments than they gain.
Obtainimg strong mandate Cameron went to Brussels to supposedly
negotiate better deal with EU ESPECIALLY for security while in fact he went there trying to bully the shape future EU integration
especially in political realm and even more in realm of banking Union and integration and coordination of banking rules, laws
and unified controlling authorities, via threatening Brexit which would be a deadly blow to EU propaganda glue that holds together
this melting pot of divided as never before nations and never since medieval times united national elites integrated in EU ruling
What Cameron was scared of as far as direction of future of EU?
First it was devastating impact of further EU integration on UK banking as London has become legal under U.K. law illegal
in EU, money laundering capital of the world and criminal income is huge part of the revenue of the City , US is second.
And second point is future of British monarchy which further integration of EU into superstate would require to be abandoned
in UK as elsewhere as states were to loose all even symbolic sovereignty and turn into regions and provinces as in Roman Empire
. Needles to say that UK still powerful landed aristocracy want nothing of that sort.
Hence Cameron went to Brussels make special deal for UK and was essentially, with some meaningless cosmetic changes, rebuked
into binary decision in EU or out of it no special deal and hence he escalated with calling Brexit vote as a negotiating tool
only to increase political pressure to rig elections toward remain if deal reached . In fact as latest scandal revealed results
of exit polls were released to stock market betting hedge funds just minutes before polls were closed concluding guess what, that
remain campaign won while electoral data in hours showed Brexiters wining simply because to the last moment before closing polls
they expected EU to cave in, they did not so they continued pressure by closing openly pro Brexit win.
The pressure continues now while Cameron had to pay political price as he openly advocated staying in EU under phony deal even
Tory did not buy, and hence this seeming chaos now fooling people that there is other way but hard Brexit to keep monarchy sovereignty
and profits from global money laundering or surrender and humiliation degradation U.K. into EU colony as BJ just said.
Of course which way it goes ordinary Brits will pay but also big crack will widen in EU as national movements will have impact
of shattering dreams of quit ascending to EU superstate.
At the passage of Brexit I believed the purpose to be to allow the City of London (the bankers) unlimited financial freedom,
perhaps especially in their entering into agreements with the Chinese. This could not be the case under the original EU rules.
It will be interesting to see how this works out.
The Chinese, as they are intended to be the regional governor of Asia under the evolving global governance are key to the entire
tyrannical plan. The AGW hoax, paid for by Western oligarchs, is the public relations for the UN's Agenda 21, currently being
enforced at the local level in many parts of the US.
The Chinese oligarchs are so delighted with its tyrannical land-use provisions that they are actually calling their projects
"China's Agenda 21". You may search for it.
@ 62: Thanks for the Pilger article, a good read. There are many today, who would return us all to those days.
Herman J Kweeblefezer , Jul 10, 2018 1:05:09 AM |
The reality of the brexit which the Tory government is determined to raiload through has been designed by elites to better
oppress the hoi polloi and to sell it to the masses it has been marketed as a means of restoring 'white power'. Bevin
& co can whine on about the injustices of the eu for as long as their theoretical view of the world sustains them, but the brexit
which will be delivered is based on 'pragmatic realism' developed by a really nasty gang of avaricious lying c**tfaces and will
create a society far more unjust, divided and impoverished than the one that currently exists.
That is really saying something
because the current version of the UK is one of the sickest, greed is good and devil take the hindmost societies I have ever experienced
-- up there with contemporary israel and the US, 1980's South Africa and by the sound of it (didn't experience it firsthand like
the other examples, all down to not existing at the time) 1940's Germany.
Jezza was great in the house last night but he didn't
call for an immediate general election which would be pretty much SOP for any opposition facing as tattered a government (Seven
cabinet 'resignations') as bereft of ideas as the Maybot machine.
The reason he didn't - couldn't in fact, is that the UK left is as divided and dug into their positions as that tory bunch
of bastards. Far too many opposition politicians insist that a 'deal' on brexit comes first ahead of sorting out poverty and homelessness,
woeful education outcomes (unless you believe wildly juked stats) and the horror show that has been created by three decades of
relentless attacks on the health service.
We see it here from the brexiters so convinced of the rightness of their cause they ignore the institutionalised racism that
will certainly follow a tory brexit. Or the remoaners who also ignore the unsavory aspects of eu policy to try and render the
labour left impotent. Those latter types simply don't give a damn about anything which flows from this debate and division other
than killing momentum, they consider even losing the next 5 elections to tories an agreeable sacrifice for ridding the party of
Corbyn and co.
Corbyn has recognized the destructive divisiveness of Brexit and tries to ignore it because he holds with fixing the mess so
many people are in as being much more important than theoretical arguments which will change nothing for the better regardless
of impassioned exhortations by ninnies on both sides of the argument.
The thing which really pisses me off about the lefty brexiters, is that they behave as if it is a now or never situation, when
it is anything but. There is nothing to prevent a more united Labour Party who have got their mandate by actually delivering a
better life for people rather than irrelevant concepts, returning to sorting out the UK's position in the EU at a later date,
ideally at a time when the EU's intransigent support for corporate welfare has run bang smack into a leftist UK Labour government's
determination to restore public ownership of natural monopolies (rail, water, power, mail delivery etc).
The lefty brexiters claim the lefty remainers won't allow it, while the lefty remainers claim it is the lefty brexiters clogging
the works. In fact it is both gangs of selfish egotistical assholes.
NotBob @ 35.
The EU Constitution never happened. The Lisbon Treaty came along a couple of years later and this time round the Irish people
voted against it. It got amended and the Irish people accepted it. The French and Dutch (and every other EU) country chose not
to "ask the people" and left the decision to the peoples' chosen represtentatives.
The Irish Constitution has a bit in it making
it necessary to ask the people before any changes can be made to that Constitution, so every time the EU adds some bits to the
EU Treaty that require the Irish to change their own Constitution there's trouble, as those 3 million or so Irish people have
the power to scupper anything and everything for the other 500 million EU citizens. Holding a national referendum to make decisions
affecting the entire Union doesn't seem to be either fair or democratic. A single EU-wide referendum could be held when there's
a major change to the Treaties.
Political correctness is a social disease very similar to syphilis - it fucks with the brain. You really should take precautions
if socializing in those circles. Precautionary measures are available at all chemists and most public toilets.
I click on MoA now and see a pic of Boris the clown hanging from a rope. If the Brits were smart, they would connect that rope
to a weather balloon and allow Boris to ascend to the stratosphere and cruise the jet stream.
The EU is first and foremost a massive attack on democracy. At the same time it attempts to establish technocracy as the mode
of government of the future. But right only racists and overly idealistic assholes oppose the EU...
"Democracy" only being possible locally? Numbers I posted on another thread:
Members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - population of 3 Billion+
EU Members - population of 500 million.
United States - population of 326 million
GDP of United States - 18.57 trillion USD
GDP of European Union - 17.1 trillion USD
GDP China, India, Russia combined (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) -
- close to 15 trillion
You think EU countries have got a competitive chance if on their own? Or - democracy in Switzerland enables them to decide
on their relations with the outside world? Like not being part of the "single market" - they are -including free movement of people
- yes you can live and work in Switzerland if you are a EU citizen.
But right only racists and overly idealistic assholes oppose the EU
Brexit is nether the problem or the solution, it was just another distraction to keep the mass occupied, whilst they assist
stripped the uk and a large part of the world! The people we are scared to mention are the true people killing and oppressing
us. I thank Daniel@66 for naming them ! Rothchild family ect ect I would add the Rothermere family and Murdoch ! Politics are
debated, but history is made on the streets. We need to regain our sense of moral outrage (where did that go ?) there are 70 million
displaced people in the world ! It could be. You or I next !
Peter AU 1 @ 83: I agree with ADKC and IMO. There were convicts transported to the Australian colonies whose crimes can be considered
political crimes. The Tolpuddle Martyrs who came to the Sydney colony in the 1830s are one example: they were transported for
the crime of demanding an extension of voting rights to all men, among other demands. Such convicts were a small minority though.
Alan @ 88
I am in total agreement with you on your comment regarding Boris Johnson ! His childish buffoonery, is a commen system / tactic
of a psychopath . It hides a callous disregard for human life , wins gullible friends which the psychopath manipulates to exploit
there power and influence! They are very good at scheming there own self interested plan. But (and here's the crunch ) are totally
useless at for seeing the consequences of there actions . And no regard for the victim of there actions!!! Do we want that in
charge of the nuclear button ?
There is nothing wrong/inconsistent with the idea of an interconnected world of sovereign (independent) states. The idea that
a treaty or a trade agreement means that a state is no-longer independent is ridiculous. As ridiculous as believing that an individual
who purchases a pack of polo mints is no longer free because of the need of a local shop and a manufacturer.
You are basically pushing the idea that there should be no nation states, no borders and all trade free and therefore no need
for treaties. From this comes no regulation, a poisoned environment, uncontrolled and rapacious capitalism, no rights for people,
no benefits, no protection, just work til' you die and polished off sharpish if you are no longer productive.
I don't object to an EU as a grouping of independent states acting collectively. I do object to an EU that erodes and undermines
the nation state, that seeks to remove state leaders and interfere in state elections/policies. The EU that we have is the latter
and there is no practical way to reform it to the former.
@ B. You have too high an opinion of the competence of the main political figures in the UK Governing Party.
Boris Johnson has
never been a serious contender for PM. He's good at giving a rousing speech to the Party faithful but that's it. The blue rinses
enjoy the titillation of his infidelities but they don't want someone so amoral coming anywhere near their daughters, or representing
You knew Theresa May had no judgment the first day of her premiership, when she made BoJo her Foreign Secretary. A selection
that could kindly be described as risible. He indicated no suitability for the role before his appointment nor has since. Quite
the opposite. It was at that decision you knew all was hopeless. Brexit was going to be hopeless. Everything she was going to
be involved in was hopeless.
And so it has proved.
The vox pop that I encounter ..... the Remainers are reconciled to Brexit and just want to get on with it. The Brexiteers are
sick to death with hearing about it but not seeing anything done. Everyone had made their minds up before the election in 2015.
The Referendum campaign was a few weeks of premium entertainment watching the most reviled political figures in the land trying
to tear each others' throats out.
Every brexiteer I've asked why they voted for out, begins by saying "For once they had to listen to us" and that's usually
followed by "there's too many people here" or "it's the E.Europeans". (My response to the europhiles is that you knew the EU was
finished a dozen years ago, when all the Big Issue sellers turned into Romanian women.) UK cities are thick with destitute E.Europeans.
There's a huge disconnect between Parliament (+ media) and the people. A further example of this is the official narrative
on the Salisbury poisonings. Ask people in the street and they say "yeah, it was Vlad with the doorknob" and then they crease
up laughing. The Govt has no credibility with its "only plausible explanation".
My prediction, since the day BoJo was appointed minister for the exterior, is that the situation is so catastrophic the EU
will have to lead us by the hand through the process of brexit. The EU's priority will be the stability of the Euro. They won't
want us beggared on their doorstep and as they export 15% of their stuff to us they'll want to keep on doing that. We'll have
to have what we're given and be grateful.
The political situation in the UK is so far beyond surreal that a man dragging a piano with a dead horse on it would appear
- It doesn't matter who the prime minister is. The UK has already adopted A LOT OF EU regulations/laws and that will make it nearly
impossible to perform a "Hard Brexit". The UK still exports A LOT OF stuff to the Eurozone and then it simply has to follow EU
regulations, no matter what the opinion of the government is. In that regard, the current EU regulation simply provides a good
framework, even for the UK. No matter what one Mrs. May or Mr. Johnson.
- As time goes by the UK can change parts of the EU
regulations to what the UK thinks those regulations should be.
- And do I think that Mrs. May and her ministers have drawn that same conclusion.
The much anticipated resignation letter penned by the former UK Foreign Minister Boris
Johnson has been released, and in as expected, he does not mince his words in unleashing a
brutal attack on Thersa May, warning that "we have postponed crucial decisions -- including the
preparations for no deal, as I argued in my letter to you of last November -- with the result
that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in
the EU system, but with no UK control over that system ."
He then adds that while "Brexit should be about opportunity and hope" and "a chance to do
things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of
the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy", he warns that the " dream is dying,
suffocated by needless self-doubt. "
He then compares May's proposal to a submission even before it has been received by the EU,
noting that "what is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how
we see the end state for the UK -- before the other side has made its counter-offer . It is as
though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them."
And his punchline: the UK is headed for the status of a colony:
In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony -- and many will struggle to
see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement
Explaining his decision to resing, he then says that "we must have collective
responsibility. Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly
concluded that I must go."
It remains to be seen if his passionate defense of Brexit will stir enough MPs to indicate
they are willing to back a vote of no confidence, and overthrow Theresa May in what would be
effectively a coup, resulting in new elections and chaos for the Brexit process going
Meanwhile, as Bloomberg adds, the fact that Boris Johnson, or those around him, made sure
his resignation statement came out in time for the evening news - before it was formally issued
in the traditional way by May's office, hints at his continued interest in leading the
His full letter is below (highlights ours):
It is more than two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union on an
unambiguous and categorical promise that if they did so they would be taking back control of
They were told that they would be able to manage their own immigration policy, repatriate
the sums of UK cash currently spent by the EU, and, above all, that they would be able to
pass laws independently and in the interests of the people of this country.
Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things
differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the
UK as an open, outward-looking global economy.
That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.
We have postponed crucial decisions -- including the preparations for no deal, as I argued
in my letter to you of last November -- with the result that we appear to be heading for a
semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK
control over that system.
It now seems that the opening bid of our negotiations involves accepting that we are not
actually going to be able to make our own laws. Indeed we seem to have gone backwards since
the last Chequers meeting in February, when I described my frustrations, as Mayor of London,
in trying to protect cyclists from juggernauts. We had wanted to lower the cabin windows to
improve visibility; and even though such designs were already on the market, and even though
there had been a horrific spate of deaths, mainly of female cyclists, we were told that we
had to wait for the EU to legislate on the matter.
So at the previous Chequers session we thrashed out an elaborate procedure for divergence
from EU rules. But even that now seems to have been taken off the table, and there is in fact
no easy UK right of initiative. Yet if Brexit is to mean anything, it must surely give
Ministers and Parliament the chance to do things differently to protect the public. If a
country cannot pass a law to save the lives of female cyclists -- when that proposal is
supported at every level of UK Government -- then I don't see how that country can truly be
Conversely, the British Government has spent decades arguing against this or that EU
directive, on the grounds that it was too burdensome or ill-thought out. We are now in the
ludicrous position of asserting that we must accept huge amounts of precisely such EU law,
without changing an iota, because it is essential for our economic health -- and when we no
longer have any ability to influence these laws as they are made.
In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony -- and many will struggle to
see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.
It is also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods
(and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then
there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable
customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.
What is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see
the end state for the UK -- before the other side has made its counter-offer. It is as though
we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them. Indeed, I
was concerned, looking at Friday's document, that there might be further concessions on
immigration, or that we might end up effectively paying for access to the single market.
On Friday I acknowledged that my side of the argument were too few to prevail, and
congratulated you on at least reaching a Cabinet decision on the way forward. As I said then,
the Government now has a song to sing. The trouble is that I have practised the words over
the weekend and find that they stick in the throat.
We must have collective responsibility. Since I cannot in all conscience champion these
proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go.
I am proud to have served as Foreign Secretary in your Government. As I step down, I would
like first to thank the patient officers of the Metropolitan Police who have looked after me
and my family, at times in demanding circumstances.
I am proud too of the extraordinary men and women of our diplomatic service. Over the last
few months they have shown how many friends this country has around the world, as 28
governments expelled Russian spies in an unprecedented protest at the attempted assassination
of the Skripals. They have organised a highly successful Commonwealth summit and secured
record international support for this Government's campaign for 12 years of quality education
for every girl, and much more besides. As I leave office, the FCO now has the largest and by
far the most effective diplomatic network of any country in Europe -- a continent which we
will never leave.
"... By David Llewellyn-Smith, founding publisher and former editor-in-chief of The Diplomat magazine, now the Asia Pacific's leading geo-politics website. Cross posted from MacroBusiness ..."
"... Captains of the German auto industry kowtowing to US ambassador Grenell make a remarkable scene, not unlike the Chinese capitulating to the British and handing over Hong Kong in the opium wars. ..."
Isolates China Trade Cheat Posted on July 7,
2018 by Yves
Smith Yves here. I'm faithfully replicating the MacroBusiness headline as an indicator of
unhappiness in some circles in Australia about the degree to which the government has opened
the floodgates since I was there to investment from China, particularly in real estate. When I
lived in Sydney in 2002 to 2004, property struck me as awfully fully priced by global
standards, and it's been on a moon shot trajectory since then, in part due to Australia also
liberalizing immigration. When I was there, the intent of policy was to have immigration in
certain skilled categories, and then with an eye to maintaining population levels, not goosing
them. Since then, the population in Australia has grown from 20 million to over 24 million.
But in addition, even though imposing tariffs on cars and car parts would hurt quite a few
US employers, it would also hurt European multinationals (many of whom happen to be US
employers), to the degree that they've pushed the European officialdom to see if they can cut a
deal with Trump. If that happens, Trump gets a win he can brandish for the midterms and the
tariff brinksmanship presumably eases off a bit, potentially a lot.
By David Llewellyn-Smith, founding publisher and former editor-in-chief of The Diplomat
magazine, now the Asia Pacific's leading geo-politics website. Cross posted from MacroBusiness
Recall that China has tried to play Europe for the chump, via
China is putting pressure on the European Union to issue a strong joint statement against
President Donald Trump's trade policies at a summit later this month but is facing
resistance, European officials said.
In meetings in Brussels, Berlin and Beijing, senior Chinese officials, including Vice
Premier Liu He and the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, have
proposed an alliance between the two economic powers and offered to open more of the Chinese
market in a gesture of goodwill.
One proposal has been for China and the European Union to launch joint action against the
United States at the World Trade Organization.
But the European Union, the world's largest trading bloc, has rejected the idea of allying
with Beijing against Washington, five EU officials and diplomats told Reuters, ahead of a
Sino-European summit in Beijing on July 16-17.
Instead, the summit is expected to produce a modest communique, which affirms the
commitment of both sides to the multilateral trading system and promises to set up a working
group on modernizing the WTO, EU officials said.
"China wants the European Union to stand with Beijing against Washington, to take sides,"
said one European diplomat. "We won't do it and we have told them that."
Despite Trump's tariffs on European metals exports and threats to hit the EU's automobile
industry, Brussels shares Washington's concern about China's closed markets and what Western
governments say is Beijing's manipulation of trade to dominate global markets.
"We agree with almost all the complaints the U.S. has against China, it's just we don't
agree with how the United States is handling it," another diplomat said.
But it's China that looking more isolated today, via
The US may have been accused by China of "opening fire on the world" with its punitive
trade tariffs, but it looks like officials may be making more progress in Europe's largest
Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, has caused quite a stir since he arrived in
Berlin in May, lecturing German companies to stop trading with Iran, and saying he planned to
"empower" anti-establishment conservatives in Europe. However, with the threat of punitive US
tariffs on its cars looming, Grenell certainly has the attention of Germany's powerful car
German business daily Handelsblatt reports (link in German) that Grenell met Daimler CEO
Dieter Zetsche, BMW CEO Harald Krüger, and VW CEO Herbert Diess on Wednesday evening to
discuss both sides abolishing all tariffs on each others car imports. Right now, the European
Union adds a 10% tax on imported US cars, and the US puts 2.5% on EU car imports, and is
threatening to ramp that up to 25%. As part of the deal, president Donald Trump would
reportedly want German carmakers to invest more in the US.
Last night's meeting was not the first time the carmakers and Grenell have talked about
abolishing two-way tariffs. The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reported on June 20 that the
ambassador had been meeting with all Germany's most important car companies, and that they
were already behind the idea.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is worried about the damage a car trade war could do to one of
Germany's core industries. "We now have tariffs on aluminum and steel and we have a
discussion that is far more serious," she told parliament, referring to auto tariffs. "It's
worth every effort to try to defuse this conflict so it doesn't turn into a war."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she would back opening talks with trading
partners on lowering automobile tariffs, in what appeared to be an olive branch to US
President Donald Trump as the EU battles to dissuade him from imposing hefty levies on
But Merkel said that any negotiations on lowering tariffs in one area could only be
conducted with "all the countries with which we have trade in cars," rather than just with
the United States.
A deal with the US alone "would not conform with WTO" rules, she said.
"We can either have negotiations about a wide range of tariffs, for 90 percent of goods,"
Merkel said in a reference to the stalled talks for a transatlantic free-trade deal known as
"Or we can talk about one type of goods, but then we must accord the same treatment to all
trading partners of the world. That's an option I could imagine," she added.
Interestingly, Nomura sees it all as deflationary:
US pursuit of beggar thy neighbor policies: is it leading to a whole new world for global
Automakers have set up an intricate web of suppliers and assembly plants globally to
leverage the benefits of trade agreements, while keeping FX risks at acceptable levels. The
pursuit of beggar thy neighbour policies by a large, connected, and heretofore open Now 3
mths 12 mths US Europe Japan Korea Brazil Russia India China Thailand Indonesia Nomura |
Global Autos Outlook 4 June 2018 4 economy such as the US threatens to upend this
In this edition of the Global Autos Outlook, we therefore look at trade-related challenges
(and opportunities) facing global automakers, possible strategies they could adopt to cope,
and potential winners and losers over the near-to-medium term. Risk of "No NAFTA" has risen,
although our base case remains NAFTA 2.0 Trump's openly protectionist policies have increased
the risk of a "No NAFTA" outcome, although our base case still remains that NAFTA will be
Nearly 25 years of NAFTA have integrated the North American auto industry very tightly. If
NAFTA is dissolved, it will impact all automakers operating in North America. In particular,
we think GM and FCA could be hit the hardest (higher import tariffs cut 40% of GM's FY2018E
EBIT, 23% of that for FCA). In our opinion, it increasingly appears that the US President's
decision-making is centered on autoworkers, even if that is to the detriment of the
automakers. Thus, US automakers getting hurt might not hold back Trump from making such a
Auto industry staring at global excess capacity, no matter what the outcome of the Section
The US Department of Commerce has started a Section 232 investigation into US imports of
autos and auto parts. Under the worst case scenario, this may result in broadbased import
tariffs slapped on US automotive imports after the investigation concludes and reports back
to the President in several months. US imports of new passenger vehicles and auto parts
totaled $333bn in 2017. Import duties on such a large volume of goods would be highly
disruptive and impact all the major car exporting countries/regions such as Mexico, Canada,
Japan, the EU, and South Korea.
While we think that the threat of tariffs is largely Trump's negotiation tactic to get a
better NAFTA deal, we caution investors to pay attention, as the tail risk (of import tariffs
materializing) is not negligible. Furthermore, no matter whether new auto tariffs are imposed
or not, global carmakers, irrespective of nationality, are feeling pressured to build plants
and increase employment in the US. This is likely to lead to increased capacity in the US,
where car demand is no longer growing.
On the other hand, non-US carmakers are unlikely to cut capacity at home or elsewhere,
leading to excess capacity globally. This will impact most markets except for relatively
closed ones such as China, India, and Southeast Asia, due to their existing high import
tariffs. For global automakers, we therefore see a binary outcome from a growing list of
protectionist measures being deployed by the US. Neither outcome is good news, with
automakers staring at excess global capacity in either case:
If Section 232 tariffs are imposed, it (largely) cuts off imports into the
domestic US market. However, that would mean that there is excess capacity outside the US, as
existing foreign plants supplying to the US (7.88mn/$192bn new PVs, 8.2% of global volume,
and $141bn auto parts in 2017) have to find markets elsewhere.
If new tariffs are not imposed, we still have additional capacity coming up in
the US as automakers are goaded into doing so to avoid political pressure. This also leads to
a global supply-demand imbalance in the auto industry.
Although US protectionism is a real threat, we see a couple of silver linings. China
announced an import tariff cut for autos, from 25% currently to 15% beginning 1st July 2018.
The Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA) was agreed upon last December and is
likely to become effective in spring 2019, benefiting Japanese car exporters. One of the
biggest beneficiaries from both China and the EU's tariff cuts would be Toyota Motor.
"US lure carmakers with tariff offer – but the proposal is illegal"
That's the title in WirtschaftsWoche. A premier german language trade and economics
magazine. It had an interview(in German) with Ewald Pum attorney at internal law firm
Wirtschaftskanzlei Rödl & Partner.
He states that what Ambassador Grenell proposed is illegal under international WTO law,
and the EU could therefore not support it. Also, the EU had historically supported rules
based free trade, and this could only be accomplished via an bilateral trade deal in goods,
what he called TTIP on a diet.
' Nomura sees it all as deflationary: the pursuit of beggar thy neighbour policies by a
large, connected, and heretofore open economy such as the US threatens to upend this
So does UK-based Russell Napier, who sees the US obsession with shrinking its trade
deficit provoking a seismic shift in China:
Investors need to prepare for a formal widening of the trading bands for the RMB
relative to its basket and the problems such a move will create for all emerging markets.
That first move in the RMB is inherently deflationary. This is no counter-punch in a trade
war; it is the beginning of the creation of a new global monetary system.
The ability of China to extend the cycle has come to an end as its current account
surplus has all but evaporated. It has also come to an end because Jay Powell has warned
China, and other emerging markets, that he will not alter the course of US monetary policy
to assist with any credit disturbances outside his own jurisdiction.
Who can run the current account deficits necessary to make their currency an attractive
anchor for smaller countries seeking to run current account surpluses?
It seems well nigh impossible to believe, following almost 40 years of mercantilism,
that China would opt to become a country running large current account deficits. Such a
change in mindset may seem revolutionary, but it is just another necessary shift in the
long game in the attempt to make China the pre-eminent global economy.
The initial shift to a more flexible Chinese exchange rate is deflationary and
dangerous. The USD selling price of Chinese exports will likely fall, putting pressure on
all those who compete with China – EMs [Emerging Markets] but also Japan. The USD
will rise, putting pressure on all those, particularly EMs, who have borrowed USD without
having USD cash flows to service those debts. With world debt-to-GDP at a record high, such
a major deflationary dislocation can easily trigger another credit crisis.
Following the great dislocation, China will be free to reflate the world.
' Free to reflate the world ' much as the US did post-WW II with its Great
Inflation that flooded the world with dollars.
But getting from here to there is the tricky bit. As Napier insists, a deflationary ditch
lies between. Combine Llewellyn-Smith's comments on the auto industry's overcapacity and
supply-chain disruption with a deflationary break in the global economy, and you've got the
recipe for a nasty little crisis and perhaps a second bankruptcy in GM, whose long-term debt
is rising rapidly.
Flake-o-nomics may be creative destruction, but folks are not going to like the interim
results. The purblind Hoover-Trump will be blamed, rightly.
This whole tariff fight really seems to be about derailing China's plans to be a world
leader with its 'Made in China 2025' plan. Maybe Trump and his advisers reckon that if this
fight is not carried to the Chinese soon, then it will be too late. Europe, though under
attack by Trump, is also seeing the dangers where the EU will be eclipsed by a single
It may be that Europe is giving Trump a message that if he plays nice with Europe's
tariffs, then the EU will cooperate with the US against China. I hope that the calculation is
not to push China into financial chaos as serving Europe's and Trump's interests. Supply
chains are far too meshed to make that a good option and I can easily see a recession in the
making which will hit the world hard.
China may have a long term advantage in that it has invested in infrastructure, transport,
education and training whereas the west has been devaluing these things due to neoliberal
policies for decades now. They may start pulling their money back which will hit places like
Australia, Canada and the US hard as to my eye Chinese money keeps things like property
values high in those places. We'll find out soon enough.
I've been following CGTN on the tariff war, and it looks like China is going to go the
'proportional reciprocity' route, just as Russia has with sanctions.
The latter has benefited from sanctions, while Europe has lost billions in trade.
As for the 'five EU officials' – all anonymous – cited in Reuters' report, I
would take their statements with a large dose of salt.
EU is in ferment, and Merkel is not doing well in the polls.
There is strong anti-US sentiment in Germany, albeit not reported in the media. A
combination of Trump's policies and the perpetual wars – now implicated in the greatest
mass migrantion crisis since WWII – has led to a disenchantment with US.
Then there is OBOR, with various interest groups – particularly in European industry
– beginning to look East rather than West.
Thus there is no real unified resolve at EU level to warrant such claims.
Dedollarization is continuing apace too, and new alliances are emerging like the SCO and
the reported deals between the major oil producing countries like Russia and Saudi.
China plays a much longer game than the US, so it is hard to estimate what the consequence
will be within the short – tern assessment models used by the Western powers.
I've gotten into the habit of rolling my eyes whenever an establishment media outlet
quotes "anonymous sources". Looking at the prospects in the global automotive sector, surely
the smart money is on the east (and other emerging markets) being where the long term growth
is going to emerge, so why the EU would bet on a jockey riding a horse that's falling behind
the pace would be rather difficult to fathom. One assumes that CEOs of the big three German
automakers play as long a game as anyone, so being brow beaten into an anti-china stance by a
US ambassador would be incredibly shortsighted, to say nothing of raising investor ire
Captains of the German auto industry kowtowing to US ambassador Grenell make a
remarkable scene, not unlike the Chinese capitulating to the British and handing over Hong
Kong in the opium wars.
But Germany is an occupied and humbled nation, with tens of thousands of US troops
garrisoned on its soil for three generations now. And Grenell, a product of the John F
Kennedy School of Gubmint at Hahhhhhvid, was born to rule.
It's good to be king ambassador.
*summons his liveried steward to fetch oysters and mimosas for brunch*
I agree that this is looking like creative destruction -- but more like intentional
creative destruction. Bringing down the dinosaur auto industry – now that's definitely
a step in the right direction, imo. So it's curious that Trump has such a strategic focus,
no? And he just started Space Force.
So clearly that is where the technology is. I do not agree that this is hyper-nationalism
(that's just the cover) and it seems absurd for anyone to suggest that Trump is actually
doing anything to benefit domestic auto workers he's just not that dumb. And of course Merkel
is in a tizzy. She's going to do everything she can to soften the impact of the
Ha! As discussed and promised 'round the table at D4 last night ;-) #ChicagoNCMeetup
Thanks again Yves!
Part of me wants to believe that the capitalist nations were always destined to circle
the wagons against communist China, despite all the hand wringing about Trump. The
political aspect of this is more interesting to me at the moment. Given all we know about the
loyalty Trump still enjoys from those who put him in office, a yuge trade "win" this
year will play to the theme of tempered expectations of a "Blue Wave".
Many historians have suggested that the 1929 stock market crash
was not the cause of the Great Depression. If anything, the 1929 crash was
the technical reflection of the inevitable fate of an overblown bubble
economy. Yet, stock market crashes can recover within a relatively short time
with the help of effective government monetary measures, as demonstrated by
the crashes of 1987 (23% drop, recovered in 9 months), 1998 (36% drop,
recovered in 3 months) and 2000-2 (37% drop, recovered in 2 months).
Structurally, the real cause of the Great Depression, which lasted more than
a decade, from 1929 till the beginning of the Second World War in 1941, was
the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariffs that put world trade into a tailspin from which
it did not recover until World War II began. While the US economy finally
recovered from war mobilization after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on
December 7, 1940, most of the world's market economies sunk deeper into
war-torn distress and never fully recovered until the Korea War boom in
Barely five years into the 21st century, with
a globlaized neo-liberal trade regime firmly in place in a world where market
economy has become the norm, trade protectionism appears to be fast
re-emerging and developing into a new global trade war of complex dimensions.
The irony is that this new trade war is being launched not by the poor
economies that have been receiving the short end of the trade stick, but by
the US which has been winning more than it has been losing on all counts from
globalized neo-liberal trade, with the EU following suit in locked steps.
Japan of course has never let up on protectionism and never taken competition
policy seriously. The rich nations needs to recognize that in their effort to
squeeze every last drop of advantage out of already unfair trade will only
plunge the world into deep depression. History has shown that while the poor
suffer more in economic depressions, the rich, even as they are fianancially
cushioned by their wealth, are hurt by political repercussions in the form of
either war or revolution or both.
During the Cold War, there was no international free trade. The
economies of the two contending ideology blocks were completely disconnected.
Within each block, economies interact through foreign aid and memorandum
trade from their respective superpowers. The competition was not for profit
but for the hearts and minds of the people in the two opposing blocks as well
as those in the non-aligned nations in the Third World. The competition
between the two superpowers was to give rather than to take from their
separate fraternal economies.
The population of the superpowers worked hard to help the poorer
people within their separate blocks and convergence toward equality was the
policy aim even if not always the practice. The Cold War era of foreign aid
and memorandum trade had a better record of poverty reduction in either camps
than post-Cold War globalized neo-liberal trade dominated by one single
superpower. The aim was not only to raise income and increase wealth, but
also to close income and wealth disparity between and within economies.
Today, income and wealth disparity is rationalized as a necessity for capital
formation. The New York Time reports that from 1980 to 2002, the total income
earned by the top 0.1% of earners in the US more than doubled, while the
share earned by everyone else in the top 10% rose far less and the share of
the bottom 90% declined.
For all its ill effects, the Cold War achieved two formidable ends:
it prevented nuclear war and it introduced development as a moral imperative
into superpower geo-political competition with rising economic equality
within each block. In the years since the end of the Cold War, nuclear
terrorism has emerged as a serious threat and domestic development is
pre-empted by global trade even in the rich economies while income and wealth
disparity has widened everywhere.
Since the end of the Cold War some fifteen years ago, world economic
growth has shifted to rely exclusively on globalized neo-liberal trade
engineered and led by the US as the sole remaining superpower, financed with
the US dollar as the main reserve currency for trade and anchored by the huge
US consumer market made possible by the high wages of US workers. This growth
has been sustained by knocking down national tariffs everywhere around the
world through supranational institutions such as the World Trade Organization
(WTO), and financed by a deregulated foreign exchange market working in
concert with a global central banking regime independent of local political
pressure, lorded over by the supranational Bank of International Settlement
(BIS) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Redefining humanist morality, the US asserts that world trade is a
moral imperative and as such trade promotes democracy, political freedom and
respect for human rights in trade participating nations. Unfortunately,
income and wealth equality are not among the benefits promoted by trade. Even
if the validity of this twisted ideological assertion is not questioned, it
clearly contradicts US practice of trade embargo against countries the US
deems undemocratic, lacking in political freedom and deficient in respect for
human rights. If trade promotes such desirable conditions, such practice of
linking trade to freedom is tantamount to denying medicine to the
President George W Bush defended his free trade agenda in moralistic
terms. "Open trade is not just an economic opportunity, it is a moral
imperative," he declared in a May 7, 2001 speech. "Trade creates jobs for the
unemployed. When we negotiate for open markets, we're providing new hope for
the world's poor. And when we promote open trade, we are promoting political
freedom." Such claims remain highly controversial when tested by actual
Phyllis Schlafly, syndicated conservative columnist, responded
three weeks later in an article: Free Trade is an Economic Issue, Not a
Moral One . In it, she notes while conservatives should be happy to
finally have a president who adds a moral dimension to his actions, "the
Bible does not instruct us on free trade and it's not one of the Ten
Commandments. Jesus did not tell us to follow Him along the road to free
trade. Nor is there anything in the U.S. Constitution that requires us to
support free trade and to abhor protectionism. In fact, protectionism was the
economic system believed in and practiced by the framers of our Constitution.
Protective tariffs were the principal source of revenue for our federal
government from its beginning in 1789 until the passage of the 16th
Amendment, which created the federal income tax, in 1913. Were all those
public officials during those hundred-plus years remiss in not adhering to a
"moral obligation" of free trade?" Hardly, argues Schlafly whose views are
noteworthy because US politics is currently enmeshed in a struggle between
strict-constructionist paleo-conservatives and moral-imperialist
neo-conservatives. Despite the ascendance of neo-imperialism in US foreign
policy, protectionism remains strong in US political culture, particularly
among conservatives and in the labor movement.
Bush also said China, which reached a trade agreement with the
US at the close of the Clinton administration, and became a member of the WTO
in late 2001, would benefit from political changes as a result of liberalized
trade policies. This pronouncement gives clear evidence to those in China who
see foreign trade as part of an anti-China "peaceful evolution" strategy
first envisioned by John Forster Dulles, US Secretary of State under
Eisenhower in the 1950s. It is a strategy of inducing through peaceful trade
the Communist Party of China (CPC) to reform itself out of power and to
eliminate the dictatorship of the proletariat in favor of bourgeois
liberalization. Almost four decades later, Deng Xiaoping criticized CPC
Chairman Hu Yaobang and Premier Zhao Ziyang for having failed to contain
bourgeois liberalization in their implementation of China's modernization
policy. Deng warned in November 1989, five months after the Tiananmen
incident: "The Western imperialist countries are staging a third world war
without guns. They want to bring about the peaceful evolution of socialist
countries towards capitalism." Deng's handling of the Tiananmen incident
prevented China from going the catastrophic route of the USSR which dissolved
Yet it is clear that political freedom is often the first
casualty of a garrison state mentality and such mentality inevitably results
from hostile US economic and security policy toward any country the US deems
as not free. Whenever the US pronounces a nation to be not free, that nation
will become less free as a result of US policy. This has been repeatedly
evident in China and elsewhere in the Third World. Whenever US policy toward
China turns hostile, as it currently appears to be heading, political and
press freedom inevitably face stricter curbs. For trade to mutually and truly
benefit the trading economies, three conditions are necessary: 1) the
de-linking of trade from ideological/political objectives, 2) equality must
be maintained in the terms of trade and 3) recognition that global full
employment at rising, living wages is the prerequisite for true comparative
advantage in global trade.
The developing rupture between the sole superpower and its
traditionally deferential allies lies in mounting trade conflicts. The US has
benefited from an international financial architecture that gives the US
economy a structural monetary advantage over those of the EU and Japan, not
to mention the rest of the world. Trade issues range from government
subsidies disputes between Airbus and Boeing, banana, sugar, beef, oranges,
steel, as well as disputes over fair competition associated with mergers and
acquisition and financial services. If either government is found to be in
breach of WTO rules when these disputes wind through long processes of
judgment, the other will be authorized to retaliate. The US could put tariffs
on other European goods if the WTO rules against Airbus and vice versa. So if
both governments are found in breach, both could retaliate, leading to a
cycle of offensive protectionism. When the US was ruled to have unfairly
supported its steel industry, tariffs were slapped by the EU on Florida
oranges to make a political point in a politically important state in US
Trade competition between the EU and the US is spilling over
into security areas, allowing economic interests to conflict with ideological
sympathy. Both of these production engines, saddled with serious
overcapacity, are desperately seeking new markets, which inevitably leads
them to Asia in general and China in particular, with its phenomenal growth
rate and its 1.2 billion eager consumers bulging with rapidly rising
disposable income. The growth of the Chinese economy will lift all other
economies in Asia, including Australia which has only recently begun to
understand that its future cannot be separated from its geographic location
and that its prosperity is interdependent with those of other Asian
economies. Australian iron ores, beef and dairy products are destined for
China, not the British Isles. The EU is eager to lift its 15-year-old arms
embargo on China, much to the displeasure of the US. Israel faces similar
dilemma in its close relations with the US on military sales to China. Even
the US defense establishment has largely come around to the view that US arms
industry must export, even to China, to remain on top. The Bangkok Post
reported on June 7 that Rumsfeld tried to sell to Thailand F-16 warplanes
capable of firing advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs) two
days after he lashed out in Singapore at China for upgrading its own military
when no neighboring nations are threatening it. The sales pitch was in
competition with Russian-made Sukhoi SU-30s and Swedish JAS-39s. The open
competition in arms export had been spelled out for Congress years earlier by
Donald Hicks, a leading Pentagon technologist in the Reagan administration.
"Globalization is not a policy option, but a fact to which policymakers must
adapt," he said. "The emerging reality is that all nations' militaries are
sharing essentially the same global commercial-defense industrial base." The
boots and uniforms worn by US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq were made in
The WTO is the only global international organization dealing
with the rules of trade between its 148 member nations. At its heart are the
WTO agreements, known as the multilateral trading system, negotiated and
signed by the majority of the world's trading nations and ratified in their
parliaments. The stated goal is to help producers of goods and services,
exporters, and importers conduct their business, with the dubious assumption
that trade automatically brings equal benefits to all participants. The
welfare of the people is viewed only as a collateral aim based on the
doctrinal fantasy that "balanced" trade inevitably brings prosperity equally
to all, a claim that has been contradicted by facts produced by the very
terms of trade promoted by the WTO itself.
Two decades of neo-liberal globalized trade have widened income
and wealth disparity within and between nations. Free trade has turned out
not to be the win-win game promised by neo-liberals. It is very much a
win-lose game, with heads, the rich economies win, and tails, the poor
economies lose. Domestic development has been marginalized as a hapless
victim of foreign trade, dependent on trade surplus for capital. Foreign
trade and foreign investment have become the prerequisite engines for
domestic development. This trade model condemns those economies with trade
deficits to perpetual underdevelopment. Because of dollar hegemony, all
foreign investment goes only to the export sector where dollars can be
earned. Even the economies with trade surpluses cannot use their dollar trade
earnings for domestic development, as they are forced to hold huge dollar
reserves to support the exchange rate of their
In the fifth WTO Ministerial Conference held in Cancun in
September 2003, the richer countries rejected the demands of poorer nations
for radical reform of agricultural subsidies that have decimated Third World
agriculture. Failure to get the Doha round back on track after the collapse
of Cancun runs the danger of a global resurgence of protectionism, with the
US leading the way. Larry Elliott reported on October 13, 2003 in The
Guardian on the failed 2003 Cancun Ministerial meeting: "The language of
globalization is all about democracy, free trade and sharing the benefits of
technological advance. The reality is about rule by elites, mercantilism and
selfishness." Elliot noted that the process is full of paradoxes: why is it
that in a world where human capital is supposed to be the new wealth of
nations, labor is treated with such contempt?
Sam Mpasu, Malawi's commerce and industry minister, asked at
Cancun for his comments about the benefits of trade liberalization, replied
dryly: "We have opened our economy. That's why we are flat on our back."
Mpasu's comments summarize the wide chasm that divides the perspectives of
those who write the rules of globalization and those who are powerless to
Exports of manufactures by low-wage developing countries have
increased rapidly over the last 3 decades due in part to falling tariffs and
declining transport costs that enable outsourcing based on wage arbitrage. It
grew from 25% in 1965 to nearly 75% over three decades, while agriculture's
share of developing country exports has fallen from 50% to under 10%. Many
developing countries have gained relatively little from increased
manufactures trade, with most of the profit going to foreign capital. Market
access for their most competitive manufactured export, such as textile and
apparel, remains highly restricted and recent trade disputes threaten further
restrictions. Still, the key cause of unemployment in all developing
economies is the trade-related collapse of agriculture, exacerbated by the
massive government subsidies provided to farmers in rich economies. Many poor
economies are predominantly agriculturally based and a collapse of
agriculture means a general collapse of the whole
The Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations, sponsored by the
WTO, collapsed in Cancun, Mexico over the question of government support for
agriculture in rich economies and its potential impacts on causing more
poverty in developing countries. The Doha negotiations since Cancun are
focused on the need to better understand the linkages between trade policies,
particularly those of the rich economies, and poverty in the developing
world. While poverty reduction is now more widely accepted by establishment
economists as a necessary central focus for development efforts and has
become the main mission of the World Bank and other development institutions,
very little effective measures have been forthcoming. The UN Millennium
Development Goals (UNMDG) commits the international community to halve world
poverty by 2015, a decade from now. With current trends, that goal is likely
to be achievable only through death of half of the poor by starvation,
disease and local conflicts. The UN Development
Program warns that 3 million children will die in sub-Saharan Africa alone by
2015 if the world continues on its current path of failing to meet the UNMDG
agreed to in 2000 . Several key venues to this goal are located in
international trade where the record of poverty reduction has been
exceedingly poor, if not outright negative. The fundamental question whether
trade can replace or even augment socio-economic development remains unasked,
let alone answered. Until such issues are earnestly addressed, protectionism
will re-emerge in the poor countries. Under such conditions, if democracy
expresses the will of the people, democracy will demand protectionism more
than government by elite.
While tariffs in the past decade have been coming down like
leaves in autumn, flexible exchange rates have become a form of virtual
countervailing tariff. In the current globalized neo-liberal trade regime
operating in a deregulated global foreign exchange market, the exchanged
value of a currency is regularly used to balance trade through government
intervention in currency market fluctuations against the world's main reserve
currency – the dollar, as the head of the international monetary
Purchasing power parity (PPP) measures the disconnection between
exchange rates and local prices. PPP contrasts with the interest rate parity
(IRP) theory which assumes that the actions of investors, whose transactions
are recorded on the capital account, induces changes in the exchange rate.
