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Friday, November 17, 2017

The Economic Implications of Trump’s Trade & Tax Policies

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics”, and “The New American Empire”)

 

 

We should be trying to foster the growth of two-way trade, not trying to put up roadblocks, to open foreign markets, not close our own.”

President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), in a radio address to the Nation on free and fair trade and the budget deficit, May 16, 1987.

 

“Genuine free traders look at free markets and trade, domestic or international, from the point of view of the consumer (that is, all of us), the mercantilist, of the 16th century or [of] today, looks at trade from the point of view of the power elite, big business in league with the government.”

Murray Rothbard (1926-1995), American economist, (in a 1983 article, ‘The NAFTA Myth’, Mises Daily, Nov. 30, 2013)

 

“…I do think we’re much safer and I hope that [another financial crisis] will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be.

Janet Yellen (1946- ), U.S. Federal Reserve Chair, (statement made on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in London U.K.)

 

Sudden changes in trade and tax policies, the likes of those considered by the Trump administration, could be very disruptive to macroeconomic equilibrium, especially if they result in a sudden burst of inflation and in rapid interest rate hikes. Indeed, raising taxes on imports, repatriating large corporate profits parked overseas and increasing the fiscal deficit, when the economy is running at close to full capacity, can result in both demand-led and supply-led inflation. This could come much faster than most people expect, if all these measures are implemented in the coming years.

 

After 35 years of declining inflation and declining nominal and real interest rates since 1982, the tide is about to turn, partly as a consequence of the populist and protectionist policies of the Trump administration. With widely unexpected higher inflation rates and higher interest rates just around the corner, protectionist trade policies and higher fiscal deficits just as the Fed embarks upon a series of interest rates increases could have recessionary consequences. Moreover, since the end of the 2008-09 recession in June 2009, the influence of the 9.2 years economic cycle cannot be underestimated.

Let us see why.

 

1. Trump’s trade policies will be inflationary

 

For President Donald Trump and his advisors, international trade is some sort of a zero-sum game. It is, in their eyes, a win/lose proposition. When countries enter into multilateral international trade and investment agreements, some countries are said to “win” and some other countries are said to “lose”. Over time, such a trade theory has been completely discredited. Indeed, nothing can be further from the truth, because in most cases, international trade is a win/win proposition, in which workers, investors and consumers win on both sides.

 

International trade is what makes economies prosper, and all countries benefit from international trade, to various degrees. Most economists agree that, in the current state of economic development of most industrial countries, trade protectionism is a dead end, which can be dangerous for the U.S. economy and its trading partners, such as Canada.

 

However, what Donald Trump seems to believe in—judging by his pronouncements at least—is ‘managed international trade’ and government planning, preferably in a bilateral way, not in one particular economic sector for social and economic reasons, but for all sectors of the economy. Such a system was tried in the old Soviet Union, and that economic system collapsed in 1991. In fact, Donald Trump professes to want to repudiate sixty years of increased multilateral economic cooperation between countries, based on economic laws and macroeconomic accounting. His goal is to adopt a mercantilist and protectionist approach to international economic relations, i.e. develop a positive trade balance with other countries. Such an approach would be a throwback to a theory that was prevalent in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe. In other words, this has been tried many times before.

 

If the Trump administration were to get his protectionist way and were allowed by the U.S. Congress to play the apprentice sorcerer with international trade and international investment, the latter will contract, labor productivity will fall and costs of production will rise, jobs will be lost, real incomes will decline even though some money wages would increase, inflation will rise and the same for nominal interest rates. It would only be a matter of time before there would be a return to a 1970-style stagflation.

 

2. Trade facts regarding the United States.

 

In 2016, total U.S. trade deficit in goods and services was $502 billion. Indeed, during that year, the U.S. imported for $2.711 trillion of goods and services while exporting $2.209 trillion.

 

In the same year, the U.S. registered a deficit in goods only totaling $750 billion, while realizing a trade surplus of $248 billion in service trade (financial, insurance and banking services, royalties and license fees, transport and business services, etc.). This is an indication that the U.S. service industry is very competitive in the global market and this has created a lot of jobs in the United States. This services trade surplus helps offset the deficit in goods.

 

3. Adjustments in the overall U.S. balance of payments

 

Of course, this is not the end of the story. The reason the U.S. economy can buy more goods than it makes, in a given year, is due to the fact that it borrows capital (savings) from other countries, on a net basis. Such net borrowings from foreign lenders helped cover its current account deficit and kept American consumption spending high. This also helped to finance part of the huge fiscal deficits registered year after year by the U.S. government. In 2016, for example, the U.S. government domestic fiscal deficit was $552 billion.

 

Thus, the main reason why the United States, as a country, has a trade deficit is because it overspends and does not save enough, especially its government with its multiple costly wars abroad (US$5.6 trillion spent on wars, directly and indirectly, since 2001).

 

The United States as a whole is spending more money than it makes. This results in a chronic domestic fiscal deficit, and this means also that the United States, as a country, must borrow from foreign lenders to finance its external deficit. In other words, the United States lives beyond its means. However, American politicians want to lower taxes by a whooping $1.5 trillion US, over the next ten years, and increase the central government’s fiscal deficit. They do not seem to see the link between their public dissaving and their external indebtedness and external trade deficit.

 

President Donald Trump professes to want to correct U.S. trade deficits in goods and services by unilaterally reducing American imports and by increasing exports. But international trade is a two-way street: countries pay for their imports with their exports. Such a beggar-thy-neighbor approach could easily lead to trade wars, and the result could be catastrophic. If this were to happen, indeed, the entire international trade system would contract and this would bring about a worldwide economic downturn from which no country would escape.

 

The Trump administration should avoid making rash decisions regarding the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which took years to be negotiated and implemented. The very idea of killing a successful and functioning trade agreement in the hope of starting from scratch is a most hazardous proposition. It could have dire economic and political consequences. Such a rash decision would carry a lot of risks and would not be a wise move.

 

Basically, if a particular country really wants to reduce its trade deficit with other countries, it would need to borrow less and save more. Tinkering with border excise taxes and other protectionist policies would not change the basic underlying cause of the foreign deficit.

