26 January 2017   Leave a comment

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled his meeting with US President Trump, signalling greater hostility between the two states over matters of trade, immigration, and the building of a wall along the border.  White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated to reporters today that President Trump will impose a 20% tax on imports from Mexico in order to pay for the border wall.  President Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but an import tax would be paid by American consumers who purchase Mexican products.  Americans would pay for the wall, not Mexicans.  This sleight of hand is despicable.

Image result for US Mexico trade

The US State Department has just undergone a dramatic change.  The Undersecretary for Management, Patrick Kennedy, Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond, and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions all unexpectedly resigned.  They join Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr and the director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, Lydia Muniz, who both resigned on 20 January.  In essence, the entire senior management of the State Department has left: “’It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,’ said David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry”.  The management of the State Department is extraordinarily complicated given the size and scope of the State Department’s physical footprint in the world and it is quite different from the more traditional roles we typically associate with the State Department.

Image result for state department org chart

 

It remains to be seen how the Trump administration will address the issue of climate change, but the initial indications, such as the appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suggest that the US will not take the threat as seriously as it demands.  One of the important points of debate concern the costs of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases which some argue would be greater than the economic losses of climate change.  For most scientists, the costs of climate change will be significant although those costs will not be equally shared across the planet.  But we should also be aware that we are already paying a heavy economic cost for climate change.

Posted January 26, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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