For a dollar investor to earn the same interest rate in a foreign economy
with a PPP of four times, such as the purchasing power parity between the US
dollar and the Chinese yuan, local wages would have to be at least 4 time
lower than US wages.
<>PPP theory is based
on an extension and variation of the "law of one price" as applied to the
aggregate economy. The law of one price says that identical goods should sell
for the same price in two separate markets when there are no transportation
costs and no differential taxes applied in the two markets. But the law of
one price does not apply to the price of labor. Price arbitrage is the
opposite of wage arbitrage in that producers seek to make their goods in the
lowest wage locations and to sell their goods in the highest price markets.
This is the incentive for outsourcing which never seeks to sell products
locally at prices that reflect PPP differentials.
What is not generally noticed is that price deflation in an economy
increases its PPP, in that the same local currency buys more. But the
cross-border one price phenomenon applies only to certain products, such as
oil, thus for a PPP of 4 times, a rise in oil prices will cost the Chinese
economy 4 times the equivalent in other goods, or wages than in the US. The
larger the purchasing power parity between a local currency and the dollar,
the more severe is the tyranny of dollar hegemony on forcing down wage
Ever since 1971, when US president Richard Nixon, under pressure from
persistent fiscal and trade deficits that drained US gold reserves, took the
dollar off the gold standard (at $35 per ounce), the dollar has been a fiat
currency of a country of little fiscal or monetary discipline. The Bretton
Woods Conference at the end of World War II established the dollar, a solid
currency backed by gold, as a benchmark currency for financing international
trade, with all other currencies pegged to it at fixed rates that changed
only infrequently. The fixed exchange rate regime was designed to keep
trading nations honest and prevent them from running perpetual trade
deficits. It was not expected to dictate the living standards of trading
economies, which were measured by many other factors besides exchange
Bretton Woods was conceived when conventional wisdom in international
economics did not consider cross-border flow of funds necessary or desirable
for financing world trade precise for this reason. Since 1971, the dollar has
changed from a gold-back currency to a global reserve monetary instrument
that the US, and only the US, can produce by fiat. At the same time, the US
continued to incur both current account and fiscal deficits. That was the
beginning of dollar hegemony.
With deregulation of foreign exchange and financial markets, many
currencies began to free float against the dollar not in response to market
forces but to maintain export competitiveness. Government interventions in
foreign exchange markets became a regular last resort option for many trading
economies for their preserving export competitiveness and for resisting the
effect of dollar hegemony on domestic living standards.
World trade under dollar hegemony is a game in which the US produces
paper dollars and the rest of the world produce real things that paper
dollars can buy. The world's interlinked economies no longer trade to capture
comparative advantage; they compete in exports to capture needed dollars to
service dollar-denominated foreign debts and to accumulate dollar reserves to
sustain the exchange value of their domestic currencies in foreign exchange
markets. To prevent speculative and manipulative attacks on their currencies
in deregulated markets, the world's central banks must acquire and hold
dollar reserves in corresponding amounts to market pressure on their
currencies in circulation. The higher the market pressure to devalue a
particular currency, the more dollar reserves its central bank must hold.
This creates a built-in support for a strong dollar that in turn forces all
central banks to acquire and hold more dollar reserves, making it stronger.
This anomalous phenomenon is known as dollar hegemony, which is created by
the geopolitically constructed peculiarity that critical commodities, most
notably oil, are denominated in dollars. Everyone accepts dollars because
dollars can buy oil. The denomination of oil in dollars and the recycling of
petro-dollars is the price the US has extracted from oil-producing countries
for US tolerance of the oil-exporting cartel since 1973.
By definition, dollar reserves must be invested in dollar-denominated
assets, creating a capital-accounts surplus for the US economy. A
strong-dollar policy is in the US national interest because it keeps US
inflation low through low-cost imports and it makes US assets denominated in
dollars expensive for foreign investors. This arrangement, which Federal
Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan proudly calls US financial hegemony in
congressional testimony, has kept the US economy booming in the face of
recurrent financial crises in the rest of the world. It has distorted
globalization into a "race to the bottom" process of exploiting the lowest
labor costs and the highest environmental abuse worldwide to produce items
and produce for export to US markets in a quest for the almighty dollar,
which has not been backed by gold since 1971, nor by economic fundamentals
for more than a decade. The adverse effects of this type of globalization on
the developing economies are obvious. It robs them of the meager fruits of
their exports and keeps their domestic economies starved for capital, as all
surplus dollars must be reinvested in US treasuries to prevent the collapse
of their own domestic currencies.
The adverse effect of this type of globalization on the US economy is
also becoming clear. In order to act as consumer of last resort for the whole
world, the US economy has been pushed into a debt bubble that thrives on
conspicuous consumption and fraudulent accounting. The unsustainable and
irrational rise of US equity and real estate prices, unsupported by revenue
or profit, had merely been a de facto devaluation of the dollar. Ironically,
the recent fall in US equity prices from its 2004 peak and the anticipated
fall in real estate prices reflect a trend to an even stronger dollar, as it
can buy more deflated shares and properties for the same amount of dollars.
The rise in the purchasing power of the dollar inside the US impacts its
purchasing power disparity with other currencies unevenly, causing sharp
price instability in the economies with freely exchangeable currencies and
fixed exchange rates, such as Hong Kong and until recently Argentina. For the
US, falling exchange rate of the dollar actually causes asset prices to rise.
Thus with a debt bubble in the US economy, a strong dollar is not in the US
national interest. Debt has turned US policy on the dollar on its
The setting of exchange values of currencies is practiced not only by
sovereign governments on their own currencies as a sovereign right. The US,
exploiting dollar hegemony, usurps the privilege of dictating the exchange
value of all foreign currencies to support its own economic nationalism in
the name of global free trade. And US position on exchange rates has not been
consistent. When the dollar was rising, as it did in the 1980s, the US, to
protect its export trade, hailed the stabilizing wisdom of fixed exchange
rates. When the dollar falls as it has been in recent years, the US, to
deflect the blame of its trade deficit, attacks fixed exchange rates as
currency manipulation, as it targets China's currency now which has been
pegged to the dollar for over a decade, since the dollar was lower. How can a
nation manipulate the exchange value of its currency when it is pegged to the
dollar at the same rate over long periods? Any manipulation came from the
dollar, not the yuan.
The recent rise of the euro against the dollar, the first
appreciation wave since its introduction on January 1, 2002, is the result of
an EU version of the 1985 Plaza Accord on the Japanese yen, albeit without a
formal accord. The strategic purpose is more than merely moderating the US
trade deficit. The record shows that even with the 30% drop of the dollar
against the euro, the US trade deficit has continued to climb. The strategic
purpose of driving up the euro is to reduce the euro to the status of the
yen, as a subordinated currency to dollar hegemony. The real effect of the
Plaza Accord was to shift the cost of support for the dollar-denominated US
trade deficit, and the socio-economic pain associated with that support, from
the US to Japan.
What is happening to the euro now is far from being the beginning of
the demise of the dollar. Rather, it is the beginning of the reduction of the
euro into a subservient currency to the dollar to support the US debt bubble.
Six and a half years since the launch of European Monetary Union, the
eurozone is trapped in an environment in which monetary policy of sound money
has in effect become destructive and supply-side fiscal policy unsustainable.
National economies are beginning to refuse to bear the pain needed for
adjustment to globalization or the EU's ambitious enlargement. The European
nations are beginning to resist the US strategy to make the euro economy a
captive supporter of a rising or falling dollar as such movements fit the
shifting needs of US economic nationalism.
It is the modern-day monetary equivalent of the brilliant Roman
strategy of making a dissident Jew a Christian god, to pre-empt Judaism's
rising cultural domination over Roman civilization. Roman law, the foundation
of the Roman Empire, gained in sophistication from being influenced by if not
directly derived from Jewish Talmudic law, particularly on the concept of
equity - an eye for an eye. The Jews had devised a legal system based on the
dignity of the individual and equality before the law four century before
Christ. There was no written Roman law until two centuries B.C. The Roman law
of obligatio was not conducive to finance as it held that all
indebtedness was personal, without institutional status. A creditor could not
sell a note of indebtedness to another party and a debtor did not have to pay
anyone except the original creditor. Talmudic law, on the other hand,
recognized impersonal credit and a debt had to be paid to whoever presented
the demand note. This was a key development of modern finance. With the
Talmud, the Jews under the Diaspora had an international law that spans three
continents and many cultures.<>
The Romans were faced with a dilemma. Secular Jewish ideas and values
were permeating Roman society, but Judaism was an exclusive religion that the
Romans were not permitted to join. The Romans could not assimilate the Jews
as they did the more civilized Greeks. Early Christianity also kept its
exclusionary trait until Paul who opened Christianity to all. Historian
Edward Gibbon (1737-94) noted that the Rome recognized the Jews as a nation
and as such were entitled to religious peculiarities. The Christians on the
other hand were a sect, and being without a nation, subverted other nations.
The Roman Jews were active in government and when not resisting Rome against
social injustice, fought side by side with Roman legionnaires to preserve the
empire. Roman Jews were good Roman citizens. By contrast, the early
Christians were social dropouts, refused responsibility in government and
civic affairs and were conscientious objectors and pacifists in a militant
culture. Gibbon noted that Rome felt that the crime of a Christian was not in
what he did, but in being who he was. Christianity gained control of Roman
culture and society long before Constantine who in 324 A.D. sanctioned it
with political legitimacy and power after recognizing its power in helping to
win wars against pagans, the way Pope Urban II in 1095 used the crusade to
keep Papal temporal power longer. When early Christianity, a secular Jewish
dissident sect, began to move up from the lower strata of Roman society and
began to find converts in the upper echelons, the Roman polity adopted
Christianity, the least objectionable of all Jewish sects, as a state
religion. Gibbons estimated that Christians killed more of their own members
over religious disputes in the three centuries after coming to secular power
than did the Romans in three previous centuries. Persecution of the Jews
began in Christianized Rome. The disdain held by early Christianity on
centralized government gave rise to monasticism and contributed to the fall
of the Roman Empire.
By allowing a trade surplus denominated in dollars to be accumulated
by non-dollar economies, such as yen, euro, or now the Chinese yuan, the cost
of supporting the appropriate value of the dollar to sustain perpetual
economic growth in the dollar economy is then shifted to these non-dollar
economies, which manifests themselves in perpetual relative low wages and
weak domestic consumption. For already high-wage EU and Japan, the penalty is
the reduction of social welfare benefits and job security traditional to
these economies. For China, now the world's second largest creditor nation,
it is reduced to having to ask the US, the world's largest debtor nation, for
capital denominated in dollars the US can print at will to finance its export
trade to a US running recurring trade deficits.<>
The IMF, which has been ferocious in imposing draconian fiscal and
monetary "conditionalities" on all debtor nations everywhere in the decade
after the Cold War, is nowhere to be seen on the scene in the world's most
fragrantly irresponsible debtor nation. This is because the US can print
dollars at will and with immunity. The dollar is a fiat currency not backed
by gold, not backed by US productivity, not back by US export prowess, but by
US military power. The US military budget request for Fiscal Year 2005 is
$420.7 billion. For Fiscal Year 2004, it was $399.1 billion; for 2003, $396.1
billion; for 2002, $343.2 billion and for 2001, $310 billion. In the first
term of the Bush presidency, the US spent $1.5 trillion on its military. That
is bigger than the entire GDP of China in 2004. The US trade deficit is
around 6% of its GDP while it military budget is around 4%. In other words,
the trading partners of the US are paying for one and a half times of the
cost of a military that can someday be used against any one of them for any
number of reasons, including trade disputes. The anti-dollar crowd has
nothing to celebrate about the recurring US trade deficit.
It is pathetic that US Secretary of Defense Donald H Rumsfeld tries
to persuade the world that China's military budget, which is less that one
tenth of that of the US, is a threat to Asia, even when he is forced to
acknowledge that Chinese military modernization is mostly focused on
defending its coastal territories, not on force projection for distant
conflicts, as is US military doctrine. While Rumsfeld urges more political
freedom in China, his militant posture toward China is directly
counterproductive towards that goal. Ironically, Rumsfeld chose to make his
case about political freedom in Singapore, the bastion of Confucian
Normally, according to free trade theory, trade can only stay
unbalanced temporarily before equilibrium is re-established or free trade
would simply stop. When bilateral trade is temporarily unbalanced, it is
generally because one trade partner has become temporarily uncompetitive,
inefficient or unproductive. The partner with the trade deficit receives more
goods and services from the partner with the trade surplus than it can offer
in return and thus pays the difference with its currency that someday can buy
foods produced by the deficit trade partner to re-established balance of
payments. This temporary trade imbalance is due to a number of socio-economic
factors, such as terms of trade, wage levels, return on investment,
regulatory regimes, shortages in labor or material or energy,
trade-supporting infrastructure adequacy, purchasing power disparity, etc. A
trading partner that runs a recurring trade deficit earns the reputation of
being what banks call a habitual borrower, i.e. a bad credit risk, one who
habitually lives beyond his/her means. If the trade deficit is paid with its
currency, a downward pressure results in the exchange rate. A flexible
exchange rate seeks to remove or moderate a temporary trade imbalance while
the productivity disparities between trading partners are being addressed
Dollar hegemony prevents US trade imbalance from returning to
equilibrium through market forces. It allows a US trade deficit to persist
based on monetary prowess. This translates over time into a falling exchange
rate for the dollar even as dollar hegemony keeps the fall at a slow pace.
But a below-par exchange rate over a long period can run the risk of turning
the temporary imbalance in productivity into a permanent one. A continuously
weakening currency condemns the issuing economy into a downward economic
spiral. This has happened to the US in the last decade. To make matters
worse, with globalization of deregulated markets, the recurring US trade
deficit is accompanied by an escalating loss of jobs in sectors sensitive to
cross-border wage arbitrage, with the job-loss escalation climbing up the
skill ladder. Discriminatory US immigration policies also prevent the
retention of low-paying jobs within the US and exacerbate the illegal
Regional wage arbitrage within the US in past decades kept the US
economy lean and productive internationally. Labor-intensive US industries
relocated to the low-wage South through regional wage arbitrage and despite
temporary adjustment pains from the loss of textile mills, the Northern
economies managed to upgrade their productivity, technology level, financial
sophistication and output quality. The Southern economies in the US also
managed to upgrade these factors of production and in time managed to narrow
the wage disparity within the national economy. This happened because the
jobs stay within the nation. With globalization, it is another story. Jobs
are leaving the nation mercilessly. According to free trade theory, the US
trade deficit is supposed to cause the dollar to fall temporarily against the
currencies of its trading partners, causing export competitiveness to
rebalance to remove or reduce the US trade deficit or face the collapse of
its currency. Either case, jobs that have been lost temporarily are then
supposed to return to the US.
But the persistent US trade deficit defies trade theory because of
dollar hegemony. The current international finance architecture is based on
dollar hegemony which is the peculiar arrangement in which the US dollar, a
fiat currency, remains as the dominant reserve currency for international
trade. The broad trade-weighted dollar index stays in an upward trend,
despite selective appreciation of some strong currencies, as highly-indebted
emerging market economies attempt to extricate themselves from
dollar-denominated debt through the devaluation of their currencies. While
the aim is to subsidize exports, it ironically makes dollar debts more
expensive in local currency terms. The moderating impact on US price
inflation also amplifies the upward trend of the trade-weighted dollar index
despite persistent US expansion of monetary aggregates, also known as
monetary easing or money printing.
Adjusting for this debt-driven increase in the exchange value of
dollars, the import volume into the US can be estimated in relationship to
expanding monetary aggregates. The annual growth of the volume of goods
shipped to the US has remained around 15% for most of the 1990s, more than 5
times the average annual GDP growth. The US enjoyed a booming economy when
the dollar was gaining ground, and this occurred at a time when interest
rates in the US were higher than those in its creditor nations. This led to
the odd effect that raising US interest rates actually prolonged the boom in
the US rather than threatened it, because it caused massive inflows of
liquidity into the US financial system, lowered import price inflation,
increased apparent productivity and prompted further spending by US consumers
enriched by the wealth effect despite a slowing of wage increases. Returns on
dollar assets stayed high in foreign currency terms.
This was precisely what Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan
did in the 1990s in the name of pre-emptive measures against inflation.
Dollar hegemony enabled the US to print money to fight inflation, causing a
debt bubble of asset appreciation. This data substantiated the view of the US
as Rome in a New Roman Empire with an unending stream of imports as the free
tribune from conquered lands. This was what Greenspan meant by US "financial
The Fed Funds rate (ffr) target has been lifted eight times in steps
of 25 basis points from 1% in mid 2004 to 3% on May 3, 2005. If the same
pattern of "measured pace" continues, the ffr target would be at 4.25% by the
end of 2005. Despite Fed rhetoric, the lifting of dollar interest rate has
more to do with preventing foreign central banks from selling
dollar-denominated assets, such as US Treasuries, than with fighting
inflation. In a debt-driven economy, high interest rates are themselves
inflationary. Rising interest rate to fight inflation could become the
monetary dog chasing its own interest rate tail, with rising rate adding to
rising inflation which then requires more interest rate hikes. Still,
interest rate policy is a double edged sword: it keeps funds from leaving the
debt bubble, but it can also puncture the debt bubble by making the servicing
of debt prohibitively expensive.
To prevent this last adverse effect, the Fed adds to the money
supply, creating an unnatural condition of abundant liquidity with rising
short-term interest rate, resulting in a narrowing of interest spread between
short-term and long-term debts, a leading indication for inevitable recession
down the road. The problem of adding to the money supply is what Keynes
called the liquidity trap, that is, an absolute preference for liquidity even
at near zero interest-rate levels. Keynes argued that either a liquidity trap
or interest-insensitive investment draught could render monetary expansion
ineffective in a recession. It is what is popularly called pushing on a
credit string, where ample money cannot find credit-worthy willing borrowers.
Much of the new low cost money tends to go to refinancing of existing debt
take out at previously higher interest rates. Rising short-term interest
rates, particularly at a measured pace, would not remove the liquidity trap
when long term rates stay flat because of excess liguidity.
The debt bubble in the US is clearly having problems, as evident in
the bond market. With just 14 deals worth $2.9 billion, May 2005 was the
slowest month for high-yield bond issuance since October 2002. The late-April
downgrades of the debt of General Motors and Ford Motor to junk status roiled
the bond markets. The number of high-yield, or junk bond deals fell 55% in
the March-to-May 2005 period, compared with the same three months in 2004.
They were also down 45% from the December-through-February period. In dollar
value, junk bond deals totaled $17.6 billion in the March-to-May 2005 period,
compared with $39.5 billion during the same three months in 2004 and $36
billion from December through February 2005. There were 407 deals of
investment-grade bond underwriting during the March-to-May 2005 period,
compared with 522 in the same period 2004 - a decline of 22%. In dollar
volume, some $153.9 billion of high-grade bonds were underwritten from March
to May 2005, compared with $165.5 billion in the same period in 2004 - a 7%
decline. Oil at $50, along with astronomical asset price appreciation,
particularly in real estate, is giving the debt bubble additional borrowed
time. But this game cannot go on forever and the end will likely be triggered
by a new trade war's effect on reduced trade volume. The price of a reduced
US trade deficit is the bursting of the US debt bubble which can plunge the
world economy into a new depression. Given such options, the US has no choice
except to ride the trade deficit train for as long as the traffic will bear,
which may not be too long, particularly if protectionism begins to gather
The transition to offshore outsourced production has been the source
of the productivity boom of the "New Economy" in the US in the last decade.
The productivity increase not attributable to the importing of other nations'
productivity is much less impressive. While published government figures of
the productivity index show a rise of nearly 70% since 1974, the actual rise
is between zero and 10% in many sectors if the effect of imports is removed
from the equation. The lower productivity values are consistent with the
real-life experience of members of the blue-collar working class and the
white collar middle class who have been spending the equity cash-outs from
the appreciated market value of their homes. World trade has become a network
of cross-border arbitrage on differentials in labor availability, wages,
interest rates, exchange rates, prices, saving rates, productive capacities,
liquidity conditions and debt levels. In some of these areas, the US is
becoming an underdeveloped economy.
The Bush Administration continues to assure the public that the state
of the economy is sound while in reality the US has been losing entire
sectors of its economy, such as manufacturing and information technology, to
foreign producers, while at the same time selling off the part of the nation
to finance its rising and unending trade deficit. Usually, when unjustified
confidence crosses over to fantasized hubris on the part of policymakers,
disaster is not far ahead.
To be fair, the problems of the US economy started before the second
Bush Administration. The Clinton Administration's annual economic report for
2000 claimed that the longest economic expansion in US history could continue
"indefinitely" as long as "we stick to sound policy", according to Chairman
Martin Baily of the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) as reported in the
Wall Street Journal . The New York Times report differed
somewhat by quoting Baily as saying: "stick to fiscal policy." Putting the
two newspaper reports together, one got the sense that the Clinton
Administration thought that its fiscal policy was the sound policy needed to
put an end to the business cycle. Economics high priests in government,
unlike the rest of us mortals who are unfortunate enough to have to float in
the daily turbulence of the market, can afford to aloofly focus on long-term
trends and their structural congruence to macro-economic theories. Yet,
outside of macro-economics, long-term is increasingly being re-defined in the
real world. In the technology and communication sectors, long-term evokes
periods lasting less than 5 years. For hedge funds and quant shops, long-term
can mean a matter of weeks.
Two factors were identified by the Clinton CEA Year 2000 economic
report as contributing to the "good" news: technology-driven productivity and
neo-liberal trade globalization. Even with somewhat slower productivity and
spending growth, the CEA believed the economy could continue to expand
perpetually. As for the huge and growing trade deficit, the CEA expected
global recovery to boost demand for US exports, not withstanding the fact
that most US exports are increasingly composed of imported parts. Yet the US
has long officially pursued a strong dollar policy which weakens world demand
for US exports. The high expectation on e-commerce was a big part of
optimism, which had yet to be substantiated by data. In 2000, the CEA
expected the business to business (B2B) portion of e-commerce to rise to $1.3
trillion by 2003 from $43 billion in 1998. Goldman Sachs claimed in 1999 that
B2B e-commerce would reach $1.5 trillion by 2004, twice the size of the
combined 1998 revenues of the US auto industry and the US telecom sector.
Others were more cautious. Jupiter Research projected that companies around
the globe would increase their spending on B2B e-marketplaces from US$2.6
billion in 2000 to only $137.2 billion by 2005 and spending in North America
alone would grow from $2.1 billion to only $80.9 billion. North American
companies accounted for 81% of the total spending in 1998, but by 2005, that
figure was expected to drop to 60% of the total. The fact of the matter is
that Asia and Europe are now faster growth market for communication and
Reality proved disappointing. A 2004 UN Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD) report said: In the United States, e-commerce between
enterprises (B2B), which in 2002 represented almost 93% of all e-commerce,
accounted for 16.28% of all commercial transactions between enterprises.
While overall transactions between enterprises (e-commerce and non
e-commerce) fell in 2002, e-commerce B2B grew at an annual rate of 6.1%. As
for business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce, UNCTAD reported that sales in the
first quarter of 2004 amounted to 1.9 per cent of total retail sales, a
proportion that is nearly twice as large as that recorded in 2001. The annual
rate of growth of retail e-commerce in the US in the year to the end of the
first quarter of 2004 was 28.1%, while the growth of total retail in the same
period was only 8.8%. Dow Jones reported on May 20, 2005 that first-quarter
retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. rose 23.8% compared with the year-ago
period to $19.8 billion from $16 billion, according to preliminary numbers
released by the Department of Commerce. E-commerce sales during the first
quarter rose 6.4% from the fourth quarter, when they were $18.6 billion.
Sales for all periods are on an adjusted basis, meaning the Commerce
Department adjusts them for seasonal variations and holiday and trading-day
differences but not for price changes.
E-commerce sales accounted for 2.2% of total retail sales in the
first quarter of 2005, when those sales were an estimated $916.9 billion,
according to the Commerce Department. Walmart, the low-priced retailer that
imports outsourced goods from overseas, grew only 2%, indicating spending
fatigue on the part of low-income US consumers, while Target Stores, the
upscale retailer that also imports outsourced goods, continues to grow at 7%,
indicating the effects of rising income disparity.
The CEA 2000 report did not address the question whether e-commerce
was merely a shift of commerce or a real growth. The possibility exists for
the new technology to generate negative growth. It happened to IBM –
the increased efficiency (lower unit cost of calculation power) of IBM big
frames actually reduced overall IBM sales, and most of the profit and growth
in personal computers went to Microsoft, the software company that grew on
business that IBM, a self-professed hardware manufacturer, did not consider
worthy of keeping for itself. The same thing happened to Intel where Moore's
Law declared in 1965 an exponential growth in the number of transistors per
integrated circuit and predicted that this trend would continue the doubling
of transistors every couple of years. But what Moore's Law did not predict
was that this growth of computing power per dollar would cut into company
profitability. As the market price of computer power continues to fall, the
cost to producers to achieve Moore's Law has followed the opposite trend:
R&D, manufacturing, and test costs have increased steadily with each new
generation of chips. As the fixed cost of semiconductor production continues
to increase, manufacturers must sell larger and larger quantities of chips to
remain profitable. In recent years, analysts have observed a decline in the
number of "design starts" at advanced process nodes. While these observations
were made in the period after the year 2000 economic downturn, the decline
may be evidence that the long-term global market cannot economically sustain
Moore's Law. Is the Google Bubble a replay of the AOL fiasco?
Schumpeter's creative destruction theory, while revitalizing the
macro-economy with technological obsolescence in the long run, leaves real
corporate bodies in its path, not just obsolete theoretical concepts.
Financial intermediaries and stock exchanges face challenges from Electronic
Communication Networks (ECNs) which may well turn the likes of NYSE into
sunset industries. ECNs are electronic marketplaces which bring buy/sell
orders together and match them in virtual space. Today, ECNs handle roughly
25% of the volume in NASDAQ stocks. The NYSE and the Archipelago Exchange
(ArcaEx) announced on April 20, 2005 that they have entered a definitive
merger agreement that will lead to a combined entity, NYSE Group, Inc.,
becoming a publicly-held company. If approved by regulators, NYSE members and
Archipelago shareholders, the merger will represent the largest-ever among
securities exchanges and combine the world's leading equities market with the
most successful totally open, fully electronic exchange. Through Archipelago,
the NYSE will compete for the first time in the trading of NASDAQ-listed
stocks; it will be able to indirectly capture listings business that
otherwise would not qualify to list on the NYSE. Archipelago lists stocks of
companies that do not meet the NYSE's listing standards.
On fiscal policy, US government spending, including social programs
and defense, declined as a share of the economy during the eight years of the
Clinton watch. This in no small way contributed to a polarization of both
income and wealth, with visible distortions in both the demand and supply
sides of the economy. This was the opposite of the FDR record of increasing
income and wealth equality by policy. The wealth effect tied to bloated
equity and real estate markets could reverse suddenly and did in 2000, bailed
out only by the Bush tax cut and the deficit spending on the War on Terrorism
after 2001. Private debt kept making all time highs throughout the 1990s and
was celebrated by neo-liberal economists as a positive factor. Household
spending was heavily based on expected rising future earnings or paper
profits, both of which might and did vanished on short notice. By election
time in November 1999, the Clinton economic miracle was fizzling. The
business cycle had not ended after all, and certainly not by
self-aggrandizing government policies. It merely got postponed for a more
severe crash later. The idea of ending the business cycle in a market economy
was as much a fantasy as Vice President Cheney's assertion in a speech before
the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August 26, 2002 that "the Middle East expert
Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation, the streets in Basra
and Baghdad are sure to erupt in joy ."
In their 1991 populist campaign for the White House, Bill Clinton and
Al Gore repeatedly pointed out the obscenity of the top 1% of Americans
owning 40% of the country's wealth. They also said that if you eliminated
home ownership and only counted businesses, factories and offices, then the
top 1% owned 90% of all commercial wealth. And the top 10%, they said, owned
99%. It was a situation they pledged to change if elected. But once in
office, Clinton and Gore did nothing to redistribute wealth more equally -
despite the fact that their two terms in office spanned the economic joyride
of the 1990s that would eventually hurt the poor much more severely than the
rich. On the contrary, economic inequality only continued to grow under the
Democrats. Reagan spread the national debt equally among the people while
Clinton gave all the wealth to the rich.
Geopolitically, trade globalization was beginning to face complex
resistance worldwide by the second term of the Clinton presidency. The
momentum of resistance after Clinton would either slow further globalization
or force the terms of trade to be revised. The Asian financial crises of 1997
revived economic nationalism around the world against US-led neo-liberal
globalization, while the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) attack on
Yugoslavia in 1999 revived militarism in the EU. Market fundamentalism as
espoused by the US, far from being a valid science universally, was
increasingly viewed by the rest of the world as merely US national ideology,
unsupported even by US historical conditions. Just as anti-Napoleonic
internationalism was essentially anti-French, anti-globalization and
anti-moral-imperialism are essentially anti-US. US unilateralism and
exceptionism became the midwife for a new revival of political and economic
nationalism everywhere. The Bush Doctrine of monopolistic nuclear posture,
pre-emptive wars, "either with us or against us" extremism, and no compromise
with states that allegedly support terrorism, pours gasoline on the
smoldering fire of defensive nationalism everywhere.
Alan Greenspan in his October 29, 1997 Congressional testimony on
Turbulence in World Financial Markets before the Joint Economic
Committee said that "it is quite conceivable that a few years hence we will
look back at this episode [Asian financial crisis of 1997] . as a salutary
event in terms of its implications for the macro-economy." When one is
focused only on the big picture, details do not make much of a difference:
the earth always appears more or less round from space, despite that some
people on it spend their whole lives starving and cities get destroyed by war
or natural disasters. That is the problem with macroeconomics. As Greenspan
spoke, many around the world were waking up to the realization that the
turbulence in their own financial markets was viewed by the US central banker
as having a "salutary effect" on the US macro-economy. Greenspan gave anti-US
sentiments and monetary trade protectionism held by participants in these
financial markets a solid basis and they were no longer accused of being mere
Ironically, after the end of the Cold War, market capitalism has
emerged as the most fervent force for revolutionary change. Finance
capitalism became inherently democratic once the bulk of capital began to
come from the pension assets of workers, despite widening income and wealth
disparity. The monetary value of US pension funds is over $15 trillion, the
bulk of which belong to average workers. A new form of social capitalism has
emerged which would gladly eliminate the worker's job in order to give
him/her a higher return on his/her pension account. The capitalist in the
individual is exploiting the worker in same individual. A conflict of
interest arises between a worker's savings and his/her earnings. As Pogo used
to say: "The enemy: they are us." This social capitalism, by favoring return
on capital over compensation for labor, produces overinvestment, resulting in
overcapacity. But the problem of overcapacity can only be solved by high
income consumers. Unemployment and underemployment in an economy of
overcapacity decrease demand, leading to financial collapse. The world
economy needs low wages the way the cattle business need foot and mouth
The nomenclature of neo-classical economics reflects, and in turn
dictates, the warped logic of the economic system it produces. Terms such as
money, capital, labor, debt, interest, profits, employment, market, etc, have
been conceptualized to describe synthetic components of an artificial
material system created by the power politics of greed. It is the capitalist
greed in the worker that causes the loss of his/her job to lower wage earners
overseas. The concept of the economic man who presumably always acts in his
self-interest is a gross abstraction based on the flawed assumption of market
participants acting with perfect and equal information and clear
understanding of the implication of his actions. The pervasive use of these
terms over time disguises the artificial system as the logical product of
natural laws, rather than the conceptual components of the power politics of
Just as monarchism first emerged as a progressive force against
feudalism by rationalizing itself as a natural law of politics and eventually
brought about its own demise by betraying its progressive mandate, social
capitalism today places return on capital above not only the worker but also
the welfare of the owner of capital. The class struggle has been internalized
within each worker. As people facing the hard choice of survival in the
present versus wellbeing in the future, they will always choose survival,
social capitalism will inevitably go the way of absolute monarchism, and make
way for humanist socialism.
Global trade has forced all countries to adopt market economy. Yet the market
is not the economy. It is only one aspect of the economy. A market economy
can be viewed as an aberration of human civilization, as economist Karl
Polanyi (1886-1964) pointed out. The principal theme of Polanyi's Origins
of Our Time: The Great Transformation (1945) was that market economy was
of very recent origin and had emerged fully formed only as recently as the
19th century, in conjunction with capitalistic industrialization. The current
globalization of markets following the fall of the Soviet bloc is also of
recent post-Cold War origin, in conjunction with the advent of the electronic
information age and deregulated finance capitalism. A severe and prolonged
depression can trigger the end of the market economy, when intelligent human
beings are finally faced with the realization that the business cycle
inherent in the market economy cannot be regulated sufficiently to prevent
its innate destructiveness to human welfare and are forced to seek new
economic arrangements for human development. The principle of diminishing
returns will lead people to reject the market economy, however
Prior to the coming of capitalistic industrialization, the market played only
a minor part in the economic life of societies. Even where market places
could be seen to be operating, they were peripheral to the main economic
organization and activities of society. In many pre-industrial economies,
markets met only twice a month. Polanyi argued that in modern market
economies, the needs of the market determined social behavior, whereas in
pre-industrial and primitive economies the needs of society determined market
behavior. Polanyi reintroduced to economics the concepts of reciprocity and
redistribution in human interaction, which were the original aims of trade.
Reciprocity implies that people produce the goods and services they are
best at and enjoy most in producing, and share them with others with joy.
This is reciprocated by others who are good at and enjoy producing other
goods and services. There is an unspoken agreement that all would produce
that which they could do best and mutually share and share alike, not just
sold to the highest bidder, or worse to produce what they despise to meet the
demands of the market. The idea of sweatshops is totally unnatural to human
dignity and uneconomic to human welfare. With reciprocity, there is no need
for layers of management, because workers happily practice their livelihoods
and need no coercive supervision. Labor is not forced and workers do not
merely sell their time in jobs they hate, unrelated to their inner callings.
Prices are not fixed but vary according to what different buyers with
different circumstances can afford or what the seller needs in return from
different buyers. The law of one price is inhumane, unnatural, inflexible and
unfair. All workers find their separate personal fulfillment in different
productive livelihoods of their choosing, without distortion by the need for
money. The motivation to produce and share is not personal profit, but
personal fulfillment, and avoidance of public contempt, communal ostracism,
and loss of social prestige and moral standing.
This motivation, albeit distorted today by the dominance of money, is
still fundamental in societies operating under finance capitalism. But in a
money society, the emphasis is on accumulating the most financial wealth,
which is accorded the highest social prestige. The annual report on the
world's richest 100 as celebrities by Forbes is a clear evidence of this
anomaly. The opinion of figures such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are
regularly sought by the media on matters beyond finance, as if the possession
of money itself represents a diploma of wisdom. In the 1960s, wealth was an
embarrassment among the flower children in the US. It was only in the 1980s
that the age of greed emerged to embrace commercialism. In a speech on June 3
at the Take Back America conference in Washington, D.C, Bill Moyers drew
attention to the conclusion by the editors of The Economist , all
friends of business and advocates of capitalism and free markets, that "the
United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society." A
front-page leader in the May 13, 2005 Wall Street Journal concluded that "as
the gap between rich and poor has widened since 1970, the odds that a child
born in poverty will climb to wealth - or that a rich child will fall into
middle class - remain stuck....Despite the widespread belief that the U.S.
remains a more mobile society than Europe, economists and sociologists say
that in recent decades the typical child starting out in poverty in
continental Europe (or in Canada) has had a better chance at prosperity."
The New York Times ran a 12-day series in June 2005 under the heading
of "Class Matters" which observed that class is closely tied to money
in the US and that " the movement of families up and down the economic ladder
is the promise that lies at the heart of the American dream. But it does not
seem to be happening quite as often as it used to." The myth that free
markets spread equality seems to be facing challenge in the heart of market
People trade to compensate for deficiencies in their current state of
development. Free trade is not a license for exploitation. Exploitation is
slavery, not trade. Imperialism is exploitation by systemic coercion on an
international level. Neo-imperialism after the end of the Cold War takes the
form of neo-liberal globalization of systemic coercion. Free trade is
hampered by systemic coercion. Resistance to systemic coercion is not to be
confused with protectionism. To participate in free trade, a trader must have
something with which to trade voluntarily in a market free of systemic
coercion. All free trade participants need to have basic pricing power which
requires that no one else commands monopolistic pricing power. That tradable
something comes from development, which is a process of self-betterment. Just
as equality before the law is a prerequisite for justice, equality in pricing
power in the market is a prerequisite for free trade. Traders need basic
pricing power for trade to be free. Workers need pricing power for the value
of their labor to participate in free trade.
Yet trade in a market economy by definition is a game to acquire
overwhelming pricing power over one's trading partners. Wal-Mart for example
has enormous pricing power both as a bulk buyer and a mass retailer. But it
uses its overwhelming pricing power not to pay the highest wages to workers
in factories and in its store, but to deliver the lowest price to its
customers. The business model of Wal-Mart, whose sales volume is greater than
the GDP and trade volume of many small countries, is anti-development. The
trade off between low income and low retail price follows a downward spiral.
This downward spiral has been the main defect of trade de-regulation when low
prices are achieved through the lowering of wages. The economic purpose of
development is to raise income, not merely to lower wages to reduce expenses
by lowering quality. International trade cannot be a substitute for domestic
development, or even international development, although it can contribute to
both domestic and international development if it is conducted on an equal
basis for the mutual benefit of both trading partners. And the chief benefit
is higher income.
The terms of international trade needs to take into consideration local
conditions not as a reluctant tolerance but with respect for diversity.
Former Japanese Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs, Eisuke
Sakakibara, in a speech "The End of Market Fundamentalism" before the
Foreign Correspondent's Club, Tokyo, Jan. 22, 1999, presented a coherent and
wide ranging critique of global macro orthodoxy. His view, that each national
economic system must conform to agreed international trade rules and
regulations but needs not assimilate the domestic rules and regulations of
another country, is heresy to US-led one-size-fits-all globalization. In a
computerized world where output standardization has become unnecessary, where
the mass production of customized one-of-a-kind products is routine,
one-size-fit all hegemony is nothing more than cultural imperialism. In a
world of sovereign states, domestic development must take precedence over
international trade, which is a system of external transactions made
supposedly to augment domestic development. And domestic development means
every nation is free to choose its own development path most appropriate to
its historical conditions and is not required to adopt the US development
model. But neo-liberal international trade since the end of the Cold War has
increasingly preempted domestic development in both the center and the
periphery of the world system. Quality of life is regularly compromised in
the name of efficiency.
This is the reason the French and the Dutch voted against the EU
constitution, as a resistance to the US model of globalization. Britain has
suspended its own vote on the constitution to avoid a likely voter rejection.
In Italy, cabinet ministers suggested abandoning the euro to return to an
independent currency in order to regain monetary sovereignty. Bitter battles
have erupted between member nations in the EU over national government
budgets and subsidies. In that sense, neo-liberal trade is being increasingly
identified as an obstacle, even a threat, to diversified domestic development
and national culture. Global trade has become a vehicle for exploitation of
the weak to strengthen the strong both domestically and internationally.
Culturally, US-style globalization is turning the world into a dull market
for unhealthy MacDonald fast food, dreary Walt-Mart stores, and automated
Coca Cola and ATM machines. Every airport around the world is a replica of a
giant US department store with familiar brand names, making it hard to know
which city one is in. Aside from being unjust and culturally destructive,
neo-liberal global trade as it currently exists is unsustainable, because the
perpetual transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich is unsustainable
anymore than drawing from a dry well is sustainable in a drought, nor can a
stagnant consumer income sustain a consumer economy. Neo-liberal claims of
fair benefits of free trade to the poor of the world, both in the center and
the periphery, are simply not supported by facts. Everywhere, people who
produce the goods cannot afford to buy the same goods for themselves and the
profit is siphoned off to invisible investors continents away.
Trade and Money
Trade is facilitated by money. Mainstream monetary economists view
government-issued money as a sovereign debt instrument with zero maturity,
historically derived from the bill of exchange in free banking. This view is
valid only for specie money, which is a debt certificate that entitles the
holder to claim on demand a prescribed amount of gold or other specie of
value. Government-issued fiat money, on the other hand, is not a sovereign
debt but a sovereign credit instrument, backed by government acceptance of it
for payment of taxes. This view of money is known as the State Theory of
Money, or Chartalism. The dollar, a fiat currency, entitles the holder to
exchange for another dollar at any Federal Reserve Bank, no more, no less.
Sovereign government bonds are sovereign debts denominated in money.
Sovereign bonds denominated in fiat money need never default since sovereign
government can print fiat money at will. Local government bonds are not
sovereign debt and are subject to default because local governments do not
have the authority to print money. When fiat money buys bonds, the
transaction represents credit canceling debt. The relationship is rather
straightforward, but of fundamental importance.
Credit drives the economy, not debt. Debt is the mirror reflection of
credit. Even the most accurate mirror does violence to the symmetry of its
reflection. Why does a mirror turn an image right to left and not upside down
as the lens of a camera does? The scientific answer is that a mirror image
transforms front to back rather than left to right as commonly assumed. Yet
we often accept this aberrant mirror distortion as uncolored truth and we
unthinkingly consider the distorted reflection in the mirror as a perfect
representation. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?
The answer is: your backside.
In the language of monetary economics, credit and debt are opposites but
not identical. In fact, credit and debt operate in reverse relations. Credit
requires a positive net worth and debt does not. One can have good credit and
no debt. High debt lowers credit rating. When one understands credit, one
understands the main force behind the modern finance economy, which is driven
by credit and stalled by debt. Behaviorally, debt distorts marginal utility
calculations and rearranges disposable income. Debt turns corporate shares
into Giffen goods, demand for which increases when their prices go up, and
creates what Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan calls "irrational
exuberance", the economic man gone mad. <> If fiat money is not
sovereign debt, then the entire financial architecture of fiat money
capitalism is subject to reordering, just as physics was subject to
reordering when man's world view changed with the realization that the earth
is not stationary nor is it the center of the universe. For one thing, the
need for capital formation to finance socially useful development will be
exposed as a cruel hoax. With sovereign credit, there is no need for capital
formation for socially useful development in a sovereign nation. For another,
savings are not necessary to finance domestic development, since savings are
not required for the supply of sovereign credit. And since capital formation
through savings is the key systemic rationale for income inequality, the
proper use of sovereign credit will lead to economic democracy.
Sovereign Credit and Unemployment
In an economy financed by sovereign credit, labor should be in perpetual
shortage, and the price of labor should constantly rise. A vibrant economy is
one in which there is a persistent labor shortage and labor enjoys basic,
though not monopolistic, pricing power. An economy should expand until a
labor shortage emerges and keep expanding through productivity rise to
maintain a slight labor shortage. Unemployment is an indisputable sign that
the economy is underperforming and should be avoid as an economic
The Phillips curve, formulated in 1958, describes the systemic
relationship between unemployment and wage-pushed inflation in the business
cycle. It represented a milestone in the development of macroeconomics .
British economist A. W. H. Phillips observed that there was a consistent
inverse relationship between the rate of wage inflation and the rate of
unemployment in the United Kingdom from 1861 to 1957. Whenever unemployment
was low, inflation tended to be high. Whenever unemployment was high,
inflation tended to be low. What Phillips did was to accept a defective labor
market in a typical business cycle as natural law and to use the tautological
data of the flawed regime to prove its validity, and made unemployment
respectable in macroeconomic policymaking, in order to obscure the
irrationality of the business cycle. That is like observing that the sick are
found in hospitals and concluding that hospitals cause sickness and that a
reduction in the number of hospitals will reduce the number of the sick. This
theory will be validated by data if only hospital patients are counted as
being sick and the sick outside of hospitals are viewed as "externalities" to
the system. This is precisely what has happened in the US where an oversupply
of hospital beds has resulted from changes in the economics of medical
insurance, rather than a reduction of people needing hospital care. Part of
the economic argument against illegal immigration is based on the overload of
non-paying patients in a health care system plagued with overcapacity.