 

4. The U.S. dollar role as an international currency could be in jeopardy

 

Part of the U.S.’s annual trade deficit with the rest of the world results from the fact that a big chunk of multilateral international trade is financed in U.S. dollars and that the U.S. dollar is used as a reserve currency by many countries. Other countries pay the United States for using banking services in U.S. dollars. Such external revenues are called seigniorage. This allows the United States to import more goods than it exports and to borrow funds from abroad at a subsidized rate.

 

Indeed, the United States, because of the size of its money and capital markets, is the owner of a global reserve currency, the American dollar. This ensures a strong demand for U.S. dollars and for U.S. debt instruments. Imagine what the cost of imported goods in the U.S. would be if there was a drop in the demand for the U.S. dollar?

 

Some countries have attempted recently to use other currencies to finance their international trade. For instance, China has pressed Saudi Arabia to accept its currency, the yuan, as a mode of payment for its oil imports. In addition, the International Monetary Fund presently recognizes the Chinese currency as an international reserve currency. If the U.S. were to withdraw from its policy of international economic cooperation, its economic and financial influence would decline and some other country could likely pick up the relay.

 

5. Tax policies can be inflationary if they over-stimulate an economy already running at full capacity

 

The Trump administration and its allies in Congress would like to substantially reduce personal and corporate taxes and seem willing to accept a substantial rise in the yearly fiscal deficit and in the U.S. public debt. Ironically, if this fiscal policy were to lead to more U.S. foreign borrowings, it would partly contradict the objectives pursued with the trade policy. Indeed, such increased borrowing abroad would strengthen the foreign exchange value of the U.S. dollar, and would encourage imports while hurting exports. A larger fiscal deficit would also put pressures on interest rates. Financial markets (bonds and stocks) would suffer and this would have a recessionary effect on the economy.

 

All this would happen, when income and wealth inequalities in the U.S. are the highest in a century and when the huge speculative bubble in the financial markets could burst at any moment.

 

Conclusion

 

I would recommend that the Trump administration coordinate its trade and tax policies. It should be careful not to upset the economic apple cart when it deals with the existing system of international trade and investment, and it should be careful not to overheat an economy running at close to full capacity. Otherwise, it may be sowing the seeds of the next economic recession.

 

COMMENTS (4)

 

__________________________________________________________

Rodrigue TREMBLAY-100dpl

 

Economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, and of “The New American Empire.

 

Please visit Dr. Tremblay’s site:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com

 

Please visit his multi-language international blog at:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm

 

Posted, Friday, November 17, 2017, at 8:30 am

 

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Friday, September 1, 2017

The American military empire: Is Trump its would-be emperor?

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics”, and “The New American Empire”)

 

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood, … in which a massed-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.” Robert Paxton (1932- ), American historian, (in his book The Anatomy of Fascism, 2004)

 

When and if fascism comes to America, it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, “Americanism.” Halford Edward Luccock (1885–1961), American Methodist minister and professor, (in Keeping Life out of Confusion, 1938)

 

Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.” Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), German-born, Jewish-American political theorist, (in The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951)

 

By now, most observers have finally realized who President Donald Trump really is. After close to eight months in the White House, Trump has clearly demonstrated that he has serious character defects in his public role as an American “showman” president. His behavior, so far, has been more than bizarre. It has been clearly aberrant and frightening.

 

For example, people are accustomed to be lied to by politicians, but Donald Trump seems to have elevated the art of lying to new heights. He speaks and acts as if he were living in some sort of permanent fantasyland, and his first natural instinct is to invent lies. This goes hand in hand with another art that Trump has cultivated and developed to the utmost, and it is the art of bullying to get his way, with anybody, members of Congress, foreign leaders, even his own staff and subordinates, from whom he enjoys extracting public praise regarding his own persona.

 

What may be the most frightening realization of all, for an American president with such responsibilities, in charge of nuclear weapons, is the fact that Donald Trump seems to be a person who adopts the views of the last person he talks to, be it somebody from his immediate family who has been appointed to an official rank in his administration, or one of the generals whom he has appointed close to himself. — He seems not to have any firm political ideas of his own.It all depends on whether or not he’s reading from a teleprompter.

 

On the last point, Trump may have reached a Summum of irresponsibility, for a democratic leader, when he transferred basic military policy on important foreign policy decisions to the military brass. I suspect that is a ploy to shed responsibility for future failures, for which he could conveniently blame the military.

 

This points to the fact that President Trump will be the puppet of his military junta in the coming months, as the besieged president retreats into his cocoon. He will be happy to let generals run the show in near complete secrecy, and with hardly any input from Congress, as the representatives of the people. The pretext this time around: America’s enemies must never know our plans”, says Trump. Indeed, an empire cannot be democratic and open. It must be run in secrecy, with no, or hardly any, democratic debate.

 

As for now, the Pentagon has divided the world into six separate geographic so-called Unified Combatant Commands to oversee and impose by force a global “Pax Americana”. For instance, Canada is assigned to the USNORTHCOM, and countries such as Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and France are assigned to the USEUCOM, Japan and China are assigned to the USPACOM, as well as tiny Vanuatu, etc. According to Pew Research and government statistics, the U.S. still has 73,206 troops in Asia, 62,635 troops in Europe, and 25,124 troops in the Middle East and North Africa.

This is the basic infrastructure. Then, there are operational plans to use it.

 

Of course, such a global military development requires a lot of resources, which have to be diverted from other domestic uses. This creates the type of  military-industrial complex”, which establishes a symbiosis between U.S. military industries and the Pentagon. That is precisely what President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the American people against, in his farewell speech of January 17, 1961.

 

The transformation has been long in the making. But with Trump as a would-be autocratic emperor, it is a fait accompli, notwithstanding what the U.S. Constitution says or calls for, in terms of checks and balances and the division of powers, and notwithstanding the basic wishes of the American people.

 

The conclusion is inescapable. Americans must recognize that the United States has become a de facto military empire, even if not yet a de jure empire, and Donald Trump is its current megalomaniac figurehead, a near neo-fascist would-be emperor. Where that will lead is anybody’s guess, but this is most unprecedented and most ominous.

