Fearless Leader has taken to Tweeter and in so many characters has crapped on everything he was suppose to have covered with our allies at the meeting in Vietnam……..there is a new geopolitical spin to the trade in the coming years….
The APEC Leaders’ summit meeting, which took place last week in Danang, Vietnam, crystallized the new geopolitics of trade in Asia. The leaders of the three largest economies in the world—the United States, China, and Japan—each redefined the roles their nation will play in sustaining, torpedoing, or adjusting the postwar trading order. Little is assured on how free trade and multilateral undertakings will fare as the three giants reposition themselves in their leadership bid. The only certainty ahead for us is that it will be a bumpy ride.
For instance Japan’s Abe would like to re-start the “Quad” from years past…..
In June this year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have been in office for one-and-a-half years — a rare achievement for a Japanese prime minister in recent memory. Most of his time in office has been devoted to getting Japan’s economic house in order via “Abenomics,” and reinvigorating Japan’s domestic debate about defense issues, including collective self-defense, military spending, and national security strategy. Abe has given considerably less attention to taking the lead on bold international initiatives as he had done as a younger prime minister.
During his first term as prime minister, in 2006-2007, Abe initiated a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) between Asia’s maritime democracies: Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. While the QSD drew these powers to the table early on, all concerned by the normative uncertainties posed to the regional order by China’s rise, it later fell apart. In particular, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pulled Australia out of the QSD because its participation in that dialogue imperiled the trajectory of its relations with China. China, for its part, wasted no time in protesting what it saw as an overt attempt at encirclement.
The “Quad” idea died and now it will see a rebirth……
Ten years ago, an American, an Australian, an Indian, and a Japanese walked into a room in Manila. This was no joke. They were representing their governments at a quadrilateral meeting also known as “the Quad.” The initiative, meant to facilitate conversation and cooperation between the four maritime democracies in the context of the rise of China and India, lasted from mid-2006 to early 2008. Since it fell apart, analysts have perhaps spent more time discussing it than the officials did in implementing it.
Now, the Quad has been revived. A decade after that first exploratory meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum summit in the Philippines in May 2007, officials from the four countries met there once again ahead of the East Asia Summit earlier this month. This revival will only be sustainable if it is not just a signal, but has substance. That will entail exchanging views on the strategic and economic landscape in the region, and practical cooperation. Moreover, the reunion will only last if the countries learn some lessons from its past failure. These include establishing suitable membership, tempo and agenda, explaining to internal and external audiences what the quadrilateral is and is not, and preparing for pushback from China.
This is an ambush for China and its rising influence in the world….but will it be successful? Will Trump sign on or will he push his damn silly “America First” agenda that will leave this country in the mud of its own protectionist storm?
Keep in mind that protectionism is NOT patriotism……
President Trump has long wrapped his protectionist rhetoric in our flag, as necessary for America to “win” again. However, the idea that “good” American producers should be preferred over “bad” foreign producers for the good of our country gets backward who American consumers’ friends and enemies are when it comes to international trade.
That is a very important issue, as individuals share most in common as consumers. As Leonard Read, founder of the Foundation for Economic Education, wrote, “Consumer interest is the premise from which all economic reasoning should proceed.” That implies that since “my interest is progressively served by an increase of goods and services obtainable in willing exchange for my offerings … as a consumer, I choose freedom.”
Speaking of “Free Trade”.
We hear the term “free trade” almost daily….especially when someone is spouting off about trade and jobs it will create for us here in American…..but what about “free trade”?
Detroit carmakers get a lot of stick for their poor showing in Japan. Their Japanese sales have rarely exceeded token numbers and supposedly this is their own fault. They have apparently been so heedless of consumer needs that they haven’t even bothered to build cars with the steering wheel in the correct position for Japan’s drive-on-the-left roads. This “steering wheel” story has long enjoyed considerable credence among leading American opinion makers. Yet it is nonsense and does not stand up to even cursory examination.
The truth is that Detroit’s Big Three have always made plenty of cars configured for Japan. Indeed, as some of the first American corporations to go global, they have long catered to local needs around the world. But they have never been allowed to compete in Japan. In the words of Donald Trump, Japan does “things to us that make it impossible to sell cars in Japan, and yet, they sell cars [in the U.S.] and they come in by the hundreds of thousands on the biggest ships I’ve ever seen.”
Trade is the life line of a country’s economy….keep that in mind when you listen to the crap that Fearless Leader spouts in his speeches….we are screwed!