Why Trump Challenges Free Trade

In Tuesday’s indictment of free trade as virtual economic treason, The Donald has really set the cat down among the pigeons.

For, in denouncing NAFTA, the WTO, MFN for China and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, all backed by Bush I and II, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, Trump is all but calling his own party leaders dunderheads and losers.

And he seems to be winning the argument.

As he calls for the repudiation of “globalism” and a return to “Americanism,” a Republican Congress renders itself mute on whether it will even vote on the TPP this year.

On trade, Bernie Sanders is closer to Trump. Even Hillary Clinton has begun to renounce a TPP she once called the “gold standard” of trade deals.

Where have all the troubadours of free trade gone? Why do economic patriots seem ascendant? Is this like the Cold War, where the other side gets up and goes home?

Answer. As Trump pointed out in Monessen in the Mon Valley of Pennsylvania, the returns from free trade are in, and the results are rotten.

Since Bush I, we have run $12 trillion in trade deficits, $4 trillion with China. Once a Maoist dump, China has become the greatest manufacturing power on earth. Meanwhile, the U.S. has lost 50,000 factories and a third of its manufacturing jobs.

Trump is going to start a “trade war,” wail the critics.

But the damage wreaked upon U.S. industry by free traders already rivals what Arthur “Bomber” Harris did for German industry in the Ruhr.

In recent decades, every major U.S. trade partner — China, Japan, Canada, Mexico, EU — has run annual trade surpluses at our expense. How do 40 years of trade deficits in goods, run by a nation that rarely ran one for a century before, make us stronger or wealthier?

Or is what is best for the world now more important than what is best for America?

And here we come to the heart of the argument.

Washington, Hamilton, and Henry Clay, father of the “American System,” and Lincoln and every Republican president up to Eisenhower, crafted trade policies to promote manufacturing to grow the wealth of the USA.

They were patriots not globalists.

They knew that America’s political independence required economic independence of all other nations. They wanted to build an economy where Americans would cut their bonds to foreign lands and come to rely upon one another for the needs and necessities of their national life. They sought to make us independent, so that we could not be dragged by economic ties into the inevitable wars of the Old World.

And they succeeded magnificently.

Britain, which embraced free trade in the 1840s, became so reliant on imports that a few dozen German submarines almost knocked her out of World War I. Protectionist America had to come pull her chestnuts out of the fire.

Free trade ideology is not America-made. It is an alien faith, a cargo cult, smuggled in from the old continent, the work of men Edmund Burke called “sophisters, economists, and calculators.”

David Ricardo, James and John Stuart Mill, Richard Cobden, all chatterers …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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The Pentagon’s Social Justice Warriors

I guess you saw the news that the Secretary of Defense said today that transgenders can serve in the US Armed Forces. Excerpt:

Transgender service members will also receive the same medical coverage as any other military member — receiving all medical care that their doctors deem necessary — according to Carter.

For current members of the military, the coverage will include hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery if doctors determine that such procedures are medically necessary.
Incoming service members must be “stable” in gender identity for 18 months before joining the military.

“The Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now — the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” Carter said Thursday at the Pentagon.

The reaction from Moscow was swift:


Meanwhile, from Watts Valhalla:


But seriously … Weimar America. A reader who is one unhappy veteran writes:

Just a few news stories that ought to be addressed, showing the concerted plan to destroy not only the traditional fabric of America, but the traditional culture of the military that defends it. I served four years in the United States Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005, two tours overseas and am 30% disabled. A military reflects the society from which it is drawn and often reflects the most traditional elements of that society, because of the emphasis on honor, loyalty, fidelity, courage, and sacrifice — all those things that have been missing in civilian society or belittled by progressives.

I was a lance corporal, not some officer. I humped a rifle out there where the consequences to the social re-engineering of combat units could mean death, not diminished career prospects. I didn’t have to serve with women, transgenders or assorted malcontents and deviants like the Army, Navy and Air Force is hell-bent on instituting in their units. In the Marine Corps of my day, only one thing counted: a close knit unit whose only purpose was to “locate, close with, and destroy the enemy.”