 

Empires are very costly to maintain

 

However, as with any empire in quest of global hegemony, the ultimate danger is overextension. Military empires are very costly to maintain and they are subject to the law of diminishing returns, i.e. military investments result in lower and lower net economic returns, as negative reactions increase and the cost-benefit ratio rises. The collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991 can serve as a reminder of such a scenario. Sooner or later, indeed, the same cause and effect equation is bound to confront the current neocon-inspired American adventure as a world empire.

 

Considering the above, it is not surprising that little leeway is left in the U.S. fiscal budget for social programs on the domestic front. In the short run, this may hardly matter, since Donald Trump does not seem to be talking to anybody in Congress, after having insulted most of its leaders and having created a vacuum around himself and his office. In the long run, however, this could be a harbinger of social troubles ahead.

 

Currently, Donald Trump is bound to accomplish very little as far as domestic policies are concerned. Trying to bully the Senate with ludicrous threats to shut down the U.S. government if the former does not vote his way in appropriating $1.6 billion in border wall money, may insulate Trump even more, even if such irresponsible talk pleases his electoral base. Indeed, if the President were to carry out his threat of closing down our governmentby vetoing any spending bill that does not include funding for his pet project of building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, this would represent some dangerous brinkmanship rarely seen in politics.

 

Also, with the ominous threat of a possibly devastating report from U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller, sometime late in the fall or in early 2018, a president-under-siege’s main political way out may be to coach his generals into launching or expanding overseas wars. Indeed, this could be in the Middle East and/or in Asia, or even against Venezuela — it doesn’t much matter — while hoping that his unsophisticated political base, establishment journalists and the U.S. media in general will appreciate the show, and that the public’s attention can be somewhat diverted from his ineptitude.

 

Conclusion

 

All this is to say that with Donald Trump in the White House, the United States is marching more or less blindly toward a series of major crises, politically, economically and militarily. Which one will come first and how serious it will be is hard to predict. In any case, you can expect that it will be most disruptive.

 

COMMENTS (13)

 

 

Rodrigue TREMBLAY-100dpl

 

Economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, and of “The New American Empire.

 

Please visit Dr. Tremblay’s site:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com.

 

Please visit his multi-language international blog at:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm.

 

Posted, Friday, September 1, 2017, at 8:30 am

 

Email to a friend:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/tremblay=1185.htm

 

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_____________________________________________

© 2017 by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay: The New American Empire Blog.

 

 

 

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Thought for the Fourth of July: Can the U.S. Constitution Accommodate a Rogue President?

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics”, and

 The New American Empire)

 

"I have described him [Donald Trump] as an impostor and a con man and a would-be dictator. But he's only a would-be dictator because I'm confident that the [U.S.] Constitution and the institutions of the United States are strong enough. ... He would be a dictator if he could get away with it, but he won't be able to." George Soros (1930- ), Hungarian-American billionaire, (in an interview, Thurs. Jan. 19, 2017)

 

He [FBI Director James Comey] was fired because he was investigating the White House… This is the kind of thing that goes on in non-democracies. Jeffrey Toobin (1960- ), legal analyst and former U.S. federal prosecutor, on CNN, Tues., May 9, 2017

 

 “I’m trying to avoid the conclusion that we’ve become Nicaragua.” General Michael Hayden (1945- ), former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, Wed., May 10, 2017

 

War is too serious a thing to be entrusted to military men.” Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929), French Prime minister, 1906-1909 and 1917-1920, in 1932

 

On Monday, June 12 2017, in his first public cabinet meeting, Trump is seen accepting a North-Korean-style pledge from his sycophant Cabinet members, on live television, after he had praised himself profusely. This was eerie: Watching all these secretaries humiliating themselves in lavishly praising the self-appointed ‘Great One’. They all echoed Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus who said: "We thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda." This was quite a totalitarian show, rarely seen in a democracy, but common in a dictatorship.

 

These secretaries (billionaires, CEOs, generals, etc.) were not saying that they were serving the people of the United States and its Constitution, to the best of their capabilities. No, instead, in a junta-like style, they said that they were serving the person of Donald Trump, above all, not unlike the Cabinet appointees in North Korea are serving dictator Kim Jong-un. And, what is even worse, maybe, none of them thought of resigning, after being asked to shred any sense of self-respect in public, in the most servile manner.

 

This marked the day when the most skeptical among political observers had to realize that president Donald Trump is officially a would-be dictator in the making. As the popular saying goes, “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Very soon after his inauguration, Donald Trump began governing in authoritative way, issuing decree after decree, while attacking the press and the courts that stood in his way. Now, he seems to want the entire U.S. government to be at his personal service.

 

On February 17, I wrote a piece entitled “The Imperial Presidency of Donald Trump: a Threat to American Democracy and an Agent of Chaos in the World?” — Indeed, scandal after scandal, outrageous statements upon outrageous statements, insults after insults, falsehoods after falsehoods, and self-serving idiosyncrasies after self-serving idiosyncrasies, Trump has confirmed the apprehensions of many, and he has clearly become “a threat to American democracy and an agent of chaos in the world”. One has to be blind or fanatically partisan not to see that.

 

A Possible Challenge to the U.S. Constitution

 

The U.S. Constitution was adopted officially on September 17, 1787, 230 years ago, and came into force in 1789. That makes American democracy one of the oldest in the world. Its constitution’s main idea is the separation of powers and the rule of law, with checks and balances, a political doctrine originating in the writings of 18th century French social and political philosopher Montesquieu (1689-1755). More precisely, the U.S. Constitution states that the president, for example, can be removed for treason, bribery, or “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” under the authority of the U.S. Congress.

 

However, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates (c. 469/470 BCE–399 BCE) was reported to have said to Plato (428-348 B.C.): “Tyranny naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty”.

 

What Socrates meant by these words, of course, is that democracy, notwithstanding its merits, is not a permanent form of government, but it is always threatened in its existence by the advent of tyranny, by autocratic or authoritative rule by a single person, a would-be dictator, by an oligarchy, which is the tyranny of a minority, or by the tyranny of a majority against minorities, when there are no legal protections for the individual or for groups, and it thus requires a constant vigilance on the part of citizens.