Nevertheless, Nobel laureates Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow led an army
of government economists in the 1960s in using the Phillips curve as a guide
for macro-policy trade-offs between inflation and unemployment in market
economies. Later, Edmund Phelps and Milton Friedman independently challenged
the theoretical underpinnings by pointing out separate effects between the
"short-run" and "long-run" Phillips curves, arguing that the
inflation-adjusted purchasing power of money wages, or real wages, would
adjust to make the supply of labor equal to the demand for labor, and the
unemployment rate would rest at the real wage level to moderate the business
cycle. This level of unemployment they called the "natural rate" of
unemployment. The definitions of the natural rate of unemployment and its
associated rate of inflation are circularly self-validating. The natural rate
of unemployment is that at which inflation is equal to its associated
inflation. The associated rate of inflation rate is that which prevails when
unemployment is equal to its natural rate.
A monetary purist, Friedman correctly concluded that money is all
important, but as a social conservative, he left the path to truth half
traveled, by not having much to say about the importance of the fair
distribution of money in the market economy, the flow of which is largely
determined by the terms of trade. Contrary to the theoretical relationship
described by Phillips curve, higher inflation was associated with higher, not
lower, unemployment in the US in the 1970s and contrary to Friedman's claim,
deflation was associated also with high unemployment in Japan in the 1990s.
The fact that both inflation and deflation accompanied high unemployment
ought to discredit the Phillips curve and Friedman's notion of a natural
unemployment rate. Yet most mainstream economists continue to accept a
central tenet of the Friedman-Phelps analysis that there is some rate of
unemployment that, if maintained, would be compatible with a constant rate of
inflation. This they call the "non-accelerating inflation rate of
unemployment" (NAIRU), which over the years has crept up from 4% to 6%.
It is hard to see how sound money can ever lead to full employment when
unemployment is necessary to keep money sound. Within limits and within
reason, unemployment hurts people and inflation hurts money. And if money
exists to serve people, then the choice between inflation and unemployment
becomes obvious. The theory of comparative advantage in world trade is merely
Say's Law internationalized. It requires full employment to be operative.
Wages and Profit
And neoclassical economics does not allow the prospect of employers having
an objective of raising wages, as Henry Ford did, instead of minimizing wages
as current corporate management, such as General Motors, routinely practices.
Henry Ford raised wages to increase profits by selling more cars to workers,
while Ford Motors today cuts wages to maximize profit while adding to
overcapacity. Therein resides the cancer of market capitalism: falling wages
will lead to the collapse of an overcapacity economy. This is why global wage
arbitrage is economically destructive unless and until it is structured to
raise wages everywhere rather than to keep prices low in the developed
economies. That is done by not chasing after the lowest price made possible
by the lowest wages, but by chasing after a bigger market made possible by
rising wages. The terms of global trade need to be restructured to reward
companies that aim at raising wages and benefits globally through
internationally coordinated transitional government subsidies, rather than
the regressive approach of protective tariffs to cut off trade that exploits
wage arbitrage. This will enable the low-wage economies to begin to be able
to afford the products they produce and to import more products from the high
wage economies to move towards balanced trade. Eventually, certainly within a
decade, wage arbitrage would cease to be the driving force in global trade as
wage levels around the world equalize. When the population of the developing
economies achieves per capita income that matches that in developed
economies, the world economy will be rid of the modern curse of overcapacity
caused by the flawed neoclassical economics of scarcity. When top executives
are paid tens of million of dollars in bonuses to cut wages and worker
benefits, it is not fair reward for good management; it is legalized theft.
Executives should only receive bonuses if both profit and wages in their
companies rise as a result of their management strategies.
Sovereign Credit and Dollar Hegemony
In an economy that can operate on sovereign credit, free from dollar
hegemony, private savings are needed only for private investment that has no
clear socially redeeming purpose or value. Savings are deflationary without
full employment, as savings reduces current consumption to provide investment
to increase future supply. Savings for capital formation serve only the
purpose of bridging the gap between new investment and new revenue from
rising productivity and increased capacity from the new investment. With
sovereign credit, private savings are not needed for this bridge financing.
Private savings are also not needed for rainy days or future retirement in an
economy that has freed itself from the tyranny of the business cycle through
planning. Say's Law of supply creating its own demand is a very special
situation that is operative only under full employment, as eminent
post-Keynesian economist Paul Davidson has pointed out. Say's Law ignores a
critical time lag between supply and demand that can be fatal to a
fast-moving modern economy without demand management. Savings require
interest payments, the compounding of which will regressively make any
financial system unsustainable by tilting it toward overcapacity caused by
overinvestment. The religions forbade usury also for very practical reasons.
Yet interest on money is the very foundation of finance capitalism, held up
by the neoclassical economic notion that money is more valuable when it is
scarce. Aggregate poverty then is necessary for sound money. This was what
President Reagan meant when he said that there is always going to be poor
The Bank of International Finance (BIS) estimated that as of the end of
2004, the notional value of global OTC interest rate derivatives is around
$185 trillion, with a market risk exposure of over $5 trillion, which is
almost half of US 2004 GDP. Interest rate derivatives are by far the largest
category of structured finance contracts, taking up $185 trillion of the
total $250 trillion of notional values. The $185 trillion notional value of
interest rate derivatives is 41 times the outstanding value of US Treasury
bonds. This means that interest rate volatility will have a disproportioned
impact of the global financial system in ways that historical data cannot
Fiat money issued by government is now legal tender in all
modern national economies since the 1971 collapse of the Bretton Woods regime
of fixed exchange rates linked to a gold-backed dollar. The State Theory of
Money (Chartalism) holds that the general acceptance of government-issued
fiat currency rests fundamentally on government's authority to tax.
Government's willingness to accept the currency it issues for payment of
taxes gives the issuance currency within a national economy. That currency is
sovereign credit for tax liabilities, which are dischargeable by credit
instruments issued by government, known as fiat money. When issuing fiat
money, the government owes no one anything except to make good a promise to
accept its money for tax payment.
A central banking regime operates on the notion of government-issued fiat
money as sovereign credit. That is the essential difference between central
banking with government-issued fiat money, which is a sovereign credit
instrument, and free banking with privately issued specie money, which is a
bank IOU that allows the holder to claim the gold behind it.
With the fall of the USSR, US attitude toward the rest of the world
changed. It no longer needs to compete for the hearts and minds of the masses
of the Third /Fourth Worlds. So trade has replaced aid. The US has embarked
on a strategy to use Third/Fourth-World cheap labor and non-existent
environmental regulation to compete with its former Cold War Allies, now
industrialized rivals in trade, taking advantage of traditional US anti-labor
ideology to outsource low-pay jobs, playing against the strong pro-labor
tradition of social welfare in Europe and Japan. In the meantime, the US
pushed for global financial deregulation based on dollar hegemony and emerged
as a 500-lb gorilla in the globalized financial market that left the Japanese
and Europeans in the dust, playing catch up in an un-winnable game. In the
game of finance capitalism, those with capital in the form of fiat money they
can print freely will win hands down.
The tool of this US strategy is the privileged role of the dollar as the
key reserve currency for world trade, otherwise known as dollar hegemony. Out
of this emerges an international financial architecture that does real damage
to the actual producer economies for the benefit of the financier economies.
The dollar, instead of being a neutral agent of exchange, has become a weapon
of massive economic destruction (WMED) more lethal than nuclear bombs and
with more blackmail power, which is exercised ruthlessly by the IMF on behalf
of the Washington Consensus. Trade wars are fought through volatile currency
valuations. Dollar hegemony enables the US to use its trade deficits as the
bait for its capital account surplus.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) under dollar hegemony has changed the face
of the international economy. Since the early 1970s, FDI has grown along with
global merchandise trade and is the single most important source of capital
for developing countries, not net savings or sovereign credit. FDI is mostly
denominated in dollars, a fiat currency that the US can produce at will since
1971, or in dollar derivatives such as the yen or the euro, which are not
really independent currencies. Thus FDI is by necessity concentrated in
exports related development, mainly destined for US markets or markets that
also sell to US markets for dollars with which to provide the return on
dollar-denominated FDI. US economic policy is shifting from trade promotion
to FDI promotion. The US trade deficit is financed by the US capital account
surplus which in turn provides the dollars for FDI in the exporting
economies. A trade spat with the EU over beef and bananas, for example, risks
large US investment stakes in Europe. And the suggestion to devalue the
dollar to promote US exports is misleading for it would only make it more
expensive for US affiliates to do business abroad while making it cheaper for
foreign companies to buy dollar assets. An attempt to improve the trade
balance, then, would actually end up hurting the FDI balance. This is the
rationale behind the slogan: a strong dollar is in the US national
Between 1996 and 2003, the monetary value of US equities rose around 80%
compared with 60% for European and a decline of 30% for Japanese. The 1997
Asian financial crisis cut Asia equities values by more than half, some as
much as 80% in dollar terms even after drastic devaluation of local
currencies. Even though the US has been a net debtor since 1986, its net
income on the international investment position has remained positive, as the
rate of return on US investments abroad continues to exceed that on foreign
investments in the US. This reflects the overall strength of the US economy,
and that strength is derived from the US being the only nation that can enjoy
the benefits of sovereign credit utilization while amassing external debt,
largely due to dollar hegemony.
In the US, and now also increasingly so in Europe and Asia, capital
markets are rapidly displacing banks as both savings venues and sources of
funds for corporate finance. This shift, along with the growing global
integration of financial markets, is supposed to create promising new
opportunities for investors around the globe. Neo-liberals even claim that
these changes could help head off the looming pension crises facing many
nations. But so far it has only created sudden and recurring financial crises
like those that started in Mexico in 1982, then in the UK in 1992, again in
Mexico in 1994, in Asia in 1997, and Russia, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey
The introduction of the euro has accelerated the growth of the EU
financial markets. For the current 25 members of the European Union, the
common currency nullified national requirements for pension and insurance
assets to be invested in the same currencies as their local liabilities, a
restriction that had long locked the bulk of Europe's long-term savings into
domestic assets. Freed from foreign-exchange transaction costs and risks of
currency fluctuations, these savings fueled the rise of larger, more liquid
European stock and bond markets, including the recent emergence of a
substantial euro junk bond market. These more dynamic capital markets, in
turn, have placed increased competitive pressure on banks by giving
corporations new financing options and thus lowering the cost of capital
within euroland. How this will interact with the euro-dollar market is still
indeterminate. Euro-dollars are dollars outside of US borders everywhere and
not necessarily Europe, generally pre-taxed and subject to US taxes if they
return to US soil or accounts. The term also applies to euro-yens and
euro-euros. But the idea of French retirement accounts investing in
non-French assets is both distasteful and irrational for the average French
worker, particularly if such investment leads to decreased job security in
France and jeopardizes the jealously guarded 35-hour work-week with 30 days
of paid annual vacation which has been part of French life.
Take the Japanese economy as an example, the world's largest creditor
economy. It holds over $800 billion in dollar reserves in 2005. The Bank of
Japan (BoJ), the central bank, has bought over 300 billion dollars with yen
from currency markets in the last two years in an effort to stabilize the
exchange value of the yen, which continued to appreciate against the dollar.
Now, BoJ is faced with a dilemma: continue buying dollars in a futile effort
to keep the yen from rising, or sell dollars to try to recoup yen losses on
its dollar reserves. Japan has officially pledged not to diversify its dollar
reserves into other currencies, so as not to roil currency markets, but many
hedge funds expect Japan to soon run out of options.
Now if the BoJ sells dollars at the rate of $4 billion a day, it will take
some 200 trading days to get out of its dollar reserves. After the initial 2
days of sale, the remaining unsold $792 billion reserves would have a market
value of 20% less than before the sales program began. So the BoJ will suffer
a substantial net yen paper loss of $160 billion. If the BoJ continues its
sell-dollar program, everyday Y400 billion will leave the yen money supply to
return to the BoJ if it sells dollars for yen, or the equivalent in euro if
it sells dollars for euro. This will push the dollar further down against the
yen or euro, in which case the value of its remaining dollar reserves will
fall even further, not to mention a sharp contraction in the yen money supply
which will push the Japanese economy into a deeper recession.
If the BoJ sells dollars for gold, two things may happen. There would be
not enough sellers because no one has enough gold to sell to absorb the
dollars at current gold prices. Instead, while price of gold will rise, the
gold market may simply freezes with no transactions. Gold holders will not
have to sell their gold; they can profit from gold derivatives on notional
values. Also, the reverse market effect that faces the dollar would hit gold.
After two days of Japanese gold buying, everyone would hold on to their gold
in anticipation for still higher gold prices. There would be no market
makers. Part of the reason central banks have been leasing out their gold in
recent years is to provide liquidity to the gold market. The second thing
that may happen is that price of gold will sky rocket in currency terms,
causing a great deflation in gold terms. The US national debt as of June 1,
2005 was $7.787 trillion. US government gold holding is about 261,000,000
ounces. Price of gold required to pay back the national debt with US-held
gold is $29,835 per ounce. At that price, an ounce of gold will buy a car.
Meanwhile, market price of gold as of June 4, 2005 was $423.50 per ounce.
Gold peaked at $850 per ounce in 1980 and bottom at $252 in 1999 when oil was
below $10 a barrel. At $30,000 per ounce, governments then will have to made
gold trading illegal, as FDR did in 1930 and we are back to square one. It is
much easier for a government to outlaw the trading of gold within its borders
than it is for it to outlaw the trading of its currency in world markets. It
does not take much to conclude that anyone who advices any strategy of
long-term holding of gold will not get to the top of the class.
Heavily indebted poor countries need debt relief to get out of virtual
financial slavery. Some African governments spend three times as much on debt
service as they do on health care. Britain has proposed a half measure that
would have the IMF sell about $12 billion worth of its gold reserves, which
have a total current market value of about $43 billion to finance debt
relief. The US has veto power over gold decisions in the IMF. Thus Congress
holds the key. However, the mining industry lobby has blocked a vote. In
January, a letter opposing the sale of IMF gold was signed by 12 US senators
from Western mining states, arguing that the sale could drive down the price
of gold. A similar letter was signed in March by 30 members of the House of
Representatives. Lobbyists from the National Mining Association and gold
mining companies, such as Newmont Mining and Barrick Gold Corp, persuaded the
Congressional leadership that the gold proposal would not pass in Congress,
even before it came up for debate. The BIS reports that gold derivatives took
up 26% of the world's commodity derivatives market yet gold only composes 1%
of the world's annual commodity production value, with 26 times more
derivatives structured against gold than against other commodities, including
oil. The Bush administration, at first apparently unwilling to take on a
congressional fight, began in April to oppose gold sales outright. But
President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair announced on June 7 that the
US and UK are "well on their way" to a deal which would provide 100% debt
cancellation for some poor nations to the World Bank and African Development
Fund as a sign of progress in the G-8 debate over debt cancellation.
Jude Wanniski, a former editor of the Wall Street Journal, commenting in
his Memo on the Margin on the Internet on June 15, 2005, on the headline of
Pat Buchanan's syndicated column of the same date: Reviving the Foreign-Aid
Racket, wrote: "This not a bailout of Africa's poor or Latin American
peasants. This is a bailout of the IMF, the World Bank and the African
Development Bank . The second part of the racket is that in exchange for
getting debt relief, the poor countries will have to spend the money they
save on debt service on "infrastructure projects," to directly help their
poor people with water and sewer line, etc., which will be constructed by
contractors from the wealthiest nations What comes next? One of the worst
economists in the world, Jeffrey Sachs, is in charge of the United Nations
scheme to raise mega-billions from western taxpayers for the second leg of
this scheme. He wants $25 billion A YEAR for the indefinite future, as I
recall, and he has the fervent backing of The New York Times , which
always weeps crocodile tears for the racketeers. It was Jeffrey Sachs, in
case you forgot, who, with the backing of the NYTimes persuaded Moscow
under Mikhail Gorbachev to engage in "shock therapy" to convert from
communism to capitalism. It produced the worst inflation in the history of
Russia, caused the collapse of the Soviet federation, and sank the Russian
people into a poverty they had never experienced under communism."
The dollar cannot go up or down more than 20% against any other major
currencies within a short time without causing a major global financial
crisis. Yet, against the US equity markets the dollar appreciated about 40%
in purchasing power in the 2000-02 market crash, so had gold. And against
real estate prices between 2002 and 2005, the dollar has depreciated 60% or
more. According to Greenspan's figures, the Fed can print $8 trillion more
fiat dollars without causing inflation. The problem is not the money
printing. The problem is where that $8 trillion is injected. If it is
injected into the banking system, then the Fed will have to print $3 trillion
every subsequent year just to keep running in place. If the $8 trillion is
injected into the real economy in the form of full employment and higher
wages, the US will have a very good economy, and much less need for paranoia
against Asia or the EU. But US wages cannot rise as long as global wage
arbitrage is operative. This is one of the arguments behind protectionism. It
led Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to say on May 5 he feared what
appeared to be a growing move toward trade protectionism, saying it could
lessen the US and the world's economy ability to withstand shock. Yet if
democracy works in the US, protectionism will be unstoppable as long as free
trade benefits the elite at the expense of the voting masses.
Fiat Money is Sovereign Credit
Money is like power: use it or lose it. Money unused (not circulated) is
defunct wealth. Fiat money not circulated is not wealth but merely pieces of
printed paper sitting in a safe. Gold unused as money is merely a shiny metal
good only as ornamental gifts for weddings and birthdays. The usefulness of
money to the economy is dependent on its circulation, like the circulation of
blood to bring oxygen and nutrient to the living organism. The rate of money
circulation is called velocity by monetary economists. A vibrant economy
requires a high velocity of money. Money, like most representational
instruments, is subject to declaratory definition. In semantics, a
declaratory statement is self validating. For example: "I am King" is a
statement that makes the declarer king, albeit in a kingdom of one citizen.
What gives weight to the declaration is the number of others accepting that
declaration. When sufficient people within a jurisdiction accept the kingship
declaration, the declarer becomes king of that jurisdiction instead of just
his own house. When an issuer of money declares it to be credit it will be
credit, or when he declares it to be debt it will be debt. But the social
validity of the declaration depends on the acceptance of
Anyone can issue money, but only sovereign government can
issue legal tender for all debts, public and private, universally accepted
with the force of law within the sovereign domain. The issuer of private
money must back that money with some substance of value, such as gold, or the
commitment for future service, etc. Others who accept that money have
provided something of value for that money, and have received that money
instead of something of similar value in return. So the issuer of that money
has given an instrument of credit to the holder in the form of that money,
redeemable with something of value on a later date.
When the state issues fiat money under the principle of Chartalism, the
something of value behind it is the fulfillment of tax obligations. Thus the
state issues a credit instrument, called (fiat) money, good for the
cancellation of tax liabilities. By issuing fiat money, the state is not
borrowing from anyone. It is issuing tax credit to the economy.
Even if money is declared as debt assumed by an issuer who is not a
sovereign who has the power to tax, anyone accepting that money expects to
collect what is owed him as a creditor. When that money is used in a
subsequent transaction, the spender is parting with his creditor right to buy
something of similar value from a third party, thus passing the "debt" of the
issuer to the third party. Thus no matter what money is declared to be, its
functions is a credit instrument in transactions. When one gives money to
another, the giver is giving credit and the receiver is incurring a debt
unless value is received immediately for that money. When debt is repaid with
money, money acts as a credit instrument. When government buys back
government bonds, which is sovereign debt, it cannot do so with fiat money it
issues unless fiat money is sovereign credit.
When money changes hands, there is always a creditor and a debtor.
Otherwise there is no need for money, which stands for value rather than
being value intrinsically. When a cow is exchanged for another cow, that is
bartering, but when a cow is bought with money, the buyer parts with money
(an instrument of value) while the seller parts with the cow (the substance
of value). The seller puts himself in the position of being a new creditor
for receiving the money in exchange for his cow. The buyer exchanges his
creditor position for possession of the cow. In this transaction, money is an
instrument of credit, not a debt.
When private money is issued, the only way it will be accepted generally
is that the money is redeemable for the substance of value behind it based on
the strong credit of the issuer. The issuer of private money is a custodian
of the substance of value, not a debtor. All that is logic, and it does not
matter how many mainstream monetary economists say money is debt.
Economist Hyman P Minsky (1919-1996) observed correctly that money is
created whenever credit is issued. He did not say money is created when debt
is incurred. Only entities with good credit can issue credit or create money.
Debtors cannot create money, or they would not have to borrow. However, a
creditor can only be created by the existence of a debtor. So both a creditor
and a debtor are needed to create money. But only the creditor can issue
money, the debtor accepts the money so created which puts him in debt.
The difference with the state is that its power to levy taxes exempts it
from having to back its creation of fiat money with any other assets of
value. The state when issuing fiat money is acting as a sovereign creditor.
Those who took the fiat money without exchanging it with things of value is
indebted to the state; and because taxes are not always based only on income,
a tax payer is a recurring debtor to the state by virtue of his citizenship,
even those with no income. When the state provides transfer payments in the
form of fiat money, it relieves the recipient of his tax liabilities or
transfers the exemption from others to the recipient to put the recipient in
a position of a creditor to the economy through the possession of fiat money.
The holder of fiat money is then entitled to claim goods and services from
the economy. For things that are not for sale, such as political office,
money is useless, at least in theory. The exercise of the fiat money's claim
on goods and services is known as buying something that is for sa <>
There is a difference between buying a cow with fiat money and buying a
cow with private IOUs (notes). The transaction with fiat money is complete.
There is no further obligation on either side after the transaction. With
notes, the buyer must either eventually pay with money, which cancels the
notes (debt) or return the cow. The correct way to look at sovereign
government-issued fiat money is that it is not a sovereign debt, but a
sovereign credit good for canceling tax obligations. When the government
redeems sovereign bonds (debt) with fiat money (sovereign credit), it is not
paying off old debt with new debt, which would be a Ponzi scheme.
Government does not become a debtor by issuing fiat money, which in the US
is a Federal Reserve note, not an ordinary bank note. The word "bank" does
not appear on US dollars. Zero maturity money (ZMM), which grew from $550
billion in 1971 when Nixon took the dollar off gold, to $6.63 trillion as of
May 30, 2005 is not a Federal debt. It is a Federal credit to the economy
acceptable for payment of taxes and as legal tender for all debts, public and
private. Anyone refusing to accept dollars within US jurisdiction is in
violation of US law. One is free to set market prices that determine the
value, or purchasing power of the dollar, but it is illegal on US soil to
refuse to accept dollars for the settlement of debts. Instruments used for
settling debts are credit instruments. When fiat money is used to buy
sovereign bonds (debt), money cannot be anything but an instrument of
sovereign credit. If fiat money is sovereign debt, there is no need to sell
government bonds for fiat money. When a sovereign government sells a
sovereign bond for fiat money issues, it is withdrawing sovereign credit from
the economy. And if the government then spends the money, the money supply
remains unchanged. But if the government allows a fiscal surplus by spending
less than its tax revenue, the money supply shrinks and the economy slows.
That was the effect of the Clinton surplus which produce the recession of
2000. While run-away fiscal deficits are inflationary, fiscal surpluses lead
to recessions. Conservatives who are fixated on fiscal surpluses are simply
uninformed on monetary economics. <>
For euro-dollars, meaning fiat dollars outside of the US, the reason those
who are not required to pay US taxes accept them is because of dollar
hegemony, not because dollars are IOUs of the US government. Everyone accept
dollars because dollars can buy oil and all other key commodities. When the
Fed injects money into the US banking system, it is not issuing government
debt; it is expanding sovereign credit which would require higher government
tax revenue to redeem. But if expanding sovereign credit expands the economy,
tax revenue will increase without changing the tax rate. Dollar hegemony
exempts the dollar, and only the dollar, from foreign exchange implication on
the State Theory of Money. To issue sovereign debt, the Treasury issues
treasury bonds. Thus under dollar hegemony, the US is the only nation that
can practice and benefit from sovereign credit under the principle of
Money and bonds are opposite instruments that cancel each other. That is
how the Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) controls the money supply, by buying
or selling government securities with fiat dollars to set a fed funds rate
target. The fed funds rate is the interest rate at which banks lend to each
other overnight. As such, it is a market interest rate that influences market
interest rates throughout the world in all currencies through exchange rates.
Holders of a government bond can claim its face value in fiat money at
maturity, but holder of a fiat dollar can only claim a fiat dollar
replacement at the Fed. Holders of fiat dollars can buy new sovereign bonds
at the Treasury, or outstanding sovereign bond in the bond market, but not at
the Fed. The Fed does not issue debts, only credit in the form of fiat money.
When the Fed FOMC buys or sells government securities, it does on behalf of
the Treasury. When the Fed increases the money supply, it is not adding to
the national debt. It is increasing sovereign credit in the economy. That is
why monetary easing is not deficit financing.
Money and Inflation
It is sometimes said that war's legitimate child is revolution and war's
bastard child is inflation. World War I was no exception. The US national
debt multiplied 27 times to finance the nation's participation in that war,
from US$1 billion to $27 billion. Far from ruining the United States, the war
catapulted the country into the front ranks of the world's leading economic
and financial powers. The national debt turned out to be a blessing, for
government securities are indispensable as anchors for a vibrant credit
Inflation was a different story. By the end of World War I, in 1919, US
prices were rising at the rate of 15% annually, but the economy roared ahead.
In response, the Federal Reserve Board raised the discount rate in quick
succession, from 4 to 7%, and kept it there for 18 months to try to rein in
inflation. The discount rate is the interest rate charged to commercial banks
and other depository institutions on loans they receive from their regional
Federal Reserve Bank's lending facility--the discount window. The result was
that in 1921, 506 banks failed. Deflation descended on the economy like a
perfect storm, with commodity prices falling 50% from their 1920 peak,
throwing farmers into mass bankruptcies. Business activity fell by one-third;
manufacturing output fell by 42%; unemployment rose fivefold to 11.9%, adding
4 million to the jobless count. The economy came to a screeching halt. From
the Fed's perspective, declining prices were the goal, not the problem;
unemployment was necessary to restore US industry to a sound footing, freeing
it from wage-pushed inflation. Potent medicine always came with a bitter
taste, the central bankers explained.
At this point, a technical process inadvertently gave the New York Federal
Reserve Bank, which was closely allied with internationalist banking
interest, preeminent influence over the Federal Reserve Board in Washington,
the composition of which represented a more balanced national interest. The
initial operation of the Fed did not use the open-market operation of
purchasing or selling government securities to set interest rate policy as a
method of managing the money supply. The Fed could not simply print money to
buy government securities to inject money into the money supply because the
dollar was based on gold and the amount of gold held by the government was
relatively fixed. Money in the banking system was created entirely through
the discount window at the regional Federal Reserve Banks. Instead of buying
or selling government bonds, the regional Feds accepted "real bills" of
trade, which when paid off would extinguish money in the banking system,
making the money supply self-regulating in accordance with the "real bills"
doctrine to maintain the gold standard. The regional Feds bought government
securities not to adjust money supply, but to enhance their separate
operating profit by parking idle funds in interest-bearing yet super-safe
government securities, the way institutional money managers do today.
Bank economists at that time did not understand that when the regional
Feds independently bought government securities, the aggregate effect would
result in macro-economic implications of injecting "high power" money into
the banking system, with which commercial banks could create more money in
multiple by lending recycles based on the partial reserve principle. When the
government sold bonds, the reverse would happen. When the Fed made open
market transactions, interest rates would rise or fall accordingly in
financial markets. And when the regional Feds did not act in unison, the
credit market could become confused or become disaggregated, as one regional
Fed might buy while another might sell government securities in its open
Benjamin Strong, first president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, saw
the problem and persuaded the other 11 regional Feds to let the New York Fed
handle all their transactions in a coordinated manner. The regional Feds
formed an Open Market Investment Committee, to be run by the New York Fed for
the purpose of maximizing overall profit for the whole system. This committee
became dominated by the New York Fed, which was closely linked to big-money
center bank interests which in turn were closely tied to international
financial markets. The Federal Reserve Board approved the arrangement without
full understanding of its full implication: that the Fed was falling under
the undue influence of the New York internationalist bankers. For the US,
this was the beginning of financial globalization. This fatal flaw would
reveal itself in the Fed's role in causing and its impotence in dealing with
the 1929 crash.
The deep 1920-21 depression eventually recovered by the lowering of the
Fed discount rate into the Roaring Twenties, which, like the New Economy
bubble of the 1990s, left some segments of economy and the population in them
lingering in a depressed state. Farmers remained victimized by depressed
commodity prices and factory workers shared in the prosperity only by working
longer hours and assuming debt with the easy money that the banks provided.
Unions lost 30% of their membership because of high unemployment in boom
time. The prosperity was entirely fueled by the wealth effect of a
speculative boom in the stock market that by the end of the decade would face
the 1929 crash and land the nation and the world in the Great Depression.
Historical data showed that when New York Fed president Strong leaned on the
regional Feds to ease the discount rate on an already overheated economy in
1927, the Fed lost its last window of opportunity to prevent the 1929 crash.
Some historians claimed that Strong did so to fulfill his internationalist
vision at the risk of endangering the national interest. It is an issue of
debate that continues in Congress today. Like Greenspan, Strong argued that
it was preferable to deal with post-crash crisis management by adding
liquidity than to pop a bubble prematurely with preventive measures of tight
money. It is a strategy that requires letting a bubble to pop only inside a
The speculative boom of easy credit in the 1920s attracted many to buy
stocks with borrowed money and used the rising price of stocks as new
collateral for borrowing more to buy more stocks. Broker's loans went from
under $5 million in mid 1928 to $850 million in September of 1929. The market
capitalization of the 846 listed companies of the New York Stock Exchange was
$89.7 billion, at 1.24 times 1929 GDP. By current standards, a case could be
built that stocks in 1929 were in fact technically undervalued. The 2,750
companies listed in the New York Stock Exchange had total global market
capitalization exceeding $18 trillion in 2004, 1.53 times 2004 GDP of $11.75
On January 14, 2001, the DJIA reached its all time high to date at 11,723,
not withstanding Greenspan's warning of "irrational exuberance" on December
6, 1996 when the DJIA was at 6,381. From its August 12, 1982 low of 777, the
DJIA began its most spectacular bull market in history. It was interrupted
briefly only by the abrupt and frightening crash on October 19, 1987 when the
DJIA lost 22.6% on Black Monday, falling to 1,739. It represented a
1,020-point drop from its previous peak of 2,760 reached less than two months
earlier on August 21. But Greenspan's easy money policy lifted the DJIA to
11,723 in 13 years, a 674% increase. In 1929 the top came on September 4,
with the DJIA at 386. A headline in The New York Times on October 22,
1929, reported highly-respected economist Irving Fisher as saying: "Prices of
Stocks Are Low." Two days later, the stock market crashed, and by the end of
November, the New York Stock Exchange shares index was down 30%. The index
did not return to the 9/3/29 level until November, 1954. At its worst level,
the index dropped to 40.56 in July 1932, a drop of 89%. Fisher had based his
statement on strong earnings reports, few industrial disputes, and evidence
of high investment in research and development (R&D) and in other
intangible capital. Theory and supportive data not withstanding, the reality
was that the stock market boom was based on borrowed money and false
optimism. In hindsight, many economists have since concluded that stock
prices were overvalued by 30% in 1929. But when the crash came, the overshoot
dropped the index by 89% in less than three years <> .
Money and Gold
When money is not backed by gold, its exchange value must be managed by
government, more specifically by the monetary policies of the central bank.
No responsible government will voluntarily let the market set the exchange
value of its currency, market fundamentalism notwithstanding. Yet central
bankers tend to be attracted to the gold standard because it can relieve them
of the unpleasant and thankless responsibility of unpopular monetary policies
to sustain the value of money. Central bankers have been caricatured as party
spoilers who take away the punch bowl just when the party gets going.
Yet even a gold standard is based on a fixed value of money to gold, set
by someone to reflect the underlying economical conditions at the time of its
setting. Therein lies the inescapable need for human judgment. Instead of
focusing on the appropriateness of the level of money valuation under
changing economic conditions, central banks often become fixated on merely
maintaining a previously set exchange rate between money and gold, doing
serious damage in the process to any economy temporarily out of sync with
that fixed rate. It seldom occurs to central bankers that the fixed rate was
the problem, not the dynamic economy. When the exchange value of a currency
falls, central bankers often feel a personal sense of failure, while they
merely shrug their shoulders to refer to natural laws of finance when the
economy collapses from an overvalued currency.
The return to the gold standard in war-torn Europe in the 1920s was
engineered by a coalition of internationalist central bankers on both sides
of the Atlantic as a prerequisite for postwar economic reconstruction.
Lenders wanted to make sure that their loans would be repaid in money equally
valuable as the money they lent out, pretty much the way the IMF deals with
the debt problem today. President Strong of the New York Fed and his former
partners at the House of Morgan were closely associated with the Bank of
England, the Banque de France, the Reichsbank, and the central banks of
Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, and Belgium, as well as with leading
internationalist private bankers in those countries. Montagu Norman, governor
of the Bank of England from 1920-44, enjoyed a long and close personal
friendship with Strong as well as ideological alliance. Their joint
commitment to restore the gold standard in Europe and so to bring about a
return to the "international financial normalcy" of the prewar years was well
documented. Norman recognized that the impairment of British financial
hegemony meant that, to accomplish postwar economic reconstruction that would
preserve pre-war British interests, Europe would "need the active cooperation
of our friends in the United States."
Like other New York bankers, Strong perceived World War I as an
opportunity to expand US participation in international finance, allowing New
York to move toward coveted international-finance-center status to rival
London's historical preeminence, through the development of a commercial
paper market, or bankers' acceptances in British finance parlance, breaking
London's long monopoly. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 permitted the Federal
Reserve Banks to buy, or rediscount, such paper. This allowed US banks in New
York to play an increasingly central role in international finance in
competition with the London market.
Herbert Hoover, after losing his second-term US presidential election to
Franklin D Roosevelt as a result of the 1929 crash, criticized Strong as "a
mental annex to Europe", and blamed Strong's internationalist commitment to
facilitating Europe's postwar economic recovery for the US stock-market crash
of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression that robbed Hoover of a second
term. Europe's return to the gold standard, with Britain's insistence on what
Hoover termed a "fictitious rate" of US$4.86 to the pound sterling, required
Strong to expand US credit by keeping the discount rate unrealistically low
and to manipulate the Fed's open market operations to keep US interest rate
low to ease market pressures on the overvalued pound sterling. Hoover, with
justification, ascribed Strong's internationalist policies to what he viewed
as the malign persuasions of Norman and other European central bankers,
especially Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank and Charles Rist of the Bank of
France. From the mid-1920s onward, the US experienced credit-pushed
inflation, which fueled the stock-market bubble that finally collapsed in
Within the Federal Reserve System, Strong's low-rate policies of the
mid-1920s also provoked substantial regional opposition, particularly from
Midwestern and agricultural elements, who generally endorsed Hoover's
subsequent critical analysis. Throughout the 1920s, two of the Federal
Reserve Board's directors, Adolph C Miller, a professional economist, and
Charles S Hamlin, perennially disapproved of the degree to which they
believed Strong subordinated domestic to international considerations.
The fairness of Hoover's allegation is subject to debate, but the fact
that there was a divergence of priority between the White House and the Fed
is beyond dispute, as is the fact that what is good for the international
financial system may not always be good for a national economy. This is
evidenced today by the collapse of one economy after another under the
current international finance architecture that all central banks support
instinctively out of a sense of institutional solidarity. The same issue has
surfaced in today's China where regional financial centers such as Hong Kong
and Shanghai are vying for the role of world financial center. To do this,
they must play by the rules of the international financial system which
imposes a cost on the national economy. The nationalist vs. internationalist
conflict, as exemplified by the Hoover vs. Strong conflict of the 1930s, is
also threatening the further integration of the European Union. Behind the
fundamental rationale of protectionism is the rejection of the claim that
internationalist finance places national development as its priority. The
Richardian theory of comparative advantage of free trade is not the
The issue of government control over foreign loans also brought the Fed,
dominated by Strong, into direct conflict with Hoover when the latter was
Secretary of Commerce. Hoover believed that the US government should have
right of approval on foreign loans based on national-interest considerations
and that the proceeds of US loans should be spent on US goods and services.
Strong opposed all such restrictions as undesirable government intervention
in free trade and international finance and counterproductively
protectionist. Businesses should be not only allowed, but encouraged to buy
when it is cheapest anywhere in the world, including shopping for funds to
borrow, a refrain that is heard tirelessly from free traders also today. Of
course, the expanding application of the law of one price to more and more
commodities, including the price of money, i.e. interest rates adjusted by
exchange rates, makes such dispute academic. The only commodity exempt from
the law of one price is labor. This exemption makes the trade theory of
comparative advantage a fantasy.
In July and August 1927, Strong, despite ominous data on mounting market
speculation and inflation, pushed the Fed to lower the discount rate from 4
to 3 percent to relieve market pressures again on the overvalued British
pound. In July 1927, the central bankers of Great Britain, the United States,
France, and Weimar Germany met on Long Island in the US to discuss means of
increasing Britain's gold reserves and stabilizing the European currency
situation. Strong's reduction of the discount rate and purchase of 12 million
pound sterling, for which he paid the Bank of England in gold, appeared to
come directly from that meeting. One of the French bankers in attendance,
Charles Rist, reported that Strong said that US authorities would reduce the
discount rate as "un petit coup de whisky for the stock exchange".
Strong pushed this reduction through the Fed despite strong opposition from
Miller and fellow board member James McDougal of the Chicago Fed, who
represented Midwestern bankers, who generally did not share New York's
Frank Altschul, partner in the New York branch of the transnational
investment bank Lazard Freres, told Emile Moreau, the governor of the Bank of
France, that "the reasons given by Mr Strong as justification for the
reduction in the discount rate are being taken seriously by no one, and that
everyone in the United States is convinced that Mr Strong wanted to aid Mr
Norman by supporting the pound." Other correspondence in Strong's own files
suggests that he was giving priority to international monetary conditions
rather than to US export needs, contrary to his public arguments. Writing to
Norman, who praised his handling of the affair as "masterly", Strong
described the US discount rate reduction as "our year's contribution to
reconstruction." The Fed's ease in 1927 forced money to flow not into the
overheated real economy, which was unable to absorb further investment, but
into the speculative financial market, which led to the crash of 1929. Strong
died in October 1928, one year before the crash, and was spared the pain of
having to see the devastating results of his internationalist policies.
Scholarly debate still continues as to whether Strong's effort to
facilitate European economic reconstruction compromised the US domestic
economy and, in particular, led him to subordinate US monetary policies to
internationalist demands. In 1930, the US economy had yet to dominate the
world economy as it does now. There is, however, little disagreement that the
overall monetary strategy of European central banks had been misguided in its
reliance on the restoration of the gold standard. Critics suggest that the
ambitious but misguided commitment of Strong, Norman, and other
internationalist bankers to returning the pound, the mark, and other major
European currencies to the gold standard at overly-high parities to gold,
which they were then forced to maintain at all costs, including indifference
to deflation, had the effect of undercutting Europe's postwar economic
recovery. Not only did Strong and his fellow central bankers through their
monetary policies contribute to the Great Depression, but their continuing
fixation on gold also acted as a straitjacket that in effect precluded
expansionist counter-cyclical measures.
The inflexibility of the gold standard and the central bankers'
determination to defend their national currencies' convertibility into gold
at almost any cost drastically limited the policy options available to them
when responding to the global financial crisis. This picture fits the
situation of the fixed-exchange-rates regime based on the fiat dollar that
produced recurring financial crises in the 1990s and that has yet to run its
full course by 2005. In 1927, Strong's unconditional support of the gold
standard, with the objective of bringing about the rising financial
predominance of the US which had the largest holdings of gold in the world,
exacerbated nascent international financial problems. In similar ways, dollar
hegemony does the same damage to the global economy today. Just as the
international gold standard itself was one of the major factors underlying
and exacerbating the Great Depression that followed the 1929 crash, since the
conditions that had sustained it before the war no longer existed, the
breakdown of the fixed-exchange-rates system based on a gold-backed dollar
set up by the Bretton Woods regime after World War II, without the removal of
the fiat dollar as a key reserve currency for trade and finance, will cause a
total collapse of the current international financial architecture with
equally tragic outcomes. Stripped of its gold backing, the fiat dollar has to
rely on geopolitical factors for its value, which push US foreign policy
towards increasing militaristic and belligerent unilateralism. With dollar
hegemony today, as it was with the gold standard of 1930, the trade war is
fought through currencies valuations on top of traditional tariffs.
The nature of and constraints on US internationalism after World War I had
parallels in US internationalism after World War II and in US-led
globalization after the Cold War. Hoover bitterly charged Strong with
reckless placement of the interests of the international financial system
ahead of US national interest and domestic development needs. Strong
sincerely believed his support for European currency stabilization also
promoted the best interests of the United States, as post-Cold War
neo-liberal market fundamentalists sincerely believe its promotion enhances
the US national interest. Unfortunately, sincerity is not a vaccine against
Strong argued relentlessly that exchange rate volatility, especially when
the dollar was at a premium against other currencies, made it difficult for
US exporters to price their goods competitively. As he had done during the
war, on numerous later occasions, Strong also stressed the need to prevent an
influx of gold into the US and the consequent domestic inflation, by the US
making loans to Europe, pursuing lenient debt policies, and accepting
European imports on generous terms. Strong never questioned the gold parities
set for the mark and the pound sterling. He merely accepted that returning
the pound to gold at prewar exchange rates required British deflation and US
efforts to use lower dollar interest rates to alleviate market pressures on
sterling. Like Fed chairman Paul Volcker in the 1980s, but unlike Treasury
Secretary Robert Rubin in the 1990s, Strong mistook a cheap dollar as serving
the national interest, while Rubin understood correctly that a strong dollar
is in the national interest by sustaining dollar hegemony. In either case,
the price for either an over-valued or under-valued dollar is the same:
global depression. Dollar hegemony in the 1990s pushed Japan and Germany into
prolonged depression. <>
The US position in 2005 is that a strong dollar is still in the US
national interest, but a strong dollar requires an even stronger Chinese yuan
in the 21 st century. Just as Strong saw the need for a strong
British pound paid for by deflation in Britain in exchange for the carrot of
continuing British/European imports to the US, Bush and Greenspan now want a
stronger Chinese yuan, paid for with deflation in China in exchange for
curbing US protectionism against Chinese imports. The 1985 Plaza Accord to
force the appreciation of the Japanese yen marked the downward spiral of the
Japanese economy via currency-induced deflation. Another virtual Plaza Accord
forced the rise of the euro that left Europe with a stagnant economy. A new
virtual Plaza Accord against China will also condemn the Chinese economy into
a protracted period of deflation. Deflation in China at this time will cause
the collapse of the Chinese banking system which is weighted down by the BIS
regulatory regime that turned national banking subsidies to
state-own-enterprises into massive non-performing loans. A collapse of the
Chinese banking system will have dire consequences for the global financial
system since the robust Chinese economy is the only engine of growth in the
world economy at this time.
When Norman sent Strong a copy of John Maynard Keynes' Tract on
Monetary Reform (1923), Strong commented "that some of his [Keynes']
conclusions are thoroughly unwarranted and show a great lack of knowledge of
American affairs and of the Federal Reserve System." Within a decade, Keynes,
with his advocacy of demand management via deficit financing, became the most
influential economist in post-war history.
