Trade Wars

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of these ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

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.

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