1 October 2018   Leave a comment

My apologies for not posting these last two nights.  I have had a miserable cold and have just been sleeping.

The announcement that Russia was sending its most sophisticated anti-aircraft missile system, the S-300, count many analysts by surprise.  The move represents a substantial stiffening of Russian commitment to the Syrian government.  It is also a serious threat to the Israeli and US air force, both of which have enjoyed air dominance in the region for many years.  In particular, the S-300 system represents a serious threat to the most sophisticated jet fighter in the US arsenal, the F-35, which has yet to be deployed by the US in the Middle Easy but has been deployed by Israel.  The total cost of the F-35 has gone over one trillion dollars in recent years.  The deployment leaves little doubt that Russia intends to call all the shots in Syria from now on, and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to dislodge it from that position of dominance. 

F-35

Markus Brunnermeier, Rush Doshi and Harold James have published a fascinating essay in the Washington Quarterly comparing British-German economic competition in the early 20th century with US-Chinese economic competition in the early 21st century.   The analysis is compelling and leaves me with the clear sense that some lessons have not been learned.  Technological competition clearly gives short-term advantages in strategic bargaining, but it also makes the stakes much higher.  The competition also has global implications, since the two sides try to impose standards for their preferred technology for others.  The essay also shows how corporate interests can strongly influence national interests. 

The US and Canada have agreed to new trading terms which will preserve the basic parameters of NAFTA, but we will have to be careful not to call it NAFTA (it will be called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, or USMCA).  The major changes include the dropping of restrictions on US dairy products imported into Canada, primarily from the US state of Wisconsin and and agreement that more components of automobiles exported between Mexico, Canada, and the US have to be produced in factories that pay more than $16 dollars an hour.  The deal will likely harm Canadian dairy farmers and Mexican autoworkers, and will likely increase automobile prices for US consumers.  But President Trump’s major objective, the scrapping of a dispute resolution system that sidesteps US courts, was not agreed upon, leaving Chapter 19 of the NAFTA agreement intact.

Posted October 1, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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