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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11790 comments President Trump campaigned to "make America great". The US is already the strongest country in the world, both militarily and economically, so what was the fuss. Since he has taken over, there seem to have been a series of bizarre seemingly random moves, but maybe a pattern is emerging. One of the first agreements he tore cup was NAFTA. He has since approached Mexico and got them to do a deal far more in the US favour than before and has now apparently told Canada to sign up to what Mexico agreed or walk. Because so many of Canada's exports go to the US, Trump has put a very short time limit on signing with Mexico, it seems Canada will have to sign an agreement that it probably does not want, and it is a "take it or leave it" deal. If so, Trump has imposed real power on its closest neighbours to get what it wants, and I suppose you can say Trump has achieved what he wants. The questions are, at what cost, and is this the way the US is going to treat its friends in the future? Thoughts?

message 2: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin As a Canadian, this question concerns me a lot. In term of economic weight, we are no match for the USA and don't have much leverage we can use. However, the way Trump is doing his 'dealings' is raising a lot of anger here. Canada may have to bend at least partly in the face of this American pressure, but this will be remembered in the future. The Canadian voters may just vote in the next federal election for the party who could best stand up to the USA, meaning that the chances of the Progressive Conservative Party to get elected just went down significantly, as it is seen by many to be the most aligned with U.S. Republicans. And next time that the USA will need the support of a friend or ally for some new foreign military adventure, maybe Canada will be more inclined to say 'no'.

message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11790 comments I felt that would be the case, Michel, but the situation is actually bad for a lot of others as well. If Canada folds, and I can easily understand why they will, Trump wins and that will encourage him. The only good thing from NZs point of view is that we don't actually have an agreement he can tear up, and we get the full tax on steel and aluminium, so hopefully we won't go down further. Maybe we are too small for Trump to notice.

message 4: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6184 comments I honestly don't know how NAFTA affected the US as regards Canada. I do know what Ross Perot said about the "giant sucking sound" of jobs going south to the cheap labor markets of Mexico, and I think he was right. Our local thread mill closed and moved to Mexico.

Say what you will, it seems to me that Trump is trying to correct past mistakes. Of course, no country will want to pay more tariffs or lose income, but the US has to look out for its interests and ensure fair trade.

message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16076 comments I think the feeling of America losing jobs and industries being 'not great' for big numbers of Americans resonated with many and if America is indeed in a prime position, this didn't seem to benefit the Americans. Not sure free trade is the reason more than corporate culture to 'shop' for the cheapest and less restrictive location for production.
Maybe a textile industry was wiped out first in the eighties, when manufacturing switched to Malaysia and other places. After that many industries followed suit.
Something had to be done, however not sure Trump addresses the core issues evenly to achieve a structural change. Maybe more the symptoms.

message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11790 comments I am reasonably confident that the reason the US lost a lot of manufacturing was that the big guys exported their jobs to China, Indonesia, etc where they could hire workers at trivial pay, then re-imported the goods to the US, while creating a route through the Caymans or somewhere where the price of the item was increased dramatically for "handling" so the bulk of the profits were lodged in a tax-free zone. The answer to this is not tariffs, which just raises prices to the Americans who lost their jobs but rather to alter the US tax rules on the big guys, but the politicians are not going to do that because that would dry up their election donations.

message 7: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin You hit the nail right on, Ian.

message 8: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2329 comments If you think you're scared by this deal, think about this: Congress has to approve it before it goes into effect. This isn't something he can agree to with executive action, trade is Congress' domain according to the Constitution and they previously only gave the President the freedom to negotiate when it came to the original NAFTA deal.

What this means, if Congress isn't happy with Trump's deal, (you have a lot of Dems who will oppose anything Trump wants, and a lot of Repubs who are for free trade and might oppose it if does not promote free trade in their minds), they won't ratify it and we'll be left with nothing.

message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11790 comments Trump seems to be really odd because the usual approach would be to have all the ducks, like Congress, lined up before going public. A politician should not go public until he/she knows there is enough support.

message 10: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2329 comments Not really...we have a long history of Presidents agreeing to treaties only to have Congress not approve them...Think League of Nations.

message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11790 comments J.J. wrote: "Not really...we have a long history of Presidents agreeing to treaties only to have Congress not approve them...Think League of Nations."

