Monday, January 30, 2017

889 Trump may be unable to save American Manufacturing - Eamonn Fingleton

Trump may be unable to save American Manufacturing - Eamonn Fingleton

Newsletter published on 18 November 2016

(1) Will Trump Break The Media? - Brother Nathanael Kapner
(2) Trump can fund infrastructure using the sovereign right of
government to issue money - Ellen Brown
(3) Trump may be unable to save American Manufacturing - Eamonn Fingleton
(4) Trump will benefit Europe too: an end to Austerity & Oligarchy
(5) The End of the West As We Know It

(1) Will Trump Break The Media? - Brother Nathanael Kapner

http://www.realjewnews.com/?p=1165

Will Trump Break The Media?

By Brother Nathanael Kapner

November 16, 2016 @ 9:02 pm

Everyone’s on edge until Trump moves in.

He’s got a plan, he says he’ll take action.

[Clip: "I am asking the American people to dream big once again. What
follows is my 100 Day Action Plan to make America great again. It’s a
contract between Donald J Trump and the American voter and it begins
with bringing honesty, accountability, and change to Washington DC."]

Start with the media. You said it yourself.

[Clip: "The dishonest mainstream media is also part, and a major part,
of this corruption. They’re corrupt. They lie and fabricate stories…"]

It’s because "they are of their father the devil, a liar from the
beginning."

The lies continue with the networks and the names:

CBS – Murray Rothstein, who changed his name to Sumner Redstone.

NBC – Brian Roberts, who owns Comcast, an ‘info-monopoly’ in the making.

ABC – Robert Iger and Alan Braverman.

They dropped their "American Family" and called it "Freeform" that
pushes homosexual perversion.

CNN – Aviv Nevo, raised in Israel, whose approach to news has an alien bias.

Nationalize the media, then create a bidding process that obligates
bidders to criteria that ensures unbiased news. And hold their feet to
the fire.

It’s not far-fetched at all.

[Clip: "As an example of the power structure I’m fighting, ATT is buying
Time-Warner, and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my
administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands
of too few."]

The ‘chosen’ few:

Nevo, Newhouse, Sulzberger, Roberts, Rothstein, Marks, Murdoch, Iger,
Braverman…a concentration of Jewish power.

Crush the cartel by nationalizing it as a public/private entity; launch
a bidding process that constrains bidders to criteria that ensures
factual news; then create a "Citizens Fact-Check Force" that monitors
the media.

Taxpayers thus get a share in the media via public/private ownership
that generates corporate dividends and an independent stake as fact
checkers.

The First Amendment is not infringed, while lying propaganda hits the skids.

Trump comes close to doing just that.

[Clip: "Comcast’s purchase of NBC concentrates far too much power in one
massive entity that’s trying to tell the voters what to think and what
to do. Deals like this destroy democracy and we’ll look at breaking that
deal up and other deals like that."]

Breaking up is very hard to do.

But breaking up the media is a very wise thing to do.

Nationalize it; tie it to a bidding process; bind it to a Fact-Check
Force; and Jewish Power crumbles.

Do it fast, President Trump.

If you don’t, they’ll use their press to coerce you or cut you down.

(2) Trump can fund infrastructure using the sovereign right of
government to issue money - Ellen Brown

http://www.publicbankinginstitute.org/trump?utm_campaign=pbinews11_17_16&utm_medium=email&utm_source=pbi

Indeed, this "radical" solution is what the Founding Fathers evidently
intended for their new government. The Constitution provides, "Congress
shall have the power to coin money [and] regulate the value thereof."
The Constitution was written at a time when coins were the only
recognized legal tender; so the Constitutional Congress effectively gave
Congress the power to create the national money supply, taking that role
over from the colonies (now the states).

Outside the Civil War period, however, Congress failed to exercise its
dominion over paper money, and private banks stepped in to fill the
breach. First the banks printed their own banknotes, multiplied on the
"fractional reserve" system. When those notes were heavily taxed, they
resorted to creating money simply by writing it into deposit accounts.
As the Bank of England acknowledged in its spring 2014 quarterly report,
banks create deposits whenever they make loans; and this is the source
of 97% of the UK money supply today. Contrary to popular belief, money
is not a commodity like gold that is in fixed supply and must be
borrowed before it can be lent. Money is being created and destroyed all
day every day by banks across the country. By reclaiming the power to
issue money, the federal government would simply be returning to the
publicly-issued money of our forebears, a system they fought the British
to preserve.