American Father of the Constitution George Mason (1725-1792) was also worried about democracy “when the same man, or set of men, holds the sword and the purse.” He feared that this could mean “an end to Liberty”.

 

Nevertheless, the writer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), was more optimistic. He was confident that the U.S. Constitution was strong enough to prevent a would-be dictator or an oligarchy to usurp absolute power when he wrote, in 1798: in questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution”.

 

Was Thomas Jefferson too optimistic regarding the constraints a constitution imposes on people in power when the latter control money and the means of propaganda? Did he underestimate the possibility that political partisan interests, when a president is of the same political party that controls Congress, could, in fact, grant a sitting president, in advance, a statutory authority to violate the constitution at will, to govern by decree, or to wage wars of aggression abroad, at his discretion, without congressional due process?

 

Indeed, a constitution is a living document, which, as political history indicates, can be amended, circumvented or changed to fit the needs of power hungry men, when the circumstances are favorable to them. The U.S. Supreme Court, which is the final arbiter of constitutional changes, can also be subverted, or filled with persons hostile to the very principles they are sworn to uphold.

 

In other words, a constitution is as good as the people in power who believe in its principles. If people in power no longer believe in its principles, they will find a way to change it or circumvent it. This is major lesson of the history of democracy: Democracies do die and they can be replaced by tyrannies.

 

During troubled political times or dire economic times, indeed, it can be feared that charlatans, demagogues, impostors, and would-be dictators could have a field day promising the people in distress easy and quick fixes for the lingering social and economic problems, in exchange for relinquishing their freedom.

 

Two historical cases of “elected” dictators: In Italy in the 1920’s and in Germany in the 1930’s

 

Italian newspaper editor Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) ruled Italy as Prime Minister and de facto dictator for more than twenty years (1922-1943). He was elected to the Italian Parliament on May 15, 1921, and his party, thanks to an alliance with rightist parties, gained thirty-five seats. From then on, Mussolini used violent and intimidating tactics to gain power. His Fascist blackshirt-followers launched a campaign to unseat the Italian government and they organized a “march to Rome”. On October 28, 1922, the then King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, turned down the existing government’s request to declare martial law to prevent a fascist revolution. This led to the resignation of the elected government.

 

Then, in a most controversial decision, the King asked Mussolini to form a new right-wing coalition government, with the support of the military, and of the wealthy industrial and agrarian Italian establishments. Mussolini's political objective was to eventually establish a totalitarian state, with himself as “Supreme leader”. Mussolini legally became dictator through a law passed on December 24, 1925, which declared him “head of the government, Prime minister and State Secretary”, with no responsibility to Parliament, but only to the King. Armed with absolute powers, Mussolini then proceeded to progressively dismantle all constitutional and conventional restraints on his power. The rest is history.

 

Let us also consider the case of Germany, some 85 years ago, a European democracy and the most advanced economy at the time. On January 30, 1933, in a Germany still mired in an economic depression, Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was named German Chancellor and head of a coalition government, even though his political party, the National Socialist German Workers Party (the Nazi Party) had not won a majority during the 1932 elections. Nevertheless, he had profited politically from the general dissatisfaction of voters with the way things were in Germany, politically and economically, and had promised an ‘effective’ government, besides promising to stimulate the economy by rearming Germany and by establishing new alliances.

 

Hitler became a de facto legal dictator on March 23, 1933, when the German Parliament (the Reichstag) adopted a law (the Enabling Act), giving Hitler's cabinet the power to enact ‘executive orders’ without the consent of the Reichstag for four years. —In effect, Hitler could govern by decree. —He became a true dictator on August 19, 1934, when a German plebiscite approved the merger of the presidency with the chancellorship, thus making Hitler Head of State and Supreme Commander of the armed forces in that country. Hitler could then freely prepare the German economy for war.

 

A 1934 article published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette in the U.S. explained the political rise of Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) in these terms: “Adolf Hitler… tооk advantage of the groans. Hе told people that he would make Germany ‘great’ again. Hе blamed Jews, Socialists, Communists, and others for the troubles of the land. Hіѕ blazing speeches gained followers for his ‘cause’.”

 

Can Donald Trump Override the U.S. Constitution?

 

Since the inauguration on January 20, 2017, incumbent President Donald Trump has shown a clear bent toward autocratic rule and has indicated his goal of boosting the U.S. military-industrial complex. For example, he declared on Thursday Feb 23, 2017, that he wants to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal to ensure it is at the “top of the pack,” claiming that the United States has fallen behind in its atomic weapons capacity.

 

In my book, The New American Empire, I wrote, “The same simplistic populism, the same anti-intellectualism, the same aggressive isolationism, the same xenophobia, the same militarism, and the same scorn of international laws and institutions are found in some U.S. Republican leaders today. The United States is perhaps in greater danger than many think.” (p. 224).

 

I believe that these words could appropriately apply to the current Trump administration. In the coming months, the United States may face its most important democratic test ever.

 

An ominous danger: Leaving important war and peace decisions to the military

 

A most reckless decision by Donald Trump was to grant American military chiefs overall control of U.S. military policy in Syria, thus leaving the U.S. military to operate in a political vacuum. Such a decision has greatly increased the risk of a military confrontation between the two main nuclear powers, the United States and Russia. A good example is the shooting down of a Syrian Air Force jet in Syria’s airspace, on Sunday June 18, 2017. This was presumably done to prevent the Syrian Army from getting directly involved in the liberation of Isis’s improvised capital Raqqa. The Syrian government is winning against the terrorist organization Isis, and that does not please the Trump administration at all.

 

Whatever the objective, besides the obvious hypocrisy, such an act of military aggression was clearly a violation of Syria’s sovereignty and a flagrant violation of not only international law, but also of U.S. law. It was, in fact, a premeditated act of war against a sovereign nation, with no involvement by the U.N. Security Council or by the U.S. Congress, as both international law and U.S. law require. And this was after Trump bombed, also illegally, a Syrian government air base, on Friday, April 7, 2017, on a false flag pretext. If this does not remind you of Hitler bombing Poland’s air fields on September 1st 1939, what does? Indeed, would-be dictators do not like the rule of law, domestic or international. They always look for pretexts to launch wars of aggression to fit their agenda.