The major flaw in the European effort for post-World War I economic
reconstruction was its attempt to reconstruct the past through its attachment
to the gold standard, with little vision of a new future. The democratic
governments of the moneyed class that inherited power from the fall of
monarchies did not fully comprehend the implication of the disappearance of
the monarch as a ruler, whose financial architecture they tried to continue
for the benefit of their bourgeois class. The broadening of the political
franchise in most European countries after the war had made it far more
difficult for governments and central bankers to resist electoral pressures
for increased social spending and the demand for ample liquidity with low
interest rates, as well as high tolerance for moderate inflation to combat
unemployment, regardless of the impact of national policies on the
international financial architecture. The Fed, despite its claim of
independence from politics, has never been free of US presidential-election
politics since its founding. Shortly before his untimely death, Strong took
comfort in his belief that the reconstruction of Europe was virtually
completed and his internationalist policies had been successful in preserving
world peace. Within a decade of his death, the whole world was aflame with
World War II. <>
But in 1929, the dollar was still gold-backed. The government fixed the
dollar at 23.22 grains of gold, at $20.67 per troy ounce. When stock prices
rose faster than real economic growth, the dollar in effect depreciated. It
took more dollars to buy the same shares as prices rose. But the price of
gold remained fixed at $20.67 per ounce. Thus gold was cheap and the dollar
was overvalued and the trading public rushed to buy gold, injecting cash into
the economy which fueled more stock buying on margin. Price of gold mining
shares rose by 600%. But with a gold standard, the Fed could not print money
beyond its holding of gold without revaluing the dollar against gold. The
Quantity Theory of Money caught up with the financial bubble as prices for
equity rose but the quantity of money remained constant and it came into play
with a vengeance. Because of the gold standard, there reached a time when
there was no more money available to buy without someone first selling. When
the selling began, the debt bubble burst, and panic took over. When the stock
market collapsed, panic selling quickly wiped out most investors who bought
shares instead of gold. As gold price was fixed, it could not fall with the
general deflation and owners of gold did exceptionally well by comparison to
What Strong did not figure was that when the Fed lowered the discount rate
to relieve market pressure on the overvalued British pound sterling after its
gold convertibility had been restored in 1925, the world economy could not
expand because money tied to gold was inelastic, leaving the US economy with
a financial bubble that was not supported by any rise in earnings. The
British-controlled gold standard proved to be a straightjacket for world
economic growth, not unlike the deflationary Maastricht "convergence
criteria" based on the strong German mark of the late 1990's. The speculation
of the Coolidge-Hoover era was encouraged by Norman and Strong to fight
gold-induced deflation. The accommodative monetary policy of the US Federal
Reserve led to a bubble economy in the US, similar to Greenspan's bubble
economy since 1987. There were two differences: the dollar was gold-backed in
1930 while in 1987 it was a fiat currency; and in 1930, the world monetary
system was based on sterling pound hegemony while today it is based on dollar
hegemony. When the Wall Street bubble was approaching unsustainable
proportions in the autumn of 1929, giving the false impression that the US
economy was booming, Norman sharply cut the British bank rate to try to
stimulate the British economy in unison. When short-term rates fell, it
created serious problems for British transnational banks which were stuck
with funds borrowed long-term at high interest rates that now could only be
lent out short-term at low rates. They had to repatriating British hot money
from New York to cover this ruinous interest rate gap, leaving New York
speculators up the creek without an interest rate paddle. This was the first
case of hot money contagion, albeit what hit the Asian banks in 1997 was the
opposite: they borrowed short-term at low interest rates to lend out
long-term at high rates. And when interest rates rose because of falling
exchange rate of local currencies, borrowers defaulted and the credit system
The contagion in the 1997 Asian financial crisis devastated all Asian
economies. The financial collapse in Thailand and Indonesia in July 1997
caused the strong markets of high liquidity such as Hong Kong and Singapore
to collapse when investors sold in these liquid markets to raise funds to
rescue their positions in illiquid markets that were wrongly diagnosed by the
IMF as mere passing storms that could be weathered with a temporary shift of
liquidity. Following badly flawed IMF advice, investors threw good money
after bad and brought down the whole regional economy while failing to
contain the problem within Thailand. <>
The financial crises that began in Thailand in July 1997 caused sell-downs
in other robust and liquid markets in the region such as Hong Kong and
Singapore that impacted even Wall Street in October. But prices fell in
Thailand not because domestic potential buyers had no money. The fact was
that equity prices in Thailand were holding in local currency terms but
falling fast in foreign exchange terms when the peg of the baht to the dollar
began to break. Then as the baht devalued in a free fall, stocks of Thai
companies with local currency revenue, including healthy export firms that
contracted local currency payments, logically collapsed while those with hard
currency revenue actually appreciated in local currency terms. The margin
calls were met as a result of investors trying not to sell, rather than
trying to liquidate at a loss. The incentive for holding on with additional
margin payments was based on IMF pronouncements that the crisis was only
temporary and imminent help was on the way and that the problem would
stabilize within months. But the promised help never come. What came was an
IMF program of imposed "conditionalities" that pushed the troubled Asian
economies off the cliff, designed only to save the foreign creditors. The
"temporary" financial crisis was pushed into a multi-year economic crisis.
Geopolitics played a large role. US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin
decided very early the Thai crisis was a minor Asian problem and told the IMF
to solve it with an Asian solution but not to let Japan take the lead. Hong
Kong contributed US$1 billion and China contributed US$1 billion on blind
faith on Rubin's assurance that the problem would be contained within Thai
borders (after all, Thailand was a faithful US ally in the Cold War). Then
Korea was hit in December 1997. Rubin again thought it was another temporary
Asian problem. The Korean Central Bank was bleeding dollar reserves trying to
support an overvalued won pegged to the dollar, and by late December had only
several days left before its dollar reserves would run dry. Rubin was holding
on to his moral hazard posture until his aides in the Department of Treasury
told him one Sunday morning that the Brazilians were holding a lot of Korean
bonds. If Korea were to default, Brazil would collapse and land the US banks
in big trouble. Only then did Rubin get Citibank to work out a restructuring
the following Tuesday in Korea by getting the Fed to allow the American banks
to roll over the short-term Korean debts into non-interest paying long-term
debts without having to register them as non-performing, thus exempting the
US banks from the adverse impacts of the required capital injection that
would drag down their profits. <>
The Great Depression that started in 1929 was made more severe and
protracted by the British default on gold payment in September, 1931 and
subsequent British competitive devaluations as a national strategy for a new
international trade war. British policy involved a deliberate use of pound
sterling hegemony, the only world monetary regime at that time, as a national
monetary weapon in an international trade war, causing an irreversible
collapse of world trade. In response to British monetary moves, alternative
currency blocs emerged in rising economies such as the German Third Reich and
Imperial Japan. It did not take these governments long to realize that they
had to go to war to obtain the oil and other natural resources needed to
sustain their growing economies that collapsed world trade could no longer
deliver in peace. For Britain and the US, a quick war was exactly what was
needed to bring their own economies out of depression. No one anticipated
that WWII would be so destructive. German invasion of Poland on September 1,
1939 caused Britain and France to declared war on Germany on September 3, but
the British and French stayed behind the Maginot Line all winter, content
with a blockade of Germany by sea. The inactive period of the "phony war"
lasted 7 months until April 9, 1940 when Germany invaded Demark and Norway.
On May 10, German forces overrun Luxemburg and invaded the Netherlands and
Belgium. On March 13, they outflanked the Maginot Line and German panzer
divisions raced towards the British Channel, cut off Flanders and trapped the
entire British Expeditionary Force of 220,000 and 120,000 French troops at
Dunkirk. The trapped Allied forces had to be evacuated by civilian small
crafts from May 26 to June 4. On June 22, France capitulated. If Britain had
failed to evacuate its troops from Dunkirk, it would have to sue for peace as
many had expected, the war would have been over with German control of
Europe. Unable to use Britain as a base, US forces would never be able to
land in Europe. Without a two-front war, Germany might have been able to
prevail over the USSR. Germany might have then emerged as the hegemon.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as president on March 4, 1933. In
his first fireside chat radio address, Roosevelt told a panicky public that
"the confidence of the people themselves" was "more important than gold." On
March 9, the Senate quickly passed the Emergency Banking Act giving the
Secretary of the Treasury the power to compel every person and business in
the country to relinquish their gold and accept paper currency in exchange.
The next day, Friday March 10, Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 6073,
forbidding the public from sending gold overseas and forbidding banks from
paying out gold for dollar. On April 5, Roosevelt issued Executive Order No.
6102 to confiscate the public's gold, by commanding all to deliver their gold
and gold certificates to a Federal Reserve Bank, where they would be paid in
paper money. Citizens could keep up to $100 in gold, but anything above that
was illegal. Gold had become a controlled substance by law in the US.
Possession was punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up
to 10 years. On January 31, 1934, Roosevelt issued another Executive Order to
devalue the dollar by 59.06% of its former gold quantum of 23.22 grains,
pushing the dollar down to be worth only13.71 grains of gold, at $35 per
ounce, which lasted until 1971.
1929 Revisited and More
Shortsighted government monetary policies were the main factors that led
to the market collapse but the subsequent Great Depression was caused by the
collapse of world trade. US policymakers in the 1920s believed that business
was the purpose of society, just as policymakers today believe that free
trade is the purpose of civilization. Thus, the government took no action
against unconstructive speculation believing that the market knew best and
would be self-correcting. People who took risks should bear the consequences
of their own actions. The flaw in this view was that the consequences of
speculation were largely borne not by professional speculators, but by the
unsophisticated public who were unqualified to understand how they were being
manipulated to buy high and sell low. The economy had been based on
speculation but the risks were unevenly carried mostly by the innocent.
National wealth from speculation was not spread evenly. Instead, most money
was in the hands of a rich few who quickly passed on the risk and kept the
profit. They saved or invested rather than spent their money on goods and
services. Thus, supply soon became greater than demand. Some people profited,
but the majority did not. Prices went up faster than income and the public
could afford things only by going into debt while their disposable income
went into mindless speculation in hope of magically bailing borrowers out
from such debts. Farmers and factory/office workers did not profit at all.
Unevenness of prosperity made recovery difficult because income was
concentrated on those who did not have to spend it. The situation today is
After the 1929 crash, Congress tried to solve the high unemployment
problem by passing high tariffs that protected US industries but hurt US
farmers. International trade came to a stand still both because of
protectionism and the freezing up of trade finance. <>
This time, world trade may also collapse, and high tariffs will again be the
effect rather than the cause. The pending collapse of world trade will again
come as a result of protracted US exploitation of the advantages of dollar
hegemony, as the British did in 1930 regarding sterling pound hegemony. The
dollar is undeservedly the main trade currency without either the backing of
gold or US fiscal and monetary discipline. Most of the things people want to
buy are no longer made in the US, so the dollar has become an unnatural trade
currency. The system will collapse because despite huge US trade deficits,
there is no global recycling of money outside of the dollar economy. All
money circulates only within the dollar money supply, overheating the US
economy, financing its domestic joyrides and globalization tentacles, not to
mention military adventurism, milking the rest of the global economy dry and
depriving the non-dollar economies of needed purchasing power independent of
the US trade deficit. World trade will collapse this time not because of
trade restricting tariffs, which are merely temporary distractions, but
because of a global mal-distribution of purchasing power created by dollar
Central banking was adopted in the US in 1913 to provide elasticity to the
money supply to accommodate the ebb and flow of the business cycle. Yet the
mortal enemy of elasticity is structural fatigue which is what makes the
rubber band snap. Today, dollar hegemony cuts off monetary recirculation to
all non-dollar economies, forcing all exporting nations with mounting trade
surpluses into the position of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Ancient Mariner:
"Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink."
The USA elite might now want abandoning of GATT and even WTO as it does not like the results. That single fraud on the west has
had catastrophically perverse consequences for the coterie of killer's future and all because the designers of GATT had never thought
outside the square of economics and failed utterly to grasp the gift of scientific and manufacturing politics.
"... The US still depends heavily on oil importation -- it is not "independent" in any manner whatsoever. Here's the most current data while this chart shows importation history since 1980. ..."
"... the only time a biological or economic entity can become energy independent is upon its death when it no longer requires energy for its existence. ..."
"... A big part of the US move into the middle east post WWII was that they needed a strategic reserve for time of war and also they could see US consumption growing far larger than US production. ..."
"... The USA of WAR may have oil independence, but it is temporary. The race is on for release from oil dependency and China intends to win in my view. It is setting ambitious targets to move to electric vehicles and mass transit. That will give it a technology dominance, and perhaps a resource dominance in the EV sphere. We are in the decade of major corporate struggles and defensive maneuverings around China investments in key EV sectors. ..."
"... In ten to twenty years' time the energy story could well be significantly different. The USA and its coterie of killers are still fighting yesterday's war, yesterday's hatred of all things Russian, yesterday's energy monopoly. ..."
"... I don't believe that the USA of WAR has changed or even intends to change the way they play their 'game'. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade set the trajectory for technology transfer, fabrication skills transfer, growth of academic and scientific achievement in 'other' countries (China, Russia etc). Their thoughts in the GATT deal were trade = economics = oligarchy = good. ..."
"... That single fraud on the west has had catastrophically perverse consequences for the coterie of killer's future and all because the designers of GATT had never thought outside the square of economics and failed utterly to grasp the gift of scientific and manufacturing politics. ..."
"... Canada and the gulf monarchies are the only countries with large reserves that are not hostile as yet to the US. As the US no longer is totally reliant on imports to meet its consumption, Saudi's, Bahrain and co are now expendable assets. ..."
What I am looking at are strategic reserves, not how much oil is currently produced. With shale it now has those reserves and
shale oil I think is now at the point where production could quickly ramp up to full self sufficiency if required. Even if the
US were producing as much oil as they consumed, they would still be importing crude and exporting refined products.
A big part of the US move into the middle east post WWII was that they needed a strategic reserve for time of war and also
they could see US consumption growing far larger than US production.
@Peter AU 1 #28 Thank you for that stimulating post. I just have to respond. And thanks to b and all the commenters here, it is
my daily goto post.
The USA of WAR may have oil independence, but it is temporary. The race is on for release from oil dependency and China intends
to win in my view. It is setting ambitious targets to move to electric vehicles and mass transit. That will give it a technology
dominance, and perhaps a resource dominance in the EV sphere. We are in the decade of major corporate struggles and defensive
maneuverings around China investments in key EV sectors.
In ten to twenty years' time the energy story could well be significantly different. The USA and its coterie of killers
are still fighting yesterday's war, yesterday's hatred of all things Russian, yesterday's energy monopoly.
I don't believe that the USA of WAR has changed or even intends to change the way they play their 'game'. The General Agreement
on Tariffs and Trade set the trajectory for technology transfer, fabrication skills transfer, growth of academic and scientific
achievement in 'other' countries (China, Russia etc). Their thoughts in the GATT deal were trade = economics = oligarchy = good.
That single fraud on the west has had catastrophically perverse consequences for the coterie of killer's future and all
because the designers of GATT had never thought outside the square of economics and failed utterly to grasp the gift of scientific
and manufacturing politics.
By gross ignorance and foolish under-investment, the USA of WAR and its coterie of killers have eaten their future at their
Light sweet vs heavy sour. Light means it contains a lot of diesel/petrol. Sweet means low sulphur. Many oils are heavy sour.
Canada sand. the stuff they get from that is thick bitumen with high sulpher. The sulpher needs to be removed and the bitumen
broken down into light fuels like diesel and petrol.
Canada and the gulf monarchies are the only countries with large reserves that are not hostile as yet to the US. As the
US no longer is totally reliant on imports to meet its consumption, Saudi's, Bahrain and co are now expendable assets.
The great game for the US now is control or denial. Access to oil as a strategically critical resource is no longer a factor
for the US.
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as
you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're
history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." Karl Rove.
The squealing and consternation coming from the UK indicates that the empire has changed course and the UK is left sitting
on its own shit pile.
What is happening in Germany? Is "open borders" that Merkel has championed on its last
legs? It seems that the CSU is worried about the coming elections in Bavaria where AfD might
do much better than expected. Just as the outcome of the Italian elections was for a
government coalition opposed to illegal economic immigration under the guise of asylum for
Hungarian foreign minister in an interview with a snowflake BBC reporter. It seems that
the political trend in central Europe is away from multi-culturalism. Hungary wants to
maintain its culture.
"... The loss of middle class jobs has had a dire effect on the hopes and expectations of Americans, on the American economy, on the finances of cities and states and, thereby, on their ability to meet pension obligations and provide public services, and on the tax base for Social Security and Medicare, thus threatening these important elements of the American consensus. In short, the greedy corporate elite have benefitted themselves at enormous cost to the American people and to the economic and social stability of the United States. ..."
"... With the decline in income growth, the US economy stalled. The Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan substituted an expansion in consumer credit for the missing growth in consumer income in order to maintain aggregate consumer demand. Instead of wage increases, Greenspan relied on an increase in consumer debt to fuel the economy. ..."
"... As a member of the Plunge Protection Team known officially as the Working Group on Financial Markets, the Federal Reserve has an open mandate to prevent another 1987 "Black Monday." In my opinion, the Federal Reserve would interpret this mandate as authority to directly intervene. ..."
"... As Washington's international power comes from the US dollar as world reserve currency, protecting the value of the dollar is essential to American power. Foreign inflows into US equities are part of the dollar's strength. Thus, the Plunge Protection Team seeks to prevent a market crash that would cause flight from US dollar assets. ..."
When are America's global corporations
and Wall Street going to sit down with President Trump and explain to him that his trade war is not
with China but with them?
The biggest chunk of America's trade deficit with China is
the offshored production of America's global corporations. When the corporations bring the products
that they produce in China to the US consumer market, the products are classified as imports from
Six years ago when I was writing
The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism
, I concluded
on the evidence that
half of US imports from China consist of the offshored production of
Offshoring is a substantial benefit to US corporations because of much
lower labor and compliance costs.
Profits, executive bonuses, and shareholders' capital
gains receive a large boost from offshoring. The costs of these benefits for a few fall on the many
- the former American employees who formerly had a middle class income and expectations for their
In my book, I cited evidence that during the first decade of the 21st century
"the US lost
54,621 factories, and manufacturing employment fell by 5 million employees. Over the decade, the
number of larger factories (those employing 1,000 or more employees) declined by 40 percent. US
factories employing 500-1,000 workers declined by 44 percent; those employing between 250-500
workers declined by 37 percent, and those employing between 100-250 workers shrunk by 30 percent.
These losses are net of new start-ups. Not all the losses are due to offshoring. Some are the
result of business failures"
In other words, to put it in the most simple and clear terms,
millions of Americans lost
their middle class jobs not because China played unfairly, but because American corporations
betrayed the American people and exported their jobs.
"Making America great again"
means dealing with these corporations, not with China.
When Trump learns this, assuming anyone
will tell him, will he back off China and take on the American global corporations?
The loss of middle class jobs has had a dire effect
on the hopes and
expectations of Americans, on the American economy, on the finances of cities and states and,
thereby, on their ability to meet pension obligations and provide public services, and on the tax
base for Social Security and Medicare, thus threatening these important elements of the American
consensus. In short, the greedy corporate elite have benefitted themselves at enormous cost to the
American people and to the economic and social stability of the United States.
The job loss from offshoring also has had a huge and dire impact on Federal Reserve
With the decline in income growth, the US economy stalled. The Federal Reserve under Alan
Greenspan substituted an expansion in consumer credit for the missing growth in consumer income in
order to maintain aggregate consumer demand.
Instead of wage increases, Greenspan relied
on an increase in consumer debt to fuel the economy.
The credit expansion and consequent rise in real estate prices, together with the deregulation
of the banking system, especially the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, produced the real estate
bubble and the fraud and mortgage-backed derivatives that gave us the 2007-08 financial crash.
The Federal Reserve responded to the crash not by bailing out consumer debt but by
bailing out the debt of its only constituency -- the big banks.
The Federal Reserve let
little banks fail and be bought up by the big ones, thus further increasing financial
concentration. The multi-trillion dollar increase in the Federal Reserve's balance sheet was
entirely for the benefit of a handful of large banks. Never before in history had an agency of the
US government acted so decisively in behalf only of the ownership class.
The way the Federal Reserve saved the irresponsible large banks, which should have failed and
have been broken up, was to raise the prices of troubled assets on the banks' books by lowering
interest rates. To be clear, interest rates and bond prices move in opposite directions. When
interest rates are lowered by the Federal Reserve, which it achieves by purchasing debt
instruments, the prices of bonds rise. As the various debt risks move together, lower interest
rates raise the prices of all debt instruments, even troubled ones.
Raising the prices of
debt instruments produced solvent balance sheets for the big banks.
To achieve its aim, the Federal Reserve had to lower the interest rates to zero, which even the
low reported inflation reduced to negative interest rates. These low rates had disastrous
consequences. On the one hand low interest rates caused all sorts of speculations. On the other low
interest rates deprived retirees of interest income on their retirement savings, forcing them to
draw down capital, thus reducing accumulated wealth among the 90 percent.
under-reported inflation rate also denied retirees Social Security cost-of-living adjustments,
forcing them to spend retirement capital.
The low interest rates also encouraged corporate boards to borrow money in order to buy back the
corporation's stock, thus raising its price and, thereby, the bonuses and stock options of
executives and board members and the capital gains of shareholders. In other words, corporations
indebted themselves for the short-term benefit of executives and owners. Companies that refused to
participate in this scam were threatened by Wall Street with takeovers.
Consequently today the combination of offshoring and Federal Reserve policy has left us
a situation in which every aspect of the economy is indebted - consumers, government at all levels,
A recent Federal Reserve study concluded that Americans are so indebted
and so poor that 41 percent of the American population cannot raise $400 without borrowing from
family and friends or selling personal possessions.
A country whose population is this indebted has no consumer market. Without a consumer market
there is no economic growth, other than the false orchestrated figures produced by the US
government by under counting the inflation rate and the unemployment rate.
Without economic growth, consumers, businesses, state, local, and federal governments
cannot service their debts and meet their obligations.
The Federal Reserve has learned that it can keep afloat the Ponzi scheme that is the US economy
by printing money with which to support financial asset prices. The alleged rises in interest rates
by the Federal Reserve are not real interest rates rises. Even the under-reported inflation rate is
higher than the interest rate increases, with the result that the real interest rate falls.
It is no secret that the Federal Reserve controls the price of bonds by openly buying and
selling US Treasuries.
Since 1987 the Federal Reserve can also support the price of US
If the stock market tries to sell off, before much damage can be done the
Federal Reserve steps in and purchases S&P futures, thus driving up stock prices.
years, when corrections begin they are quickly interrupted and the fall is arrested.
As a member of the Plunge Protection Team known officially as the Working Group on
Financial Markets, the Federal Reserve has an open mandate to prevent another 1987 "Black Monday."
In my opinion, the Federal Reserve would interpret this mandate as authority to directly intervene.
just as the Fed can use the big banks as agents for its control over the price
of gold, it can use the Wall Street banks dark pools to manipulate the equity markets.
this way the manipulation can be disguised as banks making trades for clients. The Plunge
Protection Team consists of the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the SEC, and the Commodity Futures
Trading Corporation. As Washington's international power comes from the US dollar as world reserve
currency, protecting the value of the dollar is essential to American power. Foreign inflows into
US equities are part of the dollar's strength.
Thus, the Plunge Protection Team seeks to
prevent a market crash that would cause flight from US dollar assets.
Normally so much money creation by the Federal Reserve, especially in conjunction with such a
high debt level of the US government and also state and local governments, consumers, and
businesses, would cause a falling US dollar exchange rate.
Why hasn't this happened?
For three reasons.
One is that the central banks of the other three reserve currencies -- the Japanese central
bank, the European central bank, and the Bank of England -- also print money. Their Quantitative
Easing, which still continues, offsets the dollars created by the Federal Reserve and keeps the
US dollar from depreciating.
A second reason is that when suspicion of the dollar's worth sends up the gold price, the
Federal Reserve or its bullion banks short gold futures with naked contracts. This drives down
the gold price. There are numerous columns on my website by myself and Dave Kranzler proving
this to be the case. There is no doubt about it.
The third reason is that money managers, individuals, pension funds, everyone and all the
rest had rather make money than not. Therefore, they go along with the Ponzi scheme. The people
who did not benefit from the Ponzi scheme of the past decade are those who understood it was a
Ponzi scheme but did not realize the corruption that has beset the Federal Reserve and the
central bank's ability and willingness to continue to feed the Ponzi scheme.
As I have explained previously,
the Ponzi scheme falls apart when it becomes
impossible to continue to support the dollar as burdened as the dollar is by debt levels and
abundance of dollars that could be dumped on the exchange markets.
This is why Washington is determined to retain its hegemony.
It is Washington's hegemony
over Japan, Europe, and the UK that protects the American Ponzi scheme.
The moment one of
these central banks ceases to support the dollar, the others would follow, and the Ponzi scheme
would unravel. If the prices of US debt and stocks were reduced to their real values, the United
States would no longer have a place in the ranks of world powers.
The implication is that war, and not economic reform, is America's most likely future.
In a subsequent column I hope to explain why neither US political party has the awareness
and capability to deal with real problems.
Roberts is totally correct that Trump's trade war is with US
corporations and their offshoring. I think Trump knows this
and that's why he's cutting regulations and red tape at
home. We've gone too far left on regs. As for labor costs,
most factories are highly automated here but labor cost
includes disability, pensions, 'diversity' harassment
lawsuits, etc. This overhead doesn't exist in China or
Vietnam where my LL Bean t-shirts are made.
Trump's war is with the a corporate ideology that says
profit is primary to nationality or normal morality. He gave
the biggest corporations a huge tax cut. Now they need to
play ball with America's workers.
They need to acknowledge that we're all Americans and our
legal system, which protects their solvency, will not
survive if today's angry politics continues for two more
The S&P500 needs to think about their future and getting
Bernie or worse in 2020. There's all these trade tirades
going on - good time to give Trump a win and then another to
let him feel some support. Then let the wise men of
government policy step in for a sit-down and determine the
best policy for America's survival. Is it either becoming
fascist or a pleading for a negotiated bankruptcy with all
the geopolitical implications? It can't be either extreme so
plan and do it. Otherwise, Mr. Roberts will be remembered as
"To continue allowing these products into our country will
ultimately bring their standard of living here also."
is the most incisive comment I've seen on ZH in quite awhile. It's
like a balance beam scale that swings back and forth as weight is
added to or subtracted from one side or the other. Ultimately, the
scale will balance out as everyone attains the same standard of
living . Our government and economy has been surviving on borrowed
money (ie; paper fiat currency) since at least 1971, and now even
common people are living on borrowed paper fiat currency. Most of
the common people in China that I have known live in small rented
apartments and mostly eat the cheapest foods they can find; ie,
rice, vegetables, tofu, pumpkin, etc. At least the downward
trajectory of our economy will cure the obesity epidemic, but many
will likely starve. The big question is when? We are on the
downward slope already, but how steep it will be is a question no
one seems to be able to answer.
Most of the people on this site already know what Roberts just
summarized. Other than referring to the Fed as a government agency
rather than a private corporation, he was mainly correct in what he
wrote. Most of the American sheeple do not. They do know that they
were sold out, but they don't know the details; how, why, by whom.
It's common knowledge that the people's gold was stolen by the Bush
and Clinton crime families along with Robert Rubin. There is a
persistent rumor out that Trump is in the process of successfully
recovering it. If China and Russia force the world back on a real
gold standard and Trump's recovery is unsuccessful, the USA will be
swimming naked when the tide goes out.
As to how long can the Fed
keep their Ponzi going. The answer would be a lot longer if they
still controlled the planet. But they no longer do and their bluff
is being called right now by Putin, Xi and others. As Göring wrote
at his Nuremberg trial, "Truth is the enemy of the State."
Roberts should be the one explaining. He makes sweeping assertions like:
" With the decline in income growth, the US economy stalled." When
exactly? What year are you talking about? And he seemingly leaves out
demographics completely in his analysis. He's just looking at everything
through the lens of central banking, and when all you have is a hammer,
everything tends to look like a nail. I'm thinking that, like Rudy
Giuliani, he lost his fastball a while back and maybe should just stick
to writing about 1987.
Finally, we have an
economist who reveals the ugly truth behind what the criminal corporate
class has done and is doing to America. See also Dr. Michael Hudson and
As for Trump, I suspect he understands what's really going on, but a
lot of his pals are billionaires involved in this corruption. Obviously,
he can't name names otherwise, the 1% elite would eliminate his
It may be that Trump is using the only "out" left in causing these
tariff wars. If you read other online reports in China, Russia, a seldom
few from the EU, you see enormous amounts of trade between China,
Russia, Iran, Germany, and other Asian nations. This American senses we
are being left in the dust by all this vitality.
It's recognized many multi-millionaire/billionaires in both the US &
other parts of the world are making lots of money from the system.
However, I'm beginning to sense that ALL these US elites recognize
the US financial system is deteriorating and there's no way to turn
It happens to every "empire" throughout history, but, other than
about 10% of population who are informed, the real tragedy is about 80%
of the American public who haven't a clue.
"With the decline in income growth, the US economy stalled. The Federal
Reserve under Alan Greenspan substituted an expansion in consumer credit
for the missing growth in consumer income in order to maintain aggregate
consumer demand. Instead of wage increases, Greenspan relied on an increase
in consumer debt to fuel the economy."
"The credit expansion and
consequent rise in real estate prices, together with the deregulation of
the banking system, especially the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act,
produced the real estate bubble and the fraud and mortgage-backed
derivatives that gave us the 2007-08 financial crash."
"The Federal Reserve responded to the crash not by bailing out consumer
debt but by bailing out the debt of its only constituency -- the big banks."
Yes, It is wash, rinse, repeat but Glass Steagal is irrelevant. The
criminaliy is the actual issue. Rules and regs are meaningless when the
bankers are also in charge of the regulation. Another layer is the
multinational corporations / banks that operate in between nations. What
may be illegal in one jurisdiction is protected in another. Without a
will to enforce, the crime is unstoppable.
I had to laugh when I read it given all the irreversible mistakes that have
been made for decades in that city given how vital it once was to the U.S.
economy. But it makes you want to cry given the delusion on display of it's
leadership that could have made Ford embarrass itself like this with that
announcement so late in our "game"!
PCR of course does not explain how a nation of 320 million people with bountiful
natural resources and extensive industrial, services, and education
infrastructure would *not* be a world power, save for the fact that he really
really wishes America wasn't.
I bet what happened was these same multinationals stoked the fire about
China because they were concerned about the China 2030 plan. They wanted
China for production and a market, not for competition. They poured lots
of money into lobbying.
When Trump was elected instead of acting how they
predicted he's off script now and could hurt them. The nuisance of being a
Barter. Happens all the time. There is NO alternative so long as we
are going to continue to believe in fantasy. Specifically, the
fantasy that economies can grow exponentially and forever in a
biosphere with finite resources. The only solution is a monetary
system that remains attached to reality, period. Keeping in mind
that no system will ever be perfect, but a system that insures bad
behavior and bad management
suffer real consequences
would be a good start! Remind me, how many bankers/financiers went to
prison for those MBS that almost destroyed the world?
A great deal of the BS is being hidden away in an explosion of large
Public-Private Partnerships projects.
Over the years we have been
hearing a lot of good things about "Public-Private Partnerships" and how they
can propel forward needed projects by adding an incentive for the private
sector to undertake projects they might choose not to do alone. Often this is
because the numbers often simply don't work. The truth is that history is
littered with these failed projects.
Often their announcements are
accompanied by promises and hype but sadly the synergy these projects are
intended to create never occurs. These so-called, "bridges to nowhere" and
boondoggles tend to be forgotten and brushed aside each time public servants
and their cronies get together. The article below delves into this tool often
used to line the pockets of those with influence.
You've well penned an Excellent Summation Piece of
not so well known behind the scenes economic conditions and factors.
As I've said many times:
UNFORESEEN WAR IS THE ONLY THING THAT DISRUPTS THE AMERICAN PONZI KNOWN AS
THE COLLUSIVE BIG BANKSTERS AKA THE FEDERAL RESERVE.
There is one point, however, where you are mistaken:
"The way the Federal Reserve saved the irresponsible large banks, which
should have failed and have been broken up, was to raise the prices of
troubled assets on the banks' books by lowering interest rates"
Instead, this was accomplished by the Banksters paying off the American
Congress to suspend the accounting rule called "mark to market". It was very
simple. The banks went to the government and said:
"you can print $2 trillion to bail us out, OR you can suspend mark to
market and we can show that we have NO losses on our books."
The FASB under pressure from Congress chose the prudent (at that time) but
dishonest approach and allowed the banks to suspend the mark to market
accounting rule, which is a basic rule of financial accounting. The sacrifice
was in banking transparency, which of course, is an oxymoron in 2018.
But that action essentially robbed an entire group of market speculators in
risky securities like FAZ (a 3x inverse ETF play on the banks, essentially
shorting the big banks) who bet that the US Government would not break the law
and suspend mark to market for the banks.
They were wrong and a lot of those honest speculators lost a lot of money
It was an "Aha!" Epiphanous moment on Thursday, April 2, 2009 for many
American equities speculators as they quickly realized that the American
government was indeed provably in the pocket of the Banksters Cartel and
likely had been for a very long time.
Interest rates way up or the dollar is toast if not for the Euro and Yen. I
have always felt the Euro was established as a shield for the USD and not so
much some European union of countries. The union of those countries will
always be difficult but controlling the currency of all those countries is
very important to the USA. Imagine all the dollar sellers today if the Euro
was not established.
Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who
makes it's laws" Roth
- more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA
into an economic backwater
This is only a surmise I guess but Globalists are plum tired of American middle
class population, and their main purpose in the world is over, and the horses of manufacturing
and technology ''have got out of the barn'' and successfully transplanted to... greener
pastures so that, it's time to make fallow and put the stops to the further
exploitation of North American resources that are too much used up by the damned American
population on their gaddamed consumer needs, and time to put that back in store for a future
where there won't be so many hungry overfed mouths to worry about, so that is the possible
purpose to isolate and crush America at this time.
An induced torpor of complacency will make it seem impossible until the last moment, then
it's too late. (''Have you noticed the exsorbitance high cost of... Latties lately?.puffpuff...
// Hey! they ain't nuthin' on da shelves in da supermarket!!'')
Mean while there's time for the development of Russia and China to have their time in the
sun , for a while, then they get the axe later, and so it goes.
Well, I didn't want to say it but, part of the plan will be a pretty big reduction in pops
which isn't all bad... depends on how the cookie crumbles, (who's ox gets gored.) (Good for
But if your "In the Club'' and a member in standing which is a only a few you get a ticket
The creeps are running America down every way, bread and circuses for a while then Austerity
Globalists are plum tired of American middle class population, and their main purpose in
the world is over
Bull's eye. That is an under-appreciated dynamic driving everything from economic policies
to the hatred of Trump and populists in general. The narcissistic Western elites cannot stand
their own people. One sees it in the culture, academia, economic policies, and the insane
attempt to dilute native population and replace them with new migrants. (It is amusing that
sophisticated Westerners often boringly allude to the evil 'commies' who 'wanted to elect new
people', and of course never did, but they are unwilling to see it happening at home.)
The purpose for creating the Western middle class after WWII was to prevent a revolution.
That is no longer a threat, so why coddle the deplorables?
- more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the
USA into an economic backwater
This is only a surmise I guess but Globalists are plum tired of American middle class
population, and their main purpose in the world is over, and the horses of manufacturing and
technology "have got out of the barn" and successfully transplanted to greener
pastures so that, it's time to make fallow and put the stops to the further
exploitation of North American resources that are too much used up by the damned American
population on their gaddamed consumer needs, and time to put that back in store for a future
where there won't be so many hungry overfed mouths to worry about, so that is the possible
purpose to isolate and crush America at this time.
An induced torpor of complacency will make it seem impossible until the last moment, then
it's too late. ("Have you noticed the exsorbitance high cost of Latties lately?.puffpuff //
Hey! they ain't nuthin' on da shelves in da supermarket!!")
Mean while there's time for the development of Russia and China to have their time in
the sun , for a while, then they get the axe later, and so it goes.
Well, I didn't want to say it but, part of the plan will be a pretty big reduction in pops
which isn't all bad depends on how the cookie crumbles, (who's ox gets gored.) (Good for
But if your "In the Club" and a member in standing which is a only a few you get a ticket
The creeps are running America down every way, bread and circuses for a while then
Austerity for real.
Much better articles in italian or spanish. They basically say that's because of 'recent'
events of P2 sect fraud in 1981. More sensible to think they don't want globalist with hidden
loyalties infiltrating a new inexperienced government, but I don't follow italian
developments closely. Any thoughts?
Trump's "national neoliberalism" has some interesting side effects...
"... All it takes is for confidence to falter, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down ..."
"... I have felt for a long time that our consumption based economy is a way to keep people so self absorbed that they don't ask too many questions . ..."
"... As tempting as it is to attribute this to personality failings, I don't believe that Mr. Trump's China tantrum is geopolitical one-upmanship. It is more likely a reaction to the annual Industrial Capabilities Report released on May 17 by the Pentagon's Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, in parallel to a similar review being conducted internally by the White House. ..."
"... The Pentagon has concluded that two decades of financially-engineered corporate concentration and out-sourcing of skilled work to China has stripped the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex of its "organic industrial base." It appears evident that the White House has decided that tariff barriers on China are the only way to rebuild a population of of "qualified workers to meet current demands as well as needing to integrate a younger workforce with the 'right skills, aptitude, experience, and interest to step into the jobs vacated by senior-level engineers and skilled technicians' as they exit the workforce." ..."
"... I find myself confused and in a quandary. Is it not neoliberalism and global trade that over the past 25 years or so has led to corporate mega-wealth and the beginning of the end of the US middle class, and the further impoverishment of the working class? If so, then as a good progressive, should I not welcome a trade war or whatever economic change will end this global economic tyranny? Is the skepticism or outright opposition to a trade war of so many progressives simply based on the fact taht t's being initiated by the colossal idiot in the White House who may inadvertently be doing something beneficial? ..."
The White House's tough stance represents the ascendancy, for now, of trade hawks in the administration, particularly White
House senior trade adviser Peter Navarro and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer
"It's clear that China has much more to lose" than the U.S. from a trade fight, said Mr. Navarro.
Mr. Lighthizer said additional tariffs wouldn't be imposed until the U.S. picked the products, and received industry comment,
a process that will take months and leaves open the possibility of additional negotiations. But so far there is no indication
that such talks are on the horizon, and the Trump administration is signaling that it is increasingly confident of achieving goals
through a dramatically more confrontational approach to China
Next up from the administration is a plan to halt Chinese investment in U.S. technology, due to be released by the Treasury
Department by June 30 .
Mr. Trump has backed away from threats before .In April, Mr. Trump threatened a dramatic increase in tariffs on Chinese goods,
but didn't follow through. Instead, he approved negotiations Mr. Mnuchin led to get China to buy more U.S. goods and make changes
to its tariffs and other trade barriers. That led to a temporary reprieve in the tensions as the two sides sought to negotiate
The White House has since judged those efforts a failure, especially after Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Trump were criticized by cable
TV hosts and some lawmakers of being weak on China. During a June trade mission to China by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Beijing
offered to buy nearly $70 billion in U.S. farm, manufacturing and energy products if the Trump administration abandoned tariff
threats. Mr. Trump rejected that offer as another empty promise.
Trump's negotiating strategy, if you can call it that, appears unlikely to work with China . If one were to try to ascribe logic
to Trump picking and then escalating a fight with China, it is presumably in the end to bring them to the negotiating table. But
China is not North Korea, where the US threatened the Hermit Kingdom with nuclear devastation and Kim Jong Un with being the next
Gaddafi and then dialed the bluster way down as China pushed and South Korea pulled North Korea to the negotiating table. And the
good luck of the Olympics being in South Korea facilitated the process.
One could argue that all of the theatrics was to enable Trump to talk with Kim Jong Un and not look like a wus.
With China, Trump's escalation to threatening another $200 billion of Chinese goods after his initial $50 billion shot is a reaction
to China going into tit for tat mode as opposed to negotiating. This should not be a surprise. The more detailed press reports were
making clear that China was initially not engaging with the US (as in making clear that they weren't receptive to US demands and
accordingly weren't deploying meaningful resources to talks).
Even if China incurs meaningful economic costs in hitting back at the US, politically it's a no brainer. China's sense of itself
as the power that will displace the US means it's unacceptable to be bullied. China has been bizarrely sensitive to slights, for
instance, lashing out during the 2007 IPCC negotiations and getting testy when the US put countervailing duties
on a mere $224 million
of goods . Recall that when the US put sanctions on Russia, its strategists seemed to genuinely believe that Russians would rise
up and turf Putin out. Instead, his popularity ratings rose and even the Moscow intelligentsia rallied to support him.
Oh, and while we are speaking about North Korea,
Kim Jong Un is in Beijing . It's not hard to get the message: there's no reason for China to play nicely in the face of US trade
Trump appears to be relying on the idea that since the US imports more than China exports, we can do more damage to them in a
tariff game of chicken . On the one hand, as Marshall Auerback has pointed out, in trade wars, the creditor nation, which would be
China, typically fares worse than the debtor nation. However, China can do a lot a damage to US companies in China. The US has long
had a policy of promoting the interests of US multinationals based on the claim that deeper trade relations would reduce the odds
of war and make countries more disposed towards democracy. And when "free trade" ideology got a life of its own, economists and pundits
regularly treated the idea of trying to protect domestic jobs as retrograde, even when many of our trade partners negotiated their
deals with that consideration in mind.
American businesses from Apple Inc. and Walmart Inc. to Boeing Co. and General Motors Co. all operate in China and are keen
to expand. That hands Xi room to impose penalties such as customs delays, tax audits and increased regulatory scrutiny if Trump
delivers on his threat of bigger duties on Chinese trade. U.S. shares slumped Tuesday as part of a broad sell-off in global markets
in response to Trump's threat.
The total amount of U.S. goods exports to China only amounted to $130 billion last year, meaning Trump's potential tariffs
on $250 billion or more of Chinese imports can't be matched, at least directly. But if you measure both exports and sales of U.S.
companies inside China, the U.S. has a surplus of $20 billion with China, according to Deutsche Bank AG .
One advantage of this tactic for Xi is that this time the numbers are on his side, as U.S. investment in China is far larger
than the reverse. American companies had $627 billion in assets and $482 billion in sales in China in 2015, compared to just $167
billion in U.S. assets and $26 billion in U.S. sales for Chinese companies .
A change in trade priorities to focus on domestic employment isn't nuts . It's hard to know what Trump is trying to achieve as
he calls for China to reduce its trade deficit by $200 billion. Given that the Administration said it will focus on the sectors depicted
as priorities in China's "Made-in-China 2025" plans in next round to tariff targets, China has good reason to think Trump's real
aim is to check its rise as a superpower.
Even though Trump is giving trade negotiations a bad name, there's every reason to give domestic employment higher priority in
trade negotiation. The reason Trump is so fond of tariffs is that they are a weapon he can deploy quickly and unilaterally, while
negotiations and WTO cases take time. And even though the pundit class likes to decry manufacturing as oh-so-20th century, Ford's
Rouge plant employed more people than Apple does in the entire US. Restoring infrastructure would create a lot of employment, as
would increasing domestic manufacturing.
But the US has eliminated the supervisor and middle managers that once ran operations like these. If we were to seek to build
some areas of manufacturing, the US would have to engage in industrial policy, which is something we do now, but only by default,
with the defense industry, financial services, health care, housing, and higher education among the favored sectors. So given our
political constraints, it's hard to see how we get there from here.
Mr. Market is anxious . Anxious is well short of panicked. Chinese stocks took the worst hit, but the latest round of threats
took 4% off the Shanghai composite, taking it back to its level of 20 months ago.
Chinese indexes were mixed today .
By contrast, the Dow was down 1.15% and the S&P 500, 0.4%.
Having said that, the Fed is in a tightening cycle and stock valuations already looked pretty attenuated. Trade tensions and the
uncertainty over how the threat to global supply chains will play out may lead investors to curb their enthusiasm, particularly if
the Trump initiative starts looking less like another fit of pique and more like a change in the rules of the game that looks unlikely
to work out well.
I think the Chinese response depends on the great unknown of the Chinese Communist Parties long term strategy. One line of
thought is that the 'Asian model' of trade surpluses is for them just the means to an end for China to reach 'high development'
status, from which point they would seek a much more balanced internal economy. The other, sees Chinas trade surplus – in particular
the deliberate over production of strategic products such as microprocessors and pharmaceuticals as an end itself – warfare by
means of trade. Both aspects are variations on the Japanese
Yoshida Doctrine , something the Chinese have studied
If the former, then its entirely possible that the Chinese see Trump's threat not as a challenge, but an opportunity to carry
out the necessary deep structural changes to balance their economy. A populist trade war would be the cover the government needs
to dramatically cut over-production and focus instead on ensuring China has all the strategic products it needs (the most crucial
of course is food). The CCP's fear is always inflation in food prices – this is historically the trigger for urban unrest, as
in the 1980's. But if they have a foreign scapegoat for that, they may see it as a risk worth taking. Urban riots where people
attack CCP buildings terrifies the leadership. Urban riots where people burn Trump effigies, less so.
If the true strategy is the second, then Trumps attacks are an obvious threat. The Chinese are aware now of the growing awareness
in the US of just how vulnerable the US has become to shortages of products which are now almost entirely Chinese made or controlled
– many processed metals, pharmaceuticals, key electronic components, etc. If it is indeed Chinese strategy to use these for leverage
at some future date, then they won't want to risk undermining this in a tit for tat war. In this situation, they will tread much
more carefully and won't be worried about a minor loss of face if they stand down and give Trump the victory headlines he craves.
