Wednesday, 13 April 2016

How Trump’s Mexican wall points at an outlook of world politics over the next 50 years

Although Donald Trump might now be in a contested nominee race for the Republican presidential candidate (following his heavy defeat in Wisconsin on 06Apr2016), his opinions still matter, because they are still robustly anti-establishment and therefore popular.  It’s what Americans appear to want to hear.

I assume that if the Republican party chooses another candidate to run for President, then Trump could likely stand as an independent candidate.

Therefore, that Trump has given more detail about his foreign policy is noteworthy.  According to The Atlantic:

Another reason to take it [Trump’s plan for the Great Big Wall of Mexico] seriously: The plan is consistent with Trump’s extractive, neo-mercantilist worldview. In a recent interview with The New York Times, he characterized every major U.S. relationship as a zero-sum transaction from which America could wring more value. As president, Trump would slash U.S. funding for NATO and the United Nations; pressure Japan and South Korea to pay more for hosting U.S. troops and perhaps even to develop their own nuclear weapons so they’ll quit relying on America’s nuclear deterrent; make Germany and the Gulf states provide the money for “safe zones” in Syria; and coerce Saudi Arabia into “reimbursing” the United States for protecting the kingdom.

Trump argues that America’s role as the world policeman has resulted in the country holding $19 trillion of debt, a victim of the free-rider problem.  How this fits in with Varoufakis’ analysis of the “vacuum cleaner” seems immediately striking.  Whilst Trump and Varoufakis appear to be at odds, at a distance, they seem to corroborate each other.

At length, the article examines the credibility of Trump’s proposal to have Mexico pay for a big wall that keeps Mexicans out of America, but finally, we get to read the words from the man himself, words which all of us taxpaying plebs want to hear from our so-called leaders:

“I watched as we built schools in Iraq and they’re blown up,” he recently told The Washington Post. “We build another one, we get blown up. We rebuild it three times and yet we can’t build a school in Brooklyn. We have no money for education because we can’t build in our own country. At what point do you say, ‘Hey, we have to take care of ourselves?’ So, I know the outer world exists and I’ll be very cognizant of that. But at the same time, our country is disintegrating, large sections of it, especially the inner cities.”

In one paragraph, Trump swiped at the consequences of bad policy choices (0% interest rates inflating asset prices, and money going on public services that benefit the outside world more than the people who fund such services).

Compare and contrast this to UKGov policy on international aid, which is to give as much of our money away as possible, while at the same time adhering to a European orthodoxy on “austerity.”  Which is a more popular policy, and why?  For whom the hell are us plebby taxpayers slaving-away, if it isn’t our own?

The article concludes:

There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of the American era, but, among other things, it has so far produced no world war or nuclear war, and it has left the United States at the helm of a relatively stable international system that is generally favorable to U.S. economic and geopolitical interests.

And yet, these benefits aren’t enough for Trump, or at least they’re not worth the cost. In his interview with The New York Times, the candidate said something very revealing. Asked when America was last great, he bypassed the Reagan era, criticizing Ronald Reagan’s trade policies and particularly his support for NAFTA, and instead cited the turn of the 20th century through the 1940s—a period when the country was just becoming a world power and only beginning to remake the international system in its image. Some might say the U.S.-led order that subsequently emerged is the source of American greatness. But clearly not according to Donald Trump’s definition of greatness.

What has this got to do with Brexit?

On balance, it looks like the European Union has indeed been free-riding on American-funded security, and when the European Union has had the opportunity to get stuck into being the world’s second policeman, the European Union has screwed it up (I’ve commented on this already).

With European policy choices still keen to make employment as unnecessarily inefficient and as expensive as possible (“the social model of employment”), it’s nigh impossible to see what Europe really wants to protect, or how it can do so, especially with central banks around the world still pummelling for 0% interest rates and underlying consumer demand either stagnant or falling.  As Lyons said, “Good economics is good politics.  Bad economics is bad politics.”  Therefore, it is inconceivable that the European Union would be able to replicate America’s growing world role as America did in the 1940s.

This scene looks set to dominate world politics over the next 20-to-50 years.  Only a world war involving either Russia or China might break the opiate spell of 0% interest rates and the Deep State crony zombie-ism that characterises our current ruling elites: this is feasible, but currently unlikely.  Therefore, assuming on-going peace, it is very difficult to see how Britain clinging to either the US or Europe is in the UK’s longer-term interests.

For all of the short-term pain of change (“Project Fear”), the longer-term opportunities look probable and attractive.  It’s the only way that an independent Britain - or even an independent England, if the Scots want to re-join the European Union - can hedge its bets against bad (i.e. counter-productive, self-sabotaging) policy choices in both Europe and America.

At least a mercantilist America is more predictable and transparent than a mercantilist Europe. The Americans just want profits - cash - whereas the Europeans want cash as well as undefinable, unaffordable ‘social protections’, and will stupidly accept ‘non-competition’ policy corruption as payment for ‘social protections’.

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