Countering the Inflation Myth

The invariable objection to this solution is that it would cause runaway
price inflation; but that monetarist theory is flawed, for several reasons.

First, there is the multiplier effect: one dollar invested in
infrastructure increases gross domestic product by at least two dollars.
The Confederation of British Industry has calculated that every £1 of
such expenditure would increase GDP by £2.80. And that means an increase
in tax revenue. According to the New York Fed, in 2012 total tax revenue
as a percentage of GDP was 24.3%. Thus one new dollar of GDP results in
about 24 cents in increased tax revenue; and $2 in GDP increases tax
revenue by about fifty cents. One dollar out pulls fifty cents or more
back in the form of taxes. The remainder can be recovered from the
income stream from those infrastructure projects that generate user
fees: trains, buses, airports, bridges, toll roads, hospitals, and the like.

Further, adding money to the economy does not drive up prices until
demand exceeds supply; and we’re a long way from that now. The US output
gap – the difference between actual output and potential output – is
estimated at close to $1 trillion today. That means the money supply
could be increased by close to $1 trillion annually without driving up
prices. Before that, increasing demand will trigger a corresponding
increase in supply, so that both rise together and prices remain stable.

In any case, today we are in a deflationary spiral. The economy needs an
injection of new money just to bring it to former levels. In July 2010,
the New York Fed posted a staff report showing that the money supply had
shrunk by about $3 trillion since 2008, due to the collapse of the
shadow banking system. The goal of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative
easing was to return inflation to target levels by increasing private
sector borrowing. But rather than taking out new loans, individuals and
businesses are paying off old loans, shrinking the money supply. They
are doing this although credit is very cheap, because they need to
rectify their debt-ridden balance sheets just to stay afloat. They are
also hoarding money, taking it out of the circulating money supply.
Economist Richard Koo calls it a "balance sheet recession."

The Federal Reserve has already bought $3.6 trillion in assets simply by
"printing the money" through QE. When that program was initiated,
critics called it recklessly hyperinflationary; but it did not create
even the modest 2% inflation the Fed was aiming for. Combined with ZIRP
– zero interest rates for banks – it encouraged borrowing for
speculation, driving up the stock market and real estate; but the
Consumer Price Index, productivity and wages barely budged. As noted on
CNBC in February:

"Central banks have been pumping money into the global economy without a
whole lot to show for it . . . . Growth remains anemic, and worries are
escalating that the U.S. and the rest of the world are on the brink of a
recession, despite bargain-basement interest rates and trillions in
liquidity."

Boldness Has Genius in It

In a January 2015 op-ed in the UK Guardian, Tony Pugh observed:

"Quantitative easing, as practised by the Bank of England and the US
Federal Reserve, merely flooded the financial sector with money to the
benefit of bondholders. This did not create a so-called wealth affect,
with a trickle-down to the real producing economy.

. . . If the EU were bold enough, it could fund infrastructure or
renewables projects directly through the electronic creation of money,
without having to borrow. Our government has that authority, but lacks
the political will."

In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt boldly solved the problem of a
chronic shortage of gold by taking the dollar off the gold standard
domestically. President-elect Trump, who is nothing if not bold, can
solve the nation’s funding problems by tapping the sovereign right of
government to issue money for its infrastructure needs.

(3) Trump may be unable to save American Manufacturing - Eamonn Fingleton

http://www.unz.com/efingleton/stemming-the-rot-in-american-manufacturing-may-defeat-even-trump/

Stemming the Rot in American Manufacturing May Defeat Even Trump

Eamonn Fingleton

November 13, 2016

Few aspirants to the American presidency have ever deployed a more
effective slogan than Donald Trump’s "Make America Great Again."
Although Hillary Clinton professed to believe that America has never
stopped being great, in the end countless voters sided with Trump – and
in many cases did so passionately, oblivious to all the Trumpian
scandals and gaffes that marred his campaign.