In a broader sense, Trump believes that the biggest stick always wins a war like this, and he and his advisor clearly believe
the US has the biggest stick. But in military terms, the winner in a war is not the country who has the biggest army, but the
country that can bring the biggest army to the right field of battle. The Chinese (along perhaps with the Europeans and Mexicans)
may believe that if they fight smart and focus on specific battles – such as US farm goods or key US aerospace and consumer electronics
companies – they can make Trump and the Republicans really hurt. They know the electoral cycle in the US, which gives them a big
advantage. It will be interesting to see if Trump forces all sorts of new and unlikely alliances in opposition.
Interesting analysis. Do you think Trump's aim could be to throw a spanner into their works, whatever the plan is, thereby
buying more time to re-industrialize and wean US industries off of China? Also, it strikes me that Trump is consciously disciplining
US-based businesses like Apple every bit as much as he is China.
It would also require companies like Apple to show some interest in U.S. manufacturing, which is not the case at this time.
I'm all for whatever barriers are necessary to re-invigorate and modernize U.S. manufacturing. But it will be impossible to
make progress if U.S. multi-nationals refuse to go along. Trump doesn't play the long game and there is really no evidence that
he is willing to challenge/threaten U.S. firms in substantive ways. Remember the campaign threats against Ford? Since then, Ford
has not upped its U.S. investment but instead chosen to get completely out of the small car business. And that is a company that
still has an extensive U.S. manufacturing presence, unlike, say, Apple.
I think this is what the Chinese understand (maybe Trump does too and this is all just theater for 2020). They can play hardball
with Trump as long as US MNC's are on the side of China against the U.S. In the last 6 months, have you heard a single large U.S.
manufacturer voice support for Trump's trade policies? I haven't.
There is the same logic, possibility, at work in Trump's thinking (and thinking may be too generous a term for it but we do
I suppose have to assign some sort of plan being pushed through here) to that of the U.K.'s Brexit Ultras.
For the Ultras, reestablishing political and sovereignty independence is conflated and intertwined with economic independence
which all -- through a mechanism which is never adequately explained -- will result in domestic economic revitalisation that doesn't
require government direct intervention.
No, it doesn't stack up or make a great deal of sense, but having been around many hard-core Brexit'eers in the Brexit heartland
(and the Conservative party's local association in a Brexit stronghold) the people who hold this worldview do make it work
within the confines of their own minds. It goes something like: if you neutralise or at least weaken the power blocks which are
winning out politically and you'll reap a reward economically. The fallacy assumes that you can give Johnny Foreigner a good kicking
at the sovereignty and international power-broker level and because you're a geopolitical shaker and mover, that'll pay off in
trade terms. All without consequences.
But of course there are always consequences. Other countries can decide to endure downsides (not least because the
various ruling elites don't end up on the receiving end of these, usually) -- this was the same gamble the U.K. government made,
unsuccessfully, with the EU ("we're in the unassailable position because we import from them more than we export"). And so also
with China. If Beijing is prepared to play a long game, it can tough it out with the US, potentially longer than the US is prepared
This has always been the case with the US (and the U.K. too, for that matter) -- they never expect anyone else to tolerate
any downside which is imposed. They're astonished when Cuba, the DPRK, Iran, Russia, China and even to a lesser extent the EU
don't simply fall into line when they click their fingers.
There are different power centers operating in the Trump administration's trade policy. Trump himself may be motivated by no
more than a desire to appear tough -- and as Yves notes, tariffs are one of the few ways a US president can act swiftly and unilaterally
to do so.
His advisers are another matter. They would like to pressure China to have more open and fair policies, but are OK with the
consequences if China refuses -- i.e., an extremely large decrease in US trade volumes with China, and, indeed, the entire world.
They have probably performed a calculation similar to the one outlined by Paul Krugman
in his June
17 column on trade wars . Basically, a global trade war would not have a giant impact on global GDP -- perhaps 2-3 percent
assuming tariffs on everything in the neighborhood of 30 percent. There would be displacement of jobs and workers while everyone
readjusted, but that's a price the Trump administration would probably be willing to pay. And, what Krugman does not mention,
the United States as a very large economy would in fact do less badly in a trade war than most others countries. By losing less,
it would "win" in the zero-sum universe Trump seems to inhabit.
That's a difference between Trumpers and Brexiters. Britain is an island that has always depended on trade. The US has two
oceans around it, still the world's largest economy (more or less), adequate natural resources, and a whole hemisphere to pick
I think you are right in suggesting that the calculation is that even an all out trade war would not be catastrophic, and the
US would come out best.
I think the problem with this thinking is that it assumes symmetric actions by all the major parties, but in this sort of trade
war it will be more targeted and asymmetric. By which I mean that the Chinese and Europeans in particular have immediately targetted
more obvious, vulnerable US sectors. At first, these are just rather obvious ones, like Harley Davidson bikes or Levi Jeans, but
its not hard to see that if it gets serious there might be co-operation to target what they see as Trumps heartlands. As I suggested
above, a targeted attempt to hit key US food exports at the strategically right time could be devastating for US farmers, and
domestically China and other countries may accept the 'hit' domestically as they have a convenient scapegoat.
I should say though that whatever the outcome, the uncertainty created by Trumps action is likely to make all investors much
more wary of businesses which depend on widespread global supply chain networks, which can only be a good thing for people trying
to keep jobs local and to reduce emissions. Its unfortunate that when these come about through trade wars the impacts (as usual)
will hit ordinary people first, at least in the initial stage
I do agree that the zenith of long, complex and ultimately not especially resilient global supply chains has passed. For at
least 20, possibly 30 years these have received and been able to rely on unstinting political aircover and hidden subsidies.
Not any more. There's some minor tremors already being felt with the distinct possibility of some bigger systemic shocks in
I do agree that the zenith of long, complex and ultimately not especially resilient global supply chains has passed.
Indeed – anecdotally and slightly tangentially – the days of outsourcing call-centres etc are numbered. Whilst many knowledgable
people have shown that the cost savings have not turned out to be anything like as large as the corporations predicted, consumer
hatred cannot be understated. I have gone through several weeks of arguing with Three over their service, being bounced around
various call-centres offshore. Finally, an email to the CEO, pointing out (in a measured way) how my business calls and those
of other businesses who use them will very quickly be affected, it was amazing how quickly things progressed, with my complaint
being escalated to the CEO executive group. I phrased it in terms of the fact their business model now actively encouraged (and
in many cases only supported) people to use phones known to be vulnerable to hackers and companies are really not going to like
that, even if they're cheap. Furthermore Three are immensely vulnerable come the next 5G spectrum auction (they are significantly
in trouble spectrum-wise) and I was about to be escalated to the Ombudsman, and told the CEO I'd be highlighting their security
vulnerabilities – something they really don't want, even though they'd done it to save a bob or two in outsourcing.
Things were sorted ASAP; it was obvious that a UK programmer redid the whole Three app and web interface over a weekend (I
used to program in Fortran in my PhD and diagnosed their problem straightaway). Three used to be innovative in carving out a niche
segment regarding its roaming plans – but has not kept innovating, and EU laws on roaming now mean its advantage is largely gone
whilst Vodafone staff in stores gleefully tell customers that you'll talk to a British call-centre – they have calculated that
the price premium is worth it, if people don't have to go through what I did, particularly high-value customers.
The days of long supply chains are numbered, most definitely. Systemic breakdowns would simply kill a company that operated
as they did. Now rapid changes seem to be in motion to make supply chains more robust and acceptable .
I hope its true – the fascinating shipping stats that Lambert posts in WaterCooler most days shows that transport is still
a huge and growing business, and seems to have recovered from the changes made 5 years ago when the oil price peak made a lot
of companies think twice about long supply chains. But there do seem to be a converging set of factors which must surely make
companies think twice. If you combine energy price risks, political risks, increasing tarrifs, consumer resistence, etc., there
are more and more incentives for companies to tighten and simplify supply chains. But I think it will be quite a while before
we see the impacts (and I'd never underestimate the power of inertia behind globilisation either).
Its often forgotten of course – mostly by economists who never study history – that we've been here before, most notably in
the late 19th Century when the trade was highly globilised, thanks to the major empires. That unravelled with startling speed.
Indeed, I see his statistics and agree regarding interia. But, as you say, economists are rubbish at history – and coupled
with their fascination with models that are ergodic (when the climate models suggest we are entering new territory with complete
"breaks" in the relationships and possible sudden shifts to new equilibria with associated huge, fast, cyclical changes) I can't
help but wonder if the supply chain models simply must collapse if the climate scientists are right and the economists are wrong.
But only time will tell .
Speaking of 'bigger systemic shocks,' Doug Kass puts a finer point on it [lifted from the Z site this morning]:
[Trump's] policy and negotiating tactics hold the risk that business confidence could be jeopardized and supply chains
may be disrupted.
I have long argued that the "Orange Swan" would ultimately be market unfriendly – that an untethered Trump would "Make Uncertainty
and Volatility (in the markets) Great Again." (#MUVGA)
And, I have recently argued over the last few months that the president's behavior is now beginning to impact the capital
Acting upon his impulses, growing more isolated and becoming more unhinged -- the Supreme Tweeter is now an Orange Swan
" Rex, eat your salad " – President Trump
What numerical analyses such as Kurgman's miss is confidence. Popular mood has propelled Bubble III to stratospheric
heights, with equities and property dear worldwide.
All it takes is for confidence to falter, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down with a crash far out of proportion
to the minor changes in economic stats that will be visible at the time. ' No one could have foreseen ' etc
Bubbles, and their aftermaths, are self-reinforcing both on the way up and the way down. A manly square jaw and a glorious
orange helmet will take you only so far when you haven't a clue what you're doing. :-(
Since Kass mentioned 'negotiating tactics,' presumably many now also are aware that factor.
Judging by how the bubble is holding up, can we say that, so far, the key market players are receiving that message and remain
(again, so far the Nasdaq dropped just a bit yesterday after the additional $200 billion tariffs news) confident on this front
(but whose confidence can be shaken on other fronts for example, perhaps by others who worry openly and warn that the sky is,
at this moment, falling).
All it takes is for confidence to falter, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down
But U.S. MNCs have had no confidence in U.S. manufacturing for decades. Which is why we need to never anger the bubble-driven
"confidence fairy." On the fundamentals that affect most people, the house blew down long ago.
What's amazing, is that right at the time when being part of a large trading block would seem to be an imperative and not just
an advantage, Britain decides to leave the EU. Even the very timing is wrong.
Much as I would like one, I am quite confident there will not be a global trade war. Trump has no long game and in any event
no stomach for taking on the entire U.S. business class. There will negotiations, flip-flops, photo-ops, some marginal claimed
"wins," no real change, and on to 2020.
'Basically, a global trade war would not have a giant impact on global GDP -- perhaps 2-3 percent assuming tariffs on everything
in the neighborhood of 30 percent.'
Kurgman seems to assume that the radical adjustment to supply chains is nearly frictionless. But it's not. Vast capital investment
will be needed, at a time when corporations are already highly leveraged by piling up debt to buy back shares.
A trade war is just the pin we need to pop Bubble III and send it crashing to earth like the Hindenburg -- oh the humanity!
It's a heavy price to pay, just to turf out Herbert Hoover Trump after one term and highlight Peter Rabbit Navarro as the PhD
Econ know nothing who wrecked the global economy. Even the benighted Kurgman sees that Navarro is a total charlatan.
It has been interesting for the last few years watching the pigs cotillion that passes for a "western elite" pull pin after
pin after pin on what have been assumed to be grenades thus far without any detonation.
I'd agree very much with this, Clive. I would add that this sort of delusion seems largely restricted to major powers who haven't
suffered a major loss (or at least not one that couldn't be quietly forgotten) in a century or so. Those of us who live in smaller
countries always know that true absolute 'sovereignty' in the real world is a chimera. What matters is what areas you maintain
control, and which ones you let go – and its always better to let some go than have them ripped from your hands. And those countries
who have suffered humiliations in the recent past (Germany, France, China, Japan) have fewer delusions about the dangers of arrogance
and powerplay, although the French in particular are prone to forget.
An overly dynamic situation is one thing so long as it does not end up in a 'kinetic' situation. I am going to go out on a
limb here and say that Trump's threats against China are a gamble but will have to explain it a bit. For about two decades after
the collapse of the USSR we lived in a unipolar world with the axis located in Washington DC. You had people like McCain, Rubio,
Navarro, Lighthizer and Graham working through their careers in this 'golden age' but those times are now definitely over. The
world is once more reverting to its normal state of a multipolar world and people like the aforementioned people cannot tolerate
To push back against this reversion, they have been trying on a wide front to use American military and economic power to make
countries bend to their will. Threatening allies if they purchase Russian weapons, blackmailing the EU to abandon Iran in preparation
for a cruel embargo, threatening Turkey by withholding sales of the F35 fighter, etc. have all been tried. For several reasons,
this approach is not working so well anymore. So at this point, after wrestling some time with countries like Russia and Iran,
the US has decided that they need to attack the center of gravity in this new multipolar world and that means China.
The US demanded that China reconfigure their entire economy to enable US corporations to have more power and say in China while
demanding that China curtail their advancing their technological development program. China balked at this but did offer compromises
to no effect. With the lunatic policy of pushing China and Russia together, a massive political and economic federation is slowly
forming on the mass of lands from Vladivosok all the way through to Europe. If that happens, then the US definitely becomes a
second rate power. The clock is ticking on this development hence the attempt to cower China which is the linchpin for this.
Trump has been convinced that the US holds the upper hand and decided on a gamble, a doubling down if you will, so that a decisive
victory will be achieved on the cusp of the 2018 US midterm elections. The trouble with all this is that the US is hemorrhaging
both soft and hard power and is in a weaker position now. There is more and more countries seeking to bypass use of the US dollar
as being too dangerous to use for some countries and working with an American company and buying America products is also being
seen as risky. An example is when the US forbid Airbus selling its own aircraft to Iran due to the presence of US parts. I am
willing to bet that a lot of other companies sat up and took notice of this. So now for Trump he is going all in to try to overturn
these developments but as we say in Australia, he has two chances – his and Buckleys
They do seem to be caught in something of a chinese finger puzzle alright. Everything they do seems to make their opponents
stronger in some fashion or another. As per PK above, I wonder if Trump is not, unwittingly, doing the Chinese a favour?
There's a reason historical trade routes followed the Silk Road, a reason horsemen swept out of the Mongolian plains to conquer
the world time and again. The axis of human trade runs through Europe/Asia. It has never run through North America and never will.
The US can't be the axis of the world because it quite simply isn't located in the right place along the right population vectors.
This is a fact the US military is well aware of. If the US tries to maintain its position in the long run it will fail. That's
just the way it is, and the sooner US stops propagandizing its own citizens to the contrary, the better.
to throw out an unconventional thought: if you're an environmentalist/anti-climate change, you should want a trade war. I guess
per the media and Democratic pundits it's: Reduce, reuse, recycle–Unless your goals align with a Trump policy on a discrete issue.
you should want to stop the government-subsidized 5/10,000-mile supply chain. Government-subsidized as in: favorable taxation
for fuel oil, government subsidized port facilities/roads, lax emissions regulations, lax labor laws, etc.
to throw out an unconventional thought: if you're an environmentalist/anti-climate change, you should want a trade war
That thought occurred to me too. Of course this is one of those situations in which the supply conditions support this but
the demands of the population ? Nasty situation ..People are going to have to learn (maybe the hard way via the oft-quoted "war-like
BREXIT economy on here") that lots of foodstuffs currently grown between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are simply going
to become unavailable. A 2-5 degree increase in average temperature in many of the countries there – particularly those with high
humidity – means that unless they have a LOT of energy to air condition people for large parts of the day, then human life will
be impossible – the body can't sweat enough to eliminate excess body heat if not cooled and death is inevitable. Nasty times ahead
for lots of countries in the "middle" of the planet ..and besides the (obviously) huge human cost to them, the days of producing
nice vegetables out of season for us at higher latitudes will soon be over.
But the US has eliminated the supervisor and middle managers that once ran operations like these. If we were to seek
to build some areas of manufacturing, the US would have to engage in industrial policy, which is something we do now, but only
by default, with the defense industry, financial services , health care, housing, and higher education among the favored
sectors. So given our political constraints, it's hard to see how we get there from here.
Perhaps, Trump is using the method of obliquity to get what is important to the powers that be, the fraudsters of Wall Street.
For instance, three nano seconds after the billionaire's tax cut was passed his top economic advisor, Gary Cohn
resigned , and the reason given was his opposition to the direction trade policy was going, but really,
who is dumb enough to believe that?
"Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax
cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again," Trump said in a statement to Times. "He is a rare talent,
and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people."
Substitute "billionaire class" for "American people" to get closer to the truth. Gary is a venal mercenary that went to Washington
to get a jawb done.
Two of the "demands" by the US when it comes to "trade" is that intellectual property be respected and that US "companies"
operating in China be permitted to do so without the requirement to form partnerships with Chinese (CCP offshoots really) companies,
and to get there, my cynical self suspects that all peasants are nothing more than cannon fodder in this trade war so that the
fraudsters of Wall Street can go into China unfettered and loot the Chinese as much as they have looted Americans, and without
sharing a cut with Chinese "partners".
Sadly, the Europeans are key to preventing this. Only they have the purchasing power to offload China's current surplus, and
eventually proceed to an even trade relationship as the other terminus of the Belt.
I say sadly because they are the wimps of all time, and they will simply not let go of Mother America's apron strings. So at
least for my lifetime (another 20-30 years I'm expecting) things aren't going to change -- well, they will actually get worse
for the 90% in the US as well as everywhere else, but the overall state-level power dynamics will remain.
Funny also because the F35 sucks, you can barely tell where they detonated the MOAB, Elon Musk is building strange, badly-thought
out tunnels, our military is just tired, tired tired . yet still everybody cowers. What are they afraid of?
You make a good point in deriding Trump's vacillating positions as not a policy. (For comparison, Kirstjen Nielsen's consistent
behavior in having her dept. separate would be immigrant adults from children – without tracking who belongs to whom – is a policy.)
Trump's focus on domestic jobs would be an excellent, indeed, a necessary policy. Successful economic competitors in Asia and
Europe do exactly that. For Trump, however, it's not a policy, it's a talking point.
As you say, American mythology is that it has no industrial policy. The reality is that it has one, but it's written, implemented
and policed by the private sector. It does not want government to make a priority of domestic employment because it has largely
abandoned the idea as impossibly unprofitable.
In that, Elon Musk's reduction of at least 9% of his manufacturing workforce is the standard antediluvian response to management's
inability to meet its self-imposed objectives. He has decided, all evidence to the contrary, that his line workers and the processes
they are implementing are adequate to meet his objectives. They just need someone to crack the whip a tad harder.
But which jobs is Musk cutting? Largely middle management supervisors and technical staff. These are the people with manufacturing
know-how, the very people most likely to fix Musk's manufacturing-cum-quality process defects.
Musk is throwing out the people who could most help him meet his objectives. Adopting policies to which Detroit has long been
addicted will produce the consequences they always have before.
Krugman is not to be taken seriously on anything. He may actually know economic theory but he sold out so long ago that anything
he writes I dismiss out of hand as propaganda . I don't think he even has the potential to be stopped clock right about anything
. Every column is econo-babble designed to support whatever message his handlers need put out there. I think of him as the Baghdad
Bob of the economics bloggers.
As far as trade wars go I say bring it on. We have gotten so soft here in the US that everyone seems to walk around wringing
their hands and moaning all the time. My parents grew up during WW2 they had ration coupons and no passenger cars , no gasoline
, full on recycling of everything. I'd like to see some belt tightening of that sort in the here and now. I grew up in the 70's
I remember the energy crisis clearly, and people under 45 or 40 maybe literally have no clue what it means to have limitations
on basic necessities , not I can't afford the new Iphone but that it just can't be bought period.
Where ever one is in the golbal warming spectrum or the environmental spectrum personally , we just can not go on the way we
are . We need to put pressure on people to think about how they live and how they spend and what our government is doing in our
The US is an oligarchy, even Princeton academics agree. Part of the way to end that problem, is seize control back from the
tyrants. My suggestion is to join the poor people's campaign, and do whatever you can do for them, whether it is protest, make
signs, or send small donations.
Don't let the oligarchs make you believe that what they do is in your name. It is not, and the only way to stop them is to
make them fear the population.
Elections won't do it – not as long as black-box voting machines and interstate cross-check ensure that the poor voice is as
quiet as possible.
I have felt for a long time that our consumption based economy is a way to keep people so self absorbed that they don't
ask too many questions .
WHEEE I got a new Iphone , instead of why are we bombing these people. Looking back I was a happier person when I had less
possessions. I don't know when the cut off point was though. I mean as a young man I did without and wanted things and then there
was a period of fuzziness and now my house is full of shit that I don't even care about.
I can remember waiting in line at a gas pump with my dad so we could go to nantasket beach. I didn't mind waiting in a hot
car for an hour because I was excited to go. Now you see a family out in a car everyone has their device and do they even care
where they are going?
In a world of plenty everything seems cheap and tawdry . Bring on the trade war , lets see people start to do without and then
realize the garbage they can't get isn't even important.
> One advantage of this tactic for Xi is that this time the numbers are on his side, as U.S. investment in China is far larger
than the reverse.
That's a really weird definition of the word "advantage". The factories and plants US companies built in China employ Chinese
workers and consist of infrastructure that exists in China. If China cracks down on those plants it's basically punching itself
in the face. Share prices for those US companies would fall, but as a working class American I honestly DGAF.
The American companies get far more revenue from their Chinese operations than their Chinese workers can get from their salaries.
So China's retaliation will disproportionately affect the revenue of these companies instead of the income of their Chinese workers.
As tempting as it is to attribute this to personality failings, I don't believe that Mr. Trump's China tantrum is geopolitical
one-upmanship. It is more likely a reaction to the annual Industrial Capabilities Report released on May 17 by the Pentagon's
Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, in parallel to a similar review being conducted internally by the White House.
The Pentagon has concluded that two decades of financially-engineered corporate concentration and out-sourcing of skilled
work to China has stripped the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex of its "organic industrial base." It appears evident that the
White House has decided that tariff barriers on China are the only way to rebuild a population of of "qualified workers to meet
current demands as well as needing to integrate a younger workforce with the 'right skills, aptitude, experience, and interest
to step into the jobs vacated by senior-level engineers and skilled technicians' as they exit the workforce."
It's good to have an 'organic industrial base.' And Chins is well aware of the Japanese Judo, which advocates using someone's
energy to do the work for you. Here, workers in the US can take advantage of the energy of the MIC to achieve the goal of making
American manufacturing and employment great again.
Mr. Market is anxious. Anxious is well short of panicked.
When was "the market" not anxious? It appears to me that fear, anxiety, is paramount. They, the market participants, are anxious
where they are making money, they are anxious when not making money, they are anxious when they have money, and they are anxious
when they don't have money.
I find myself confused and in a quandary. Is it not neoliberalism and global trade that over the past 25 years or so has
led to corporate mega-wealth and the beginning of the end of the US middle class, and the further impoverishment of the working
class? If so, then as a good progressive, should I not welcome a trade war or whatever economic change will end this global economic
tyranny? Is the skepticism or outright opposition to a trade war of so many progressives simply based on the fact taht t's being
initiated by the colossal idiot in the White House who may inadvertently be doing something beneficial?
Decimation of anti-war forces and flourishing of Russophobia are two immanent features of the US neoliberalism. As long as
the maintinace fo the US global neoliberal empire depends of weakening and, possibly, dismembering Russia it is naive to expect any
change. Russian version of soft "national neoliberalism" is not that different, in principle form Trump version of hard
"netional neoliberalism" so those leaders might have something to talk about. In other words as soon as the USA denounce
neoliberal globalization that might be some openings.
Ten ways the new US-Russian Cold War is increasingly becoming more dangerous than the one we survived.
The political epicenter of the new Cold War is not in far-away Berlin, as it was from the late 1940s on, but directly on
Russia's borders, from the Baltic states and Ukraine to the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Each of these new Cold War fronts
is, or has recently been, fraught with the possibly of hot war. US-Russian military relations are especially tense today in the Baltic
region, where a large-scale NATO buildup is under way, and in Ukraine, where a US-Russian proxy war is intensifying. The "Soviet
Bloc" that once served as a buffer between NATO and Russia no longer exists. And many imaginable incidents on the West's new Eastern
Front, intentional or unintentional, could easily trigger actual war between the United States and Russia. What brought about this
unprecedented situation on Russia's borders -- at least since the Nazi German invasion in 1941 -- was, of course, the exceedingly
unwise decision, in the late 1990s, to expand NATO eastward. Done in the name of "security," it has made all the states involved
only more insecure.
Proxy wars were a feature of the old Cold War, but usually small ones in what was called the "Third World" -- in Africa,
for example -- and they rarely involved many, if any, Soviet or American personnel, mostly only money and weapons. Today's US-Russian
proxy wars are different, located in the center of geopolitics and accompanied by too many American and Russian trainers, minders,
and possibly fighters. Two have already erupted: in Georgia in 2008, where Russian forces fought a Georgian army financed, trained,
and minded by American funds and personnel; and in Syria, where in February
of Russians were killed by US-backed anti-Assad forces . Moscow did not retaliate, but it has pledged to do so if there is "a
next time," as there very well may be. If so, this would in effect be war directly between Russia and America. Meanwhile, the risk
of such a direct conflict continues to grow in Ukraine, where the country's US-backed but politically failing President Petro Poroshenko
seems increasingly tempted to launch another all-out military assault on rebel-controlled Donbass, backed by Moscow. If he does so,
and the assault does not quickly fail as previous ones have, Russia will certainly intervene in eastern Ukraine with a truly tangible
"invasion." Washington will then have to make a fateful war-or-peace decision. Having already reneged on its commitments to the Minsk
Accords, which are the best hope for ending the four-year Ukrainian crisis peacefully, Kiev seems to have an unrelenting impulse
to be a tail wagging the dog of war. Certainly, its capacity for provocations and disinformation are second to none, as evidenced
again last week by the faked "assassination and resurrection" of the journalist Arkady Babchenko.
The Western, but especially American, years-long demonization of the Kremlin leader, Putin, is also unprecedented. Too
obvious to reiterate here, no Soviet leader, at least since Stalin, was ever subjected to such prolonged, baseless, crudely derogatory
personal vilification. Whereas Soviet leaders were generally regarded as acceptable negotiating partners for American presidents,
including at major summits, Putin has been made to seem to be an illegitimate national leader -- at best "a KGB thug," at worst a
murderous "mafia boss."
Still more, demonizing Putin has generated a
widespread Russophobic vilification
of Russia itself , or what The New York Times and other mainstream-media outlets have taken to calling "
Vladimir Putin's Russia ." Yesterday's enemy was Soviet Communism. Today it is increasingly Russia, thereby also delegitimizing
Russia as a great power with legitimate national interests. "The Parity Principle," as Cohen termed it during the preceding Cold
War -- the principle that both sides had legitimate interests at home and abroad, which was the basis for diplomacy and negotiations,
and symbolized by leadership summits -- no longer exists, at least on the American side. Nor does the acknowledgment that both sides
were to blame, at least to some extent, for that Cold War. Among influential American observers
who at least
recognize the reality of the new Cold War , "Putin's Russia" alone is to blame. When there is no recognized parity and shared
responsibility, there is little space for diplomacy -- only for increasingly militarized relations, as we are witnessing today.
Meanwhile, most of the Cold War safeguards -- cooperative mechanisms and mutually observed rules of conduct that evolved
over decades in order to prevent superpower hot war -- have been vaporized or badly frayed since the Ukrainian crisis in 2014,
UN General Secretary António Guterres, almost alone, has recognized : "The Cold War is back -- with a vengeance but with a difference.
The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present." Trump's
recent missile strike on Syria carefully avoided killing any Russians there, but here too Moscow has vowed to retaliate against US
launchers or other forces involved if there is a "next time," as, again, there may be. Even the decades-long process of arms control
may, we are told by an
expert , be coming to an "end." If so, it will mean an unfettered new nuclear-arms race but also the termination of an ongoing
diplomatic process that buffered US-Soviet relations during very bad political times. In short, if there are any new Cold War rules
of conduct, they are yet to be formulated and mutually accepted. Nor does this semi-anarchy take into account the new warfare technology
of cyber-attacks. What are its implications for the secure functioning of existential Russian and American nuclear command-and-control
and early-warning systems that guard against an accidental launching of missiles still on high alert?
Russiagate allegations that the American president has been compromised by -- or is even an agent of -- the Kremlin are
also without precedent. These allegations have had profoundly dangerous consequences, among them the nonsensical but mantra-like
warfare declaration that "Russia attacked America" during the 2016 presidential election; crippling assaults on President Trump every
time he speaks with Putin in person or by phone; and making both Trump and Putin so toxic that even most politicians, journalists,
and professors who understand the present-day dangers are reluctant to speak out against US contributions to the new Cold War.
Mainstream-media outlets have, of course, played a woeful role in all of this. Unlike in the past, when pro-détente
advocates had roughly equal access to mainstream media, today's new Cold War media enforce their orthodox narrative that Russia is
solely to blame. They practice not diversity of opinion and reporting but "confirmation bias." Alternative voices (with, yes, alternative
or opposing facts) rarely appear any longer in the most influential mainstream newspapers or on television or radio broadcasts. One
alarming result is that "disinformation" generated by or pleasing to Washington and its allies has consequences before it can be
corrected. The fake Babchenko assassination (allegedly ordered by Putin, of course) was quickly exposed, but not the alleged Skripal
assassination attempt in the UK, which led to the largest US expulsion of Russian diplomats in history before London's official version
of the story began to fall apart. This too is unprecedented: Cold War without debate, which in turn precludes the frequent rethinking
and revising of US policy that characterized the preceding 40-year Cold War -- in effect, an enforced dogmatization of US policy
that is both exceedingly dangerous and undemocratic.
Equally unsurprising, and also very much unlike during the 40-year Cold War, there is virtually no significant opposition
in the American mainstream to the US role in the new Cold War -- not in the media, not in Congress, not in the two major political
parties, not in the universities, not at grassroots levels. This too is unprecedented, dangerous, and contrary to real democracy.
Consider only the thunderous silence of scores of large US corporations that have been doing profitable business in post-Soviet Russia
for years, from fast-food chains and automobile manufacturers to pharmaceutical and energy giants. And contrast their behavior to
that of CEOs of PepsiCo, Control Data, IBM, and other major American corporations seeking entry to the Soviet market in the 1970s
and 1980s, when they publicly supported and even funded pro-détente organizations and politicians. How to explain the silence of
their counterparts today, who are usually so profit-motivated? Are they too fearful of being labeled "pro-Putin" or possibly "pro-Trump"?
If so, will this Cold War continue to unfold with only very rare profiles of courage in any high places? 9. And then there is the
widespread escalatory myth that today's Russia, unlike the Soviet Union, is too weak -- its economy too small and fragile, its leader
too "isolated in international affairs" -- to wage a sustained Cold War, and that eventually Putin, who is "punching above his weight,"
as the cliché has it, will capitulate. This too is a dangerous delusion.
As Cohen has shown previously ,
"Putin's Russia" is hardly isolated in world affairs, and is becoming even less so, even in Europe, where at least five governments
are tilting away from Washington and Brussels and perhaps from their economic sanctions on Russia. Indeed, despite the sanctions,
Russia's energy industry and agricultural exports are flourishing. Geopolitically, Moscow has many military and related advantages
in regions where the new Cold War has unfolded. And no state with Russia's modern nuclear and other weapons is "punching above its
weight." Above all, the great majority of Russian people have rallied behind Putin because t
their country is under attack by the US-led West . Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Russia's history understands it is
highly unlikely to capitulate under any circumstances.
Finally (at least as of now), there is the growing war-like "hysteria" often commented on in both Washington and Moscow. It
is driven by various factors, but television talk/"news" broadcasts, which are as common in Russia as in the United States, play
a major role. Perhaps only an extensive quantitative study could discern which plays a more lamentable role in promoting this frenzy
-- MSNBC and CNN or their Russian counterparts. For Cohen, the Russian dark witticism seems apt: "Both are worst" ( Oba khuzhe
). Again, some of this American broadcast extremism existed during the preceding Cold War, but almost always balanced, even
offset, by truly informed, wiser opinions, which are now largely excluded.
Is this analysis of the dangers inherent in the new Cold War itself extremist or alarmist? Even SOME usually reticent specialists
would seem to agree with Cohen's general assessment. Experts gathered by a centrist Washington think tank
thought that on a scale of 1 to 10,
there is a 5 to 7 chance of actual war with Russia. A former head of British M16 is
reported as saying
that "for the first time in living memory, there's a realistic chance of a superpower conflict." And a respected retired Russian
the same think tank that any military confrontation "will end up with the use of nuclear weapons between the United States and
In today's dire circumstances, one Trump-Putin summit cannot eliminate the new Cold War dangers. But US-Soviet summits traditionally
served three corollary purposes. They created a kind of security partnership -- not a conspiracy -- that involved each leader's limited
political capital at home, which the other should recognize and not heedlessly jeopardize. They sent a clear message to the two leaders'
respective national-security bureaucracies, which often did not favor détente-like cooperation, that the "boss" was determined and
that they must end their foot-dragging, even sabotage. And summits, with their exalted rituals and intense coverage, usually improved
the media-political environment needed to enhance cooperation amid Cold War conflicts. If a Trump-Putin summit achieves even some
of those purposes, it might result in a turning away from the precipice that now looms
"... The United States, the EU and Canada are preparing tariffs impacting untold billions of dollars in goods and threatening tens of millions of jobs worldwide. As the remarks of Trudeau and Trump show, US tariff threats are setting into motion an escalatory spiral of tariffs and counter-tariffs with potentially devastating consequences. ..."
"... The collapse of the G7 talks cannot be explained by the personal peculiarities of Donald Trump. Rather, this historical milestone is an expression of US imperialism's desperate attempts to resolve insoluble contradictions of world capitalism. Not only Trump, but prominent Democrats and large sections of the European media and ruling elite are all recklessly calling for trade war measures against their rivals. ..."
"... Analyzing US imperialist policy in 1928, the year before the eruption of the Great Depression, Leon Trotsky warned: "In the period of crisis, the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom. The United States will seek to overcome and extricate herself from her difficulties and maladies primarily at the expense of Europe, regardless of whether this occurs in Asia, Canada, South America, Australia or Europe itself, whether this takes place peacefully or through war." ..."
"... After the Stalinist bureaucracy dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991, lifting the main obstacle to US-led neo-colonial wars, Washington tried to counterbalance its economic weakness by resort to its vast military superiority. ..."
"... Over decades of bloody neo-colonial wars that killed millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and beyond, the United States has sought to establish a powerful military position in the oil-rich Middle East. These wars placed its forces athwart key trade and energy supply routes of its main economic rivals. ..."
"... Amid growing tensions with the US, all of the European powers are rapidly rearming. ..."
The summit issued a final communiqué papering over the conflicts, as is usual in G7
summits, condemning protectionism but making a few criticisms of the World Trade Organization
in line with US complaints. The US was expected to sign, but Trump, after listening to Canadian
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's post summit press conference while en route to Singapore for a
summit with North Korean President Kim Jong-un, fired off a volley of tweets that signaled a
comprehensive breakdown of the G7 talks.
After Trudeau said that the communiqué criticized protectionism and that Canada would
maintain its $16 billion retaliatory tariffs on US goods, the biggest Canadian tariffs since
World War II, Trump hurled invective at Trudeau, warning that he "will not allow other
countries" to impose tariffs. He accused what are nominally the closest US allies of having
targeted the US for "Trade Abuse for many decades -- and that is long enough."
In another tweet, the US president threatened a major escalation of trade war measures with
tariffs on auto imports and announced the breakdown of talks: "Based on Justin's false
statements at his news conference and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our
US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US Reps not to endorse the
Communiqué as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the US market!"
This is the first time since G7 summits began in 1975 -- originally as the G5 with the
United States, Japan, Germany, Britain and France -- that all the heads of state could not
agree on a communiqué.
What is unfolding is a historic collapse of diplomatic and economic relations between the
major imperialist powers. For the three quarters of a century since World War II, a broad
consensus existed internationally in the ruling class that the trade wars of the 1930s Great
Depression played a major role in triggering that war, and that trade wars should be avoided at
all costs. This consensus has now broken down.
Explosive conflict and uncertainty dominate the world economy. The United States, the EU
and Canada are preparing tariffs impacting untold billions of dollars in goods and threatening
tens of millions of jobs worldwide. As the remarks of Trudeau and Trump show, US tariff threats
are setting into motion an escalatory spiral of tariffs and counter-tariffs with potentially
The collapse of the G7 talks cannot be explained by the personal peculiarities of Donald
Trump. Rather, this historical milestone is an expression of US imperialism's desperate
attempts to resolve insoluble contradictions of world capitalism. Not only Trump, but prominent
Democrats and large sections of the European media and ruling elite are all recklessly calling
for trade war measures against their rivals.
Analyzing US imperialist policy in 1928, the year before the eruption of the Great
Depression, Leon Trotsky warned: "In the period of crisis, the hegemony of the United States
will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom. The
United States will seek to overcome and extricate herself from her difficulties and maladies
primarily at the expense of Europe, regardless of whether this occurs in Asia, Canada, South
America, Australia or Europe itself, whether this takes place peacefully or through
The G7 summits were launched to manage conflicts between the major powers as the industrial
and economic dominance established by US imperialism in World War II rapidly eroded, and after
Washington ended dollar-gold convertibility in 1971. Still unable to catch up to its European
and international competitors, the United States has for decades posted ever-larger trade
deficits with rivals in Europe and Asia.
After the Stalinist bureaucracy dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991, lifting the main
obstacle to US-led neo-colonial wars, Washington tried to counterbalance its economic weakness
by resort to its vast military superiority.
Over decades of bloody neo-colonial wars that killed millions in Iraq, Afghanistan,
Syria and beyond, the United States has sought to establish a powerful military position in the
oil-rich Middle East. These wars placed its forces athwart key trade and energy supply routes
of its main economic rivals.
Trump's election and his denunciations of "trade abuse" of the United States by Europe,
Japan and Canada marks a new stage in the crisis of world capitalism. Bitter US-EU divisions
are growing not only over trade, but over EU opposition to the US policy of threatening Iran
with war by ending the Iranian nuclear deal. After decades of economic crisis and neo-colonial
war, the danger is rapidly emerging of a 1930s-style disintegration of the world economy into
rival trading blocs and, as in that decade, the eruption of military conflict between them.
... ... ...
The European powers have responded to Trump with stepped-up threats of retaliatory measures.
Following the summit, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on the European powers to
respond "together" in order to defend their "interests even more offensively."
Historically, trade war has been a precursor to military conflict. Prior to the summit,
French President Emmanuel Macron responded angrily to Trump's threatened sanctions, declaring,
"This decision is not only unlawful but it is a mistake in many respects. Economic nationalism
leads to war. This is exactly what happened in the 1930s."
Amid growing tensions with the US, all of the European powers are rapidly rearming.
Just one week before the G7 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled her support for
Macron's proposal to create a joint European defence force, open to British participation and
independent of NATO.
Then Trump demanded that the other G7 members remove their "ridiculous and unacceptable"
tariffs on U.S. goods – which would be hard for them to do, because their actual tariff
rates are very low. The European Union, for example, levies an average tariff of only three
percent on US goods. Who says so? The U.S. government's own guide to exporters
True, there are some particular sectors where each country imposes special barriers to
trade. Yes, Canada imposes high tariffs on certain dairy products. But it's hard to make the
case that these special cases are any worse than, say, the 25 percent tariff the U.S. still
imposes on light
trucks . The overall picture is that all of the G7 members have very open markets.
So what on earth was Trump even talking about? His trade advisers have repeatedly claimed
that value-added taxes, which play an important role in many countries, are a form of unfair trade
protection . But this is sheer ignorance: VATs don't convey any
competitive advantage – they're just a way of implementing a sales tax -- which is
why they're legal under the WTO. And the rest of the world isn't going to change its whole
fiscal system because the U.S. president chooses to listen to advisers who don't understand
"We had productive discussion on having fair and reciprocal" trade and market access.
"We're linked in the great effort to create a more just and prosperous world. And from the
standpoint of trade and creating more prosperous countries, I think they are starting to be
committed to more fair trade. We as a nation lost $870 billion on trade...I blame our leaders
and I congratulate leaders of other countries for taking advantage of our leaders."
"If they retaliate they're making a tremendous mistake because you see we have a
tremendous trade imbalance...the numbers are so much against them, we win that war 1000 times
out of a 1000."
"We're negotiating very hard, tariffs and barriers...the European Union is brutal to the
United States....the gig is up...there's nothing they can say."
"We're like the piggy bank that everybody's robbing."
"I would say the level of relationship is a ten - Angela, Emmanuel and Justin - we have a very good relationship. I won't
blame these people, unless they don't smarten up and make the trades fair."
Trump is now making the 20-hour flight to Singapore, where he will attend a historic summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong
Un. We'll now keep our eye out for the finalized communique from the group. The US is typically a leader in the crafting of the
statement. But this time, it's unclear if the US had any input at all into the statement, as only the leaders from Britain,
Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan as well as the presidents of the European Commission and European Council remain at the
meeting. But regardless of who writes it, the statement will probably be of little consequence, as UBS points out:
Several heads of state will be heading off on a taxpayer-financed "mini-break" in Canada today. In all of its incarnations
(over the past four years, we've gone from G-8 to G-6+1) the group hasn't really accomplished much since an initial burst of
enthusiasm with the Plaza Accords and Louvre Accords in the 1980s.
By the way, Trump is right on the tariffs in my view, Europeans should lower their tariffs
and not having the US raising it.
Trump: "We're The Piggy Bank That Everybody's Robbing"
Isn't Trump great in catch phrases? Trump's base will now regurgitate it to death.
Now reconcile Trump's remarks with reality:
Professor Werner: Germany is for instance not even allowed to receive delivery of US
Treasuries that it may have purchased as a result of the dollars earned through its current
account surplus: these Treasuries have to be held in custody by the Federal Reserve Bank of
New York, a privately owned bank: A promise on a promise. At the same time, German influence
over the pyramid structure of such promises has been declining rapidly since the abolition of
the German currency and introduction of the euro, controlled by an unaccountable
supranational international agency that cannot be influenced by any democratic assembly in
the eurozone. As a result, this structure of one-sided outflows of real goods and services
from Germany is likely to persist in the short and medium-term.
To add insult to injury:
Euro-federalists financed by US spy chiefs
The documents show that ACUE financed the European Movement, the most important federalist
organisation in the post-war years. In 1958, for example, it provided 53.5 per cent of the
Okay, everyone set your "team" aside for a few minutes and let's look at the facts and
Do you really believe the rest of the world has trade advantages over the US? Well, let's
consider major industries.
Agriculture.....maybe, but only sightly. Our farmers are the richest in the workd....by
Manufacturers.....probably so....because we gave it away to countries with slave labor.
Manufacturers jobs were jobs where people could earn a decent living...and that had to
go..can't be cutting into corporate profits with all that high cost labor.
Defense.....need I go here? We spend more than the next 11 countries combined! We sell
more as well.
Energy.....we rule thus space because we buy it with worthless printed fiat
debt...whenever we want to....and nd if you deny us, we will bomb the hell out of you and
Technology. ....Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Google, Amazon, Oracle, Dell, Cisco.....who can
touch that line up....not to mention all the on-line outfits like Facebook and Twitter.
Finance.....the best for last. We control the printing press that prints the dollar the
rest of the world needs. We control energy and foreign policy. Don't do what we like and we
will cut you off from SWIFT and devalue the hell out of your currency...and then move in for
the "regime" change to some one who plays ball the way we like it. 85% of all international
trade takes place in dollars everyday. We have the biggest banks, Wall Street, and infest the
world with our virus called the dollar so that we can Jeri their chain at will.
Now I ask you....just where the hell is the "trade imbalances"? Sure there are some
companies or job sectors that get a raw deal because our politicians give some foreigners
unfair trade advantages here and there, but as a whole, we dominate trade by far. The poor in
our country lives like kings compared to 5.5 billion of the world's population. Trump knows
this.....or he is stupid. He is pandering to his sheeple voting base that are easily duped
into believing someone is getting what is their's.
Hey, I am thankful to be an American and enjoy the advantages we have. But I am not going
to stick my head up Trump's ass and agree with this bullshit. It is misdirection (corporate
America and politicians are the problem here, not foreign countries) and a major distraction.
Because all the trade in the world isn't going to pull us out of this debt catastrophe that's
But, if we cut through all the verbiage, we will arrive at the elephant in the room.