 

The truth is that Syria does not represent a threat to the USA—just as Poland did not represent a threat to Germany in 1939—and it has not attacked the United States, just as Poland had not attacked Germany. If this conflict were to degenerate into something even more serious, Donald Trump would have to take full personal responsibility for the chaos and the human disasters to follow.

 

Is it necessary to point out that Russia is legally in Syria, a member of the United Nations, having been officially invited by the legitimate Syrian government to defend itself against external aggression, while the U.S. has no legal basis whatsoever to be in Syria, has no legal right to conduct military operations in that country, and, therefore, is in clear violation of Syria's sovereignty. Why is Donald Trump anxious to escalate the civil war conflict in Syria, with the help of al Qaeda terrorists, a conflict that could evolve into WWIII? Do ordinary Americans really approve of such incoherence, knowing that al Qaeda was behind 9/11 and 3,000 American deaths?

 

This is another example of Donald Trump’s brinkmanship and irresponsibility in international relations. This is also a far cry from the U.S. Constitution, which vests war decisions in Congress. It is true that, since WWII, the power of the U.S. President to wage war on his own has grown appreciably. —This is no progress. But Donald Trump, who has brought numerous generals into his administration (Marine general James Mattis, Marine general Joseph F. Dunford, Marine general, John F. Kelly), is now transferring basic war decisions to military commanders. Notwithstanding the fact that the latter are clearly in a conflict of interests on this score, because the more wars they start, the more promotions they receive.

 

That coterie of generals now forms a sort of parallel government in the Trump administration. Donald Trump may want to hide behind them to shift the political conversation from his domestic predicaments in Washington D.C. And, a war abroad is often a convenient rallying point for an American politician who is low in the polls. In other words, an escalating war in Syria could be in Trump’s short-term personal political interest.

 

The main losers from Trump’s policies: the poorest among Americans

 

Moreover, after a presidential campaign during which he promised to help disadvantaged voters and improve social programs for the poorest Americans, once in power, Donald Trump did pretty much the reverse of what he promised. Indeed, his nominations and his policies have mostly been designed to enrich large corporations, the Military-Industrial complex and, through planned tax cuts, the super rich among Americans, while depriving average and poorer Americans of health care, education and other essential social services.

 

In fact, states and counties where candidate Trump received the largest backing from voters are precisely the ones set up to loose the most from the Trump administration’s proposed cuts in welfare programs. On this regard, it can be said that politician Trump could be considered an impostor, defined as “a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others.”

 

The newly elected president has also shown a serious lack of transparency and openness. He has tolerated that his immediate family’s wealth-seeking activities received favorable treatment from foreign governments, anxious to draw favors from the new administration. Similarly, he has not severed himself from obvious personal conflicts of interests, and he has not even released his tax returns as previous American presidents have done.

 

As a consequence of all of this, if the Democrats were to gain control of the House of Representatives in 2018, it is a virtual certainty that President Trump would be subjected to an impeachment procedure. Whether it will succeed is another matter. What is certain is that this will be most destabilizing for the economy.

 

Conclusion

 

Therefore, yes, a would-be dictator can be elected, most often, as history shows, with a minority of the votes. And no democratic constitution in the history of the world is totally protected against violations of its principles, if an oligarchy in power tolerates or welcomes them and when a substantial part of the population approves of them. That is why it would presumptuous for Americans to believe otherwise.

 

COMMENTS (9)

_____________________________________________

Economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, and of “The New American Empire.

 

Please visit Dr. Tremblay’s site:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com.

 

Please visit his multi-language international blog at:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm.

 

Posted, Friday, June 23, 2017, at 8:30 am

 

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Friday, April 7, 2017

From the Trump Administration, Expect an Erratic Flip-Flop Foreign Policy, a Return to Gunboat Diplomacy and more Illegal Wars of Aggression

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics”, and

 The New American Empire)

 

“Fool me once, shame on you; but fool me twice, shame on me.” Ancient proverb, (sometimes attributed to an Italian, Russian or Chinese proverb)

 

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” Ernst F. Schumacher (1911-1977) (in ‘Small is Beautiful’, an essay, in The Radical Humanist, Aug. 1973, p. 22)

 

“The powers-that-be understand that to create the appropriate atmosphere for war, it’s necessary to create within the general populace a hatred, fear or mistrust of others regardless of whether those others belong to a certain group of people or to a religion or a nation.” James Morcan (1978- ) (in ‘The Orphan Conspiracies: 29 Conspiracy Theories from The Orphan Trilogy’, 2014).

 

“Almost all wars begin with false flag operations.” Larry Chin, (in ‘False Flagging the World towards War. The CIA Weaponizes Hollywood’, Global Research, Dec. 27, 2014)

 

Another terrible war crime against Syrian civilians has taken place in Syria, on top of multiple war crimes committed in that country torn apart by six years of a civil war marked by foreign interventions. On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, a chemical attack killed more than 70 people, including women and children. No neutral official investigation has yet taken place, but two versions of events have surfaced.

 

- The first version, advanced by the American Trump administration and other Western governments, and seemingly the only version retained by most Western media, points to a bombing by the Syrian government at Khan Cheikhoun, in the Idlib province, as the culprit. The fact that a Syrian plane was seemingly involved would support this version. However, what benefit would the Assad regime gain from such a crime is less than obvious.

- The second version, advanced by the Russian Putin government and by other analysts is that a bomb launched by a Syrian plane would have accidently hit a depot of chemical weapons in the rebel-held territory and caused the carnage. Islamist rebels would have exploited the accident to stage a very effective mediated coup against the Assad regime. In the absence of conclusive physical evidence, the ‘Cui Bono’ argument (‘who benefits’) could be used to support that version.