I happen to be one of the few commentators who were early to spot his
electoral potential. At Forbes.com, I began a series entitled "Why Trump
Is Winning" in December, and explicitly called the general election for
him as far back as February. I need no persuasion therefore that the
issue of American decline is real and powerful. The irony is, however,
that I am skeptical about how much even he, with his nationalistic
fervor, tough-guy tactics, and vaunted negotiating skills, can do to
improve the prospects for his beleaguered core constituency in the
American Rust Belt. The problems are just too large and the rot has gone
too far.

The most obvious evidence is in infrastructure. Much American
infrastructure has become embarrassingly outdated. The problem, in a
nation that has long run huge fiscal deficits, is finding the money for
the necessary massive upgrades. (More about financing in a moment.)

The expressways are crumbling; the railways slow and antiquated. The
United States even lags in internet speeds. Then there is water purity
and the quality of mains electricity (this latter is a key consideration
for companies locating advanced manufacturing operations).

Meanwhile as Trump has repeatedly pointed out, many American airports
are so dysfunctional and badly served by ground transport that they
would not be out of place in the Third World. According to the latest
annual survey by the Skytrax company of the world’s best airports,
Denver placed highest among American airports – but ranked a mediocre 28
in the world. By comparison five East Asian airports, including two in
Japan alone, made it into the top 10.

Infrastructure apart, far bigger problems lurk just below the surface.
They are summed up in one statistic, albeit a statistic that a
perennially out-to-lunch American press rarely mentions: the trade
deficit. Measured on a current account basis (which is the widest and
most meaningful measure), the trade deficit last year was $463 billion.
This represented a stunning 4.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
By comparison the worst figure in the 1970s – a decade when the United
States was already seen, both at home and abroad, as losing out badly in
global competition – was a mere 0.5 percent. The truth is that the
United States has not run a trade surplus consistently since the 1960s,
and in the last two decades the deficits have rarely fallen below 3
percent of GDP.

Why does trade matter matter? For many reasons, not least because
deficits have to be financed. In practice most of the financing has come
from major sovereign investors, particularly the governments of China
and Japan and to a lesser extent other East Asian nations. Typically it
comes in the form of massive purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds. So far,
the money has kept flowing but there is evidently an implicit
understanding: in return for doing their bit to keep both the U.S.
dollar and U.S. financial markets on an even keel, the East Asians will
brook no lectures from Washington on opening their markets to foreign
trade. Hence a conspicuous silence in Washington in recent years on East
Asian trade barriers. Washington has entered a Faustian bargain and it
is hard to see how even Trump, with all his undoubted energy and
determination, can break out of it.

He has talked about reopening shuttered factories. That is easier said
than done. Once a nation loses its position in any advanced
manufacturing specialty, it finds it almost impossible to get back in.

Take electronics. Trump seems to believe that by the simple expedient of
imposing stiff tariffs on Chinese imports he can encourage Apple to make
iPhones in America. In reality, this badly misdiagnoses the problem.
Where the manufacture of sophisticated electronic consumer products is
concerned, China is a much less significant player than meets the eye.
The product may bear a "Made in China" label but this refers merely to
the place of final assembly. Admittedly China does possess the knowhow
to make some components but generally only the simpler ones such as the
plastic housing for a smartphone. The serious components are made
typically in high-wage nations like Japan and to a lesser extent Korea,
Taiwan, and Germany. Meanwhile Japan reigns supreme as the source of
many of the most important materials and production machinery used in
the industry. Little noticed outside East Asia, such materials and
machinery are the ultimate driver of the electronic revolution.

All this means that, as a practical matter, China’s contribution to a
smartphone’s total added-value may amount to little more than a few
percentage points. Thus tariffs on China alone will, with the best will
in the world, create remarkably few American jobs. Moreover such jobs
would be labor-intensive and therefore fundamentally unsuitable for a
high-wage economy. In any case it is highly debatable whether such jobs
would be created in the first instance: the point is that even if Trump
succeeded in imposing massive tariffs on Chinese goods, Apple would
presumably retain the right to move the work to other cheap-labor
nations such as Vietnam, India, Mexico, and Brazil.