American manufacturing jobs have been off-shored to low wage countries and the jobs which
have replaced them are, for the most part, minium wage service jobs. A man cannot buy a
house, marry and raise a family on a humburger-flippers wage. Even those minimum wage jobs
are often unavailable to Americans because millions of illegal aliens have been allowed into
the country and they are undercutting wages in the service sector. At the same time, the
better paid positions are being given to H-1B visa holders who undercut the American worker
(who is not infrequently forced to train his own replacement in order to access his
As the above paragraph demonstrates the oligarchs are being permitted to force down
American wages and the fact that we no longer make, but instead import, the things we need,
thus exporting our wealth and damaging our own workers is all the same to them. They grow
richer and they do not care about our country or our people. If they can make us all into
slaves it will suit them perfectly.
We need tariffs to enable our workers to compete against third world wages in countries
where the cost-of-living is less. (American wages may be stagnating or declining but our
cost-of-living is not declining.) We need to deport illegal aliens and to stop the flow of
them over our borders. (Build the wall.) We need to severely limit the H-1B visa programme
which is putting qualified Americans out of work. (When I came to the US in 1967 I was
permitted entry on the basis that I was coming to do a job for which there were not enough
American workers available. Why was that rule ever changed?)
You are making my point. China didn't "off shore" our jobs....our politicians and
corporations did. You can't fix that by going after other countries. You fix that by
penalizing companies for using slave labor workers from other countries. Tariffs are not
going to fix this. They will just raise prices on everyone.
I can't believe you Trumptards can't see this! Once again we will focus on a symptom and
ignore the real problem. Boy, Trump and his buddies from NYC and DC have really suffered
because of unfair trade practices, right? Why can't you people see that "government is the
problem" and misdirection your attention to China, Canada, Germany, Mexico, or whomever is
I would tax the shit out of companies like Apple that make everything overseas with slave
labor and then ship it in here to sell to Americans at ridiculous prices.
Plenty of down votes but no one has proven that I am wrong on one point.
"... Back to Turkey. The largest net backstabbing of Turkish economy could be the slowdown of investments from the Gulf, where Erdogan bravely sided with Qatar. Erdogan engineered de facto confiscation of media assets owned by tycoons sympathetic to the opposition, to be purchased by Qataris, now Qatar is to Turkey what Adelson is to Israel. ..."
"... Add the effect of Iran sanctions -- it increased prices of oil and gas, but no associated increase the demand from the Gulf, on the northern shore there is a prospect of tightened belts, on the southern shore anti-Turkish policies, and Qatar alone is too small ..."
the dominant aluminum maker in Russia recently was sanctioned by USA, while a while ago it
gained control of a large portion of alumina production -- aluminum ore, bauxite, has to be
processed into more pure feedstock for smelting factories, called alumina. Now aluminum
producers in many areas, notably, Europe, have a shortage of alumina that may lead to
mothballing of some smelters; the largest alumina facility in Europe is in Ireland and it is
owned by Rusal. Perhaps great for American smelter owners, but there has to be some teeth
gnashing in Europe.
Back to Turkey. The largest net backstabbing of Turkish economy could be the slowdown of
investments from the Gulf, where Erdogan bravely sided with Qatar. Erdogan engineered de facto
confiscation of media assets owned by tycoons sympathetic to the opposition, to be purchased by
Qataris, now Qatar is to Turkey what Adelson is to Israel.
Siding with Qatar would eliminate
investments from KSA and UAE, and draconian treatment of Saudi princes and other tycoons
probably led to their assets being under the control of the Crown Prince.
This is not
particularly recent, but financial markets tend to have delayed fuse. Add the effect of Iran
sanctions -- it increased prices of oil and gas, but no associated increase the demand from the
Gulf, on the northern shore there is a prospect of tightened belts, on the southern shore
anti-Turkish policies, and Qatar alone is too small.
Plus Erdogan himself promised to "pay more
attention to Turkish central bank", and justifiably or not, that is a very strong sell signal
for the currency.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister
Theresa May have agreed in phone talks that the European Union should be ready to defend its
trade interests if the United States takes any trade measures against the bloc, the German
government said Sunday.
"The chancellor also spoke with the president [Macron] and the prime minister [May] on trade
relations with the United States. They agreed that the United States should not take
trade-linked measures against the European Union and that, otherwise, the European Union should
be ready to defend its interests within the framework of the multilateral trading system," the
"Together," President Macron instructed President Trump, "we can resist the rise of aggressive nationalisms that deny our history
and divide the world."
In an address before Congress on Wednesday, France's Macron denounced "extreme nationalism," invoked the UN, NATO, WTO, and Paris
climate accord, and implored Trump's America to come home to the New World Order.
"The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism," Macron went on, "you are the one now who has to help preserve
and reinvent it."
His visit was hailed and his views cheered, but on reflection, the ideas of Emmanuel Macron seem to be less about tomorrow than
yesterday. For the world he celebrates is receding into history. The America of 2018 is coming to see NATO as having evolved into
an endless U.S. commitment to go to war with Russia on behalf of a rich Europe that resolutely refuses to provide for its own defense.
Since the WTO was created in the mid-90s, the U.S. has run $12 trillion in trade deficits, and among the organization's biggest
beneficiaries -- the EU. Under the Paris climate accord, environmental restrictions are put upon the United States from which China
is exempt. As for the UN, is that sinkhole of anti-Americanism, the General Assembly, really worth the scores of billions we have
plunged into it?
"Aggressive nationalism" is a term that might well fit Napoleon Bonaparte, whose Arc de Triomphe sits on the Champs-Elysees. But
does it really fit the Hungarians, Poles, Brits, Scots, Catalans, and other indigenous peoples of Europe who are now using democratic
methods and means to preserve their national homes?
And the United States would seem an odd place to go about venting on "aggressive nationalisms that deny our history." Did Macron
not learn at the Lycee Henri IV in Paris or the Ecole Nationale d'Administration how the Americans acquired all that land? General
Washington, at whose Mount Vernon home Macron dined, was a nationalist who fought for six years to sever America's ties to the nation
under which he was born. How does Macron think Andrew Jackson acquired Florida from Spain, Sam Houston acquired Texas from Mexico,
and Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor acquired the Southwest? By bartering?
Aggressive nationalism is a good synonym for the Manifest Destiny of a republic that went about relieving Spain of Cuba, Puerto
Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. How does Macron think the "New World" was conquered and colonized if not by aggressive British,
French, and Spanish nationalists determined to impose their rule upon weaker indigenous tribes? Was it not nationalism that broke
up the USSR into 15 nations?
Was not the Zionist movement that resurrected Israel in 1948, and in 1967 captured the West Bank and then annexed East Jerusalem
and the Golan Heights, a manifestation of aggressive nationalism?
Macron is an echo of George H.W. Bush who in Kiev in 1991 warned Ukrainians against the "suicidal nationalism" of declaring independence
from the Russian Federation. "Aggressive nationalisms divide the world," warns Macron. Well, yes, they do, which is why we have now
194 members of the U.N., rather than the original 50. Is this a problem? "Together," said Macron, "we will build a new, strong multilateralism
that defends pluralism and democracy in the face of ill winds."
Macron belongs to a political class that sees open borders and free trade thickening and tightening the ties of dependency, and
eventually creating a One Europe whose destiny his crowd will forever control.
But if his idea of pluralism is multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural nations, with a multilateral EU overlord, he is describing
a future that tens of millions of Europeans believe means the deaths of the nations that give meaning to their lives.
And they will not go gently into that good night.
In America, too, millions have come to recognize that there is a method to the seeming madness of open borders. Name of the game:
dispossessing the deplorables of the country they love.
With open borders and mass migration of over a million people a year into the USA, almost all of them from third-world countries
that vote 70 to 90 percent Democratic, the left is foreclosing the future. They're converting the greatest country of the West into
what Teddy Roosevelt called a "polyglot boarding house for the world." And in that boarding house the left will have a lock on the
With the collaboration of co-conspirators in the media, progressives throw a cloak of altruism over the cynical seizure of permanent
For, as the millions of immigrants here legally and illegally register, and the vote is extended to prison inmates, ex-cons, and
16-year-olds, the political complexion of America will come to resemble San Francisco.
End goal: ensure that what happened in 2016, when the nation rose up and threw out a despised establishment, never happens again.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President
and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists,
visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.
"... In asserting that the EU was primarily formed to divert financial gains from the US, Trump promised that what he termed "disastrous trade deals" would stop, as he was going to personally "take on" the economic European powerhouse, as well as China, the largest economy in Asia and the second largest economy in the world. ..."
As the US president struggles at home with a legislature and judiciary increasingly
unwilling to do his bidding, new bluster and threats of a trade war with other nations appear
to have become Trump's rallying cry to the faithful. US President Donald Trump, at a meeting of
his followers in Michigan on Saturday, suggested that his administration would do everything
within its power to shift what the White House terms Washington DC's trade imbalance with the
European Union, and hinted darkly that Americans must prepare for a bumpy and uncomfortable
ride, according to RT.
In asserting that the EU was primarily formed to divert financial gains from the US,
Trump promised that what he termed "disastrous trade deals" would stop, as he was going to
personally "take on" the economic European powerhouse, as well as China, the largest economy in
Asia and the second largest economy in the world.
At a carefully curated supporters-only promotional speaking event in Michigan, the
strikingly unpopular US leader claimed that EU trade policies existed only "to take advantage
of the United States," cited by RT.
The US president warned of tough economic times for residents of the wealthiest country on
earth, declaring that, "In short term you may have to take some problems, long term -- you're
going to be so happy."
In keeping with an ongoing talking point repeatedly used by the president, Trump blamed
previous US administrations for the issues he describes as problems.
"I don't blame them," the US president declared -- referring to those nations with which he
seeks to engage in trade wars -- adding, "I blame past presidents and past leaders of our
A May 1 deadline has been implemented for the March 1 Trump ultimatum to various nations --
including China and the EU -- to either curb aluminum and steel exports to the US or face
sharply-increased import taxes.
The ultimatum triggered a speedy global backlash alongside threats of retaliation from
China, the EU, and most other nations.
At a meeting of EU members in Sofia on Saturday, Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van
Overtveldt noted that Trump's strong-arm tactics will backfire, adding that trade wars are a
no-win scenario over the long term.
"A trade war is a losing game for everybody," Van Overtveldt observed.
With just days left until the May 1 deadline when a temporary trade waiver expires and the
US steel and aluminum tariffs kick in, and after last-ditch attempts first by Emmanuel Macron
and then Angela Merkel to win exemptions for Europe fell on deaf ears, the European Union is
warning about the costs of an imminent trade war with the US while bracing for one to erupt in
just three days after the White House signaled it will reject the bloc's demand for an
unconditional waiver from metals-import tariffs .
"A trade war is a losing game for everybody," Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt
told reporters in Sofia where Europe's finance ministers have gathered. " We should stay cool
when we're thinking about reactions but the basic point is that nobody wins in a trade war so
we try to avoid it at all costs. "
Well, Trump disagrees which is why his administration has given Europe, Canada and other
allies an option: accept quotas in exchange for an exemption from the steel and aluminum
tariffs that kick on Tuesday, when the temporary waiver expires. "We are asking of everyone:
quotas if not tariffs," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Friday. This, as
Bloomberg points out , puts the EU in the difficult position of either succumbing to U.S.
demands that could breach international commerce rules, or face punitive tariffs.
Forcing governments to limit shipments of goods violates World Trade Organization rules,
which prohibit so-called voluntary export restraints. The demand is also contrary to the
entire trade philosophy of the 28-nation bloc, which is founded on the principle of the free
movement of goods.
Adding to the confusion, while WTO rules foresee the possibility of countries taking
emergency "safeguard" measures involving import quotas for specific goods, such steps are rare,
must be temporary and can be legally challenged. The EU is demanding a permanent, unconditional
waiver from the U.S. tariffs.
Meanwhile, amid the impotent EU bluster, so far only South Korea has been formally spared
from the duties, after reaching a deal last month to revise its bilateral free-trade agreement
with the U.S.
Europe, on the other hand, refuses to reach a compromise, and according to a EU official,
"Trump's demands to curb steel and aluminum exports to 90 percent of the level of the previous
two years are unacceptable." The question then is whether Europe's retaliatory move would be
painful enough to deter Trump and lift the sanctions: the official said the EU's response would
depend on the level of the quotas after which the punitive tariffs would kick in; meanwhile the
European Commission continues to "stress the bloc's consistent call for an unconditional,
permanent exclusion from the American metal levies."
"In the short run it might help them solve their trade balance but in the long run it will
worsen trade conditions," Bulgarian Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said in Sofia. "The
tools they're using to make America great again might result in certain mistakes because free
world trade has proven to be the best solution for the development of the world so far."
Around the time of his meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron made it clear that the EU
is not afraid of an escalating trade war and will not be intimidated, saying " we won't talk
about anything while there's a gun pointed at our head. "
He may change his opinion once Trump fires the first bullet.
Adding to Europe's disappointment, during her visit to the White House on Friday, Angela
Merkel said she discussed trade disputes with Trump and that she failed to win a public
commitment to halt the tariffs.
Meanwhile, Merkel's new bffs over in France are also hunkering down in preparation for a
lengthy conflict. French economy minister Bruone Le Maire told his fellow European bureaucrats
Sofia during a discussion on taxation: "One thing I learned from my week in the U.S. with
President Macron: The Americans will only respect a show of strength."
Coming from the French, that observation is as accurate as it is delightfully ironic.
And now the real question is who has the most to lose from the imminent Transatlantic trade
war, and will surrender first.
"Together," President Macron instructed President Trump, "we can resist the rise of
aggressive nationalisms that deny our history and divide the world."
In an address before Congress on Wednesday, France's Macron denounced "extreme nationalism,"
invoked the UN, NATO, WTO, and Paris climate accord, and implored Trump's America to come home
to the New World Order.
"The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism," Macron went on, "you are
the one now who has to help preserve and reinvent it."
His visit was hailed and his views cheered, but on reflection, the ideas of Emmanuel Macron
seem to be less about tomorrow than yesterday.
For the world he celebrates is receding into history.
The America of 2018 is coming to see NATO as having evolved into an endless U.S. commitment
to go to war with Russia on behalf of a rich Europe that resolutely refuses to provide for its
Since the WTO was created in the mid-90s, the U.S. has run $12 trillion in trade deficits,
and among the organization's biggest beneficiaries -- the EU.
Under the Paris climate accord, environmental restrictions are put upon the United States
from which China is exempt.
As for the UN, is that sinkhole of anti-Americanism, the General Assembly, really worth the
scores of billions we have plunged into it?
"Aggressive nationalism" is a term that might well fit Napoleon Bonaparte, whose Arc de
Triomphe sits on the Champs-Elysees. But does it really fit the Hungarians, Poles, Brits,
Scots, Catalans, and other indigenous peoples of Europe who are now using democratic methods
and means to preserve their national homes?
And the United States would seem an odd place to go about venting on "aggressive
nationalisms that deny our history."
Did Macron not learn at the Lycee Henri IV in Paris or the Ecole Nationale d'Administration
how the Americans acquired all that land?
General Washington, at whose Mount Vernon home Macron dined, was a nationalist who fought
for six years to sever America's ties to the nation under which he was born.
How does Macron think Andrew Jackson acquired Florida from Spain, Sam Houston acquired Texas
from Mexico, and Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor acquired the Southwest? By bartering?
Aggressive nationalism is a good synonym for the Manifest Destiny of a republic that went
about relieving Spain of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.
How does Macron think the "New World" was conquered and colonized if not by aggressive
British, French, and Spanish nationalists determined to impose their rule upon weaker
Was it not nationalism that broke up the USSR into 15 nations?
Was not the Zionist movement that resurrected Israel in 1948, and in 1967 captured the West
Bank and then annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, a manifestation of aggressive
Macron is an echo of George H.W. Bush who in Kiev in 1991 warned Ukrainians against the
"suicidal nationalism" of declaring independence from the Russian Federation.
"Aggressive nationalisms divide the world," warns Macron.
Well, yes, they do, which is why we have now 194 members of the U.N., rather than the
original 50. Is this a problem?
"Together," said Macron, "we will build a new, strong multilateralism that defends pluralism
and democracy in the face of ill winds."
Macron belongs to a political class that sees open borders and free trade thickening and
tightening the ties of dependency, and eventually creating a One Europe whose destiny his crowd
will forever control.
But if his idea of pluralism is multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural nations, with a
multilateral EU overlord, he is describing a future that tens of millions of Europeans believe
means the deaths of the nations that give meaning to their lives.
And they will not go gently into that good night.
In America, too, millions have come to recognize that there is a method to the seeming
madness of open borders. Name of the game: dispossessing the deplorables of the country they
With open borders and mass migration of over a million people a year into the USA, almost
all of them from third-world countries that vote 70 to 90 percent Democratic, the left is
foreclosing the future. They're converting the greatest country of the West into what Teddy
Roosevelt called a "polyglot boarding house for the world." And in that boarding house the left
will have a lock on the presidency.
With the collaboration of co-conspirators in the media, progressives throw a cloak of
altruism over the cynical seizure of permanent power.
For, as the millions of immigrants here legally and illegally register, and the vote is
extended to prison inmates, ex-cons, and 16-year-olds, the political complexion of America will
come to resemble San Francisco.
End goal: ensure that what happened in 2016, when the nation rose up and threw out a
despised establishment, never happens again.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles
That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick
Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators
website at www.creators.com.
Let's remember, it was nationalism that led German, Japan and Italy into the two world wars.
Like everything, nationalism is not absolutely good or absolutely bad.
European nationalism that led them to colonize other weaker countries was not a good
thing. Nationalism that led the colonized countries to fight for independence was a good
The current rising of nationalism is not a good thing because it is often bound up with
white nationalism, a belief that the non-whites are inferior people undeserving of care and
While I understand the anxiety of White people for losing their power of dominance,
multiculturalism is a future that can't be rolled back no matter how much they long for the
past white homogeneity. Because technology that made our world smaller and flatter can't be
I agree the West can't absorb all the immigrants who want to find new life in the West.
The solution is not to shun the immigrants and pretend they don't exist. The solution is to
acknowledge their suffering and their need for a stable home and help them build that at
their home countries.
Biologically, it is known that our genes get stronger with more diversity, that community
gets weaker with too much in breeding. So is our strength as a people, culturally,
philosophically, spiritually and creatively.
Another nice notion on the mis/abuse of the world nationalism from Mr. Buchanan. From a
Central European perspective, however Macron's alleged multilateralism as presented in
Washington is just a pretence peddled for the media – teaming up with Angela Merkel
(more specifically, with Germany's economic strength), Macron pretty much insists on reining
in the rebellious Visegrad 4 politically, without the slightest interest in reaching a
mutually beneficial compromise with them.
It strikes me that both France and Germany have large enough populations, economies and
technical know-how to produce effective modern fighting forces. Second, given the size of EU,
it is clear that the EU, if it could get its act together, would be capable of projecting
force in the world on an equal playing field with the United States.
The European Leaders appeals to Trump to pursue European interests in American foreign
policy are simply pathetic. If Europe has foreign interests, they will only be able to
protect and insure them if they retake their sovereignty and independence on the world
Europe can, and I suspect Europe will, because their problem is not just Trump and whether
he is impeached or re-elected, it is that European interests are being held hostage to the
American Electorate, which can and will return a Cowboy to the Presidency long after Trump is
I don't see how, given the developments with the Iran Deal, as well as other frictions,
that the NATO alliance can remain standing. None of the above reflections are particularly
ideological, and it seems impossible that Merkel and Macron couldn't entertain such
Europe can, and inevitably will, declare independence from the Americans, and I see NATO
unraveling and a new dawn of European "multilateralism" taking its place.
Nationalism and Multiculturalism cannot coexist separately, they're in tendsion as we all try
to balance the scales.
Without the benefit of nationalism, the Koreas would not have done what they just did. My
own "ethnic people" are the minority of 1.2 million Hungarians who live in Romania, who have
lived there for centuries and will not leave their homeland except many of them do, like my
parents did, and many of my other relatives and friends–the number was 1.5 million not
too long ago, and I was estimating 1.8, but man, we are dwindling. Only 1.2 million! That
shocks me. Nationalism keeps us alive. But if that's all we had, then the Romanians would be
totally nationalistic too, and they will forcefully seek to curtail minority rights,
language, culture, and slowly choke us out. That's the nationalist philosophy on
That's your philosophy, and you're saying what will happen here is liberals will slowly
turn the country into San Francisco. You make the same error as my friend in another thread.
You cannot compare a city and its politics to a province or a country, or to any territory
that contains vast farmlands.
Pat, you are saying that it's possible for the entire Byzantine Empire to take on the
precise political complexion of the walled city of Constantinople. That city cannot feed
itself, it's not a self-contained social or political entity.
The roiling cities of San Francisco/Bay Area and glorious Constantinople are and were
completely and totally dependent on the countryside, and thus, on the politics the rurals
tend to practice. The rurals need to feel the effects of city politics too.
No city anywhere is self-contained, and most cities are more liberal than their
hinterlands, so should we do away with cities?
You can see it as symbiotic or some kind of yin and yang tension, however you prefer. But
one is good and the other is evil? I don't buy that.
I'm pretty sure I should say ALL cities are more liberal then the surrounding countrysides
which feed them. After all, the city is really just the most commonly known major local
market, which the villages eventually form organically. One village in particular stands out,
and the neighbors start flocking more and more to its market, some decide to move there and
contribute even more to the good energy, and voila, the first city is soon born.
Then it takes on pride, and starts thinking it's superior to the "rubes." It isn't. I was
lucky enough to get my foundations in a village, I know its incredible efficiency and
_conservative_ values and lifestyle, but trust me, there's plenty of drunkenness and scandal,
even among the sainted rubes who raised me.
Keep slapping down the cities, Pat, but don't exaggerate the threat, no self-supporting
society on Earth could live the way those freaks live in San Francisco, or Constantinople,
that's a fact.
My apologies, I know I go on a little long sometimes:
I am an American now, and America is my "us," I don't have mixed political allegiances,
just cultural ones. I don't live in my original homeland anymore. The choice to leave wasn't
If I had a choice to leave my country of origin, the land I was raised in and find
familiar–and I have been in America since age twelve, so I do see it as home and very
familiar–I would be daunted. Speaking as an average American adult, I know that moving
to another English-speaking and equally advanced country is complicated enough for the
average American. Imagine uprooting and going to a foreign land whose language you don't know
yet, where everything is a lot more expensive. Try getting a job there. Let's say you have no
college degree. Try it. I wouldn't want to.
Immigrants are tough as nails, I'm sorry to say. You have no chance against them,
actually. You cannot even conceive of the willpower and trials by fire. Most people quite
understandably can't fathom it, unless they actually try it or see it with their own
"... The ultimate goal of the new world order as an ideology is total centralization of economic and governmental power into the hands of a select and unaccountable bureaucracy made up of international financiers. This is governance according the the dictates of Plato's Republic; a delusional fantasy world in which benevolent philosopher kings, supposedly smarter and more objective than the rest of us, rule from on high with scientific precision and wisdom. It is a world where administrators become gods. ..."
"... Large corporations receive unfair legal protection under limited liability as well as outright legislative protection from civil consequences (Monsanto is a perfect example of this). They also receive immense taxpayer funded welfare through bailouts and other sources when they fail to manage their business responsibly. All this while small businesses and entrepreneurs are impeded at every turn by taxation and legal obstacles. ..."
"... Only massive corporations supported by governments are able to exploit the advantages of international manufacturing and labor sources in a way that ensures long term success. Meanwhile economic models that promote true decentralization and localism become impractical because real competition is never allowed. The world has not enjoyed free markets in at least a century. What we have today is something entirely different. ..."
"... The fact is, globalist institutions and central banks permeate almost every corner of the world. Nations like Russia and China are just as heavily tied to the IMF and the Bank for International Settlements and international financial centers like Goldman Sachs as any western government. ..."
"... The first inclination of human beings is to discriminate against ideas and people they see as destructive and counter to their prosperity. Globalists therefore have to convince a majority of people that the very tribalism that has fueled our social evolution and some of the greatest ideas in history is actually the source of our eventual doom. ..."
"... As mentioned earlier, globalists cannot have their "new world order" unless they can convince the masses to ask for it. Trying to implement such a system by force alone would end in failure, because revolution is the natural end result of tyranny. Therefore, the new world order has to be introduced as if it had been formed by coincidence or by providence. Any hint that the public is being conned into accepting global centralization would trigger widespread resistance. ..."
"... This is why globalism is always presented in the mainstream media as a natural extension of civilization's higher achievement. Even though it was the dangerous interdependency of globalism that helped fuel the economic crisis of 2008 and continues to escalate that crisis to this day, more globalism is continually promoted as the solution to the problem. It is spoken of with reverence in mainstream economic publications and political discussions. It receives almost religious praise in the halls of academia. Globalism is socioeconomic ambrosia -- the food of deities. It is the fountain of youth. It is a new Eden. ..."
"... Obviously, this adoration for globalism is nonsense. There is no evidence whatsoever that globalism is a positive force for humanity, let alone a natural one. There is far more evidence that globalism is a poisonous ideology that can only ever gain a foothold through trickery and through false flags. ..."
When globalists speak publicly about a "new world order" they are speaking about something
very specific and rather sacred in their little cult of elitism. It is not simply the notion
that civilization shifts or changes abruptly on its own; rather, it is their name for a
directed and engineered vision - a world built according to their rules, not a world that
evolved naturally according to necessity.
There are other names for this engineered vision, including the "global economic reset," or
the more general and innocuous term "globalism," but the intention is the same.
The ultimate goal of the new world order as an ideology is total centralization of economic
and governmental power into the hands of a select and unaccountable bureaucracy made up of
international financiers. This is governance according the the dictates of Plato's Republic; a
delusional fantasy world in which benevolent philosopher kings, supposedly smarter and more
objective than the rest of us, rule from on high with scientific precision and wisdom. It is a
world where administrators become gods.
Such precision and objectivity within human systems is not possible, of course . Human
beings are far too susceptible to their own biases and personal desires to be given
totalitarian power over others. The results will always be destruction and disaster. Then, add
to this the fact that the kinds of people who often pursue such power are predominantly
narcissistic sociopaths and psychopaths. If a governmental structure of high level
centralization is allowed to form, it opens a door for these mentally and spiritually broken
people to play out their twisted motives on a global stage.
It is important to remember that sociopaths are prone to fabricating all kinds of high
minded ideals to provide cover for their actions. That is to say, they will adopt a host of
seemingly noble causes to rationalize their scramble for power, but in the end these
"humanitarians" only care about imposing their will on as many people as possible while feeding
off them for as long as time allows.
There are many false promises, misrepresentations and fraudulent conceptions surrounding the
narrative of globalism. Some of them are rather clever and subversive and are difficult to pick
out in the deliberately created fog. The schemes involved in implementing globalism are
designed to confuse the masses with crisis until they end up ASKING for more centralization and
Let's examine some of the most common propaganda methods and arguments behind the push for
globalization and a "new world order"
Con #1: Globalism Is About "Free Markets"
A common pro-globalism meme is the idea that globalization is not really centralization, but
decentralization. This plays primarily to the economic side of global governance, which in my
view is the most important because without economic centralization political centralization is
Free markets according to Adam Smith, a pioneer of the philosophy, are supposed to provide
open paths for anyone with superior ideas and ingenuity to pursue those ideas without
interference from government or government aided institutions. What we have today under
globalism are NOT free markets. Instead, globalism has supplied unfettered power to
international corporations which cannot exist without government charter and government
The corporate model is completely counter to Adam Smith's original premise of free market
trade. Large corporations receive unfair legal protection under limited liability as well as
outright legislative protection from civil consequences (Monsanto is a perfect example of
this). They also receive immense taxpayer funded welfare through bailouts and other sources
when they fail to manage their business responsibly. All this while small businesses and
entrepreneurs are impeded at every turn by taxation and legal obstacles.
In terms of international trade being "free trade," this is not really the case either. Only
massive corporations supported by governments are able to exploit the advantages of
international manufacturing and labor sources in a way that ensures long term success.
Meanwhile economic models that promote true decentralization and localism become impractical
because real competition is never allowed. The world has not enjoyed free markets in at least a
century. What we have today is something entirely different.
Con #2: Globalism Is About A "Multipolar World"
This is a relatively new disinformation tactic that I attribute directly to the success of
the liberty movement and alternative economists. As the public becomes more educated on the
dangers of economic centralization and more specifically the dangers of central banks, the
globalists are attempting to shift the narrative to muddy the waters.
For example, the liberty movement has railed against the existence of the Federal Reserve
and fiat dollar hegemony to the point that our information campaign has been breaking into
mainstream thought. The problem is that globalism is not about the dollar, U.S. hegemony or the
so-called "deep state," which in my view is a distraction from the bigger issue at hand.
The fact is, globalist institutions and central banks permeate almost every corner of the
world. Nations like Russia and China are just as heavily tied to the IMF and the Bank for
International Settlements and international financial centers like Goldman Sachs as any western
Part of the plan for the new world order, as has been openly admitted by globalists and
globalist publications, is the decline of the U.S. and the dollar system to make way for one
world financial governance through the IMF as well as the Special Drawing Rights basket as a
mechanism for the world reserve currency. The globalists WANT a less dominant U.S. and a more
involved East, while the East continues to call for more control of the global economy by the
IMF. This concept unfortunately flies over the heads of most economists, even in the liberty
So, the great lie being promoted now is that the fall of the U.S. and the dollar is a "good
thing" because it will result in "decentralization," a "multi-polar" world order and the
"death" of globalism. However, what is really happening is that as the U.S. falls globalist
edifices like the IMF and the BIS rise. We are moving from centralization to
super-centralization. Globalists have pulled a bait and switch in order to trick the liberty
movement into supporting the success of the East (which is actually also globalist controlled)
and a philosophy which basically amounts to a re-branding of the new world order as some kind
of decentralized paradise.
Con #3: Nationalism Is The Source Of War, And Globalism Will End It
If there's one thing globalists have a love/hate relationship with, it's humanity's natural
tribal instincts. On the one hand, they like tribalism because in some cases tribalism can be
turned into zealotry, and zealots are easy to exploit and manipulate. Wars between nations
(tribes) can be instigated if the tribal instinct is weighted with artificial fears and
On the other hand, tribalism lends itself to natural decentralization of societies because
tribalism in its best form is the development of many groups organized around a variety of
ideas and principles and projects. This makes the establishment of a "one world ideology" very
difficult, if not impossible. The first inclination of human beings is to discriminate against
ideas and people they see as destructive and counter to their prosperity. Globalists therefore
have to convince a majority of people that the very tribalism that has fueled our social
evolution and some of the greatest ideas in history is actually the source of our eventual
Nationalism served the globalists to a point, but now they need to get rid of it entirely.
This requires considerable crisis blamed on nationalism and "populist" ideals. Engineered war,
whether kinetic or economic, is the best method to scapegoat tribalism. Every tragedy from now
on must eventually be attributed to ideas of separation and logical discrimination against
negative ideologies. The solution of globalism will then be offered; a one world system in
which all separation is deemed "evil."
Con #4: Globalism Is Natural And Inevitable
As mentioned earlier, globalists cannot have their "new world order" unless they can
convince the masses to ask for it. Trying to implement such a system by force alone would end
in failure, because revolution is the natural end result of tyranny. Therefore, the new world
order has to be introduced as if it had been formed by coincidence or by providence. Any hint
that the public is being conned into accepting global centralization would trigger widespread
This is why globalism is always presented in the mainstream media as a natural extension of
civilization's higher achievement. Even though it was the dangerous interdependency of
globalism that helped fuel the economic crisis of 2008 and continues to escalate that crisis to
this day, more globalism is continually promoted as the solution to the problem. It is spoken
of with reverence in mainstream economic publications and political discussions. It receives
almost religious praise in the halls of academia. Globalism is socioeconomic ambrosia -- the
food of deities. It is the fountain of youth. It is a new Eden.
Obviously, this adoration for globalism is nonsense. There is no evidence whatsoever that
globalism is a positive force for humanity, let alone a natural one. There is far more evidence
that globalism is a poisonous ideology that can only ever gain a foothold through trickery and
through false flags.
We live in an era that represents an ultimate crossroads for civilization; a time of great
uncertainty. Will we seek truth in the trials we face, and thus the ability to create our own
solutions? Or, will we take a seemingly easier road by embracing whatever solutions are handed
to us by the establishment? Make no mistake -- the globalists already have a solution
prepackaged for us. They have been acclimating and conditioning the public to accept it for
decades now. That solution will not bring what it promises. It will not bring peace, but
eternal war. It will not bring togetherness, but isolation. It will not bring understanding,
When globalists eventually try to sell us on a full-blown new world order, they will pull
out every conceivable image of heaven on Earth, but they will do this only after creating a
tangible and ever present hell.
* * *
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hat is happening to national politics? Every day in the US, events further exceed the imaginations of absurdist novelists and comedians;
politics in the UK still shows few signs of recovery after the "
national nervous breakdown " of Brexit.
escaped a heart attack " in last year's elections, but the country's leading daily feels this has done little to alter the "
accelerated decomposition " of the political system. In neighbouring Spain, El País goes so far as to say that "the rule of law,
the democratic system and even the market economy are in doubt"; in Italy, "the collapse of the establishment" in the March elections
has even brought talk of a "barbarian arrival", as if Rome were falling once again. In Germany, meanwhile, neo-fascists are preparing
to take up their role as
official opposition , introducing anxious volatility into the bastion of European stability.
But the convulsions in national politics are not confined to the west. Exhaustion, hopelessness, the dwindling effectiveness of
old ways: these are the themes of politics all across the world. This is why energetic authoritarian "solutions" are currently so
popular: distraction by war (Russia, Turkey); ethno-religious "purification" (India, Hungary, Myanmar); the magnification of presidential
powers and the corresponding abandonment of civil rights and the rule of law (China, Rwanda, Venezuela, Thailand, the Philippines
and many more).
What is the relationship between these various upheavals? We tend to regard them as entirely separate – for, in political life,
national solipsism is the rule. In each country, the tendency is to blame "our" history, "our" populists, "our" media, "our" institutions,
"our" lousy politicians. And this is understandable, since the organs of modern political consciousness – public education and mass
media – emerged in the 19th century from a globe-conquering ideology of unique national destinies. When we discuss "politics", we
refer to what goes on inside sovereign states; everything else is "foreign affairs" or "international relations" – even in this era
of global financial and technological integration. We may buy the same products in every country of the world, we may all use Google
and Facebook, but political life, curiously, is made of separate stuff and keeps the antique faith of borders.
Yes, there is awareness that similar varieties of populism are erupting in many countries. Several have noted the parallels in
style and substance between leaders such as Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Viktor Orbán and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. There
is a sense that something is in the air – some coincidence of feeling between places. But this does not get close enough. For there
is no coincidence. All countries are today embedded in the same system, which subjects them all to the same pressures: and it is
these that are squeezing and warping national political life everywhere. And their effect is quite the opposite – despite the desperate
flag-waving – of the oft-remarked "
resurgence of the nation state ".
The future of economic globalisation, for which the Davos men and women see themselves as
caretakers, had been shaken by a series of political earthquakes. "Globalisation" can mean many
things, but what lay in particular doubt was the long-advanced project of increasing free trade
in goods across borders. The previous summer, Britain had voted to leave the largest trading
bloc in the world. In November, the unexpected victory of Donald Trump , who vowed to withdraw from
major trade deals, appeared to jeopardise the trading relationships of the world's richest
country. Forthcoming elections in France and Germany suddenly seemed to bear the possibility of
anti-globalisation parties garnering better results than ever before. The barbarians weren't at
the gates to the ski-lifts yet – but they weren't very far.
In a panel titled Governing Globalisation , the economist
Dambisa Moyo , otherwise a well-known supporter of free trade, forthrightly asked the
audience to accept that "there have been significant losses" from globalisation. "It is not
clear to me that we are going to be able to remedy them under the current infrastructure," she
added. Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund,
called for a policy hitherto foreign to the World Economic Forum : "more redistribution".
After years of hedging or discounting the malign effects of free trade, it was time to face
facts: globalisation caused job losses and depressed wages, and the usual Davos proposals
– such as instructing affected populations to accept the new reality – weren't
going to work. Unless something changed, the political consequences were likely to get
The backlash to globalisation has helped fuel the extraordinary political shifts of the past
18 months. During the close race to become the Democratic party candidate, senator Bernie
Sanders relentlessly attacked Hillary Clinton on her
support for free trade . On the campaign trail, Donald Trump openly proposed tilting the
terms of trade in favour of American industry. "Americanism, not globalism, shall be our
creed," he bellowed at the Republican national convention last July.
The vote for Brexit was strongest in the regions of the UK devastated by the flight of
manufacturing. At Davos in January, British prime minister Theresa May, the leader of the party
of capital and inherited wealth, improbably picked up the theme, warning that, for many, "talk
of greater globalisation means their jobs being outsourced and wages undercut." Meanwhile,
the European far right has been warning against free movement of people as well as goods.
Following her qualifying victory in the first round of France's presidential election,
Marine Le Pen warned darkly that "the main thing at stake in this election is the rampant
globalisation that is endangering our civilisation."
It was only a few decades ago that globalisation was held by many, even by some critics, to
be an inevitable, unstoppable force. "Rejecting globalisation," the American journalist George
Packer has written, "was like rejecting the sunrise." Globalisation could take place in
services, capital and ideas, making it a notoriously imprecise term; but what it meant most
often was making it cheaper to trade across borders – something that seemed to many at
the time to be an unquestionable good. In practice, this often meant that industry would move
from rich countries, where labour was expensive, to poor countries, where labour was cheaper.
People in the rich countries would either have to accept lower wages to compete, or lose their
jobs. But no matter what, the goods they formerly produced would now be imported, and be even
cheaper. And the unemployed could get new, higher-skilled jobs (if they got the requisite
training). Mainstream economists and politicians upheld the consensus about the merits of
globalisation, with little concern that there might be political consequences.
Back then, economists could calmly chalk up anti-globalisation sentiment to a marginal group
of delusional protesters, or disgruntled stragglers still toiling uselessly in "sunset
industries". These days, as sizable constituencies have voted in country after country for
anti-free-trade policies, or candidates that promise to limit them, the old self-assurance is
gone. Millions have rejected, with uncertain results, the punishing logic that globalisation
could not be stopped. The backlash has swelled a wave of soul-searching among economists, one
that had already begun to roll ashore with the financial crisis. How did they fail to foresee
(Walgreen's, Target, fast food less w/much high labor costs) that would solve most social
problems caused by loss of manufacturing (to out sourcing or automation). The money's there.
Bottom 40% income take about 10% of overall income. "Mid" take about 67.5%. Top 1%, 22.5%.
The instrument of moving 10% more from "mid" to the bottom is higher consumer prices arriving
with the sudden reappearance of nationwide, high union density (see below for the easy
application). The instrument of retrieving the "mid's" lost 10% is Eisenhower level
confiscatory taxes for the top 1%.
Jack Kennedy lowered max income tax rate from 92% to 70% to improve incentives (other cuts
followed). But with the top 1% wages now 20X (!) what they were in the 60s while per capita
only doubled since, there will be all the incentive in the world left over while we relieve
them of the burden of stultifying wealth. ;-)
Brad argues that globalization is as good for the USA as Krugman thought in the 1990s. He has three key arguments. One is that
the manufacturing employment which has been off shored is unskilled assembly and such boring jobs are not good jobs. The second is
that the problems faced by US manufacturing workers are mostly due to electing Reagan and W Bush and not trade. Finally he notes
that local economic decline is not new at all and that trade with South Carolina did it to Massachusetts long before China entered
the picture. The third point works against his general argument and is partly personal. I won't discuss it except to note that Brad
I have criticisms of Brad's first two arguments. The first is that the boring easy manufacturing jobs were well paid. They are
bad jobs in that thinking of doing them terrifies me even more than work in general terrifies me, but they are (or mostly were) well
paid jobs. There are still strong forces that make wages paid to people who work near each other at the same firm similar. As very
much noted by Dennis Drew, unions used to be very strong and used that strenth to help all employees of unionized firms (and employess
of non-union firms whose managers were afraid of unions). I think that, like Krugman, Brad assumes that wages are based on skills
importantly including ones acquired on the job. I think this leaves a lot out.
... ... ...
Kaleberg , April 1, 2018 4:03 pm
An argument no one mentions is about comparative advantage. The US had a comparative advantage in manufacturing. It had the
engineers, the technicians, the labor, the venture capital and so on. When transportation costs are low and barriers minimal,
comparative advantage is something a nation creates, not some natural attribute. The US sacrificed that comparative advantage
on the altar of ideological purity. Manufacturing advantage is an especially useful type of advantage since it can permeate the
remaining economy. We sacrificed it, and we have been paying for it. Odds are, we will continue to pay.
likbez , April 1, 2018 6:38 pm
The problem here is that neoliberalism and globalization are two sides of the same coin.
If you reject globalization, you need to reject neoliberalism as a social system. You just can't sit between two chairs (as
Trump attempts to do propagating "bastard neoliberalism" -- neoliberal doctrine is still fully applicable within the country,
but neoliberal globalization is rejected)
Rejection of neoliberal globalization also implicitly suggests that Reagan "quiet coup" that restored the power of financial
oligarchy and subsequent dismantling of the New Deal Capitalism was a disaster for common people in the USA.
While this is true, that's a very tough call. That explains DeLong behavior.
"... And, quoting his colleague Archon Fung from the Harvard Kennedy School, " American politics is no longer characterized by the rule of the median voter, if it ever was. Instead, in contemporary America the median capitalist rules as both the Democratic and Republican parties adjust their policies to attract monied interests." And finally Mr. Ringen adds, "American politicians are aware of having sunk into a murky bog of moral corruption but are trapped." ..."
"... Trump merely reflects the dysfunctionality and internal contradictions of American politics. He is the American Gorbachev, who kicked off perestroika at the wrong time. ..."
"... Global financial services exercise monopolistic power over national policies, unchecked by any semblance of global political power. Trust is haemorrhaging. The European Union, the greatest ever experiment in super-national democracy, is imploding ..."
"... Probably this is because the Western model of neoliberalism does not provide any real freedom of commerce, speech, or political activity, but rather imposes a regime of submission within a clearly defined framework. ..."
"... america is going through withdraw from 30 years of trickledown crap. the young are realizing that the shithole they inherit does not have to be a shithole, and the old pathetic white old men who run the show will be dead soon. ..."
"... The liberal order is dying because it is led by criminally depraved Predators who have pauperized the labor force and created political strife, though the populists don't pose much threat to the liberal-order Predators. ..."
"... However by shipping the productive Western economies overseas to Asia, the US in particular cannot finance and physically support a military empire or the required R&D to stay competitive on the commercial and military front. ..."
"... So the US Imperialists are being eclipsed by the Sino-Russo Alliance and wants us to believe this is a great tragedy. Meanwhile the same crew of Liberal -neoCon Deep Staters presses on with wars and tensions that are slipping out of control. ..."
Haass writes: " Liberalism is in retreat. Democracies are feeling the effects of growing populism. Parties of the political extremes
have gained ground in Europe. The vote in the United Kingdom in favor of leaving the EU attested to the loss of elite influence.
Even the US is experiencing unprecedented attacks from its own president on the country's media, courts, and law-enforcement institutions.
Authoritarian systems, including China, Russia, and Turkey, have become even more top-heavy. Countries such as Hungary and Poland
seem uninterested in the fate of their young democracies
"We are seeing the emergence of regional orders. Attempts to build global frameworks are failing."
Haass has previously made alarmist statements , but this
time he is employing his rhetoric to point to the global nature of this phenomenon. Although between the lines one can easily read,
first of all, a certain degree of arrogance -- the idea that only we liberals and globalists really know how to administer foreign
policy -- and second, the motifs of conspiracy.
"Today's other major powers, including the EU, Russia, China, India, and Japan, could be criticized for what they are doing,
not doing, or both."
Probably this list could be expanded by adding a number of Latin American countries, plus Egypt, which signs arms deals with North
Korea while denying any violation of UN sanctions, and the burgeoning Shiite axis of Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.
But Haass is crestfallen over the fact that it is Washington itself that is changing the rules of the game and seems completely
uninterested in what its allies, partners, and clients in various corners of the world will do.
" America's decision to abandon the role it has played for more than seven decades thus marks a turning point. The liberal
world order cannot survive on its own, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be
a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike."
