Musings are thoughts, the thoughtful kind. For the purpose of these articles, a-musings are thoughts that might amuse, entertain and even enlighten.
When one nation imposes tariffs on imports from another country, and this country retaliates with similar or greater forms of protectionism, then the tit-for-tat measures that follow can easily escalate into a trade war that results in a reduction in foreign trade which is detrimental to both parties.
A trade war usually starts when a nation attempts to protect a domestic industry, create jobs or redress an imbalance in trade. Although such measures may work in the short run, in the long run, a trade war actually costs jobs and depresses economic growth for all countries involved. Significantly, trade war tariffs always increase the prices of all imported goods and all goods that use imported raw materials. Prices go up and consumers suffer.
On March 8, 2018, Trump, the semiliterate president of the United States who still has not mastered the differences between ‘there, they're and their' in his Tweets, announced a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports from just about all the countries that exported to the USA, stating “Trade wars are good, and easy to win,” something that trading partners and markets around the world disagreed with. Stock markets became even more volatile.
Trump apparently believes the tariffs would protect the 147,000 workers in the US steel and aluminum industries. But he ignores the fact that they could hurt the 6.5 million workers in industries that need steel. Tariffs will also raise costs for steel users, like automakers, who will be obliged to pass those increased costs onto consumers.
Trump has cited a threat to the national security of the United States. Japan's trade minister said, "I believe there is absolutely no impact on America's national security from imports of steel and aluminum from Japan, which is an allied nation." The same applies to Canada and the 27, or is it 28, nations of the European Union, all of which are staunch allies of the USA.
Despite his large size, Trump acts a small child, forever changing his mind despite his own private belief that he never backs down, something that he apparently needs, to bolster his own self-image of being a strong leader. The Trump-in-diapers blimp that will fly over London during his upcoming visit should show the world what the Brits think of him.
And now, not surprisingly, more and more evidence is emerging that Trump has been a Russian stooge, if not worse, for the past 30 years. Unable to get loans from domestic American banks, Trump's organisation has received vast amounts of money from Russia for decades, saving him from the repercussions of his several financial failures. The party he leads, perhaps owns is the better word, is no longer the party of fiscal responsibility; the Republican Party has become the party to lead the country into bankruptcy.
First published in 1958, ‘The Ugly American' was the title of the multi-millioncopy bestseller that coined the phrase for tragic American blunders abroad. It became the rallying cry for all who opposed America's high-handed imperialistic global behaviour.
In the episode that lends the book its title, the ‘ugly American' Homer Atkins is a plain and plain-spoken man who has been sent by the US government to advise the Southeast Asian country of Sarkhan on engineering projects. When Atkins finds badly misplaced priorities and bluntly challenges the entrenched interests, he lays bare a foreign policy gone dangerously wrong.
On June 23, 1959 Senator John F. Kennedy, soon to be President Kennedy, took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times. The ad wasn't to express his Vietnam War policy, nor was it to announce his intention to run for president. Instead, it was to promote this book. He sent a copy to each of his fellow senators.
‘The Ugly American' became a runaway global bestseller for its slashing exposé of American arrogance, incompetence and corruption in Southeast Asia. In linked stories and vignettes, the book uses gripping storytelling to draw a devastating picture of how the United States was losing the struggle with Communism in Asia. It later became a movie. It took decades for the world to forget or rather forgive the Ugly Americanism of an era that Donald Trump wishes to revive. Rather than making America great again, this Russian stooge is hellbent on making America, in the eyes of the world, Ugly again.