Global Geopolitics

Trade Wars: the manifestation of bigger global geo-political challenges  

Trade wars reflect two bigger geopolitical challenges facing the world, the rise of populism and a shift to multi-polar economic and political leadership. President Trump is a populist leader unwilling to fully accept that the US must make space on the global stage for other economic superpowers, such as China.

It was only a matter of time before the United States went head-to-head with the economic challenge of China. An emphatic statement on the intent of China and Russia for the global recognition of a multi-polar world came when Russia and China signed the “Joint Declaration on a Multipolar world and the Establishment of a New International Order” on May 15th, 2017 and registered the document with the United Nations. Academics have pored over the challenges of a multi-polar world, and in the words of S.N. Rogov, the trend towards multipolarity generates “instability and unpredictability as to the evolution system of international relations, and threatens to send the situation spinning out of control.”

US Voters put President Trump into office based on a populist agenda: Mexican walls, “Make America Great Again”, “Trade wars are good”. The President is only following a path followed by many leaders in the past who sought to maintain the illusion of nationalistic greatness well beyond the reality. As we know, popular policies are not always the right policies. The President is dealing in politics, where providing people with a feel-good factor gets votes and with mid-term elections due at the end of the year the President is likely to push every populist button going.

Some populist policies have real substance whereas others are just noise. The US tax changes have a given a significant near-term positive jolt to the economy but quite frankly were they needed when unemployment was so low? The cuts are funded by debt issuance, and the tax changes did not represent real reform.  Sending the National Guard to man the Mexican border sounds like sending in the cavalry but, at present, the US President is deploying just 250 national guards along a 3100km border. That’s one for every 12.4km; I hope they have good binoculars!

Gary Dugan, Founder and Executive Director,

This article was attributed and provided by PG International


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