Richard Haass's colleague at the CFR, Stewart Patrick, quite agrees with the claim that it is
the US itself that is burying the liberal world order . However, it's not doing it on its own, but alongside China. If the US
had previously been hoping that the process of globalization would gradually transform China (and possibly destroy it, as happened
to the Soviet Union earlier), then the Americans must have been quite surprised by how it has actually played out. That country modernized
without being Westernized, an idea that had once been endorsed by the leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini.
Now China is expanding its influence in Eurasia in its own way, and this is for the most part welcomed by its partner countries.
But this has been a painful process for the US, as it is steadily and irrevocably undermining its hegemony.
"Its long-term ambition is to dismantle the U.S. alliance system in Asia, replacing it with a more benign (from Beijing's perspective)
regional security order in which it enjoys pride of place, and ideally a sphere of influence commensurate with its power.
China's Belt and Road initiative is part and parcel of this effort, offering not only (much-needed) infrastructure investments
in neighboring countries but also the promise of greater political influence in Southeast, South, and Central Asia. More aggressively,
China continues to advance outrageous jurisdictional claims over almost the entirety of the South China Sea , where it continues
its island-building activities, as well as engaging in provocative actions against Japan in the East China Sea," writes Patrick.
And as for the US:
"The United States, for its part, is a weary titan, no longer willing to bear the burdens of global leadership, either economically
Trump treats alliances as a protection racket, and the world economy as an arena of zero-sum competition. The result is a fraying
liberal international order without a champion willing to invest in the system itself. "
One can agree with both authors' assessments of the changed behavior of one sector of the US establishment, but this is about
more than just Donald Trump (who is so unpredictable that he has
staffed his own team with a member of the very swamp he was preparing to drain) and North American populism. One needs to look
"Today, American democratic exceptionalism is defined by a system that is dysfunctional in all the conditions that are needed
for settlement and loyalty...
Capitalism has collapsed into crisis in an orgy of deregulation. Money is transgressing into politics and undermining democracy
And, quoting his colleague Archon Fung from the Harvard Kennedy School, " American politics is no longer characterized by
the rule of the median voter, if it ever was. Instead, in contemporary America the median capitalist rules as both the Democratic
and Republican parties adjust their policies to attract monied interests." And finally Mr. Ringen adds, "American politicians are
aware of having sunk into a murky bog of moral corruption but are trapped."
Trump merely reflects the dysfunctionality and internal contradictions of American politics. He is the American Gorbachev,
who kicked off perestroika at the wrong time. Although it must be conceded that if Hillary Clinton had become president, the
US collapse would have been far more painful, particularly for the citizens of that country. We would have seen yet more calamitous
reforms, a swelling influx of migrants, a further decline in the nation's manufacturing base, and the incitement of new conflicts.
Trump is trying to keep the body of US national policy somewhat alive through hospice care, but what's really needed is a major restructuring,
including far-reaching political reforms that would allow the country's citizens to feel that they can actually play a role in its
These developments have spread to many countries in Europe, a continent that, due to its transatlantic involvement, was already
vulnerable and susceptible to the current geopolitical turbulence. The emergence of which, by the way, was largely a consequence
of that very policy of neoliberalism.
Stein Ringen continues on that score:
"Global financial services exercise monopolistic power over national policies, unchecked by any semblance of global political
power. Trust is haemorrhaging. The European Union, the greatest ever experiment in super-national democracy, is imploding
It is interesting that panic has seized Western Europe and the US -- the home of transatlanticism, although different versions
of this recipe for liberalism have been employed in other regions -- suffice it to recall the experience of Singapore or Brazil.
But they don't seem as panicked there as in the West.
Probably this is because the Western model of neoliberalism does not provide any real freedom of commerce, speech, or political
activity, but rather imposes a regime of submission within a clearly defined framework. Therefore, the destruction of the current
system entails the loss of all those dividends previously enjoyed by the liberal political elites of the West that were obtained
by speculating in the stock market, from the mechanisms of international foreign-exchange payments (the dollar system), and through
the instruments of supranational organizations (the UN, WTO, and World Bank). And, of course, there are the fundamental differences
in the cultural varieties of societies.
In his book The Hidden God, Lucien Goldmann draws some interesting conclusions, suggesting that the foundations of Western culture
have rationalistic and tragic origins, and that a society immersed in these concepts that have "abolish[ed] both God and the community
[soon sees] the disappearance of any external norm which might guide the individual in his life and actions." And because by its
very nature liberalism must carry on, in its mechanical fashion, "liberating" the individual from any form of structure (social classes,
the Church, family, society, and gender, ultimately liberating man from his very self), in the absence of any standards of deterrence,
it is quite logical that the Western world was destined to eventually find itself in crisis. And the surge of populist movements,
protectionist measures, and conservative policies of which Haass and other liberal globalists speak are nothing more than examples
of those nations' instinct for self-preservation. One need not concoct conspiracy theories about Russia or Putin interfering in the
US election (which Donald Trump has also denied, noting only that support was seen for Hillary Clinton, and it is entirely true that
a portion of her financial backing did come from Russia). The baseline political decisions being made in the West are in step with
the current crisis that is evident on so many levels. It's just that, like always, the Western elites need their ritual whipping
boy(although it would be more accurate to call it a human sacrifice). This geopolitical shake-up began in the West as a result of
the implicit nature of the very project of the West itself.
But since alternative development scenarios exist, the current system is eroding away. And other political projects are starting
to fill the resultant ideological void -- in both form as well as content.
Thus it's fairly likely that the current crisis of liberalism will definitively bury the unipolar Western system of hegemony.
And the budding movements of populism and regional protectionism can serve as the basis for a new, multipolar world order.
Oh, Wicked Witch of the West Wing, the cleansing fire awaits thy demise! Those meds can only keep you standing for so long.
Keep tripping. Keep stumbling. Satan calls you to him. The day approacheth. Tick tock tick tock. 👹😂
Ridiculous cunt Hillary thinks after getting REJECTED by the voters in the USA that somehow being asked to "go the fuck away
and shut the fuck up" makes her a women's leader. The cocksucker Soros and some of these other non-elected globalist should keep
in mind that while everybody has a right to an opinion: it took the Clinton Crime Family and lots of corruption to create the
scandals that sets a Clinton Crime Family member aside, and why Soros was given a free pass on election meddling and not others
requires congressional investigation and a special prosecutor. And then there is that special kind of legal and ignorant opinion
like David Hogg who I just disagree with, making him in my opinion and many fellow NRA members a cocksucker and a cunt. I'd wish
shingles on David Hogg, Hillary Clinton, and Soros.
america is going through withdraw from 30 years of trickledown crap. the young are realizing that the shithole they inherit
does not have to be a shithole, and the old pathetic white old men who run the show will be dead soon.
all i see is a bunch of fleeting old people who found facebook 10 years late are temporarily empowered since they can now connect
with other equally impotent old people.
The usual self-serving swill from the Best and the Brightest of the Predator Class out of the CFR via Haas.
The liberal order aka the New British Empire, was born 70 years ago by firebombing and nuking undefended civilian targets.
It proceeded to launch serial genocidal rampages in the Koreas, SE Asia, Latin America until finally burning down a large portion
of the Middle East.
The fact that there has not been a catastrophic nuclear war is pure dumb luck. The Deep State came within seconds of engineering
a nuclear cataclysm off the waters of Cuba in 1962. When JFK started dismantling the CIA Deep State and ending the Cold War with
the USSR, Dulles dispatched a CIA hit-squad to gun down the President. (RFK and Nixon immediately understood the assassination
was a CIA-led wet-works operation since they chaired the assassination committees themselves in the past).
The liberal order is dying because it is led by criminally depraved Predators who have pauperized the labor force and created
political strife, though the populists don't pose much threat to the liberal-order Predators.
However by shipping the productive Western economies overseas to Asia, the US in particular cannot finance and physically
support a military empire or the required R&D to stay competitive on the commercial and military front.
So the US Imperialists are being eclipsed by the Sino-Russo Alliance and wants us to believe this is a great tragedy. Meanwhile
the same crew of Liberal -neoCon Deep Staters presses on with wars and tensions that are slipping out of control.
Liberalism is anything but liberal... and I suppose that is the problem with it. It aims to do to the western world what Mao
did to China and Stalin did to Russia. Many people were murdered or imprisoned and people had no rights, just obligations to dictators
and their cronies.
I think this world is past the point where any benefit is gained from having "owners of the people", benevolent or otherwise.
And we certainly do not benefit from perverted demonic entities even if they come bearing technology. The price is too high.
Populism goes along with essential freedoms for the human race.-
As I told the idiotic retards who argued with me on Prodigy fucking 27 years ago, China will not change because of increased
trading and the West making them wealthier. In fact, just the opposite. I wonder if they have caught on yet?
The recent German Marshall Fund's Brussels Forum, which brought together influential
American neocons and trans-Atlantic leaders from Europe, marked the failure of the
Western-centered globalist idea, Sputnik political observer Dmitry Kosyrev notes, adding that
meanwhile, Russia and China continue to facilitate the emergence of a multi-polar world.
Globalists have admitted their defeat by recognizing that neither Russia nor China will dance
to their tune, Sputnik political observer Dmitry Kosyrev writes
"It seems that work has begun to revive the half-dead 'liberal world order'," the observer
noted. "It will take quite some time, and it is not necessary that the United States will be
its epicenter. However, this 'order' will not be global -- goodbye, illusions. It will involve
only part of the countries while China, Russia and some other states won't be affected [by the
The observer referred to the 2018 German Marshall Fund's (GMF) Brussels Forum ,
citing Josh Rogin of The Washington Post. The Brussels Forum is an annual high-level
meeting of influential politicians, corporate leaders and scholars from North America and
Europe. The event had the eloquent title "Revise, Rebuild, Reboot: Strategies for a Time of
Distrust." The organizers of the forum raised the alarm over "a decline in trust, both in
domestic and international spheres."
"We lost sight of what it took to create this international order and what an act of
defiance of history and even defiance of human nature this order has been. We have the capacity
to push back -- we just need to understand the pushback needs to start occurring," Robert
Kagan, neoconservative American historian and husband of former US Assistant Secretary of State
for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told the forum, as quoted by Rogin.
his part, Senator Chris Murphy bemoaned the fact that US President Donald Trump is not
interested in "projecting liberal values" into other countries, let alone trade liberalization.
The White House's recent
initiative to introduce additional tariffs on aluminum and steel imports has prompted a
wave of criticism from the US' global partners and allies.
Furthermore, the US president made it clear that the US will not support numerous
international institutions and withdrew from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Murphy called upon the defenders of the liberal world order to team up and "build new
alliances within their societies."
On the other hand, the transatlantic bloc has seemingly recognized its failure to impose a
Western-style political order on Russia and China.
"We can no longer expect that the principles of liberal democracy will expand across the
globe," Rogin wrote. "We can no longer assume the United States will carry the bulk of the
Following Trump's win in 2016, The New York Times
called Germany's Angela Merkel the last defender of the trans-Atlantic alliance and liberal
However, not everything is rosy in the European garden, Kosyrev noted referring to
rise of right-wing forces in Austria, Italy, Hungary, Poland and other EU member states.
Although Merkel still remains at the helm of German politics, the right-wing Alternative for
Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag in September 2017 as the third-largest party.
Given all of the above, the rebuilding of the liberal international order will take years,
According to the political observer, Russia and China could benefit from the inner struggle
in the trans-Atlantic camp. On the other hand, he does not exclude that the West will continue
its overseas operations to maintain the status quo. To illustrate his point, Kosyrev referred
to Syria: While Washington has virtually no leverage to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,
continues its saber-rattling, threatening Damascus with a massive strike.
The failure of globalism means the further rise of a multi-polar order based on the
principles of equality and sovereignty with its own norms and regulations, the political
The views and opinions expressed by Dmitry Kosyrev are those of the contributor and do
not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The Trump administration's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will target China, but not the way most
observers believe. For the US, the most important bilateral trade issue has nothing to do with the Chinese authorities'
failure to reduce excess steel capacity, as promised, and stop subsidizing exports.
CAMBRIDGE – Like almost all economists and most policy analysts, I
prefer low trade tariffs or no tariffs at all. How, then, can US President Donald Trump's decision to impose substantial
tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum be justified?
Trump no doubt sees potential political gains in steel- and
aluminum-producing districts and in increasing the pressure on Canada and Mexico as his administration renegotiates the
North American Free Trade Agreement. The European Union has announced plans to retaliate against US exports, but in the
end the EU may negotiate – and agree to reduce current tariffs on US products that exceed US tariffs on European
But the real target of the steel and aluminum tariffs is China. The
Chinese government has promised for years to reduce excess steel capacity, thereby cutting the surplus output that is
sold to the United States at subsidized prices. Chinese policymakers have postponed doing so as a result of domestic
pressure to protect China's own steel and aluminum jobs. The US tariffs will balance those domestic pressures and
increase the likelihood that China will accelerate the reduction in subsidized excess capacity.
Because the tariffs are being levied under a provision of US trade
law that applies to national security, rather than dumping or import surges, it will be possible to exempt imports from
military allies in NATO, as well as Japan and South Korea, focusing the tariffs on China and avoiding the risk of a
broader trade war. The administration has not yet said that it will focus the tariffs in this way; but, given that they
are being introduced with a phase-in period, during which trade partners may seek exemptions, such targeting seems to be
the likeliest scenario.
For the US, the most important trade issue with China concerns
technology transfers, not Chinese exports of subsidized steel and aluminum. Although such subsidies hurt US producers of
steel and aluminum, the resulting low prices also help US firms that use steel and aluminum, as well as US consumers
that buy those products. But China unambiguously hurts US interests when it steals technology developed by US firms.
Until a few years ago, the Chinese government was using the Peoples
Liberation Army's (PLA) sophisticated cyber skills to infiltrate American companies and steal technology. Chinese
officials denied all wrongdoing until President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping met in California in June 2013.
Obama showed Xi detailed proof that the US had obtained through its own cyber espionage. Xi then agreed that the Chinese
government would no longer use the PLA or other government agencies to steal US technology. Although it is difficult to
know with certainty, it appears that such cyber theft has been reduced dramatically.
The current technology theft takes a different form. American firms
that want to do business in China are often required to transfer their technology to Chinese firms as a condition of
market entry. These firms "voluntarily" transfer production knowhow because they want access to a market of 1.3 billion
people and an economy as large as that of the US.
These firms complain that the requirement of technology transfer is a
form of extortion. Moreover, they worry that the Chinese government often delays their market access long enough for
domestic firms to use their newly acquired technology to gain market share.
The US cannot use traditional remedies for trade disputes or World
Trade Organization procedures to stop China's behavior. Nor can the US threaten to take Chinese technology or require
Chinese firms to transfer it to American firms, because the Chinese do not have the kind of leading-edge technology that
US firms have.
So, what can US policymakers do to help level the playing field?
This brings us back to the proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. In
my view, US negotiators will use the threat of imposing the tariffs on Chinese producers as a way to persuade China's
government to abandon the policy of "voluntary" technology transfers. If that happens, and US firms can do business in
China without being compelled to pay such a steep competitive price, the threat of tariffs will have been a very
successful tool of trade policy.
"... The UK is clearly past the point where it could undo Brexit . There was pretty much no way to back out of Brexit, given the ferocious support for it in the tabloids versus the widespread view that a second referendum that showed that opinion had changed was a political necessity for a reversal. Pundits and politicians were cautious about even voicing the idea. ..."
"... The UK still faces high odds of significant dislocations as of Brexit date . All sorts of agreements to which the UK is a party via the EU cease to be operative once the UK become a "third country". These other countries have every reason to take advantage of the UK's week and administratively overextended position. Moreover, these countries can't entertain even discussing interim trade arrangements (new trade deals take years) until they have at least a high concept idea of what the "future relationship" with the EU will look like. Even though it looks likely to be a Canada-type deal, no one wants to waste time negotiating until that is firmed up. ..."
"... On the World Service this morning, the BBC reported from the "cultural front line against Putin". A playwright (perhaps a member of playwrights against Putin) was given half an hour from 5 am to witter on. This is half an hour more than what Brexit will get on the airwaves today. ..."
"... I think the key thing that is driving the politics for the moment is that May has shown an absolute determination to hold on to power at any cost, and she realises that having a transition agreement is central to this. ..."
"... I think you are right that the main political priority now in London is preserving May in her position. ..."
reader was kind enough to ask for a Brexit update. I hadn't provided one because truth be told,
the UK press has gone quiet as the Government knuckled under in the last round of
It is a mystery as to why the hard core Brexit faction and the true power brokers, the press
barons, have gone quiet after having made such a spectacle of their incompetence and refusal to
compromise. Do they not understand what is happening? Has someone done a whip count and
realized they didn't have the votes if they tried forcing a crisis, and that the result would
probably be a Labour government, a fate they feared far more than a disorderly Brexit?
As we've pointed out repeatedly, the EU has the vastly stronger negotiating position. The UK
could stomp and huff and keep demanding its super special cherry picked special cake all it
wanted to. That was a fast track to a crash-out Brexit. But it seems out of character for the
Glorious Brexit true believers to sober up suddenly.
The transition deal is the much-decried "vassal state ". As we and others pointed out, the
only transition arrangement feasible was a standstill with respect to the UK's legal
arrangements with the EU, save at most some comparatively minor concessions on pet issues. The
UK will remain subject to the authority of the ECJ. The UK will continue to pay into the EU
budget. As we'd predicted, the transition period will go only until the end of 2020.
For [fisherman Tony] Delahunty's entire career, a lopsided system of quotas has granted up
to 84% of the rights to fish some local species, such as English Channel cod, to the French,
and left as little as 9% to British boats. Add on a new system that bans fishermen from
throwing away unwanted catch and it becomes almost impossible to haul in a net of mixed fish
without quickly exhausting more limited quotas of "choke" species such as cod .
Leaving the EU was meant to change all that .Instead, growing numbers of British fishermen
feel they have been part of a bait-and-switch exercise – a shiny lure used to help reel
in a gullible public. Despite only recently promising full fisheries independence as soon as
Brexit day on 29 March 2019, the UK government this week capitulated to Brussels' demand for it
to remain part of the common fisheries system until at least 2021, when a transition phase is
due to end. Industry lobbyists fear that further cave-ins are now inevitable in the long run as
the EU insists on continued access to British waters as the price of a wider post-Brexit trade
The one place where the UK did get a win of sorts was on citizen's rights, where the
transition deal did not make commitments, much to the consternation of both EU27 and UK
nationals. Curiously, the draft approved by the EU27 last week dropped the section that had
discussed citizens' rights. From
the Express :
Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano,
demands EU citizens' rights be protected after Brexit .
The comments from Italy's foreign minister come after the draft Brexit agreement struck
between Britain and the EU on Monday was missing "Article 32", which in previous drafts
regulated the free movement of British citizens living in Europe after Brexit.
The entire article was missing from the document, which goes straight from Article 31 to
MEPs from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru have
written to Brexit Secretary David Davis for clarification about the missing article, while
citizens' group British in Europe said the document failed to provide them with "legal
A copy of the letter sent to Mr Davis seen by the Independent said: "As UK MEPs we are
deeply worried about what will happen to British citizens living in EU27 member states once
we leave the EU.
This issue has apparently been pushed back to the April round of talks. I have not focused
on the possible points of contention here. However, bear in mind that EU citizens could sue if
they deem the eventual deal to be too unfavorable. Recall that during the 2015 Greece-Troika
negotiations, some parties were advocating that Greece leave the Eurozone. A counterargument
was that Greek citizens would be able to sue the Greek government for their loss of EU
The UK is backing into having to accept a sea border as the solution for Ireland. As many
have pointed out, there's no other remedy to the various commitments the UK has already made
with respect to Ireland, as unpalatable as that solution is to the Unionists and hard core
Brexiters. The UK has not put any solutions on the table as the EU keeps working on the
"default" option, which was included in the Joint Agreement of December. The DUP sabre-rattled
then but was not willing to blow up the negotiations then. It will be even harder for them to
derail a deal now when the result would be a chaotic Brexit.
The UK is still trying to escape what appears to be the inevitable outcome. The press of the
last 24 hours reports that the UK won't swallow the "backstop" plan that the EU has been
refining, even though it accepts the proposition that the
agreement needs to have that feature . The UK is back to trying to revive one of its barmy
ideas that managed to find its way into the Joint Agreement, that of a new super special
Politico gives an outline below. This is a non-starter simply because the EU will never
accept any arrangement where goods can get into the EU without there being full compliance with
EU rules, and that includes having them subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the various
relevant Brussels supervisory bodies. Without even hearing further details, the UK's barmy
"alignment" notions means that the UK would somehow have a say in these legal and regulatory
processes. This cheeky plan would give the UK better rights than any EU27 member. From
The key issues for debate, according to one senior U.K. official, is how the two sides can
deliver "full alignment" and what the territorial scope of that commitment will be -- the U.K.
or Northern Ireland.
The starting point of the U.K.'s position will be that "full alignment" should apply to
goods and a limited number of services sectors, one U.K. official said.
On the customs issue, the proposal that Northern Ireland is subsumed into the EU's customs
territory is a non-starter with London
The alternative would be based on one of the two customs arrangements set out by the
government in August last year and reaffirmed by May in her Mansion House speech. They are
either a customs partnership -- known as the "hybrid" model internally -- or the "highly
streamlined customs arrangement" known by officials as "max-fac" or maximum facilitation.
The hybrid model would mean the U.K. continuing to police its border as if it were the
EU's customs border, but then tracking imports to apply different tariffs depending on which
market they end up in -- U.K. or EU. Under this scenario, because Northern Ireland and the
Republic of Ireland would share an external EU customs border, as they do now, it would
remove the need for checks on the land border between the two.
The complexity and unprecedented nature of this solution has led to accusations from the
Brussels side that it amounts to "magical thinking."
The "max-fac" model is simpler conceptually but would represent a huge logistical effort
for U.K. customs authorities. It would involve the use of technological and legal measures
such as electronic pre-notification of goods crossing the border and a "trusted trader"
status for exporters and importers, to make customs checks as efficient as possible.
While the U.K. will present both customs arrangements as possible ways of solving this
aspect of the Irish border problem, one senior official said that the "hybrid" model was
emerging as the preferred option in London.
The UK is already having trouble getting its customs IT upgrade done on time, which happens
to be right before Brexit. As we wrote early on, even if the new programs are in place, they
won't be able to handle the increased transactions volume resulting from of being outside the
EU, and I haven't seen good figures as to what the impact would be of the UK becoming a third
country but having its transition deal in place. In other words, even if the "mac-fac" scheme
were acceptable to the EU (unlikely), the UK looks unable to pull off getting the needed
infrastructure in place. Even for competent shops, large IT projects have a high failure rate.
And customs isn't looking like a high capability IT player right now.
So the play for the EU is to let the UK continue to flail about and deliver Ireland
"solutions" that are dead on arrival because they violate clearly and consistently stated EU
red lines. The UK will then in say September be faced with a Brexit deal that is done save
Ireland, and it then have to choose between capitulating (it's hard to come up with any way to
improve the optics, but we do have a few months for creative ideas) or plunging into a chaotic
6.The approach outlined below reflects the level of rights and obligations compatible with
the positions stated by the UK
7. In this context, the European Council reiterates in particular that any agreement with
the United Kingdom will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations, and ensure a
level playing field. A non-member of the Union, that does not live up to the same obligations
as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member.
The European Council recalls that the four freedoms are indivisible and that there can be
no "cherry picking" through participation in the Single Market based on a sector-by-sector
approach, which would undermine the integrity and proper functioning of the Single
The European Council further reiterates that the Union will preserve its autonomy as
regards its decision-making, which excludes participation of the United Kingdom as a
third-country in the Union Institutions and participation in the decision-making of the Union
bodies, offices and agencies. The role of the Court of Justice of the European Union will
also be fully respected.
8. As regards the core of the economic relationship, the European Council confirms its
readiness to initiate work towards a balanced, ambitious and wide-ranging free trade
agreement (FTA) insofar as there are sufficient guarantees for a level playing field. This
agreement will be finalised and concluded once the UK is no longer a Member State.
The EU also reaffirmed the obvious, "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."
The EU nevertheless has relented in its negotiating tactics . The EU's initial approach was
to put the most contentious issues up front: the exit tab, Ireland, freedom of movement. You
will notice it has achieved closure only only one of those issues where the EU's initial
position had been that they had to be concluded before the two sides would discuss "the future
relationship," as in trade. This is the opposite of the approach that professional negotiators
use, that of starting with the least contentious issues first to establish a working
relationship between both sides and create a sense of momentum, and then tackling the difficult
questions later. The EU has now allowed the UK to defer resolving the messy issue of Ireland
twice, and it is not clear if any progress has been made on the citizens' rights matter.
The UK is clearly past the point where it could undo Brexit . There was pretty much no way
to back out of Brexit, given the ferocious support for it in the tabloids versus the widespread
view that a second referendum that showed that opinion had changed was a political necessity
for a reversal. Pundits and politicians were cautious about even voicing the idea.
As we've pointed out, coming up with the wording of the referendum question took six months.
In the snap elections last year, the Lib Dems set forth the most compact timeline possible for
a Brexit referendum redo which presupposed that the phrasing had been settled. That was eight
months. And you'd have to have a Parliamentary approval process before and a vote afterwards
(Parliament is sovereign; a referendum in and of itself is not sufficient to change
Spain has been making noises about Gibraltar but they aren't likely to mean much . I could
be proven wrong, but I don't see Spain as able to block a Brexit deal. Article 50 says that
only a "qualified majority" vote is required to approve a Brexit agreement. Spain as a lone
holdout couldn't keep a deal from being approved. And I don't see who would join Spain over the
issue of Gibraltar. In keeping, Spain joined with the rest of the EU27 in approving the latest
set of texts.
The UK still faces high odds of significant dislocations as of Brexit date . All sorts of
agreements to which the UK is a party via the EU cease to be operative once the UK become a
"third country". These other countries have every reason to take advantage of the UK's week and
administratively overextended position. Moreover, these countries can't entertain even
discussing interim trade arrangements (new trade deals take years) until they have at least a
high concept idea of what the "future relationship" with the EU will look like. Even though it
looks likely to be a Canada-type deal, no one wants to waste time negotiating until that is
May has lasted in office longer than many pundits predicted she would because, weak as her
grip on power may have been since she lost her parliamentary majority last year, she has
timed her surrenders cleverly.
It looks chaotic and undignified, but the prime minister has hunkered down and let pro-
and anti-Brexit factions in her party shout the odds in the media day and night, squabble
publicly about acceptable terms for a deal, leak against each other and publish Sunday
newspaper columns challenging her authority.
Then in the few days before a European summit deadline for the next phase of a deal, she
has rammed the only position acceptable to Brussels through her Cabinet and effectively
called the hard Brexiteers' bluff.
But what kind of leader marches her country into at worst an abyss and at best a future of
lower prosperity, less clout, and no meaningful increase in autonomy? Like it or not, the UK is
a small open economy, and its leaders, drunk on Imperial nostalgia, still can's stomach the
idea that the UK did better by flexing its muscle within the EU that it can ever do solo.
Theoretically, there is no fundamental problem with a NI sea border and NI remaining
within the UK. Northern Ireland already has its own Assembly and its own laws (the Assembly
is suspended at the moment), so it can, if the EU agreed, stay within the EU (albeit without
a separate vote or voice at the table). There are precedents for this, such as the
dependant territories of France . It would be constitutionally messy, but if authorized
by Parliament in London and in the EU itself, it would likely be legally watertight so far as
I am aware.
Hardline Unionists oppose this partly because they are ideologically opposed to the EU
anyway (although its highly likely many of their constituents don't agree), but also because
they see this as a 'thin end of the wedge' leading to a United Ireland. More thoughtful
Unionists realise that a sort of 'foot in both camps' approach might actually be an economic
boon to Northern Ireland – it could attract a lot of investment from companies wishing
easy access to both the internal UK market and Europe.
"The UK press has gone quiet as the Government knuckled under in the last round of
negotiations." The MSM, corporate or government (BBC and Channel 4), are under orders to go
quiet. In any case, it's easier and more fun to cover the anti-semites and anti-transgender
whatever in the Labour Party, Trump's extra-marital goings-on and whatever dastardly plot
Putin has come up with.
On my 'phone's news feed yesterday and today, the Corbyn's anti-Semitism is not shifting
from the top line. The only change is from where the latest article is sourced.
On the World Service this morning, the BBC reported from the "cultural front line against
Putin". A playwright (perhaps a member of playwrights against Putin) was given half an hour
from 5 am to witter on. This is half an hour more than what Brexit will get on the airwaves
How are things playing out locally, Buckinghamshire in my case? The economy is slowing
down. More shops are closing. Some IT contractors report contracts not being renewed and
having to look for business outside the UK. East Europeans working in farming, care and
social services have been replaced in many, but not all, cases by immigrants from south Asia.
An cabbie and restaurateur report the worst festive season and first quarter of the year for
many, many years.
At Doncaster races last Saturday, the opening day of the flat season, some bookies were
offering odds of Tory victory in 2022, if not an earlier khaki one. It seems that May is a
survivor and Corbyn's Labour has peaked. All very depressing.
I think the key thing that is driving the politics for the moment is that May has shown an
absolute determination to hold on to power at any cost, and she realises that having a
transition agreement is central to this. I've also been puzzling over the relative
acquiescence of the hard Brexiteers – I think they've been told by their paymasters
that accepting a lousy transitional deal is the key to a 'clean' and firm Brexit. I believe
the phrase Gove was reported as using was that they should 'keep their eye on the prize'. I
think, as Yves says, the Tory establishment fears a move against May will precipitate a
Corbyn government, so they see it as a strategic necessity to keep her in position, and
postpone the main Brexit fallout for later.
Of lesser importance, but also I think a relevant consideration given the strong support
given by Merkel, Barnier and Tusk to the Irish PM, Varadkar, is that he is rumoured to be
planning a snap election in the autumn. His stance on Brexit has proven popular and he sees
the time as ripe to go for an overall majority (he is currently leading a minority
government). He is very much an EU establishment favourite, so I don't doubt that some of the
motivation is to help his domestic politics by giving him what are perceived as 'wins' over
If this is the case, then barring an unexpected event, I think there will be a strong
political push on both sides to sign off a transition deal which would be both a complete
surrender by the UK, but with sufficient spin by a supportively dim witted UK press will
allow her to push the whole Brexit issue politically to one side for a year or two. The
Tories will be hoping that this can be sold to the public as a success for long enough for
them to work out how to stop Corbyn.
I'm taking the liberty of re-posting a comment I made yesterday on one of the links
– a Richard North piece – to which none of the usual Brexit scholars responded
(Sunday .). It bears very much on this discussion and echoes a number of points made
"Richard North's Brexit article is well informed as one would expect, but I think that, like
a lot of other commentators, he's missing something. May is a post-modern politician, ie
there is no particular link between what she says and does, and her understanding of its
impact on the real world. Only her words and actions actually count, and, whether it's
threatening Russia or threatening Brussels, real-world consequences don't form part of the
calculation, insofar as they actually exist. Her only concern (and in this she is indeed
post-modernist) is with how she is perceived by voters and the media, and as a consequence
whether she can hang onto her job. I think May has decided that she will have an agreement at
any cost, no matter if she has to surrender on every single issue, and throw Northern Ireland
to the wolves. She wants to be seen as the Prime Minister who got us "out of Europe," just as
Ted Heath got us in. The content of the final deal is secondary: not that she wouldn't prefer
to please the City and the Brexit ultras if she could, but if there's a choice she will
sacrifice them for a picture of her shaking hands with Barnier and waving the Union Jack with
the other hand. The resulting chaos can then be blamed on a treacherous Europe. Indeed, if
May can stick it out until next year, I think she'll keep her job. What a thought." I think
many of the hardline Brexiters have the same idea – the political prize is exiting the
EU: the damage is a secondary consideration. Any deal, no matter how humiliating, can be spun
in the end as a triumph because we will have broken the shackles of Brussels.
I'd add that the EU's emphasis on the priority to give to NI was an each-way bet, as I argued
at the time. Either the Tory government collapsed, and something more reasonable took its
place, or May gave way on everything else, in the hope of surviving and somehow finding a NI
solution later. This has indeed proved to be the case.
Finally, I wouldn't put too much store by the imperial nostalgia argument, not least because
few Brexiters were even alive then. The real nostalgia is for an independent Britain capable
of playing a role on the world stage, perhaps at the head of a coalition of likeminded
nations. The idea of a Commonwealth Free Trade area, for example, was raised in the 1975 EU
referendum debate, and has its ultimate origins in the ideas of Mill and others in the 19th
century for a kind of British superstate, incorporating Australia, New Zealand, Canada and
perhaps South Africa. Its ghost still walks.
Finally, let's not get too carried away with the small size of the British economy. It's the
fifth or sixth largest economy in the world, depending on how you calculate it, ahead of
Russia, India, Italy and Spain.
I think you are right that the main political priority now in London is preserving May in
her position. Whether or not she does a good deal (or any other good policy work) has become
irrelevant. Its all about survival, and keeping Corbyn at bay.
Who are the 'wolves' to whom NI may be thrown?
More interesting, who are the strange Tory Brexiteers, not exactly in sync with the needs and
expectations of the City of London, big business in Britain, etc? The people for whom an
imperial past is still a ghost that walks? A possible answer here: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n05/william-davies/what-are-they-after
Thank you David. I agree with your definition of the present Brexit set-up and May herself
as post-modernist . The same could be said even more so about Trump . They have in their very
different ways taken politics to a place beyond policies and even identities ( it's most
recent iteration ) to this very new place where the public ( translation : American people )
simply roll over and get out of bed the next day to whatever is new and move on whether it be
bombing in Syria, or Trump and a prostitute . I think the technology of the smart phone and
everything that emanates from it is the handmaiden to this change . The speed of daily life
as orchestrated by the smart phone has brought us all , whether we like it or not, to this
post-modern , everything is a cultural construct , position which is possibly the most
terrifying reality the West has ever had to face and yet it barely registers .
On your last point – it used to be larger. It would have been inconcievable even 50
years ago that the UK's economy could be compared with Spain's.
The point being that the correlation of physical closeness and trade is about as close as
you get in economics to a natural law. The UK is now spurning (wilfully limiting its access
to) the closest and the richest markets it has. That will have impact – and no amount
of Brexiter's wishful thinking will replace it – if for nothing else, the likelyhood of
the UK SMEs suddenly wanting to export to China/India/NZ/whatever is not going to grow with
Brexit. Those who wanted and could, already do. The other don't want and are unlikely to want
to in a new world.
Vlade, 50 years ago Africa still started at the Pyrenées, as the saying was in
France. It is not that the UK has shrunk so much as that Spain has dramatically improved its
position. So, unhelpful comparison. How the UK fared over those 50 years relative to, say,
France and Germany or even Italy, would be more instructive.
In relation to France it stayed roughly the same. But actually the share of British GDP to
world GDP is much smaller and international specialisation and globalisation is much
increased. For the question if the UK can act as a "big" economy in relation to economic
policy the latter is more important.
You watch. About the same time that the British wake to find that the elites have sold
them down the river through devastating incompetence and sheer bloodymindedness, they will
find that in the transition to Brexit that the government would have voted themselves all
sorts of laws that will give them authoritarian powers. And then it will be too late.
It won't matter how bad May is at that point and she might just resign and let somebody else
deal with all the fallout over the new regulations at which time she will be kicked upstairs
to the House of Lords. Isn't the way that it works in practice? Don't make any preparations,
tell the people that they have got it all organized, then when it all hits they start pumping
out emergency orders and the like.
It all seems quite curious does it not (curiouser and curiouser?). I wonder if I smell a
rat? Forgive me; I have a suspicious nature. I was thinking partly of the role of Gove, which
prompted some idle musings.
Gove is reportedly telling people who support Brexit to keep their eyes on the prize, by
which he is said to mean letting the clock run down to 29 March 2019 at which time the UK is
officially out of the EU. When I read Gove, I tend to think Murdoch, who pulls Gove's
strings. Yves quite rightly asks what the press barons are about; that is generally worth
knowing when it comes to UK politics. Is Murdoch playing a longer game?
The argument goes that once the UK is out of the EU it will be much harder to get support
for it to go back in again as the UK would only be allowed back in without the special
privileges it had negotiated for itself over the decades : opt out from Euro, Schengen,
various justice issues, the budget rebate. Is this determining Murdoch's approach at the
moment – ensure that the UK is outside the EU at almost any cost before proceeding to
the next stage, when Ministers will be largely unable to call Brussels in to help them
against him and his allies?
Why might Murdoch want to do that? There is talk that May will be ditched once she does a
deal. If it is seen as a bad deal then she becomes the scapegoat (and Gove steps in to her
shoes?). Post March 2019, it might then be the plan to seek to undercut the effect of any
deal struck now by, for example, pulling out of the Good Friday Agreement if that proves to
be an obstacle to the trade deals Fox is so keen to sign (is he expecting kickbacks?). At
that point the UK might declare that with the demise of the GFA it was no longer constrained
by the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement with regards to the Irish Border and with one leap
the UK would be free. I have seen cynics suggest that the men of violence in Northern Ireland
might be encouraged to go on a bit if a spree to justify claims that the GFA had failed.
I hope I am wrong but as I said I have a suspicious nature and, having watched more of
Murdoch's machinations than I have ever wished, know that he is very capable of playing a
I'm loath to indulge in conspiracy theorising, but when it comes to Brexit (and Northern
Ireland) conspiracies are legion and real.
I'm sure in any spiders web Murdoch will be found in the middle of it, and there is
certainly something up, thats the only explanation for the low key response of the hard
Brexiters. It wouldn't surprise me if he has realised that a tanking UK economy isn't exactly
good for his investments (its also worth noting that it seems to have belatedly been realised
by the UK media economy that many of them will have to up sticks to Europe if they are to
keep broadcasting rights).
My guess is that they 'have a plan' which will involve Gove playing middle man, but
actually working for a decisive Brexit doing his duty for the country at some stage to step
into Mays shoes. All sorts of behind the scenes promises (mostly jobs, no doubt) have
probably been made. I suspect a centre piece of it would be a dramatic repudiation of any
deal, supposedly on the UK's terms.
As for Northern Ireland, anything is possible. Several of the
Loyalist terrorist groups have been shown over the years to be little more than puppets
of the security forces, they will do what they are told. And there have long been rumours
that at least one of the fringe Republican groups is so completely infiltrated that they are
similarly under control. There have been nearly 50 years of shady assassinations and bombings
in NI and the Republic which have the fingerprints of intelligence services, so quite
literally, I could believe almost anything could happen if it was in their interest. People
who c ould
maintain a boys home as the centre of a paedophile ring for political purposes are
capable of almost anything.
Oh yes, this is a big part of the history of "the troubles". So much of what went on in
that conflict was beneficial to the U.K. government. Budget, manpower, little oversight,
draconian powers and a lot more besides was enabled merely because of the paramilitary
activities. It's not hard to look for well documented examples -- such as the mass
warrantless surveillance of all U.K.- Republic telecommunications http://www.lamont.me.uk/capenhurst/original.html
by the U.K. security services.
I think that we should remember how much the anti-EU fraternity in politics and the media
have had a symbiotic, if not downright parasitic, relationship with the EU itself. Much of
their commerce depended on us being members, and so being able to strike poses and make cheap
cracks about Europe and Brussels. I have a feeling that reality is starting to dawn, and they
are standing to understand that politics will be a great deal more complicated, and probably
nastier, after Brexit than even it is now.They'll have to find something else to complain
about for easy applause instead of just bashing Brussels.
As for conspiracy theories, well I have the same skepticism about them of most people who've
worked in government, and I happen to have been reasonably close to a number of people who
had to deal with these issues in the 1970s and 1980s. There was certainly complicity in some
cases, and some of the actors involved broke the rules badly , but it's a stretch from that
to talk of conspiracies. With what objective? And what objective would such conspiracies have
today, and how could they be implemented? The universal refrain among everyone I knew
involved in the security forces at the time was Get Us Out of Here.
It'll put a cat amongst the pigeons and no mistake. If I may put in a word from the
deplorables who voted Brexit, there's a lot which -- for both the UK and the EU -- was made a
whole lot easier because a problem issue could simply be labelled as the British complaining
and not understanding The Project.
Take energy. It was probably energy supply as much as Greece and the Ukraine which tipped
me over into Brexit. At the behest of the U.K., the European energy industry became, at least
in theory, a pan-continental endeavour free from national restrictive practices. Well, a fat
lot of good that turned out to be. As exemplified by the recent cold weather snap, UK
wholesalers when faced with a shortfall in natural gas supplies spiked the offer price into
. No -- and I mean no -- EU suppliers made any bids. Now, it's either a Single
Market or it isn't. It either looks and acts like it's subject to market forces or it
doesn't. The rules are either enforced properly amongst all participants or they aren't.
Irony's of irony's, when the U.K. needed an augmented natural gas input to match system
demand, the only country to answer their doorbell was Russia. That, and some U.K. big
capacity users releasing stocks from storage.
And it'll be the same in the U.K. of course. Without the EU ready to play it's role of
perpetual bogeyman, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves. And I still cannot, in all
honesty, say anything other than bring it on.
People have avoided the difficulty of reciprocal citizen's rights. How can the UK
reciprocate with all the EU countries? Simultaneously? Where UK non-citizen residents can
relocate for 30 years to an EU country then relocate back in the same way that a Brit in
France can move to Germany for 30 years and then move back under current rules? It's even
worse if you consider reciprocity to include the rights of all people outside their
citizenship country's right to relocate.
The only obvious solution is to reduce Brits to the same status of any immigrant to a EU
country. That means not being able to shift your permanent residency without applying for
Unless you are blue card eligible that's non-trivial.
" As far as we all know now are quite hard times to Russia and to the world as a whole.
Why do we have these hard times ?
Could it be globalisation, western greed, and western aggression ?
Well, probably it can be more clear for those who are attacking and humiliating Russia in
all directions? The West-ZUS-UK
But I think it's just an agony of Empire seeing the world order is about to change. And
yes it's "western greed" which have a "western aggression" as a consequence.
The "globalisation" actually IS that world order which the West trying to
establish. Russia in all times in all its internal structure was a subject of annexation and
submission. But we never agreed and never will do it, until alive. The West is too stupid to
get that simple thing to know and leave us to live as we are about to.
Robert Bartley, the late editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, was a free trade
zealot who for decades championed a five-word amendment to the Constitution: "There shall be
Bartley accepted what the erasure of America's borders and an endless influx or foreign
peoples and goods would mean for his country.
Said Bartley, "I think the nation-state is finished."
His vision and ideology had a long pedigree.
This free trade, open borders cult first flowered in 18th-century Britain. The St. Paul of
this post-Christian faith was Richard Cobden, who mesmerized elites with the grandeur of his
vision and the power of his rhetoric.
In Free Trade Hall in Manchester, Jan. 15, 1846, the crowd was so immense the seats had to
be removed. There, Cobden thundered:
"I look farther; I see in the Free Trade principle that which shall act on the moral world
as the principle of gravitation in the universe -- drawing men together, thrusting aside the
antagonisms of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal
Britain converted to this utopian faith and threw open her markets to the world. Across the
Atlantic, however, another system, that would be known as the "American System," had been
The second bill signed by President Washington was the Tariff Act of 1789. Said the Founding
Father of his country in his first address to Congress: "A free people should promote such
manufactures as tend to make them independent on others for essential, particularly military
In his 1791 "Report on Manufactures," Alexander Hamilton wrote, "Every nation ought to
endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the
means of subsistence, habitat, clothing and defence."
This was wisdom born of experience.
At Yorktown, Americans had to rely on French muskets and ships to win their independence.
They were determined to erect a system that would end our reliance on Europe for the
necessities of our national life, and establish new bonds of mutual dependency -- among
Britain's folly became manifest in World War I, as a self-reliant America stayed out, while
selling to an import-dependent England the food, supplies and arms she needed to survive but
could not produce.
America's own first major steps toward free trade, open borders and globalism came with
JFK's Trade Expansion Act and LBJ's Immigration Act of 1965.
By the end of the Cold War, however, a reaction had set in, and a great awakening begun.
U.S. trade deficits in goods were surging into the hundreds of billions, and more than a
million legal and illegal immigrants were flooding in yearly, visibly altering the character of
Americans were coming to realize that free trade was gutting the nation's manufacturing base
and open borders meant losing the country in which they grew up. And on this earth there is no
The new resistance of Western man to the globalist agenda is now everywhere manifest.
