Mark Armstrong’s Weekly News Review – 8 June 2018

Greetings from Tyler, 

            It looks like all the traded compliments amid the pomp and circumstance of the formal State visit accorded French President Macron were less than sincere.  Macron staked his claim to the resuscitation of the Paris Climate Accords, from which President Trump had already withdrawn on behalf of the United States.  Macron pretended his statements of historic friendship and unbreakable alliance might be enough to soften up the Trump administration and convince the President to spare Europe the embarrassment of their little sham (to have been financed by the American taxpayer) going up in smoke.

            As you all know, it didn’t work.  The French president and his wife returned home, having been honored and treated royally, but without the capitulation they hoped could be achieved.  Neither President Trump nor his supporters are the least bit interested in any plans to redistribute American wealth around the world under the pretense of changing the course of the world’s climate or paying reparations to nations that have failed for reasons having nothing to do with the United States or climate.

            Today members of the G-7 are meeting in Quebec, Canada.  The subject of trade imbalances favoring every partner but the United States was a key focus of the Trump campaign.  He’s let the whole world, including Mexico and Canada, know that the days of taking advantage of unfair trade relations were over.  If it meant scrapping NAFTA over a lack of willingness to negotiate on the part of contiguous countries, oh well… 

            President Trump has threatened tariffs on trade partners who refuse to revise trade policies that freeze out American companies and farmers.  You’ve heard it on the news, everything from aluminum and steel to dairy products to cars are on the President’s agenda.  You’ve also heard the wailing and caterwauling here at home about Trump not respecting “free trade,” from all sides of the aisle.  How dare this president treat our allies like this, showing a willingness to pull the rug out from under lucrative arrangements with long-term allies? 

            Macron and Canadian Prime Minster Trudeau issued a joint statement where they “lashed out” at the president, declaring his intentions to tax their exports of aluminum and steel “an illegal economic assault on their countries.”  They threaten to isolate the United States and enter into a six-nation agreement, apparently trading among themselves and leaving the American market.  That’s a bluff that will probably be called.

            Maybe they haven’t noticed, but tough talk and aggressive positioning are essential to this President’s strategy of negotiating. Chances are some compromise, benefiting all involved can be reached.  But maybe not if the smaller players decide to get huffy.

            President Trump must be really nervous and frightened now that Angela Merkel is quoted calling for a “new world order,” led by Europe and underpinned by the so-called “values” invoked by Macron and Trudeau. There’s only one problem.  Well, actually several problems.  Europe has all but destroyed it’s central government experiment (known as the EU) with refugees and ill-advised lending.  Merkel is calling upon all of Europe to speak with “one voice,”  But that’s not about to happen.  Many of the Eastern partners, now to include Italy, have seen all they need to see in terms of the mass importation of refugees, dictated by Germany and the EU. They’ve also had their fill of “austerity.” All the talk of diversity lending to strength rings hollow to the point that Europe is incapable of “speaking with one voice,” no matter how many times Frau Merkel mouths the words.

            Then, just today we heard that President Trump intends to stay in Quebec only for the trade sessions and economic discussions. He’s off to Singapore for the summit no one could have predicted only a matter of weeks ago, to try to talk North Korea back from the precipice of realwar.  It seems he won’t be staying for additional sessions on gender identity and global warming.  Then, as if to light a fire in the hair of news anchors most everywhere, he suggested that Russia should be a part of the economic summit.  Oh boy, that almost proves the accusation of Russian Collusion, doesn’t it?  You can watch heads explode tonight if you have the stomach for a lot of manufactured outrage.  Putin may or may not even want to participate in the annual Summit, but Trump’s purpose has been served.

            Trade is going to happen, whether directly through allies with agreements, or through third parties on the world market. Trudeau, Macron and Merkel and all the rest can lament that the post WWII order is being disrupted, and maybe it is. If they wish to be defiant, let them reap the rewards of their warped, politically correct “values.”  Our economy is on fire (in a good way), and they’re trying to figure out how to save theirs.  God bless, and preserve America.  May the rest of the world get a clue. 

Mark Armstrong

 

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