Saturday, June 02, 2018

American and European Politics

That the USA is making so much of the running in international affairs under President Trump is surprising at least to those including yours truly who did not welcome his election as president of that great country.

President Trump's stance on  the regimes in  both North Korea and  Iran so far at least seems impressive. The latters wrongful imprisonment of a British married woman and mother generally makes the headlines when Iran probably feels under political pressure albeit entirely unconnected with the woman's case. That kind of attitude increases sympathy for Trump's position although sadly not insofar as EU governments including  currently  at least, that of the UK are concerned.

North Korea has been an international outcast for years but now, either that country's (unelected) president Kim Jon-un is playing a clever game of securing more acceptance by the world at large  whilst at the same time offering very little in return, or (elected) President Trump, is actually going to secure a decent measure of nuclear arms reduction by the otherwise impoverished North Koreans. There is of course more to N Korea's behaviour than nuclear weapons including unfair imprisonment of many, news censorship, poverty and a complete lack of democracy, to name but a few but Rome was not built in a day.

Rome or rather many EU countries meanwhile burn. 

Italy itself has had its recent (or rather given the Italian voting system not so recent) general election result  put at risk by its president vetoing the appointment of a key government minister (finance).  The ostensible reason appears to be that the intended appointee was not keen on the EU. 

Some kind of Italian compromise has been reached at the eleventh hour, under which another finance minister who at least supports Italy's membership of the Euro, has been accepted by the Italian President.  None the less the new government still seems hell bent on reducing tax and increasing state cash payments to the population at large as ways of reducing its huge unemployment rate, despite concerns in Berlin and Brussels. 

The Italian situation will remain in the news for a while yet.

Spain's situation is as difficult as Italy's. Corruption by the conservative party there has resulted in its Prime Minister being ousted in a parliamentary vote led by the minority Labour opposition, whose leader has just become Prime Minister. Holding a new general election as soon as possible would seem the correct and logical way forward but is that likely to happen? 

My own view is that politics in many parts of Europe including Spain, have become so tainted, that the new Labour Prime Minister in Spain will seek to wait and wait, in the hope that his political party's fortunes will improve. Meanwhile the Spanish unemployment rate and state indebtedness like those of Italy, are dreadfully high.

Germany of course has massive trade surpluses not least with the USA which complains for example, that EU tariffs on cars imported from the USA are far higher than are those from Germany and other EU countries, imported by the Americans. 

Germany is also abandoning its Nuclear Energy power stations  and is instead building dozens of new coal fired power stations. Quite how the new coal power stations fit in with the Paris Climate Change accords, which the USA has in any event decried as pointless, is unclear. Possibly Germany's policy is to let President Trump do the talking whilst it acts to suit itself. Contributions to NATO by Germany or rather the lack of much by way of contribution despite the USA's (and as it happens, the UK's) full payments is another case in point. Hopefully my interpretation of the above will be shown to be incorrect.

France has shown itself through President Macron to be great at speaking not least with President Trump yet speaking well and being listened to are rather different. Possibly only the former applies, at least at present.

The UK sadly appears to me to be  weak;  leaning over backwards to support the EU's positions on Iran (despite the dreadful imprisonment of the British girl there) and climate change for example, moaning about President Trump's new import tariffs while seeming  to negotiate Brexit with little enthusiasm and accepting bullying from the EU puppet masters. 

Hopefully much of the above will prove to be unjustified in the months ahead but for now that is how the points commented upon appear to be - to me.

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