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Thursday, 26 January 2017

The 45th President and Captain America

Rapid technology changes and the prospects of mass unemployment are perfect ingredients for stirring up human fears about job loss and poverty. Politicians are masters in unleashing these sleeping fears for their own benefit.

DW: "In an interview published Sunday, Pope Francis cautioned Europeans against the lure of populism, saying they should avoid repeating the same mistakes made in the 1930s to solve economic and political crises, which led to World War II." Indeed, it's tempting to compare the present situation with WW2 (1939-1945) but in the absence of mass unemployment a comparison with WW1 (1914-1918) makes much more sense.

WW1 (1914-1918) had a different picture: a combination of shifting geopolitical alliances and a race for (military / technological) supremacy (Power). There is an uncomfortable similarity to the 2017 situation with Trump boosting military expenditure and changing existing military and political alliances. Adding mass unemployment to this could cause a disaster.

Given the zero-sum game theory, the "America first" strategy of Donald Trump will cause losses for other countries, in particular job losses. Many American jobs have been "exported" to China and cheap Chinese imports boosted American wealth. Insourcing Chinese jobs back into the USA by penalizing China (eg, import tariffs), will further hurt the sluggish Chinese economy.

The Russian economy has been hurt badly by the fall of the oil price. Given the global transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy, this impact is lasting. We may be witnessing the final years of the Russian Empire. However, Trump is now reaching out to this dying global competitor. 

Boosting US military expenditure while backstabbing one global competitor and similarly reaching out to another dying global competitor raises questions. 

Similar to a retainer agreement / fee in business, Trump will expect Russia to commit to him and to refrain from an alliance with China. This idea might work. 

The outcome of the 2017 European elections (ie, 15 March (NL)23 April (F)24 September (Ger) is important for Donald Trump. Apart from Russian secretive interference, we may also see public American interference (eg, Breitbart News Europe) in European general elections. 

It's tempting to see the "America first" strategy as a 21st century quest for global economic, military and technological supremacy. Hence, Captain America is back!

America First (2005) by Merle Haggard - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Why don't we liberate these United States,
We're the ones that need it worst.
Let the rest of the world help us for a change,
And let's rebuild America first.

Our highways an' bridges are fallin' apart:
Who's blessed an' who has been cursed?
There's things to be done all over the world,
But let's rebuild America first.

Who's on the Hill and who's watchin' the valley?
An' who's in charge of it all?
God bless the army an' God bless our liberty,
And dadgum the rest of it all.

Yeah, men in position are backin' away:
Freedom is stuck in reverse.
Let's get out of Iraq an' get back on the track,
And let's rebuild America first.

Why don't we liberate these United States,
We're the ones who need it the most.
You think I'm blowin smoke? Boys it ain't no joke.
I make twenty trips a year from coast to coast.