That meant weaklings, physically and morally, jeopardized us all. It meant that an unbreakable bond among each other had to be built, a bond based on the brotherhood of men who lived together, drank together, fought together and became one. It is a ruthless meritocracy where mistakes and weakness get someone else killed. This was how Marines took Belleau Wood in 1918, raised the flag on Iwo Jima in 1945, took Hue in 1968, and Fallujah in 2004. It was the spirit that animated the icons of our Corps like Chesty Puller and, most recently, General Mattis, a real Marine who was shoved out when his brand of warfighting became uncomfortable to the Pentagon and the DC drones, who rolled over for anything the radical feminist/LGBT/social justice crowd who never heard a rifle in anger wanted like the spineless lapdogs they are.

This is the result. This is why Bowe Berghdal deserted, why transgender Bradley Manning betrayed us, why combat units are being forced to …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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The Tory Leadership Race

As Noah Millman already mentioned, the race to succeed David Cameron as Conservative leader took a strange and unexpected turn today:

As late as yesterday afternoon, Michael Gove was trying to persuade fellow Cabinet Ministers to back Boris Johnson. This morning, he announced that not only that he was running but that ‘Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead’. Hours later, Boris – reeling from this blow – announced that he would not be running.

Gove reportedly came to view Johnson as too unreliable and flaky, which is a curious justification for abandoning someone he supported at the last minute to pursue his own leadership bid. The remarkable thing about Gove’s decision is that it probably wrecks any chance he might have had at the leadership, and he has very likely delivered it into the hands of Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who was already a competitive candidate before Johnson dropped out. Most people inclined to back Johnson presumably view Gove as a traitor and not to be trusted, and that seems to be the case. Isabel Hardman reports:

It is fair to say after talking to a number of Boris supporters that some of them are currently so white hot with fury at what Gove has done in turning on his colleague at the last minute that there is little chance of them supporting the Justice Secretary’s campaign.

If we assume that May is the favorite to win the contest, it is worth considering her views on what should happen next. In her announcement speech, May made clear that she intends to follow through on the referendum’s result:

First, Brexit means Brexit. The campaign was fought, the vote was held, turnout was high and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to re-join in through the back door and no second referendum. The country voted to leave the European Union and it is the duty of the Government and Parliament to make sure we do just that. Second, there should be no general election until 2020. There should be a normal Autumn Statement held in the normal way at the normal time and no emergency budget. And there should be no decision to invoke Article 50 until the British negotiating strategy is agreed and clear, which means Article 50 should not be invoked before the end of this year [bold mine-DL].

That last point will sit very poorly with EU leaders, who seem to want the process of British withdrawal to have started yesterday and aren’t interested in any further delays. Nonetheless, if May is serious about following through with leaving the EU that will at least provide some clarity about what the next government will try to do. May has a somewhat Euroskeptic reputation but was a supporter of Remain, and that could potentially make her a candidate acceptable to both factions in the party. Her announcement speech was full of …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Our Ridiculous Foreign Policy Debates

Michael Cohen offers some advice to foreign policy policymakers and pundits:

To put it bluntly, not everything fits neatly into our preconceived framing devices, and certainly not everything is about the United States. Other countries have agency, too, and can make decisions that affect their national destiny, independently of the United States.

Americans are not the only ones that respond to foreign events this way, but it seems to be more common in the U.S., especially among people that pay the most attention to foreign affairs. Because the U.S. is involved in so many places, it is usually possible for some connection to be made between a given event and some recent U.S. action, but that doesn’t mean that the latter caused the former. Because our foreign policy debates treat almost every foreign problem as one that the U.S. is obliged to address, and because far too many people in those debates credit the U.S. with enormous power to “shape” events, many Americans take for granted that if something happens overseas that the U.S. is in some way responsible for causing or “failing” to prevent the event in question. It is not an accident that these arguments are almost always made by people that have never seen a crisis or conflict that they didn’t think the U.S. should take part in. Everything isn’t about the U.S., but they very much want the U.S. to be meddling in everything, and so they try to make everything be about us in one way or another.

Cohen happened to be referring to the absurd claim that U.S. policy in Syria led to the “Brexit” vote, but he could just as easily have been referring to any number of other events in recent years that have been blamed on the U.S. when many others are far more directly responsible. Syria hawks have often been the biggest offenders when it comes to making these accusations. They tell us that there would have been no conflict in Ukraine if Obama had just bombed Syria as they demanded. Whatever happens to be in the news at the time, they will seize on it and say that it happened because they didn’t get their way on intervening in Syria. All of the hawks’ claims are absurd on their face, but they are repeated often and shamelessly enough that they begin to influence how these issues are understood. Further, by claiming that every event they don’t like over the last few years is the product of not attacking another country they try to make an attack seem more desirable. Of course they deny the agency of other states and groups. The main thing that they’re trying to do is to get the U.S. more deeply involved in the Syrian conflict, and they don’t care how they do it.