 

It is good to recall that a similar war crime, among many others, took place at Ghouta, in the Damascus suburb, on August 31, 2013. In that case, it was strongly suspected that the horrific chemical attacks, which killed hundreds of people, including many children, was likely a criminal ‘false flag operation’, staged by Al Qaeda rebels anxious to provoke U.S. President Barack Obama to intervene militarily on their side in the Syrian conflict. A false flag operation’ is defined as “a horrific, staged event, — blamed on a political enemy — and used as pretext to start a war or to enact draconian laws in the name of national security.”

 

International law is being more and more discarded in favor of international anarchy

 

It is a sad fact that in totalitarian states, but also in our so-called democracies, it seems that wars of aggression are now based and sold with official lies and fraudulent fabrications in order to fool the people. Warmongers in government know that people do not like wars, especially illegal wars of aggression, against countries that have not attacked them. That is why their first choice is to attempt to drag the people along with lies and false pretexts for war, and by dehumanizing any potential enemy through crude propaganda.

 

Historically, there have been numerous instances when a ‘false flag operation’ was used to justify a “humanitarian” military intervention against a country or a regime. (Let us also remember that under the United Nations Charter, which is the foundation of international law, no country has a right to attack another one, no matter the pretext used, except in self-defense.)

Suffice here to recall two famous cases.

 

Case No. 1

Indeed, there are many historical precedents. Of course, the most recent one is George W. Bush administration’s use of a pretext to launch a so-called “pre-emptive” war of aggression against Iraq, pretending that there were chemical “weapons of mass destruction” in that country. It asserted that such WMDs posed a threat to neighboring countries and to the U.S. — It turned out that not only this act of international military aggression was illegal, but also that it was a lie, a pure fabrication, since no such weapons were discovered after the U.S.-led military invasion of Iraq.

 

Case No. 2

On February 15, 1898, the battleship USS Maine, on a friendly visit to Cuba, caught fire and sank in the Havana Harbor, seemingly because of an internal explosion of one of its torpedoes aboard. A purely American-run investigation concluded, however, that the explosion was not a terrible internal accident, but was caused externally by a naval mine in the harbor.

 

Republican President William McKinley (1843-1901), pushed by influent New York newspapers, (the Hearst and Pulitzer newspapers), accused the colonial government of Spain, in Cuba, of being responsible for the explosion and used that pretext to issue an ultimatum to Spain. The U.S Congress declared war against Spain on April 20, 1898. — That was the beginning of the Spanish-American War, which ended up with the U.S. occupying Cuba, Porto Rico, the Island of Guam and the Philippines.

 

Donald Trump’s new conversion to war

 

Politicians in disfavor can also find in foreign wars a way to improve their domestic political status. Indeed, if circumstances permit, what does an ambitious politician do, when facing a falling popularity at home? Chances are that he may be tempted to find a pretext to start a war, any war, and without any regard to international law.

 

It might seem bizarre that President Donald Trump has completely reversed his position regarding U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict. But he is languishing in the polls, and even the Republican-controlled Congress is distancing itself from the White House. What better way, especially in the United States where wars abroad are a rallying point, to move the attention from domestic affairs to foreign affairs?

 

Whatever the motive behind the move, President Trump’s hasty decision to resort to an act of war in bombing the country of Syria, on Friday morning, April 7, has been met with hurrahs by many members of Congress. The American people may be more divided on the issue, but it can reasonably be expected that in the coming weeks Trump’s popularity, presently around 35 percent, will rise under the general approval that he will surely receive from the concentrated American media. He also is likely to receive a more positive collaboration from Congress for his more controversial domestic agenda.

 

It may be sad to say, but in the United States, the quickest road to popularity for a politician in difficulty, at least initially, is to launch a war abroad. For example, President George W. Bush’s popularity went from around 50 percent to more than 90 percent when he initiated his war against Iraq in 2002-2003. At the end of his second term, however, his approval rating had fallen below 30 percent. [For a description of the period, see my book The New American Empire, 2004.]

 

Conclusion

 

The unfolding of events in the Middle East would seem to reinforce my personal assessment of last February that an unpredictable President Donald Trump risks becoming “a threat to American Democracy and an agent of chaos in the world”, and even more so now that Congressional Democrats seem ready to jump on his war bandwagon (as they did with President George W. Bush).

 

COMMENTS (8)

 

_______________________________________________

Rodrigue TREMBLAY-100dpl

Economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, and of The New American Empire.

 

Please visit Dr. Tremblay’s site:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com.

 

Please visit his multi-language international blog at:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm.

 

Posted, Friday, April 7, 2017, at 9:30 am

 

Email to a friend:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/tremblay=1183.htm

 

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_____________________________________________________________

© 2017 by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay: The New American Empire Blog.

 

 

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Imperial Presidency of Donald Trump: a Threat to American Democracy and an Agent of Chaos in the World?

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics

and The New American Empire)

 

 

 In order to obtain and hold power a man must love it. Thus the effort to get it is not likely to be coupled with goodness, but with the opposite qualities of pride, craft and cruelty. Without exalting self and abasing others, without hypocrisy, lying, prisons, fortresses, penalties, killing, no power can arise or hold its own.” Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), (in 'The Kingdom of God is Within You’ 1894.)

 

“The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history.” Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), (in The Conquest of Happiness, ch. 1, 1930.)

 

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th President of the United States, 1861-65; (N. B.: Originally found and attributed to Lincoln in a biography entitled Abraham Lincoln, the Backwoods Boy” by Horatio Alger Jr., pub. in 1883.)

 

“Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad.” James Madison (1751-1836), Father of the US Constitution, 4th American President, (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, May 13, 1798.)

 

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), (It Can't Happen Here, 1935, a novel about the election of a fascist to the American presidency.)

 

When 46.1% of Americans who voted, in November 2016, to elect a real estate magnate in the person of Donald Trump as U.S. President, they did not know precisely what they were buying, because, as the quote above says, we really know how a politician will behave only once he or she assumes power. Americans surely did not expect that the promised “change” the Republican presidential candidate envisioned and promised was going to be, in fact, “chaos” and “turmoil” in the U.S. government.