We see it in Trump's hostility to NAFTA, his tariffs, his border wall.
We see it in England's declaration of independence from the EU in Brexit. We see it in the
political triumphs of Polish, Hungarian and Czech nationalists, in anti-EU parties rising
across Europe, in the secessionist movements in Scotland and Catalonia and Ukraine, and in the
admiration for Russian nationalist Vladimir Putin.
Europeans have begun to see themselves as indigenous peoples whose Old Continent is mortally
imperiled by the hundreds of millions of invaders wading across the Med and desperate come and
occupy their homelands.
Who owns the future? Who will decide the fate of the West?
The problem of the internationalists is that the vision they have on offer -- a world of
free trade, open borders and global government -- are constructs of the mind that do not engage
Men will fight for family, faith and country. But how many will lay down their lives for
pluralism and diversity?
Who will fight and die for the Eurozone and EU?
On Aug. 4, 1914, the anti-militarist German Social Democrats, the oldest and greatest
socialist party in Europe, voted the credits needed for the Kaiser to wage war on France and
Russia. With the German army on the march, the German socialists were Germans first.
Patriotism trumps ideology.
In "Present at the Creation," Dean Acheson wrote of the postwar world and institutions born
in the years he served FDR and Truman in the Department of State: The U.N., IMF, World Bank,
Marshall Plan, and with the split between East and West, NATO.
We are present now at the end of all that.
And our transnational elites have a seemingly insoluble problem.
To rising millions in the West, the open borders and free trade globalism they cherish and
champion is not a glorious future, but an existential threat to the sovereignty, independence
and identity of the countries they love. And they will not go gentle into that good night.
"... As of leaving the EU, we have fought long and hard (sometimes each other) to be independent and free. 45 years of communism (with the obligatory internationalism) does not fade out unnoticed. I have written a long essay some two years ago here on SST about 'if it looks like a duck'. ..."
"... human rightsism has turned into a full fledged monotheistic religion, with a credo, an instutionalized church, and a serious hate against unbelievers. All that in the name of tolerance and progress. ..."
I can't speak for the whole V4 as czechs and slovaks have been sneaky in diplomacy in the last
century, and even as V4 members. We Hungarians and our Polish brothers were usually stupid
enough to say what we meant (and damn the consequences) and not hide away behind ambigous
terms or actions. While I can understand their cautiousness (Sp?), we 'dwa bratinki' usually
say yes or no. For the czech/slovaks it is usually abstain, even if everybody knows what
their stand is.
As of leaving the EU, we have fought long and hard (sometimes each other) to be
independent and free. 45 years of communism (with the obligatory internationalism) does not
fade out unnoticed. I have written a long essay some two years ago here on SST about 'if it
looks like a duck'.
We have sensors for unsaid intentions becuase of that oppression, and for us (V4) Brussels
is turning into Moscow in an ever increasing pace, only the tanks have been replaced by
banks, as a late hungarian politician has said. Of course everybody welcomes free money (EU
funds), but as
Most of it flows back to german/french/italian/austrian companies anyway
The previously hidden internationalist and centralized agenda is slowly turning into
reality, not to mention the intended connection between the two (funds and internationalist
It is more and more seen as Judas Iskariotes' 30 silver pieces. None wants war again in Europe, and none wants to leave the EU unless forced to do
it. There has been a more or less functioning proto-EU, the Austro-Hungarian Empire that is. A
similar EU, where none really can and should question German French leadership is viable,
with the following terms.
Internal policies are handled locally from education, to justice system, from internal
affairs to other local issues etc. No human rights meddling in partner countries, no SJW
pushing to accept economical migrants to poor countires etc.
ONLY foreign affairs and military affairs are handled centrally, but no typical french
meddling in ex colonies or R2P. European army CAN be exclusively used abroad, with all
parliaments giving consent (In the age of IT this should not be a problem) or in case of
foreign attack against or own soil.
ONLY money to finance the above two are handled centrally. euro can stay, but no
pressure to join it. And V4 will definitely want a say in it how it used.
Dismantling of the social justice warrior turned, democratically deficited,
internationalist, and non-transparent bureaucracy in Brussels/Strasbourg.
Exactly. I always say to my students, that like it or not, agree or not, human rightsism has
turned into a full fledged monotheistic religion, with a credo, an instutionalized church,
and a serious hate against unbelievers. All that in the name of tolerance and progress.
The crisis of neoliberalism is at the core of current anti-Russian campaign.
"... So, as long as Russia remained open to the West's political maneuvering and wholesale thievery, every thing was hunky-dory. But as soon as Vladimir Putin got his bearings (during his second term as President) and started reassembling the broken state, then western elites became very concerned and denounced Putin as an "autocrat" and a "KGB thug." ..."
"... As the Western countries' elites were implementing a policy of political and economic containment of Russia, old threats were growing and new ones were emerging in the world, and the efforts to do away with them have failed. I think that the main reason for that is that the model of "West-centric" globalization, which developed following the dismantling of the bipolar architecture and was aimed at ensuring the prosperity of one-seventh of the world's population at the expense of the rest, proved ineffective. It is becoming more and more obvious that a narrow group of "chosen ones" is unable to ensure the sustainable growth of the global economy on their own and solve such major challenges as poverty, climate change, shortage of food and other vital resources . ..."
"... The American people need to look beyond the propaganda and try to grasp what's really going on. Russia is not Washington's enemy, it's a friend that's trying to nudge the US in adirection that will increase its opportunities for peace and prosperity in the future. Lavrov is simply pointing out that a multipolar world is inevitable as economic power becomes more widespread. This emerging reality means the US will have to modify its behavior, cooperate with other sovereign nations, comply with international law, and seek a peaceful settlement to disputes. It means greater parity between the states, fairer representation in global decision-making, and a narrower gap between the world's winners and losers. ..."
"... Admit it: The imperial model has failed. It's time to move on. ..."
The United States has launched a three-pronged offensive on Russia. First, it's attacking Russia's economy via sanctions and oil-price
manipulation. Second, it's increasing the threats to Russia's national security by arming and training militant proxies in Syria
and Ukraine, and by encircling Russia with NATO forces and missile systems. And, third, it's conducting a massive disinformation
campaign aimed at convincing the public that Russia is a 'meddling aggressor' that wants to destroy the foundation of American democracy.
In response to Washington's hostility, Moscow has made every effort to extend the olive branch. Russia does not want to fight
the world's biggest superpower any more than it wants to get bogged down in a bloody and protracted conflict in Syria. What Russia
wants is normal, peaceful relations based on respect for each others interests and for international law. What Russia will not tolerate,
however, is another Iraq-type scenario where the sovereign rights of a strategically-located state are shunted off so the US can
arbitrarily topple the government, decimate the society and plunge the region deeper into chaos. Russia won't allow that, which is
why it has put its Airforce at risk in Syria, to defend the foundational principle of state sovereignty upon which the entire edifice
of global security rests.
The majority of Americans believe that Russia is the perpetrator of hostilities against the United States, mainly because the
media and the political class have faithfully disseminated the spurious claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. But the
allegations are ridiculous and without merit. Russia-gate is merely the propaganda component of Washington's Full Spectrum Dominance
theory, that is, disinformation is being used to make it appear as though the US is the victim when, in fact, it is the perpetrator
of hostilities against Russia. Simply put, the media has turned reality on its head. Washington wants to inflict as much pain as
possible on Russia because Russia has frustrated its plan to control critical resources and pipeline corridors in Central Asia and
the Middle East. The Trump administration's new National Defense Strategy is quite clear on this point. Russia's opposition to Washington's
destabilizing interventions has earned it the top spot on the Pentagon's "emerging rivals" list. Moscow is now Public Enemy#1.
Washington's war on Russia has a long history dating back at least 100 years to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Despite the
fact that the US was engaged in a war with Germany at the time (WW1), Washington and its allies sent 150,000 men from 15 nations
to intervene on behalf of the "Whites" hoping to staunch the spread of communism into Europe. In the words of British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill, the goal was "to strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib."
According to Vasilis Vourkoutiotis from the University of Ottawa:
" the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War.. was a failed attempt to eradicate Bolshevism while it was still weak .As
early as February 1918 Britain supported intervention in the civil war on behalf of the Whites, and in March it landed troops
in Murmansk. They were soon joined by forces from France, Italy, Japan, the United States, and ten other nations. Eventually,
more than 150,000 Allied soldiers served in Russia
The scale of the war between the Russian Reds and Whites, however, was such that the Allies soon realized they would have little,
if any, direct impact on the course of the Civil War unless they were prepared to intervene on a far grander scale. By the end
of April 1919 the French had withdrawn their soldiers .British and American troops saw some action in November 1918 on the Northern
Front but this campaign was of limited significance in the outcome of the Civil War. The last British and American soldiers were
withdrawn in 1920. The main Allied contributions to the White cause thereafter were supplies and money, mostly from Britain .
The chief purpose of Allied intervention in Soviet Russia was to help the Whites defeat the Reds and destroy Bolshevism." (Allied
Intervention in the Russian Revolution", portalus.ru)
The reason we bring up this relatively unknown bit of history is because it helps to put current events into perspective. First,
it helps readers to see that Washington has been sticking its nose in Russia's business more than a century. Second, it shows that–
while Washington's war on Russia has ebbed and flowed depending on the political situation in Moscow– it has never completely ended.
The US has always treated Russia with suspicion, contempt and brutality. During the Cold War, when Russia's global activities put
a damper on Washington's depredations around the world, relations remained stretched to the breaking point. But after the Soviet
Union collapsed in December, 1991, relations gradually thawed, mainly because the buffoonish Boris Yeltsin opened the country up
to a democratization program that allowed the state's most valuable strategic assets to be transferred to voracious oligarchs for
pennies on the dollar. The plundering of Russia pleased Washington which is why it sent a number of prominent US economists to Moscow
to assist in the transition from communism to a free-market system. These neoliberal miscreants subjected the Russian economy to
"shock therapy" which required the auctioning off of state-owned resources and industries even while hyperinflation continued to
rage and the minuscule life savings of ordinary working people were wiped out almost over night. The upshot of this Washington-approved
looting-spree was a dramatic uptick in extreme poverty which intensified the immiseration of tens of millions of people. Economist
Joseph Stiglitz followed events closely in Russia at the time and summed it up like this:
"In Russia, the people were told that capitalism was going to bring new, unprecedented prosperity. In fact, it brought unprecedented
poverty, indicated not only by a fall in living standards, not only by falling GDP, but by decreasing life spans and enormous
other social indicators showing a deterioration in the quality of life ..
(Due to) the tight monetary policies that were pursued firms didn't have the money to even pay their employees . they didn't
have enough money to pay their pensioners, to pay their workers .Then, with the government not having enough revenue, other aspects
of life started to deteriorate. They didn't have enough money for hospitals, schools. Russia used to have one of the good school
systems in the world; the technical level of education was very high. (But they no longer had) enough money for that. So it just
began to affect people in every dimension of their lives .
The number of people in poverty in Russia, for instance, increased from 2 percent to somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, with
more than one out of two children living in families below poverty. The market economy was a worse enemy for most of these people
than the Communists had said it would be. It brought Gucci bags, Mercedes, the fruits of capitalism to a few .But you had a shrinking
(economy). The GDP in Russia fell by 40 percent. In some (parts) of the former Soviet Union, the GDP, the national income, fell
by over 70 percent. And with that smaller pie it was more and more unequally divided, so a few people got bigger and bigger slices,
and the majority of people wound up with less and less and less . (PBS interview with Joseph Stiglitz, Commanding Heights)
So, as long as Russia remained open to the West's political maneuvering and wholesale thievery, every thing was hunky-dory.
But as soon as Vladimir Putin got his bearings (during his second term as President) and started reassembling the broken state, then
western elites became very concerned and denounced Putin as an "autocrat" and a "KGB thug." At the same time, Washington continued
its maniacal push eastward using its military catspaw, NATO, to achieve its geopolitical ambitions to control vital resources and
industries in the most populous and prosperous region of the coming century, Eurasia. After promising Russian President Gorbachev
that NATO would never "expand one inch to the east", the US-led military alliance added 13 new countries to its membership, all of
them straddling Russia's western flank, all of them located, like Hitler, on Russia's doorstep, all of them posing an existential
threat to Russia's survival. NATO forces now routinely conduct provocative military drills just miles from the Russian border while
state-of-the-art missile systems surround Russia on all sides. (Imagine Russia conducting similar drills in the Gulf of Mexico or
on the Canadian border. How would Washington respond?)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave an excellent summary of post Cold War history at a gathering of the Korber Foundation
in Berlin in 2017. Brainwashed Americans who foolishly blame Russia for meddling in the 2016 elections, should pay attention to what
LAVROV– "Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall we have shown our cards, trying to do our best to assert the values of equal
partnership in international affairs .Back in the early 1990s, we withdrew our troops from Eastern and Central Europe and the
Baltic states and dramatically downsized our military capacity near our western borders
When the cold war era came to an end, Russia was hoping that this would become our common victory – the victory of both the
former Communist bloc countries and the West. The dreams of ushering in shared peace and cooperation seemed near to fruition.
However, the United States and its allies decided to declare themselves the sole winners, refusing to work together to create
the architecture of equal and indivisible security. They made their choice in favor of shifting the dividing lines to our borders
– through expanding NATO and then through the implementation of the EU's Eastern Partnership program
As the Western countries' elites were implementing a policy of political and economic containment of Russia, old threats
were growing and new ones were emerging in the world, and the efforts to do away with them have failed. I think that the main
reason for that is that the model of "West-centric" globalization, which developed following the dismantling of the bipolar architecture
and was aimed at ensuring the prosperity of one-seventh of the world's population at the expense of the rest, proved ineffective.
It is becoming more and more obvious that a narrow group of "chosen ones" is unable to ensure the sustainable growth of the global
economy on their own and solve such major challenges as poverty, climate change, shortage of food and other vital resources .
The latest events are clear evidence that the persistent attempts to form a unipolar world order have failed .The new centers
of economic growth and concomitant political influence are assuming responsibility for the state of affairs in their regions.
Let me reiterate that the emergence of multipolar world order is a fact and a reality. Seeking to hold back this process and keep
the unfairly gained privileged positions is going to lead nowhere. We see increasing examples of nations raising their voice in
defense of their right to decide their own destiny ." (Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister)
The American people need to look beyond the propaganda and try to grasp what's really going on. Russia is not Washington's
enemy, it's a friend that's trying to nudge the US in adirection that will increase its opportunities for peace and prosperity in
the future. Lavrov is simply pointing out that a multipolar world is inevitable as economic power becomes more widespread. This emerging
reality means the US will have to modify its behavior, cooperate with other sovereign nations, comply with international law, and
seek a peaceful settlement to disputes. It means greater parity between the states, fairer representation in global decision-making,
and a narrower gap between the world's winners and losers.
Who doesn't want this? Who doesn't want to see an end of the bloody US-led invasions, the countless drone assassinations, the
vast destruction of ancient civilizations, and the senseless slaughter of innocent men, women and children? Who doesn't want to see
Washington's wings clipped so the bloodletting stops and the millions of refugees and internally displaced can return to their homes?
Lavrov offers a vision of the future that all peace-loving people should welcome with open arms.
Admit it: The imperial model has failed. It's time to move on.
Trump lost in large cities.
May lost in major cities, the Anti-Brexit folks won instead.
The globalists have their tight grip on virtually every major city in the world.
They want megacities, logistic cities etc. in the world.
The globalists have had enough with America. (Trump wasn't happy so he wants to make it
great again) The globalists made their money through capitalism, now they need Bitnation,
blockchain (as a state, govt, you can no longer own citizens and print money because they'll be
the citizens of Bitnation and they'll mine their own money) there will be home-made gold soon,
they want middlemen eliminated, they sell you products without owning any stores (Amazon,
Alibaba) they can transport you a-b without owning any vehicles (Uber) they control the media
without employing any correspondents (facebook, youtube, twitter, instagram etc.) they don't
need any banknotes (Trump=dollar), they want AI, they want Human 2.0, (first one was created by
God and the new one will be fathered by the globalists) they want transhumanism, IOT, they want
robots and female/male robots and marriage with robots, they want to produce economy and
technology but they are not interested in the hearts and minds of the human beings, when you
are thirsty they'll give you filtered seawater, hungry? they'll give you GMO food, the Chinese
had sweatshops but now they have workshops manufacturing electronics, nothing has changed for
them really, now they have 1 belt 1 road via logistic cities, trains to Tibilisi, then to the
world's largest airport in Istanbul, people need peace and tranquility but the globalists have
sold you the idea of 'happiness', they want LGBT, children with 2-3 mothers, Trump hates
Obama's toilets, they want covert ops and proxies (Katie Perry has 60 million followers mostly
fake and why is that? Because she's rigged for a future suicide bombing case, she'll say "I
have seen a UFO" or "I made millions out of BTC" or whatever role is assigned to her) but Trump
is conventional, he wants the US armed forces mobilized and wants them to face the country
A-B-C straightforward like in the olden days, he has the soldiers and oil barons with him, a
war cabinet... And the story goes on and on...
We are in 21st century.
Trump = Guns+Oil, KKK, Evangelists (Zionist Christians)...
The real America however belongs to = Finance capital + Technology = Globalists
We have to take all those above to see what's going on around us.
"... Things "should" be made locally. There's no reason, especially with declining energy resources, that a toaster should be shipped from thousands of miles away by boat, plane, truck, rail. That's simply ridiculous, never mind causing a ton of extra pollution. We end up working at McDonald's or Target, but, yay, we just saved $5.00 on our toaster. ..."
"... I don't know how you know about the so-called safety net. I know because I had to use it while undergoing treatment for 2 types of stage 4 breast cancer the past 4 years. It is NOT what people think. It beats the already vulnerable into the ground -- -- this is not placating -- -- it is psychological breaking of human minds until they submit. The paperwork is like undergoing a tax audit -- - every 6 months. "Technicians" decide one's "benefits" which vary between "technicians". ..."
"... Food stamps can be $195 during one period and then $35 the next. The technicians/system takes no responsibility for the chaos and stress they bring into their victims' lives. It is literally crazy making. BTW: I am white, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, have a masters' degree, formerly owned my own business and while married lived within the top 10%. ..."
"... In addition, most of those on so-called social programs are children, the elderly, chronically ill, veterans. You are correct that the middle class is falling into poverty but you are not understanding what poverty actually looks like when the gov holds out its beneficial hand. It is nothing short of cruelty. ..."
Yes, but increasingly there is no "working class" in America due to outsourcing and automation.
I hear that Trump wants to reverse all of that and put children to work in forward-to-the-past factories (versus
back-to-the-future) and mines working 12 hours a day 7 days a week as part of his Make America Great Again initiative.
With all the deregulation, I can't wait to start smoking on airplanes again. Those were great times. Flying bombs with
fifty or more lit fuses in the form of a cigarette you can smoke. The good old days.
backwardsevolution , February 5, 2018 at 5:50 pm
Cold N. Holefield -- it's like Ross Perot said re NAFTA and globalization: "When the rest
of the world's wages go up to $6.00/hour and our's come down to $6.00/hour, globalization
will end." That's what's happening, isn't it? Our wages are being held down, due in large
part to low-skilled labor and H-1B's flooding into the country, and wages in Asia are rising.
I remember Ross Perot standing right beside Bill Clinton when he said this, and I also
remember the sly smile on Bill Clinton's face. He knew.
Our technology was handed to China on a silver platter by the greedy U.S. multinationals,
technology that was developed by Western universities and taxpayer dollars, technology that
would have taken decades for China to develop on their own.
Trump is trying desperately to bring some of these jobs back. That's why he handed them
huge corporate tax breaks and cut some regulations.
Things "should" be made locally. There's no reason, especially with declining energy
resources, that a toaster should be shipped from thousands of miles away by boat, plane,
truck, rail. That's simply ridiculous, never mind causing a ton of extra pollution. We end up
working at McDonald's or Target, but, yay, we just saved $5.00 on our toaster.
Trump is trying to cut back on immigration so that wages can increase, but the Left want
to save the whole world, doing themselves in in the process. He wants to bring people in with
skills the country can benefit from, but for that he's tarred and feathered.
P.S. I remember sitting behind a drunk on a long flight, and I saw him drop his cigarette.
It rolled past me like it knew where it was going, and I couldn't find it. I called the
stewardess, and she and I searched for a few anxious seconds until we found it. Yes, the good
I don't know how you know about the so-called safety net. I know because I had to use it
while undergoing treatment for 2 types of stage 4 breast cancer the past 4 years. It is NOT
what people think. It beats the already vulnerable into the ground -- -- this is not
placating -- -- it is psychological breaking of human minds until they submit. The paperwork
is like undergoing a tax audit -- - every 6 months. "Technicians" decide one's "benefits"
which vary between "technicians".
Food stamps can be $195 during one period and then $35 the
next. The technicians/system takes no responsibility for the chaos and stress they bring into
their victims' lives. It is literally crazy making. BTW: I am white, a member of Phi Beta
Kappa, have a masters' degree, formerly owned my own business and while married lived within
the top 10%.
In addition, most of those on so-called social programs are children, the
elderly, chronically ill, veterans. You are correct that the middle class is falling into
poverty but you are not understanding what poverty actually looks like when the gov holds out
its beneficial hand. It is nothing short of cruelty.
backwardsevolution , February 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm
Diana Lee -- I hope you are well now. It breaks my heart what you went through. No, I
I didn't mean the lower class were living "well" on food stamps and welfare. All I meant
was that it helped, and without it all hell would break loose. If you lived in the top 10% at
one point, then you would surely notice a difference, but for many who have been raised in
this environment, they don't notice at all. It becomes a way of life. And, yes, you are
right, it is cruelty. A loss of life.
Due to automation, offshoring and transnational communications/internet, the elitists no
longer need a large domestic underclass of undocumented workers to artificially lower wages.
That is likely the reason that every Administration since Slick Willy have sought to reduce
After all, it was the Obama Administration that deported more undocumented immigrants than
any other in history, and it was in those years after the 2008 economic crash that saw net
migration from Mexico hit zero, or even negative numbers.
What the MSM is telling us is that the Trump Administration is more draconian in carrying
out practices that have been US policy for decades. That might even be true.
backwardsevolution , February 6, 2018 at 6:53 pm
Daniel -- " the elitists no longer need a large domestic underclass of undocumented
workers to artificially lower wages."
Oh, sure, that's why corporations and the Chambers of Commerce are fighting so hard to
keep chain migration, legal and illegal immigration numbers up! Because they don't need them.
And technology companies are clamoring for more H-1B's so they can pay them less.
Come on, Daniel.
Daniel , February 7, 2018 at 12:22 am
Please provide evidence that the "Chambers of Commerce are fighting so hard.." Please try to
keep your rebuttal to my statement that "elitists no longer need a large domestic underclass
of undocumented workers" and not various forms of legal migration. Because I do agree that
there is a market for "skilled labor" who are legal. Part off the reason for this labor
market is the drop in STEM-educated USAmericans.
I'm afraid the population has been so thoroughly incapacitated via a Dumbing Down
Education System coupled with 24/7 Media Misinformation and the Stultifying Effects of Social
Media that there will be no Revolution. Instead, it looks like it will be a steady
capitulation and acquiescence of personal sovereignty all the way to the Gas Chambers and no
doubt when or if that time comes, there will be an a nifty Application from Silicon Valley to
guide you through your Final Processing.
backwardsevolution , February 5, 2018 at 5:18 pm
Cold N. Holefield -- a "Dumbing Down Education System", but also lots of benefits on the
lower end: food stamps, disability, subsidized housing, free cell phones, etc. If these
things were removed (no, I'm not saying they should be), things would be completely
different. There'd be a riot in a fortnight.
If your stomach is empty, it doesn't really matter how dumbed down you've become, you are
going to feel fear and react. That's why they keep the lower end placated.
It is the middle class who is slipping down into the lower class, and these are the people
who are getting angry and fearful, mainly for their children. Those people have actually lost
Concerning the discussion on "globalism" - and please excuse me if I've missed prior
discussion, I wasn't following that point back in the last thread - this word as used today
essentially is referring to neoliberal economic policies, which are the handmaiden of neocon
"war & plunder" policies. Both doctrines walk hand in hand. The so-called "free trade
agreements" remove barriers not so much against free trade as against corporate regulation -
this is the whole point of them. The TPP agreement that Trump withdrew from was the most vile
such agreement ever yet proposed.
"Globalism", so called, is the opening of doors in target nations to predatory capitalism,
disaster capitalism, the economic part of the John Perkins playbook. As corporatism gains
strength in a nation, fascism as Mussolini defined it (i.e. as corporatism) becomes the
reality. Maybe the word meant something good once, I don't know. But it stands for everything
Globalism is also blogs like this.
Globalism has been turned into a dirty word as it has been used, same as colour revolutions
ect, but I suspect it will also help bring down corporate globalism.
For me, in the latter part of my life, it has brought great interest for cultures and people
that are different to my own upbringing.
@21 Nationalism is seen as narrow, regressive and responsible for conflict. It's only
acceptable at sporting events. (Turks and Kurds haven't got the message yet.) Globalism is
seen as progressive. One world government is supposed to bring peace and prosperity to all.
Of course there are all kinds of racial and religious contradictions but the basic choice is
looking backwards or forwards.
Nationalism, globalism, sovereignty.
There is a word missing. Sovereignty does not seem to cover it but is the closest I can
This is the wikipedia definition of sovereignty.. "Sovereignty is the full right and power
of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In
political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some
polity. It is a basic principle underlying the dominant Westphalian model of state
Also similar to nationalism.
What is the correct word or term for full sovereignty plus respect for other countries and
"Well, with regard to Germany, the EU project was the longest period of peace for the last
200 years. Same for France." somebody writes.
France and Germany have both been at war several times since the EU came into being. Of
course being US satraps, under NATO, they haven't fought each other.
As to Germany its existence, as a state, begins in 1870 and, in the past 150 years has
gone through several revolutionary changes, such as Anschluss, the Allied Occupation regime
and the Bundesrepublik-Democratic Republic interlude.
And then there are the border changes which, over the period are dramatic.
The point is that this cant apology for the EU is cheap and demagogic.
Any defence of the EU has to begin with a justification of its two cardinal objects: Wall St
forged neoliberalism and Pentagon directed policies designed to advance US geo-strategy
Seems like a discussion on semantics - rocky ground.
Putin once set up two words to explain a thing. He said that patriotism was love of one's
country. Nationalism was hatred of other countries. Great set of concepts, but there's no
real consensus of the meaning of those two words, in any group of people you could assemble
Important to agree on concepts and be wary of words when they're not solidly established
in a broad and functional consensus.
My apologies. I thought "globalism" as I described it was commonly held ground, but it's
not. I respectfully withdraw from the discussion, leaving disaster capitalism as the great
enemy, and global fraternity and exchange as the great friend of the ordinary people of the
The words for all this I leave to others to establish. My apologies again for butting
@33 So many of the terms we use today are profoundly affected by the dilemma that Nietzsche
described in his statement (I paraphrase): 'God is dead, we have killed him. And no amount of
water can wash the blood from our hands'
This was not a statement of triumph, rather of despair. In the loss of the divine as the
source of morality, Nietzsche anticipated that people would invest that authority in other
structures - including the state (Nazi-ism, Marxism), the military, economics ('free-market'
The loyalists in each of those 'causes' would see all their associated terms positively,
just like all adherents of religious systems. Those outside, or those who suffered abuse at
their hands, see those terms quite differently.
So Nationalism can be positive (as in pride in the legitimate achievements of your
country) or negative (where the people ascribe to the state/nation/race the right to define
what is morally right) where the nation has God-like authority to remove from whole classes
of people all their rights - even the right to life.
Wikipedia (under types of government) slices and dices your options when it comes to
political terms for the ruling elite. Two stand out to me, with the second suffering from an
Plutocracy: Rule by the wealthy; a system wherein governance is indebted to, dependent
upon or heavily influenced by the desires of the rich
Ochlocracy: Rule by the crowd; a system of governance where mob rule is government by mob
or a mass of people, or the intimidation of legitimate authorities. As a pejorative for
majoritarianism, it is akin to the Latin phrase mobile vulgus meaning "the fickle crowd",
from which the English term "mob" was originally derived in the 1680s. Ochlocratic
governments are often a democracy spoiled by demagoguery, "tyranny of the majority" and the
rule of passion over reason; such governments can be as oppressive as autocratic tyrants.
Ochlocracy is synonymous in meaning and usage to the modern, informal term "mobocracy".
Personally, when it comes to describing the state of affairs in the empire, I lean toward
a despotic corporatism as being the best description. Others may prefer militarism over
corporatism, but when the two forces (the corporate and the military) unify you get
Again, this is just how I, at this time, understand it.
Liberal democracy is not democratic. Let us stop lying, and dispense with the false
narrative that granting anyone a term of office in which they can steal from the commons and
not be immediately fired or even killed is anything remotely "cratic". It's feudalism, plain
and simple, and those who defend it are typically of a class long known to be
i think the big challenge for the world is letting economics trump the environment...
until that changes, we're in trouble.. maybe it doesn't have to be an either/or thing... i do
think corporate power and the various trade deals (tpp - canada has bought into this with
mexico, so tpp is still happening, although the usa is not presently a part of it) are mostly
about ignoring local or national laws or trying to over-ride them so that corporations can
have all the power.. les7 calls something like this "despotic corporatism", but i mostly
think of it as just plain corporatism.. it is all despotic...
well, i feel the same way about the accumulation of ridiculous amounts of wealth in the
hands of a few as well.. how can this happen when people are struggling to survive on the
planet? do these people have no sense of shame? apparently not! they go about their business
accruing wealth oblivious to the pain and suffering they are directly, or indirectly
inflicting on others.. then there are those types who realize what they have done and try to
make amends by changing their ways and staring foundations - gates foundation and etc. etc...
to me, why not just not fuck people over, instead of thinking you have to trample on others
to get ahead and that the universe can only be seen as a dog eat dog universe? well, i can't
change others, i can only change myself and do what i feel good about and can live with..
thanks for the conversation..
@ 42 john gilberts.. canada continues to go down the wrong road, being sucked into the
made in the us bs.. freeland is a warmonger, with undisclosed financial support from soros to
continue the war on russia and etc. etc.. i can't believe we are that stupid to have such a
women is such a prominent role here in canada... anyone would be better..
Needless to say that there is only one me and I am grateful that b has deleted the fake ones.
Although it is known in car design that plagiarism is a form of admiration, in
my case it was the cheap attempt to soil my name. Ironically, the only people that believe
that they could succeed with this kind of gas lighting have an IQ that is surpassed by
shoe size of their little feet.
Allow me to contribute in regards to Nationalism. Having been born in a country that was
once ruled by a "National Socialist" party, I needed to find out more about what had caused
Nationalism to go rogue and destroy the Nation it emanated from.
Stories by family members did provide some answers, but we're insufficient at best, since
no one had seen it coming this way.
Then I discovered the lecture by J. Krishnamurti about Nationalism. My own parents were
toddlers when Krishnamurti spoke about Nationalism in Argentina in 1935.
The time spent listening to this speech was the best spent time ever in regards to finding
answers. While I have the speech on my computer, I will link here to the Krishnamurti
repository where all of his speeches can be found.
In an extremely ironic and the saddest way, his words about Nationalism were absolutely
prophetic. The transition from 'National Identity' to deadly Nationalism is fleeting.
Humanity has not been able to overcome Nationalism and struggles with the concept of
'sovereignty', as it appears to be dependent on Nationalism and not National identity.
Imo, sovereignty can only arise from Interdependence. The acknowledgement of
Interdependence at the root of sovereignty will allow for a National identity, that would not
resort to Nationalism and its cancerous degeneration into a murderous, inhumane tragedy.
"... We support free trade, but it needs to be fair," he chided. "It needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal." He went on to announce his support for "mutually beneficial, bilateral trade agreements with all countries, ..."
The president tries to sell business tycoons and world leaders on his "America First" policy
and sounds like a small-town mayor wooing Walmart to open a store in his community.
... ... ...
"I'm here to represent the interests of the American people," he began, ignoring the fact
that the majority of the American people don't want him representing their interests. "America
hopes for a future in which everyone can prosper," he said, describing the American dream as "a
great job, a safe home and a better life for their children." All true, but right now there are
also plenty of Americans dreaming of a president who won't embarrass them.
... ... ...
Trump naturally brought his patented "America First" routine to the august gathering, but he
was less belligerent about it than usual, almost conciliatory. "As president of the United
States I will always put America first," he said. "But America first does not mean America
alone," he added, as the audience of business tycoons and international leaders breathed a sigh
of relief. Of course, Trump wasn't yet done rebuking them. " We support free trade, but it
needs to be fair," he chided. "It needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal." He went on
to announce his support for "mutually beneficial, bilateral trade agreements with all
countries, " even hinting at rejoining TPP. That Donald, he's such a tease.
Trump's campaign to return manufacturing to America and repatriate profits held overseas
makes good business sense. The ravaging of America's once mighty industrial base to boost
corporate profits was a crime against the nation by unscrupulous Wall Street bankers and
short-sighted, greedy CEO's.
The basis of industrial power is the ability to make products people use. Shockingly, US
manufacturing has shrunk to only 14% of GDP. Today, America's primary business has become
finance, the largely non-productive act of paper-passing that only benefits a tiny big city
Trump_vs_deep_state is a natural reaction to the self-destruction of America's industrial base. But the
president's mania to wreck international trade agreements and impose tariff barriers will
result in diminishing America's economic and political influence around the globe.
Access to America's markets is in certain ways a more powerful political tool than
deployment of US forces around the globe. Lessening access to the US markets will inevitably
have negative repercussions on US exports.
Trump has been on a rampage to undo almost every positive initiative undertaken by the Obama
administration, even though many earned the US applause and respect around the civilized world.
The president has made trade agreements a prime target. He has targeted trade pacts involving
Mexico, Canada, the EU, Japan, China and a host of other nations by claiming they are unfair to
American workers. However, a degree of wage unfairness is the price Washington must pay for
bringing lower-cost nations into America's economic orbit.
This month, the Trump administration threatened new restrictions against 120 US trade
partners who may now face much higher tariffs on their exports to the US.
Trump is in a hurry because he fears he may not be re-elected. He is trying to eradicate all
vestiges of the Obama presidency with the ruthlessness and ferocity of Stalinist officials
eradicating every trace of liquidated commissars, even from official photos. America now faces
its own era of purges as an uneasy world watches.
Money quote: "And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries
or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them
hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War
3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real.
And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage,
to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so the US has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation."
"... And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so the US has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation. ..."
"... Cohen-Watnick is thirty years old and has little relevant experience for the position he holds, senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council. But his inexperience counts for little as he is good friend of son-in-law Jared Kushner. He has told the New York Times ..."
"... Both Cohen-Watnick and Harvey share the neoconservative belief that the Iranians and their proxies in Syria and Iraq need to be confronted by force, an opportunity described by Foreign Policy ..."
"... What danger to the U.S. or its actual treaty allies an Iranian influenced land corridor would constitute remains a mystery but there is no shortage of Iran haters in the White House. Former senior CIA analyst Paul Pillar sees "unrelenting hostility from the Trump administration" towards Iran and notes "cherry-picking" of the intelligence to make a case for war, similar to what occurred with Iraq in 2002-3. And even though Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster have pushed back against the impulsive Cohen-Watnick and Harvey, their objections are tactical as they do not wish to make U.S. forces in the region vulnerable to attacks coming from a new direction. Otherwise they too consider Iran as America's number one active enemy and believe that war is inevitable. Donald Trump has unfortunately also jumped directly into the argument on the side of Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of which would like to see Washington go to war with Tehran on their behalf. ..."
"... You forgot the third significant potential threat from a friendly nation, i.e. Israel. Israel will sabotage any effort to normallize relations with Russia or even Iran. They will resort to false flag operations to start a war with Iran. ..."
"... The problem with this White House, as well as the previous ones, is that none of the so-called experts really understand the Middle East. The US is not interested in having friendly relations with all nations. All her efforts are towards one goal, the world domination. Even if President Trump wanted to normalize relations with Russia, the MSM, the democrats, as well as, his republican opponents will not let him. ..."
"... That is why the constan drumbeat of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election despite the fact that no proof has been given so far. Similarly, the "Iran has nuclear weapons" narrative is constantly repeated, the reports by IAEA and the 17 Intelligence Agencies to the contrary not withstanding. ..."
"... The elevation of Muhammad bin Salman to the Crown Prince position will only make the Middle East situation worse. Israel will be able to manipulate him much more easily than the old guard. ..."
"... The titanic elephant in the room -- that US foreign policy is not governed by "rationality" but by "special interests" seems .missing ..."
"... Trump has no control of most government functions, particularly foreign affairs. The Deep State takes care of that for him. The Deep State has been calling the shots for decades and all Presidents who weren't assassinated have complied. Democracies never work and ours quit long ago. ..."
"... I fully agree that attacking Iran would be yet another disaster but I don't understand why Saudi Arabia is portrayed as an 'enemy', the 'real' one, no less, in alt-media circles like this. I mean let's be honest with ourselves. KSA is the definition of a vassal state. Has been so since the state established established relations with the USA in the 1940s and the status was confirmed during the 1960s under King Faisal. Oil for security. Why pretend that they have any operational clearance from the US? ..."
"... The BIGGEST threat to the USA is from within, as we are nothing more than an occupied colony of Apartheid Israel, paying that bastard state tributes each year in the form of free money and weapons, political backing at the UN, and never tire of fighting her wars of conquest. ..."
"... The also have a choke-hold on Congress, which is always eager to wag their tail and hope their Yid Overlord gives them a treat and not a dressing-down in the Jew MSM, which is a career killer. ..."
"... Israel's current "agreements" and its "kowtowing" to Saudi Arabia speaks VOLUMES. Once again, Israel is about to get others to do their "dirty work" for them. ..."
"... There's no alternative to Saudi royal family rule of the peninsula. Who's there to replace them? Any other group, assuming there might be one somewhere waiting in the wings, would probably be anti-American and not as compliant as the Saudis. They've spent gigantic sums in the endless billions buying military equipment from the US, weapons they can't even fully use, as a way of making themselves indispensable customers. Many other billions of petrodollars find their way westward into our financial systems. They collaborate with the US in various schemes throughout the Muslim world using their intelligence services and money in furtherance of US goals. ..."
"... Mattis still seems stuck with his Iran obsession. Shame I thought he had the intellectual curiosity to adapt. Trump has good instincts, I hope Tillerson comes to the fore, and Bannon stays influential. ..."
"... Iran is US enemy #1 not only because it is against that country smaller than New Jersey with less people (Israel) but also because Iran has been a model for other countries to follow because of its intransigence to US oppression and attacks, financial political and cyber. As the world becomes multi-polar, Iran's repeated wise reactions to the world hegemon have been an inspiration to China and others to go their own way. The US can't stand that. ..."
"... Contrary to the popular view, Wahabism is necessary to keep the local population under control. Particularly the minority Shia population who live along the eastern coast, an area, which incidentally also has the all the oil reserves. USA fully understands this. Which is why they not only tolerated Wahabism, but strongly promoted it during Afghan jihad. The operation was by and large very successful btw. It was only during the '90s when religion became the new ideology for the resistance against the empire across the Muslim world. Zero surprise there because the preceding ideology, radical left wing politics was completely defeated. Iran became the first country in this pattern. The Iranian left was decimated by the Shah, another vassal. So the religious right became the new resistance. ..."
"... And as far as the KSA is considered, Wahabi preachers aren't allowed to attack the USA anyway. If any individual preacher so much as makes a squeak, he will be bent over a barrel. There won't be any "coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia" because USA already owns that country. ..."
"... The British Empire 'made' the House of Saud. Thinking it wise to use Wahhabism to control Shia Islam is like thinking it wise to use blacks to control the criminal tendencies of Mexicans. ..."
It is one of the great ironies that the United States, a land mass protected by two broad oceans while also benefitting from the
world's largest economy and most powerful military, persists in viewing itself as a potential victim, vulnerable and surrounded by
enemies. In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly
countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the
second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.
And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries
or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them
hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World
War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative
than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or
no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so the US has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating
Also, I would characterize international terrorism as a faux threat at a national level, though one that has been exaggerated
through the media and fearmongering to such an extent that it appears much more dangerous than it actually is. It has been observed
that more Americans are killed by falling furniture than by terrorists in a year but terrorism has a particularly potency due to
its unpredictability and the fear that it creates. Due to that fear, American governments and businesses at all levels have been
willing to spend a trillion dollars per annum to defeat what might rationally be regarded as a relatively minor problem.
So if the United States were serious about dealing with or deflecting the actual threats against the American people it could
first of all reduce its defense expenditures to make them commensurate with the actual threat before concentrating on three things.
First, would be to establish a solid modus vivendi with Russia and China to avoid conflicts of interest that could develop
into actual tit-for-tat escalation. That would require an acceptance by Washington of the fact that both Moscow and Beijing have
regional spheres of influence that are defined by their interests. You don't have to like the governance of either country, but their
national interests have to be appreciated and respected just as the United States has legitimate interests within its own hemisphere
that must be respected by Russia and China.
Second, Washington must, unfortunately, continue to spend on the Missile Defense Agency, which supports anti-missile defenses
if the search for a modus vivendi for some reason fails. Mutual assured destruction is not a desirable strategic doctrine
but being able to intercept incoming missiles while also having some capability to strike back if attacked is a realistic deterrent
given the proliferation of nations that have both ballistic missiles and nukes.
Third and finally, there would be a coordinated program aimed at international terrorism based equally on where the terror comes
from and on physically preventing the terrorist attacks from taking place. This is the element in national defense that is least
clear cut. Dealing with Russia and China involves working with mature regimes that have established diplomatic and military channels.
Dealing with terrorist non-state players is completely different as there are generally speaking no such channels.
It should in theory be pretty simple to match threats and interests with actions since there are only a handful that really matter,
but apparently it is not so in practice. What is Washington doing? First of all, the White House is deliberately turning its back
on restoring a good working relationship with Russia by insisting that Crimea be returned to Kiev, by blaming Moscow for the continued
unrest in Donbas, and by attacking Syrian military targets in spite of the fact that Russia is an ally of the legitimate government
in Damascus and the United States is an interloper in the conflict. Meanwhile congress and the media are poisoning the waters through
their dogged pursuit of Russiagate for political reasons even though nearly a year of investigation has produced no actual evidence
of malfeasance on the part of U.S. officials and precious little in terms of Moscow's alleged interference.
Playing tough to the international audience has unfortunately become part of the American Exceptionalism DNA. Upon his arrival
in Warsaw last week, Donald Trump doubled down on the
Russia-bashing, calling on Moscow to "cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes
including Syria and Iran." He then recommended that Russia should "join the community of responsible nations in our fight against
common enemies and in defense of civilization itself."
The comments in Warsaw were unnecessary, even if the Poles wanted to hear them, and were both highly insulting and ignorant. It
was not a good start for Donald's second overseas trip, even though the speech has otherwise been interpreted as a welcome defense
of Western civilization and European values. Trump also followed up with a two hour plus discussion with President Vladimir Putin
in which the two apparently agreed to differ on the alleged Russian hacking of the American election. The Trump-Putin meeting indicated
that restoring some kind of working relationship with Russia is still possible, as it is in everyone's interest to do so.
Fighting terrorism is quite another matter and the United States approach is the reverse of what a rational player would be seeking
to accomplish. The U.S. is rightly assisting in the bid to eradicate ISIS in Syria and Iraq but it is simultaneously attacking the
most effective fighters against that group, namely the Syrian government armed forces and the Shiite militias being provided by Iran
and Hezbollah. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that at least some in the Trump Administration are seeking to use the Syrian
engagement as a stepping stone to war with Iran.
As was the case in the months preceding the ill-fated invasion of Iraq in 2003, all buttons are being pushed to vilify Iran. Recent
reports suggest that two individuals in the White House in particular have been pressuring the Trump administration's generals to
escalate U.S. involvement in Syria to bring about a war with Tehran sooner rather than later. They are Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek
Harvey, reported to be holdovers from the team brought into the White House by the virulently anti-Iranian former National Security
Adviser Michael Flynn.
Cohen-Watnick is thirty years old and
has little relevant experience for the position he holds, senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council.
But his inexperience counts for little as he is good friend of son-in-law Jared Kushner. He has told the New York Times
that "wants to use American spies to help oust the Iranian government," a comment that reflects complete ignorance, both regarding
Iran and also concerning spy agency capabilities. His partner in crime Harvey, a former military officer who advised General David
Petraeus when he was