Your Country: What Is Its Destiny?
Introduction: Why Are Some Countries Rich And Others So Poor?
- Just as individuals have specific destinies to fulfill, so do countries. Some countries prosper greatly and have an almost magical dynamic quality to them. Their citizens seem to have a common belief system, which allows them to work together towards a specific goal or set of goals. These people have a specific purpose in life and have great initiative and enthusiasm for the future.
- The opposite situation can also exist, as some countries seem to be mired in poverty and corruption with the majority of that country’s inhabitants living in misery and unhappiness. Even with massive economic assistance from organizations like the United Nations (UN) over the span of many decades, many of these countries seem unable to pull themselves out of their downward economic spiral, much to the concern of donor countries. How can so much money be spent to fix a problem, yet achieve so little results?
- Many believe that wealthy countries such as the USA and those throughout Europe have much land and resources which is the basis of their wealth. That is not always true, as seen in the incredible economic power generated by Hong Kong (particularly when it was under British rule). Few places in the world have had such incredible economic success and it was available to everyone. It was the hallmark of good government working in combination with a hard working population determined to succeed. Yet Hong Kong (a small island off the coast of China) has so few resources that it has to import its water on a daily basis.
- So what is the secret to success for countries? Why do some succeed and others fail? The two most important factors to secure a country’s future are: a) good government (i.e. one that is honest, efficient, flexible, and realistic in setting goals) and b) the belief system of a country’s people and the value they place on honesty and hard work.
- Even thousands of years ago, the importance of good government became evident when it was written: “Where there is no vision [leadership], the people perish”.
Six Countries to Watch in 2017: Will Its People Choose Change or Opt for the Status Quo?
- The United States: mark Friday, January 20th on your calendar, as that is the day that Donald Trump will be sworn in as America’s 45th president. Americans shocked the entire world in October 2016 when they rejected what they perceived to be the status quo and elected him president. Given his outgoing personality, he will definitely be an agent for change.
- Holland: the country’s national election is scheduled for March 15th. Will the Dutch people opt for change and elect Mr. Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch far-right Freedom Party, as Holland’s next prime minister? If so, he will shake up the status quo, as he wants to remove the European Union (EU)’s control over key contentious areas such as immigration and refugee policy (areas that Holland had control over before it joined the EU). He is committed to holding a referendum on whether Holland should quit the EU, similar to the one held in the United Kingdom.
- France: in April / May the people of France will vote for their president. Will the French people opt for change and elect Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front party? If so, she also wants to hold a referendum on whether France should quit the EU, similar to the one held in the United Kingdom. French voters have given their support for many years to the two status quo parties: the Republican and Socialist parties, Unfortunately, neither of these parties have been able to stop the ongoing deterioration of France’s economy. The rate of unemployment continues to increase and terrorism has taken firm root, with no end in sight. The EU’s policy of open borders has made the threat of terrorism almost impossible to stop, so it should not be a surprise that Marine Le Pen has received a lot of attention when she promises to close France’s borders (a return to what France did before it joined the EU) and to restore law and order.
- Germany: no date for the national election has been assigned yet, but the election needs to be held by October 22nd. Angela Merkel is the current (and longtime) Chancellor. She wants to be elected for a fourth term, hoping that voters will ignore the ongoing accusations that under her reckless “open door” refugee policy, Germany (as well as several other European countries) now have terrorists in their midst, who are dedicated to destroying the very countries that let them in! This election may land up being a contest between 62-year old Angela Merkel who represents the status quo and is frequently named as the most powerful woman in the world and her rival, the youthful and well educated 41-year old mother of 4, Ms. Frauke Petry, party chairwoman of the AfD party. German institutions and culture are under massive attack from huge numbers of illegal immigrants and refugees, who feel a sense of entitlement to Germany’s generous welfare system. Many Germans feel that they are being taken advantage of by so many newcomers. Ms. Petry is worried that Germany is being poorly led and has to change course dramatically. She is determined to help her country to get back on track. Given her zeal, she has become a modern-day Joan of Arc ready to do battle against Angela Merkel!
- Italy: Even though a national election does not need to take place till May 2018, the current Italian government may be forced out of power at some point during 2017: Italy’s banks are on the verge of collapse and the south of Italy has been overrun by a massive influx of migrants from Africa (via Libya). There is added political pressure being put on the national government, as separatist movements are threatening to break away from the rest of Italy unless the migrant situation is resolved and soon. The EU will no doubt have to bail out Italy’s banks, just as they have had to do with Greece (repeatedly). Which political party will step forward, if any, to stop Italy’s slide into bankruptcy and political chaos?
- United Kingdom: With any luck, Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, will be able to fulfill her promise to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon and formally take the United Kingdom out of the EU by the end of March. It is indeed a miracle that the “Leave” campaign won the referendum, given the amount of pressure put on the voters, particularly by the business community (who wants to retain the status quo). Nigel Farage, British politician, will no doubt remind the prime minister on a regular basis of her obligation to hasten the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU (in the event that she forgets). The United Kingdom survived quite well without the EU for almost its entire existence. Given the economic turmoil within the EU (especially in countries like Italy and Greece) and the refugee fiasco (where the vast majority of refugees are from Turkey and Libya), Britain should run as fast as possible from the EU (and not look back)! More and more the EU resembles the Titanic, and we all know where that supposed unsinkable ship landed up: at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean!