The real challenge for the United States is to create jobs in advanced
manufacturing. In the electronics industry that means focusing on
components, materials, production machinery, and other so-called
producers’ goods. Such goods typically entail production systems that
are both highly capital-intensive and knowhow-intensive. The knowhow,
moreover, is of a special, quite rarefied kind in that it resides not in
the minds of ordinary production workers but rather consists typically
of machine settings known only to a few top engineers. Getting high-tech
production machinery to achieve high yields of saleable products is a
bit like tuning a piano, only much more daunting. Knowhow is acquired
through years if not decades of trial-and-error and learning-by-doing,
and is closely held by any company that has acquired it.

Precisely for these reasons, the entry barriers in the sort of
industries that Trump might want the United States to stage a comeback
in are supremely high. By the same token incumbent companies are well
shielded from new competition. Deploying capital-intensive production
techniques, they can well afford to pay high wages and still dominate
world markets.

Japan provides many impressive examples. Take, for instance, such an
important material as semiconductor-grade silicon. Each new generation
of microchip requires a quantum leap in the purity of silicon wafers.
Otherwise, given the degree to which circuitry has to be miniaturized,
even just one atom out of place can short-circuit a chip. In the old
days Monsanto provided the United States with an ample supply of
home-grown silicon. But Monsanto could not keep up and dropped out as
far back as the 1980s. The only other non-Japanese supplier, Wacker
Chemie of Germany, soon followed. The result is that today just two
Japanese companies, Shinetsu and Sumco, enjoy a quiet but crucial global
duopoly in this most important of all high-tech materials.

Of course, if the Japanese – or for that matter the Germans – can
establish unassailable positions in leading edge producers’ goods, there
is no law of the universe that says the Americans can’t. The problem is
that, given how denuded America now is of advanced industries, free
markets alone will not do the trick. You can’t get blood out of a stone.

To get back into the game Trump needs to win broad support for a
muscular industrial policy, in which government would lead the nation in
reaching agreed industrial objectives. In this he would have to emulate
the sort of tactics the Japanese and, before them, the Germans, used to
propel themselves to the top of the manufacturing hierarchy in the
twentieth century.

The United States has actually had considerable success in the past with
various industrial policies. The most recent example was the Apollo
program which put Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969. That achievement
was only possible because government and industry worked closely
together to overcome countless technical challenges. The result was a
huge boost to American competitiveness in a host of advanced industries,
from new materials to semiconductors.

The problem for Trump ultimately is that, since the Reagan era, his own
Republican party has consistently opposed any attempts at industrial
policy. Can Trump change the party’s mind? Although he has repeatedly
defied the odds in his electoral career so far, the Republican party is
unlikely to provide him with the rock-solid support he needs to revive
the American manufacturing base.

(Reprinted from Business Post (Dublin) by permission of author or
representative)

(4) Trump will benefit Europe too: an end to Austerity & Oligarchy

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/11/12/why-trump-presidency-win-europe.html

Finian CUNNINGHAM | 12.11.2016

Why Trump’s Presidency Is a Win for Europe

By vowing to rebuild American society, scale back foreign militarism,
de-escalate NATO and seek friendly cooperative relations with Russia, a
United States of America under Donald Trump would not only be a boon for
America’s best interests. It would also be a win for Europe.

In such a new international outlook, the European bloc would be freed
from its atlanticist subservience which has been dominant and
deleterious for several decades. European governments would be freer to
have more independent foreign policy, instead of toeing the dubious line
that up to now has been ordained from Washington. It has been a disaster
for the EU to have adhered so slavishly to US foreign policy. Much of
the current discontent and disaffection among EU citizens towards the
Brussels-based bloc stems from this unnatural and unhealthy subservience
to Washington.

Wars in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia and the attendant
problems of blowback terrorism and influx of refugees are direct results
of European governments following Washington’s foreign policy of regime
change and so-called «democracy promotion». Even though these wars have
been illegal and vile transgressions of international law.

