“Chinese Workers Outrank American”
The day after Mother’s Day, we awoke to five dozen Palestinians killed on the fence between Gaza and Israel while their ruling “Hamas” leaders cowardly hid behind press releases…Israelis celebrate the opening of a new American Embassy (with five people) in Jerusalem…and Trumpian, Canadian and Mexican negotiators hit a House Speaker Paul Ryan imposed deadline for agreement on a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)…Whew! All in one day.
Mexicans are preparing to exercise their hard-earned democratic votes July 1st (first exercised in the year of our Lord 2000, thanks to Vicente Fox’s election to the Mexican Presidency and then President Ernesto Zedillo who formally recognized Fox’s victory) in an election. It appears to favor an anti-American candidate.
The world is the world. Despite a swath of America that prefers isolationism that resembles that of the USA in the 1930s, the world affects us directly.
Noise from the Trump White House and the Chinese slap a tariff on almonds from California, pork from Iowa, soybeans from Indiana and thousands of Americans will suffer. And who knows what the Chinese threaten when the U.S. announced that ZTE, a huge Chinese telecommunications firm is sanctioned and fined in such major ways that it announced it was ceasing operations throwing 70 thousand Chinese out of jobs.
The Chinese obviously have made major threats of some sort because President Trump has publicly called for working something out so that ZTE does not go out of business and shut down those 70 thousand jobs. One wonders why the world’s greatest negotiator appears to have crumbled in the face of strident Chinese.
Trump Tweet: “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done! (8:01 AM, May 13, 2018)”
The President campaigned on punishing China for stealing intellectual. The ZTE issue contradicts his campaign promises.
One must be mindful that the United States military and intelligence agencies warn that ZTE is possibly inserting spy technology into its telecommunications products that could spy on everybody that has a ZTE product; everybody means everybody. The Department of Defense has ordered that no military stores purchase or sell ZTE products.
There are many who think the President has flip-flopped on ZTE/China trade because someone told the President that ZTE’s 70,000 employees buy and use $2 billion worth of American chips and other parts in their smart phones. Surprise, Mr. Trump. The theory is that many Americans will be negatively affected by ZTE going out of business. President Trump has 180 degrees change of mind.
But, if that is the case, why is he threatening Mexico, first with trashing the NAFTA agreement calling it the “worst” trade deal ever, then tariffs on steel and aluminum while constantly raging about a “beautiful wall” on the border between the U.S. and Mexico?
Mexico (127 million), with one tenth the population of China (1.4 billion) buys twice ($236 billion) from the United States than China ($115 billion).
So, what is the problem?
Shouldn’t the President be concerned more with the estimated 6 million Americans working in trade with Mexico than 70,000 Chinese over 6,000 miles away? Few Chinese spend their paychecks in the U.S. like many border Mexicans do, on top of what local Americans spend.
Fine tuning the NAFTA agreement shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, so why does it drag on? Moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem took a few weeks. Changing his mind regarding China’s ZTE collapse appears to have taken a few minutes. So why is NAFTA taking so long?
Somehow trade with our first and second ranked best customers (MAFTA partners Canada and Mexico) seem to be more complicated than helping 70,000 Chinese. Trade seems to be beyond the intellectual depth of the Trump Administration.
The junior varsity is in charge. It includes Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, a Harvard grad who couldn’t fill out background forms, another Harvard grad trade advisor Peter Navarro, a professional political candidate that has never won an election; and, a Chief of Staff John Kelly who claims many immigrants from south of the border have difficulty assimilating even as it took his Irish immigrant forbears a hundred years to reach American averages despite their speaking English when they arrived. Latino immigrants assimilate in one generation.
With this junior varsity in charge and under direction of a President who takes advice from Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Chinese workers get attention as if they are part of the President’s base, Meanwhile, crops are dying in California because there aren’t enough willing workers to harvest them. Read: not enough willing Mexicans.
The United States is drifting in turbulent waters. A smart and competent White House staff and Administration could energetically deal with these problems. The White House staff and Administration are not smart and competent unfortunately. We are cursed.