Saturday, June 3, 2017

Fruits of isolationism are bitter

published as column in Sky Hi News all editions, June 7 2017
The Trump administration has accomplished little in three months The courts and Congress have become distracted in Russian matters or have found executive orders unconstitutional.  House passed Obamacare repeal/replace is on life support in the Senate. There is  one exception. Trump has succeeded  in making  the United States  isolated.   He has also succeeded in helping to make  Russia, China,  and  Europe great again.

The blow back  will be on the US economy and more.  Political  power and economic vibrancy  are closely  tied. The two  working together  make the trade deals that contribute to our economy and our power to export and to cooperate in other areas such as fighting terrorism and intelligence sharing..What Trump has accomplished is to leave the USA in less control of its own destiny, and  instead having to dance to the tune of others.

In a short three months, Trump’s policies have  effectively  led to US withdrawal from  leadership and influence in the rest of the world.  He ended the TPP (the Asian trade agreement)designed to block Chinese economic expansionism), synchronized  US foreign policy with Russia’s,   and pulled out of the Paris climate accord  that had been approved by every country in the world, except Syria and Nicaragua. Trump  purposefully neglected to confirm the fundamental purpose  of NATO, mutual defense, an attack on one is an attack on all, virtually  inviting Russia to test NATO’s resolve in the Baltics and the Balkans. NATO is the main barrier to further Russian geographical expansion.

Into the vacuum of leadership have stepped Angela Merkel of Germany and Emmanuel Macron of France, willing and able  to lead the Western World. China is aggressively forging trade, military, and political influence in Asia.

The  Paris climate accord  was not a binding treaty, It was a voluntary agreement on goals to be determined on terms and goals controlled by each country,  leaving them to use whatever means they wanted to reduce carbon pollution.   With or without the Paris accord, the world is accelerating a shift to wind and solar and battery power. In the US, less polluting natural gas is taking over coal. In fact, countries will meet their carbon reduction goals ahead of the Paris schedule . The reasons? These alternatives are cheaper due to technological advancement per a recent article in Foreign Affairs.  In the meantime, China is seizing the day and becoming the leading manufacturer of solar panels and other alternative energy technology.
If we want to compete in the world economy, we need to keep pace with the rest of the modernized world. During the 2016 campaign,  Donald Trump’s slogan, Make America Great Again and America First, resonated with those who felt their economic well-being  was victimized by international trade and environmental regulations..   They did know they wanted to return to the good ole days   where a high school diploma landed an assembly line job that paid middle class wages, that coal and oil were king, robotics were science fiction, and there was no competition from foreign imports, What could have helped would have been job retraining, education, re-direction to encourage development of  industries of the present and the future economies in their regions. None of this is funded in the Trump budget blue print.

See: 12/16/16 post: Making Russia Great Again..

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