Financial and economic policies adopted by European governments have
been straitjacketed by neoliberal capitalist doctrine dictated by Wall
Street and successive US governments. This boils down to misery and
austerity for the masses, while a tiny oligarchy become ever bloated
with wealth. In short, stagnation.

Deteriorating relations with Russia – Europe’s biggest energy supplier –
have also stemmed from the EU following Washington’s confrontational
agenda towards Moscow. European governments have bought into the
spurious US official narrative of Russia being «aggressive» and
«expansionist». Admittedly, certain EU members such as the Baltic states
are all too willingly Russophobic. But for many others, such hostility
between the EU and Russia does not make sense. While economic impacts on
the US have been minimal, the tensions between the EU and Russia have
badly hit European businesses, exporters, farmers and workers.

The looming threat of war on European territory from the irrational
enlargement of the US-led NATO military alliance along Russia’s border
is also seen by many citizens as another demonstration of the EU’s
reckless subservience to Washington. It is Washington, of course, that
has been the main advocate of increasing NATO forces in Europe,
augmented by atlanticist EU governments like Britain, Germany and
France, as well as the anti-Russian paranoid Baltic states. Some 500
million EU citizens are held ransom to war policies by a coterie of
governments who behave like vassals to Washington.

In many ways, the political, economic and cultural problems challenging
Europe arise directly from the EU’s lack of independence from the US.
Often it seems that Brussels is acting as a rubber-stamp for foreign
policies authored in Washington. No wonder then that in the view of many
EU citizens the functioning of the bloc is seen to be undemocratic and
unrepresentative of their immediate needs. This explains the soaring
rise of anti-EU parties right across the bloc. The phenomenon has less
to do with an inherent popular affinity for parties labelled «far right»
or «xenophobic» and more to do with a popular desire for democratic
governance that attends to urgent social interests.

There is much overlap with the political rise of Donald Trump in the US.
As in Europe, the mass of ordinary working-class American citizens have
been disenfranchised, politically and economically, over several
decades. A rarefied political class has become ossified and is seen to
be self-enriching and servile to a tiny wealthy elite of financiers,
corporations and the military machine that underpins this oligarchy.
Integral to the oligarchy are the corporate-controlled media monopolies
that pontificate to the masses on how they should vote in elections –
elections that have become inconsequential to democratic needs.

All that now appears to be changing. A revolt is underway.

Trump’s election, like the Brexit before in Britain earlier this year,
is a popular revolt against the oligarchy. The mass of people have
become sickened and wearied by endless wars and endless economic
austerity, while the rich elite become ever more obscenely wealthy, and
all the while the media propaganda system cynically instructs the people
who to vote for and who not to, knowing full well there will really be
no «hope and change».

This time around though, the US election, like the Brexit, was infused
with righteous, raw popular anger against the oligarchy.

Trump struck a deep popular chord when he called US-led wars in the
Middle East a «disservice to our country and a disservice to humanity».
People got it when he lamented how much American infrastructure,
schools, hospitals, roads, jobs, would have benefited if the trillions
of dollars wasted on wars had instead been invested at home. Despite
media concealment, a large section of the American people concurred with
Trump’s angry denunciation of Obama and past US administrations for
criminally stoking terrorism and conflicts. His presidential rival
Hillary Clinton was fixed right at the center of this culpability among
the Washington oligarchy, which straddles both the Republican and
Democrat parties.

Voting Trump into the White House – a property tycoon who has never held
an elected office before – is an historic repudiation of the political
establishment. It is a political earthquake.

On the eve of election day on November 8, Trump’s declared that «this
will be our independence day… when the American working class will
strike back». It may seem incongruous that a billionaire capitalist
should exhort the working class to strike. But strike they did.

Trump also said his election would be «Brexit plus, plus, plus». That
remark has turned out to be prescient too. The American election
earthquake has rocked Europe with greater force than did Britain’s vote
to quit the bloc in July. A crevice has been torn open between
atlanticist governments and more independently minded ones.

