19 June 2018   Leave a comment

“Blood and soil” nationalism has deepened in Italy, as the Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, announced plans for a census of the country’s Roma community and to expel those Roma who are not of Italian nationality.  The Roma are an itinerant people who live throughout Europe and elsewhere and who identify closely with their traditions, relatives, and customs.  Because of their migratory patterns and their close-knit behavior, they are often regarded by suspicion (and are often pejoratively referred to as “Gypsies”) and have historically been mistreated (they were also victims of the Nazi holocaust during World War II).  The announcement by Salvini raised many fears about the nature of the nationalism being fostered by the new government in Italy.

 

The US Senate has approved a hefty increase ($82 billion) for military spending in the 2019 budget, bringing the total allocation to about $719 billion.  If approved, it would be the highest allocation for military spending since the height of the Iraq War.  The budget does not include President Trump’s plans for a new military branch in space: “I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces….It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.”  There were no plans to increase taxation to provide the new monies for the military, so apparently the military budget will continue to be funded by deficit spending.

 

President Trump has threatened $200 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese products if the Chinese do not rescind their retaliatory tariffs on the US aluminum and steel tariffs.  The tit-for-tat trade war with China seems to be quickening in pace.

It is hard to imagine China backing down from its tariffs.  Indeed, it is likely that China will take further steps to respond to the US tariffs.  A trade war seems inevitable at this point.

Posted June 19, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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