 

President Donald Trump (1946- ) has surrounded himself with three politically inexperienced Rasputin-like advisers, i.e. his young pro-Israel Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner (1981- ), advising on foreign policy and acting as a speech writer, and his far right media executive and chief political strategist Steve Bannon (1953- ) with an apocalyptic worldview, who is, moreover, a voting permanent member of the National Security Council (NSC). Stephen Miller (1985- ), 31, also a young inexperienced senior White House adviser, completes the trio. He is working with Jared Kushner for domestic affairs and is also a Trump speechwriter.

 

Stephen Miller (1985- )   Jared Kushner (1981- )

 

JARED KUSHNER + STEPHEN MILLER

 

Stephen bannon

Stephen Bannon (1953- )

 

Three weeks after his inauguration, President Trump has turned out to be a much more erratic politician than could have been expected, even after all the inanities he uttered during the U.S. Presidential campaign. I, for one, thought that once elected president and installed in the White House, he would abandon his tweeting eccentricities. —I was wrong.

 

In fact, for a few weeks after inauguration day, on January 20, 2017, before the nominated secretaries of various government departments were confirmed by the Senate, and anxious to "get the show going", the Trump White House behaved like an imperial junta, issuing a string of executive orders and memos. The objective, seemingly, was to force the hands of the responsible departments and of the elected Congress, and to bend the entire U.S. bureaucracy to its agenda. It may have gone too far.

 

Indeed, when the heads of important departments like the Department of Defense (James Mattis) and the State Department (Rex Tillerson) were confirmed and assumed their functions, President Trump changed his mind on many policies about Israel, China, the Iran Deal …etc.

 

U.S. courts have also thrown a monkey wrench in the blanket executive order closing the U.S. borders without recourse to the citizens of seven Muslim countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen), for spurious “security reasons”.

 

Let us recall how the inexperienced Trump White House has created chaos during the first weeks following inauguration day.

 

• President Donald Trump has shown a propensity to govern by decree with a minimum input from government departments and from the elected Congress

 

A dangerous and potentially disastrous approach to government, in a democracy, occurs when a leader adopts the practice of governing by decree, without constitutional constraints, thus forcing the hands of responsible departments, of the elected Congress and submitting the entire U.S. bureaucracy to his will by governing as an autocrat. If it were to continue on that road, the Trump administration could turn out to be more like a would-be imperial presidency than a responsible democratic government.

 

This term was first coined by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in his 1973 book The Imperial Presidency, in response to President Richard Nixon’s attempt to extend the power of the U.S. president, declaring “when the president does it, that means it is not illegal”. In my own 2003 book The New American Empire, I dealt with the issue of American presidents having usurped over time the power to adopt a policy of global intervention, and the power to launch wars of aggression at will, with a minimum input from Congress.

 

President Trump seems to want to outdo President Nixon in considering the White House as the primary center of political power within the American government, contrary to what the U.S. Constitution says about the separation of powers.

 

To be sure, other American presidents have issued executive orders and presidential memos early in their administration, but this was mainly to re-establish procedures that a previous administration had abandoned. They usually did not deal with fundamental and complex policies without debate, although many did.

 

In the case of President Trump, his executive orders and presidential memos have not only been multiple, they also have dealt with fundamental policies, without consulting and requesting the professional input of the Secretary and of the department responsible, be it on healthcare, abortion, international trade, immigration, oil exploration, justice, etc., and without producing policy papers to explain the rationale behind the policy changes and without outlining the objectives being pursued.

 

When such a development of governing by decree has occurred in other countries, democracy was the loser, and the consequences for the leader and his country turned out to be disastrous.

 

• President Donald Trump seems to be anxious to find pretexts to pick fights with other countries: For him, it seems to be the U.S. against the world

 

In a March 2007 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the future presidential candidate Donald Trump said that President George W. Bush had been a disaster in foreign relations and that he was “the worst American president in the history of the United States”, adding that he “should have been impeached” because he lied his way into a war of aggression against Iraq and sent thousands of people to their death. This is an assessment that he has repeated on numerous occasions.

 

However, ironically, President Donald Trump seems to be on the same track as George W. Bush regarding the country of Iran, using lies and false claims to pick a fight with that country, and in so doing, echoing the hysterical rhetoric of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has also recklessly insulted the heads of a half dozen countries, even going so far as to threaten the President of Mexico to invade his country. As to his criticism of President George W. Bush, it seems that really, “it takes one to know one”!

 

President Trump should be reminded of what he promised as a presidential candidate. In a foreign policy speech delivered on Wednesday April 27, 2016, he declared “Unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct. You cannot have a foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands that caution and restraint are really truly signs of strength. Although not in government service, I was totally against the war in Iraq, very proudly, saying for many years that it would destabilize the Middle East.”

 

• President Donald Trump has been less than candid regarding the influence of the Wall Street lobby on politicians, including himself

 

During the 2016 Presidential political campaign, candidate Donald Trump was very critical of politicians who do the heavy lifting for Wall Street firms in Washington D.C. On many occasions, Mr. Trump said that Wall Street is a symbol of a corrupt establishment that has been robbing America's working class and enriching the elite. He also tweeted point blank, on July 28, 2016, that Secretary Hillary Clinton was “owned by Wall Street and that Wall Street banks had “total, total control” over his rivals Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz, implying that they were unfit for the Office of the President. On October 19, 2016, Mr. Trump tweeted that “crooked Hillary is nothing more than a Wall Street Puppet”, thus presenting himself as the populist defender of the working class against the financial elite.

 

But guess what? One of Mr. Trump’s first moves as President was to order the undoing of the banking regulations known as the Dodd-Frank legislation, which was adopted in 2010, after the 2008 subprime financial crisis. President Trump thus quickly answered the main request made by the very Wall Street mega banks that he had accused previously of corrupting Washington politicians. He went even further when he named a former Goldman Sachs banker, Steven Mnuchin, as his Treasury Secretary.

 

Also, Mr. Trump has reached to the mega-bank Goldman Sachs for help and support. He named Mr. Gary Cohn (1960- ), president of Goldman Sachs, head of the President’s National Economic Council, thus making sure that Wall Street bankers will have a big say in his administration’s economic and financial policies.