Germany and France in particular have been caught off-side. Chancellor
Angela Merkel expressed «shock» at Trump being elected, while French
President Francois Hollande – also disapproving the result – called for
«united European values» to confront the new American president.
Hollande’s bravado for «liberal values» makes him look even more fatuous.

Britain, the other atlanticist voice in Europe, was more congratulatory
to President-elect Trump. No doubt, that’s because Britain is seeking to
shore up badly needed bilateral trade deals with the US in light of its
departure from the EU and therefore it needs to keep Trump sweet.

What really alarms Germany and France is that Trump is no atlanticist or
NATO advocate. His nationalist views and tougher stance on immigration
controls resonate with EU members like Hungary, Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Slovenia, Greece and Austria.

Trump’s views also give a boost to anti-EU parties in Germany and France
who are challenging incumbents Merkel and Hollande in elections next
year. It was telling that while Merkel and Hollande deprecated Trump’s
election, he was heartily congratulated by the anti-EU Alternative for
Germany and Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, as well as Nigel
Farage’s UK Independence Party in Britain. These parties also tend to
share Trump’s more sanguine view of friendlier relations with Russia.

If Donald Trump can deliver on his avowed program of rebuilding American
society and economy from within while abandoning US imperialist hegemony
around the world that will potentially transform world relations. For
Russia and China it will lead to a much needed normalization of
relations, away from the current Cold War-type hostility that threatens
to ignite world war. Both Russian and Chinese leaders Vladimir Putin and
Xi Jinping were quick to express congratulations and readiness to work
with new president Donald Trump.

The political establishment, including the media, in the EU that is
dominated by woefully misguided atlanticism has deplored the election of
Trump in the US. There is a snobbish handwringing attitude that Trump’s
movement is all about racist, white trash numbskulls. There may be some
unsavory elements to Trump’s support, as there are in some anti-EU
movements. But in the main what it is about is reclaiming democratic
power for the mass of people. What the Americans have done in electing
Trump is what the Europeans also need to do in order to sack a corrupt
and venal establishment that up to now has only served Washington and
the atlanticist elite.

If Trump’s victory invigorates similar trends across Europe then that
would be a good thing. And especially if it led to Europe having a more
independent foreign policy from Washington and in particular gaining a
more normal, mutual relationship with Russia.

(5) The End of the West As We Know It

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/11/10/the-end-of-the-west-as-we-know-it.html

Matthew JAMISON | 10.11.2016

The shock, unbelievable, astonishing election of Donald J. Trump is not
only a massive turning point in the history of the United States. It is
also the end of an era for the post-WWII American led Global Order and
it marks the beginning of the twilight of American global leadership.
The repercussions of this presidential election will be felt for years
to come and will have profound effects on global politics. Mr. Trump’s
«America First» policy and isolationism will lead America to abdicate
and eventually lose its role as the World’s Police Man and pre-eminent
Superpower status.

President elect Trump has openly questioned and disparaged the North
Atlantic Treaty Organisation. There are going to be big tensions and
fissures within NATO regarding the arrival of Donald Trump and Trumpism
in American foreign policy. Mr. Trump will bring to a head the massive
imbalance in NATO funding arrangements. To be fair to Mr. Trump does
have a point with regards to the funding of NATO. The United States
shoulders well over 50% of the funding of NATO while other European
members have been able to shelter under the American/NATO defence
umbrella without paying their fair share. This has been glossed over and
tolerated by various American administrations both Republican and
Democrat. Now however, if Trump sticks to his previous pronouncements on
NATO it could mean a big shake up of NATO or perhaps even the Alliance
breaking apart.

The Donald stated at an election rally back in the summer that he would
like to: «keep NATO, but I want them (the other European member states)
to pay. I don’t want to be taken advantage of». Most starkly, the United
States spends 3 percent of gross domestic product on its armed forces
while the rest of NATO averages 1.4 percent of GDP even after agreeing
formally to a 2 percent target. And the consequences are natural—for
example, at the peak of the Afghanistan war the U.S. provided 100,000
troops to the mission while the rest of NATO managed only about 35,000.
Trump has capitalised on this imbalance to further propose his America
First agenda. Trump is apparently willing to disband NATO as well as key
Asian alliances, and to withdraw from the Middle East as well — a «Trexit».

