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On Celebrity, Trade War and Nuclear Peace

By       Message Arshad M Khan       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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Is there a celebrity brotherhood? Kim Kardashian, the reality TV star, turned celebrity, visits the White House and promptly there is clemency for a grandmother serving a life sentence for being part of a cocaine distribution ring. Yet she is right. Draconian sentences are seldom fair, and judges' hands are often tied with strict laws, often lobbied for by private prison corporations. Prohibition leads to violence, gangsterism and innocent victims. It was so with alcohol in the Al Capone days; it is true now with cocaine and heroin.


A society cannot afford to waste resources on victimless crimes. Teaching individual responsibility, health warnings as with smoking and alcohol, can be more effective particularly when added to laws regulating sales. When the war on drugs has been a dismal failure, and the billions in cash involved is a source of corruption and fatal drug wars, it seems time to consider rational alternatives.


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The G7 meeting in Canada quickly degenerated into G6+1, the G6 versus Donald Trump. If the US has treated European nations as a benevolent parent in trade agreements, Mr. Trump is forcing the teens into adulthood, and they don't like it.


But there are problems. Forcing American agricultural products will do to European farmers what what it did in Mexico. Japanese farmers wield a powerful lobby and no Japanese prime minister dare agree.

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Mr. Trump has also called for Russia to be readmitted and with good reason. Negotiation directly across a table is to be preferred to the under-the-table deals for gas the Europeans are busy making.


Industrial trade is a complicated issue when corporations have internationalized operations. Ford cars can come from Sonora, Mexico and GM engines from Siloa also in Mexico. Assembly operations can be in Canada. The Volkswagen plant in Puebla, Mexico is the only one producing the New Beetle worldwide. Honda engines for the US market are made in the US, Japan and Thailand. Its Marysville, Ohio plant manufactures 680,000 Hondas a year. Mercedes-Benz produces SUVs and its C-class automobiles in Alabama.


It should be fairly obvious that erecting trade barriers is going to be quite a headache. But the Donald has surely got the Europeans thinking. Bravado like President Macron's tweet about the G6 being a powerful unit in itself to set up unilateral deals is just that -- when big-brother's economy is larger than the six put together, and Japan with its security concerns is an unlikely partner.

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The coming meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore is surely on Mr. Trump's mind. The eerie quiet before the summit, the differing interpretations of denuclearization and the clear lack of preparation point to a getting-to-know-ya, a walk in the park and little else.


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Arshad M Khan is a former Professor. Educated at King's College London, Oklahoma State University and the University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. He was elected a Fellow of the (more...)
 

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