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Lighthizer may bring his list but any 360-degree evaluation of his boss' own three years performance so far as Potus will reveal another list which is however most dispiriting:|
he fired a record number of people for the most arguable if not inane reasons;
three best-selling books by ex-staff have been written recording in detail how chaotic and dysfunctional is his administration; the UK ex-ambassador to the US wasn't wrong then;
he has brought back white racism, american xenophobia, anti-me-too misogyny, supreme-court neo-conservatism, poor show of statesmanship, and added untrustworthiness plus bullyism almost amounting to a Don Corleone performance;
he promised to reduce the US national debt; it has instead ballooned;
he promised to make healthcare reachable; it hasn't;
his MidWest is still suffering; not only increasing, the pain has osmosed to his farmers now needing subsidies taken from tariffs paid by americans to his treasury;
the US working class is not better off; as a total, they got about a week's more wages from his tax relief but a lot more than that has been burnt paying the tariffs he imposed on Chinese goods they need;
the US income inequality has skyrocketed and it will get ugly if their economy sours;
China has not signed any deal;
the EU has not signed any deal;
DPRK has developed more nukes;
Iran remains bristling and his UK's new aircraft carrier is too leaky to patrol the Hormuz Straits;
the US gross trade deficit has increased, not decreased;
the last quarter growth rate was 2.1%, down from the forecast 3%;
the US economy still needs federal bailout despite high stock market but that's from buybacks using the tax relief; the stock price rises pay higher retirement dividends to millions of americans; if that market gets jittery, flips and nosedives as economic cycles come by, they will be out for blood;
meanwhile, thousands of US companies have applied for relief from his tariffs on China;
US tech companies have asked him in his Oval office to remove the restrictions on Huawei;
US farms have folded; their perishables have perished, and prices have tanked;
his 1,000-mile Wall is still invisible;
there are no state funds to upgrade infrastructure;
his banker DB is downsizing;
and, the US international reputation has become a monumental embarrassment to mankind which is why he has to resort to threats and arm-twisting.
After reading this list, Lighthizer must suddenly realize he is being made patsy as head charge of ...the Light Brigade.
He may even realize something else - whether the trade talks end in a mutual agreement seems now secondary to the other development foisted by the hawks that surround the american potus eagle. Namely, decoupling.
But decoupling is a thorny matter not easily stopped or reversed once started. For instance, how extensive is it to be? When you are dealing with a peer, decoupling will inevitably mean total decoupling; you can't decouple some sectors only for a fixed period of time because there will be reactions, and reactions to the reactions, and collateral reactions to the first set of reactions which will be different from the second set of reactions ....ad nauseum.
Once started, it will snowball into a massive and ruinous isotopic separation with the widest possible negative meltdown consequences into the future. How will that help his american folks or industries? He and his hawks should think again. And it will help if Bannon, Navarro and Rubio be shown the door first.
Take a simple example. Insourcing, or moving US production in China back to the US. For what he has done to Huawei, consider Apple as a counterpoint. Last year, it assembled 220 million iPhones in China using a network of 1,500 suppliers, tens of thousands of engineers and hundreds of thousands of assembly workers. Because its supply chain founded in China is all so integrated to its other parts suppliers across the globe, any displacement however short-term will automatically reduce its parts availability, increase its prices and churn its global customer base.
That Trump won't exempt Apple from tariff for making one of its low-volume high-end Macs in China is testimony to how blithe Lighthizer's boss is on trade and industrial matters, considering the bigger-picture dependence of Apple on its supply chain carefully built and nurtured for years in China. Without that chain, Apple may be sitting next to Boeing soon.
Lighthizer's Potus said trade wars are easy to win. The strategy was to force US companies to insource. The spearhead was to tariff others to incentize US companies to relocate. But their revenues, share prices, R&D and marketing budgets come from offshore productions and global multi-national earnings, and once they are on a roll, they cannot afford to stop and reduce their pace of production and development else they will lose customers and market shares to others which in turn will mean they will have to depend solely on the nationalistic fervor of american buyers whose bigger base has been buying on price made attractive for being assembled in China.
The strategy behind that spearhead was not to fight a trade war on multiple fronts. That's why Europe will only get a trade war visit by his Potus in November, six months after reigniting the tariff threat on China.
Now, if China stands firm and not deal (say, until 2020) should the 4 pillars mentioned earlier be not accepted, Europe may do the same to the US in November because it stands to benefit by participating to create a more vibrant China market after the US has decoupled from China and also to compensate for any business loss from a US-EC trade war by dealing more with China, especially when its economies like Germany are in retreat today. Europeans can then fill all the vacuums in China left behind by the US. And that will be easier because China is opening up for the 21st Century.
If that happens, the entire US strategy of using tariffs, sanctions, barriers, entity list, national security threats et cetera will be left hanging and decoupled because in tariffing and bullying everyone, the US will end up tariffing and hurting no one save itself.
You know a country has gone mythomanic when even a railcar carriage is construed as a potential national security threat. All that MIT and CalTech education and it still fumbles.
(btw, it's Shanghai. But one can only think of Beijing...be'cuz.....
And, talking about national security threat and intrusions, spying etc, weren't eaves-dropping bugs found on Boeings supplied to China's head officials some time back? Should be easy to prove the next batches if any won't anymore have them, just get the US' CIA mischief-makers and riot-instigators still in Hong Kong SAR to show where they may be hidden next, on pains of......)