Somehow I do not find that to be particularly cheering. But I still think a good politician would line up support before proposing - it minimizes egg on face, which most politicians like to avoid.

message 12: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6184 comments Ian said, "The answer to this is not tariffs, which just raises prices to the Americans who lost their jobs but rather to alter the US tax rules on the big guys, but the politicians are not going to do that because that would dry up their election donations." I don't understand this. Explanations, you guys?

message 13: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11790 comments The idea was that the tariffs must raise prices because it is the consumer that ultimately pays. My view is that if the big corporations had to pay tax on what is actually earned, and that deposited in tax havens was to a way of avoiding tax, they would probably bring a lot of manufacturing back home.

message 14: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2329 comments Ian wrote: "J.J. wrote: "Not really...we have a long history of Presidents agreeing to treaties only to have Congress not approve them...Think League of Nations."

Somehow I do not find that to be particularly..."

If you had to bring Congress into the negotiations, the discussions would never get anywhere. If the Presidents wanted to avoid the egg on their faces, they should understand beforehand what will pass Congress instead of trying to cram their deal down Congress' throats...

message 15: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin The problem with Trump is that he basically makes things up as his mood swings around, making him totally unpredictable. He is not acting for the good of the United States: he is acting for the good of his ego and to please his political base, so that he can stay in power. He is the perfect agent of political chaos.

message 16: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 3079 comments "We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served,"

"The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold. She's resourceful, and confident and secure. She meets her responsibilities. She speaks quietly because she is strong. America does not boast, because she has no need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great."

I'm British. I had the honour to serve with the USMC for a brief period. Meghan McCain's words about her father are what I think of the USA whilst watching in disgust the antics of its current President who insulted McCain' service record whilst never serving, never taking any form of public service. He is now treating the highest office as little more than a boardroom episode of "The Apprentice" He treats his friends in other nations worse than enemies and obstructing justice at every opportunity and because he is President unfortunately this reflects on all Americans.

I understand why many would have voted for him given the elitist actions of the Bush and Clinton families. I understand the easy answer of trade sanctions and appealing to the workers who have lost jobs.

Once the British Empire ruled half the land mass of the world and behaved with all the imperial power it could. The USA was supposed to be different. It claimed to be different. Perhaps the Statue of Liberty should have its torch cut off? Now the USA has what it voted for. It cannot expect its allies to respond. the last historical event similar to this was the Vietnam War when its alleged closest ally, the UK, refused to take part in the fighting although Australia did.

If you keep insulting and ignoring friends don't be surprised if they find other friends. Perhaps Congress, even before Mid-Terms, will dump the new NAFTA and kick out many of the tariffs?

message 17: by Michel (last edited Sep 04, 2018 12:09PM) (new)

Michel Poulin Well spoken, Philip! Here, in Canada, it is hard to stay a friend of the United States when Trump insults and tries to bully Canada at every turn, while members of Congress mostly refuse to loudly and publicly contradict him or take him to task for his irresponsible behavior. However, my hope is that the economic realities about the relationship between Canada and the U.S.A. will make those congressmen realize that they have to find the balls to say 'no' to Trump and reestablish some common sense in our mutual trade partnership.

message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11790 comments As Michel says, Trump seems to make tings up as he goes. I think that in some business dealings, where the other person badly wants something and you know he does, being chaotic may bring rewards, but with other nations (and most normal businessmen) that sort of unreliability simply means everyone has to go somewhere else. Trump will find sooner or later that other countries may still try to get on with the US, because they have no choice, but they will do the dead minimum and avoid agreements. Eventually that will hurt the US. What the US really needs are better candidates. I can see why they wanted to get rid of the Clinton/Bush lot, but this was not the way to do it.

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