For President elect Trump, everything, including military alliances, is
seen through the prism of zero sum business transactions. Commenting
further Trump has questioned one of the most sacrosanct principles of
NATO, Article 5, that an attack on one member state is an attack on all
members: «people aren’t paying their fair share and then the stupid
people, they say, ‘but we have a treaty’». Striking a deeply
isolationist and quasi-xenophobic tone Mr. Trump lambasted the idea of
having to defend far away countries who were not paying their fair dues:
«We’re protecting countries that most of the people in this room have
never even heard of and we end up in world war three…give me a break».

The divisions in NATO will now most likely be brought to the fore and
could, if not managed carefully, lead to the unravelling of the Atlantic
Alliance. It is not just America’s European and North Atlantic
alliances, which could fracture during the four years ahead of President
Trump. He has previously singled out not just European nations like
Germany but also other US allies like Japan and Saudi Arabia,
threatening them that if elected America could «walk» if they do not pay
the full cost of American soldiers stationed in those countries for
their protection. Former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt reacted
after the Trump NATO comments by stating: «I never thought a serious
candidate for US President could be a serious threat against the
security of the West. But that’s where we are».

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her statement congratulating Donald
Trump on his election contained a veiled warning. Frau Merkel: «Germany
& America are connected by values: democracy, freedom, respect for the
law and the dignity of human beings independently of origin, skin
colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views. On the
basis of these values, I am offering the future President of the United
States of America, Donald Trump, close co-operation».

France’s President Francois Hollande was even more pointed in his
«congratulation» statement declaring that Trump’s victory: «opens a
period of uncertainty». Speaking from the Elysee Palace President
Hollande said that there was now a greater need for a united Europe,
able to wield influence on the international stage and promote its
values and interests whenever they are challenged.

The EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini alluded to a similar
theme in her tweet on the election result talking about the need to
rediscover «the strength of Europe». Indeed, the election of Donald
Trump as President could provide a catalyst for a dramatic rallying
around by the Europeans to a separate and unified European defence
organization. Trump’s election could have the consequence of speeding up
and providing the rapid rationale needed to kick into high gear the push
towards a new European Army, outlined by Jean-Claude Junker in the
summer, in contrast to NATO.

At risk is a core principle of America’s post-World War II strategy—that
trying to stay out of others’ business did not work and, in fact, helped
lead to the world wars. Trump rejects this and would prefer that the
United States interfered less in other countries affairs. Trump in
particular seems to reject the core elements of America’s strengths in
the world market and international security system and appears
indifferent to or hostile even towards the post-WWII trans-Atlantic
American commitment to European defence which could ease the ascension
of a European Defence Community on par with NATO and eventual replace
NATO as the main defence pillar for European security giving the EU a
global military identity and capability.

If Hillary Clinton had been elected President of the USA then moves
towards a common European defence posture might have taken longer and
may have been more restrained or perhaps even involve NATO to some
extent. NATO would have remained the cornerstone of the United States
defence and security apparatus and policy making in Europe and under a
Clinton administration with attempts made to strengthen NATO relevance,
identity and cohesion with initiatives designed to reinvigorate the
alliance.

One silver lining to a Trump Presidency, which ironically could hasten a
divergence between America and Europe and cause deep alarm and division
within NATO, is the possibility of détente between Russia and America
under the respective leaderships of President Trump and President Putin.
President Trump will in all likelihood attempt to foster a new and
closer relationship between Washington DC and Moscow, particularly with
regards to combating ISIS in the Middle East and stabilising Syria.

The EU and NATO, particularly the Eastern European countries will
probably resist this push for enhanced cooperation and closer relations
between America and Russia but it is clear that a Trump administration
will place much greater emphasis on taking into account Russian
interests rather than seeking confrontation and conflict and will not
take great consideration over Western or Eastern European concerns. So,
the election of Donald Trump as American President could represent a
seismic geopolitical realignment and the end of The West as we have
known The West since the end of WWII. NATO may fracture or become
obsolete while the United States could move closer to Russia while the
European Union moves away from America.


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