 

Was his lambasting of his opponents as Wall Street banks’ puppets simply campaign rhetoric without substance? That is certainly a question worth asking.

 

• President Donald Trump’s continuous attacks against the free press and against independent judges who rule against his policies is an authoritarian approach to government and is a violation of the separation of powers

 

On Monday February 6, President Trump launched a barrage of off-the-cuff intimidating insults at the American news media, accusing them of “refusing to report on terrorist attacks”, without providing any evidence to back up such serious accusations. He has also attempted to intimidate judges who have to rule on the constitutionality of some of his decrees and threatened their judiciary independence.

 

Such behavior is a violation of, and contempt for the separation of powers clause in the U.S. Constitution and is a frontal attack against the free press.

 

This is not a trivial matter, because when an authoritarian regime wants to establish itself and avoid accountability, it usually attacks the legislative and the judiciary branches of government to pressure them to toe the line of the executive branch, and it tries to silence the very institutions that can put the false statements of politicians to the test.

 

• President Donald Trump has a mercantilist view of international trade, which is rejected by nearly all economists

 

President Donald Trump seems to think that his country should have trade surpluses on goods and services vis-ą-vis other countries, the latter being saddled with trade deficits, whatever the overall balance of payments of the United States, especially its capital account, and whatever the domestic and foreign economic circumstances. This is economically false. That is not the way adjustments in the balance of payments of a country work, in a multilateral world.

 

When Donald Trump places all the emphasis on only one part of the balance of payments, the trade balance, he misses the point. For example, if a country lives beyond its means and borrows money from abroad, such foreign borrowing appears as an inflow of foreign capital in the country. Such an inflow of foreign capital causes an excess of domestic spending over its production, and that helps finance an excess of imports over exports of goods and services with the rest of the world. The capital account of the country shows a surplus, while the trade balance (more precisely the current account) indicates a deficit, thus balancing more or less each other.

 

The main reason why the United States is registering trade deficits is because it borrows too much from abroad.

 

This is partly due to the fact that the U.S. government runs huge fiscal deficits, spending more than its tax revenues, and borrowing money both from the private sector and from foreigners, thus increasing the public debt. Such deficits often are the result of tax reductions and of increased military expenditures. The fact that the world economy uses the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency represents an interest-free loan that the rest of the world makes to the United States, which allows the USA to have a chronic trade deficit. Mr. Trump and his advisers would be wise to understand these truths of international finance.

 

If his administration wants to reduce the annual U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world, the U.S. government should balance its books and reduce its foreign borrowings. Trade wars will not improve the U.S. trade balance if the country keeps over-spending and keeps borrowing from abroad. They would only make matters worse.

 

For many decades now, the U.S. government has piled up debt upon debt while running continuous fiscal deficits, mainly due to the fact that it has been waging costly wars abroad, while financing such interventions with foreign money. This is a problem that American politicians must understand if they don’t want their country to go bankrupt. This has happened in the past to other overextended empires, and there is no reason why it should not happen today when a country continuously spends more than it produces. And wars do not produce anything, except death and destruction.

 

• Hopes of putting an end to the Middle East chaos have greatly diminished

 

One of the positive results of the Trump election was the promise to end the deadly chaos in the Middle East. During the presidential campaign and once in power, Mr. Trump threw some cold water on that promise.

 

Firstly, in his March 21, 2016 speech to AIPAC, he flattered his rich Zionist donors by announcing his intention to break with the half-century policy of most western nations that considers the city of Jerusalem a United Nations protected zone and an international city occupied by Arabs, Christians and Jews. He declared “we will move the American embassy [from Tel Aviv] to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”

 

Secondly, on Thursday December 15, 2016, to make sure that everybody understands that he is one-sided in the more than half a century old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President-elect Trump announced his choice of a hardliner pro-Israeli settlements on privately-owned Palestinian lands for U.S. ambassador to Israel (in fact, David Friedman, his former bankruptcy lawyer). The new ambassador didn’t waste any time in professing that he was looking forward to doing his job “from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

 

And, thirdly, seemingly forgetting that he had criticized Secretary Clinton for proposing a similar dangerously reckless policy, President Trump announced, on January 25, that he will absolutely do safe zones in Syria, seemingly without considering if it was legal to do so without the consent of the Syrian government, and without consulting with the three principal countries (Russia, Turkey and Iran), which had just concluded a peace plan for Syria. He opted instead to talk to leaders of Saudi Arabia and of the United Arab Emirates— two countries known to be sponsoring terrorism in Syria.

 

• The world is afraid of President Donald Trump: Doomsday Clock scientists have concluded that humanity is just two-and-a-half minutes from the apocalypse

 

Late in January, the scientists in charge of the Doomsday Clock set the clock at just two-and-a-half minutes from the apocalypse, allegedly because of Donald Trump. They said that the businessman turned politician, with his disturbing and ill-considered pronouncements and policies, has the potential to drive the Planet to oblivion. This means that they consider that the Earth is now closer to oblivion than it has ever been since 1953, at the height of the nuclear confrontation between the USA and the Soviet Union. The existential threats facing the Earth now come from the loose talk about using nuclear weapons and the proliferation of such weapons, as well as the observed acceleration of climate change.

 

Conclusion

 

All considered, the turn of events since the election of Donald Trump has raised a number of fears that a lot of things could go wrong in the coming years. Many of the policies advanced by the Trump administration are the wrong remedies for the problems facing the United States and the world. In fact, many of these ill-conceived policies are more likely to make matters worse, possibly much worse, than to improve them.

 

Things seem to have begun to change somewhat with the arrival of newly confirmed secretaries in the decision-making process and new advisers. Let us hope that cooler heads will bring experience, knowledge and competence to a Trump administration that cruelly needs it.

 

 

COMMENTS (15)

 

_______________________________________________

Rodrigue TREMBLAY-100dpl

Economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, and of The New American Empire.

 

Please visit Dr. Tremblay’s site:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com

 

Please visit his multi-language international blog at:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm

 

Posted, Friday, February 17, 2017, at 8:30 am

 

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The Imperial Presidency of Donald Trump

 

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