September 23, 2017

Diddling or fiddling?

…US at G20?

To most observers, it had to happen sooner rather than later; but none of them thought the dominance of the US in the corridors of world power would be abdicated, rather than dwindle away — as England’s had been after WWI. But at the latest G-20 meeting in Germany, Donald Trump clearly had no inclination to step up to the plate on the dominant issues on the agenda: trade and climate change.

On trade matters, with the US pulling out of the mega blocks like TPP — which his predecessor had worked for years to cobble together — China, Europe and Russia rushed in to fill the vacuum with such alacrity you could hear the “whooshing” sound even across the Atlantic. Isolationism might sell in the rust belt of the Midwest, but the other members of G20 were obviously taken aback by the know-nothing obduracy of Trump. Even if America were to get its manufacturing mojo back, does Trump really believe it can afford to neglect the burgeoning markets in the rest of the world?

On Climate Change, even the host Angela Merkel had to publicly call out the US for abandoning the Paris Accord, while Macron pointedly proposed that France will host another conclave so that G19 can move on. Trump failed to grasp that the response to “Climate Change” isn’t tied to whether “the science” is right or wrong. It will now lead to the spawning of industries that will eclipse most of the dominant players in the energy field, for one.

The US will now indubitably fall further behind in the race for ‘renewables”, where China and India are rubbing their hands with glee. Both those countries have committed to powering their cars in the next three decades with electricity by going the way of Volvo, which just announced it will stop making the internal combustion engine!! Maybe Trump should’ve taken a hint from the company his Secretary of State Tillerson so recently headed – Exxon, which has recently plunged into the production of algae bio-fuels.

On a personal level, if one thing epitomised the new power reality, it was a picture of Trump sitting alone at his seat while all around him G20 leaders were locked in animated conversations. Trump didn’t help his cause – or that of the US — when he had his daughter fill in for him at the G20 roundtable while he was engaged in a bi-lateral with Indonesia.

Ivanka might be easy on the eyes and a good businesswoman, but she had no official standing to represent the President of the US – especially in such a gathering.

While some may enjoy the diminished US presence on the world stage…it could lead to instability.

…at Caricom

Your Eyewitness had taken Prezzie at his word when, some time ago, he mentioned on his Public Interest show that he’d be raising the aborted officially designated “Jagdeo Initiative” — which since 2003 had been placed on Caricom’s agenda — to effectuate our Common Agricultural Policy. The Initiative, spearheaded by Jagdeo, has spelled out chapter and verse as to how the 10 constraints that prevented us from feeding ourselves, and even export food, could be overcome.

But imagine, this is all Pressie could say on the subject last week: “The Community has the land, the labour, the talent, and the capital to guarantee food security for its citizens. The Community’s annual food import bill, which exceeds US$4B, is a notorious indictment of its ability to promote investment and stimulate intra-regional trade in agricultural commodities.

“Non-tariff barriers continue to constrain trade in food. The Community needs to re-examine how it can dismantle the non-tariff barriers to trade in agricultural products while generating employment for its citizens.”

“Non-tarriff barriers”? Was it the name “Jagdeo” that stuck in his throat? Sad.

…on the oil contract

Your Eyewitness knows Trotman will ignore his calls to reveal the details of the deal he’s made with Exxon on OUR oil.

But to ignore his coalition partner WPA? Oi vey!