If there is an “ISIS-inspired” attack somewhere in the West, they will declare that it is because the U.S. hasn’t ensnared itself deeply enough in Syria and because it earlier tried to …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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The ‘Re-Traditionalization’ of Europe?

Stephen Turley reads the Brexit results as a sign that Europe may be headed towards a more traditionalist future. Excerpts:

It is most certainly the case that the world is going through a radical realignment along nationalist and provincialist lines. From Bosnia to Chechnya, Rwanda and Barundi, from South Sudan to Scotland, populations have been turning increasingly inward for civic and cultural identity.

But within these balkanizing tendencies is a process called re-traditionalization. Because globalization challenges the traditions and customs, the religions and languages of local cultures, its processes tend to be resisted with a counter-cultural blowback. In the face of threats to localized identity markers, people assert their religiosity, kinship, and national symbols as mechanisms of resistance against globalizing dynamics.

So far so good.

And continue they will. We should not regard this resurgent nationalism a temporary political fad. This is because globalization entails its own futility; as we have found with the attempt to bring liberal democracy to the Middle East, few are willing to die for emancipatory politics, feminism, and LGBT rights. But the willingness to die for land, people, custom, language, and religions is seemingly universal. Though a formidable challenger, globalization appears to have no chance of overcoming such innate fidelities.

I think this is true. To modify a phrase of MacIntyre’s, dying for the EU is like dying for the phone company. More:

And so, it is certainly the case that the Brexit signifies the rise of nationalism in Europe, but it also suggests the inexorable revival of traditional values and norms. And while there are a number of current cultural peculiarities and paradoxes indicative of a stubborn secularism throughout the West, we can expect social and cultural trends to resolve such inconsistencies in favor of traditional beliefs and practices.

A renewed Christian Europe may not be so far away.

Would that it were so! But I don’t believe it is. I love hearing the good news of religious revival within Russia, but news that the Duma has passed a law massively restricting the religious liberty of non-Orthodox Christians is terrible news. Putin hasn’t signed it, but I expect that he will. You know that I deeply want Europe to return to its Christian roots, but doing so out of purely tribal, nationalistic reasons does not give one hope that such a return would be truly Christian.

The problem for people like me is that nationalistic religion is, unfortunately, part of tradition in many places. The reason I was pleased that Brexit won is that I am almost always in favor of the local over the global. To the extent that the EU threatened local identities, cultures, and traditions, I think it was a threat to be resisted. I would love to see Western Europe’s Catholic and Protestant churches filled again, but if Europeans returned to them not out of a love of God and a longing for His presence, but because it was part of sticking it to Them (whoever “Them” may be), then I’m concerned.

On the other …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Donald Trump — the ‘baby Christian’

Dobson told Anthony that Trump had recently come “to accept a relationship with Christ” and is now a “baby Christian.” …read more

Via:: Fox Opines


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Boris Johnson Would Prefer Not To

So much for the theory that his support for Brexit was a cynical ploy to vault Boris Johnson into the PM’s office:

Addressing reporters in a new conference just moments before the deadline for nominations passed, Mr Johnson said the next Conservative leader would have to unify his party and ensure that Britain stood tall in the world.

“Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in Parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me,” he said.

BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said it was an “astonishing turn of events”.

Mr Gove – who has pitched himself as a candidate that can offer “unity and change” and deliver the Brexit result- had been expected to back Mr Johnson for the leadership.

But he said he had concluded that “Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead”.

Justice minister and Leave campaigner Dominic Raab, who switched sides from supporting Mr Johnson to Mr Gove, said the former London mayor’s “cavalier” attitude had scuppered the plan.

Tina Brown’s read of Johnson as a “Gentleman Hack” looks all the better in the light of this latest news. I don’t know whether Johnson’s support in the party simply evaporated when they truly understood his fundamental unseriousness, or whether he simply decided he didn’t want the job if it involved the hard work of either negotiating an exit from the EU or selling British voters on changing their minds and staying in, but it doesn’t really matter. Either way, the dog that caught the car got run over.

I haven’t indulged in facile Trump-Johnson comparisons until now, but I imagine the #NeverTrump-sters will be doing so with relish, as well they should.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative


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