America’s Destiny: Make America Great Again!
When Donald Trump takes over as president of the United States on January 20, 2017, he is destined to become either America’s greatest or worst president. If he stays true to many of his promises, he could either build it up again to become the world’s number one superpower, or he can tear the country to shreds, leaving it in ruins. Hopefully, he will show good judgment and do what it takes to enrich America’s destiny, and in so doing, become the USA’s greatest president. He has vowed to make America great again, which is an enormous undertaking. He can’t do it alone. For now he has the support of the American people, and they want positive change on a massive scale, particularly economically (i.e. American workers want the manufacturing sector to come back to the USA).
Five Top Priorities For Donald Trump in 2017
#1. Stop the flow of refugees into the USA
Background: At present the UN’s International Convention on Refugees is helping to fuel the mass exodus of refugees world-wide from third-world into first-world countries. Most of these refugees are economic refugees, seeking access to the generous welfare system of places like Europe and North America. Working with these refugees is a highly sophisticated group of organized criminals who specialize in people smuggling (which has now become even more lucrative than the drug trade). The UN has done little to stem this flood of refugees, which threatens to destabilize entire countries and regions.
Possible Course of Action: Request Nikki Haley to withdraw the USA from the International Convention on Refugees (known as the UN 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol). The USA could then implement its own rules and policies on how to treat any potential refugees entering (or trying to enter) the USA. If America withdraws, it will give the courage to other countries to do the same.
#2. Cancel the NAFTA Agreement with Mexico
Background: Recently American employers in Los Angeles have complained that in order to compete with rival firms, they are having to relocate their manufacturing plants from California to Mexico: instead of paying American workers $25 per hour with benefits, they can simply pay Mexican workers $3 per hour with no benefits. The items manufactured by the Mexican workers can then be shipped into the USA, duty free. As one of the California employers asked: “Why would anyone want to produce anything in the USA, when you have Mexico?” He is right! Why would the USA have agreed to such a flawed agreement, as it would destroy its own manufacturing sector?
This Agreement has been in effect since January 1994 when it was signed into law by Republican President George Bush, Sr.
Possible Course of Action: The cancellation of this Agreement by Donald Trump will be good for America, as it will bring manufacturing jobs back to the USA. No one could argue against this; however, the American business community will more than likely not support this initiative, as they have been able to reap huge profits by relocating their manufacturing facilities to Mexico.
#3. Restore America’s Manufacturing Sector
Background: For decades America has been systematically losing its manufacturing sector, primarily to countries like China. At the moment if you walk into any store within America, the majority of the products for sale will say “Made in China”, everything from shoes to refrigerators. As a matter of fact, an American was curious to see how many American products, if any, were being sold in American stores, so he simply walked into a major retail outlet and recorded where all of its products were made. Apparently, 90% of everything in the store was made elsewhere. This random survey became quite contentious amongst the business community when it was published, as it highlighted just how bad the American manufacturing sector has deteriorated.
Possible Course of Action: Implement a “Made in America” manufacturing policy, giving preference to products made in the USA. If an American company imports products into the USA made in other countries, then it should pay an import levy. Revenue earned from products produced and sold within the USA should be favorably taxed (i.e. impose higher rates of income taxes on offshore operations).
Donald Trump will receive a lot of lobbying on this issue, as will the Republican members of Congress. For decades, American businesses have been allowed to have their products produced overseas for a fraction of the cost and then shipped back into the USA to be resold at full retail prices. For example, a pair of men’s shoes can be produced in a Chinese factory for $10 and then resold in the USA for $100. Such a system has benefited American businesses and the Chinese economy (i.e. it enriches the factory owners, officers within the Red Army, and Chinese Communist Party officials who work in partnership with the business community). China has grown rich and powerful thanks in part to businessmen and businesswomen from many first-world countries, primarily the USA.
The business community has traditionally supported the Republican Party within the USA of which Donald Trump is now its leader. Many members of the Republican Party have deliberately ignored the decline in the American manufacturing sector in order to keep their supporters (i.e. the business community) happy. What happens now? Will Donald Trump back off from keeping his promises to restore America’s manufacturing sector or will he move forward with the necessary reforms? Where does Donald Trump’s allegiance lie: with America’s workers or with its business community (who don’t want to change the status quo)?
#4. Immigration Reform
Background: There are currently millions of illegal immigrants living in the USA, many of whom are from Mexico. Donald Trump has threatened to have mass deportations, but that may be easier said than done.
Possible Course of Action: Work with Congress on reforming the immigration system, so that it’s fair to everyone (if possible). In some cases, he may have to have an amnesty program.
#5. Secure America’s Border with Mexico
Background: Many illegal immigrants have simply crossed the border into the USA and never returned home. This in turn has inspired many other illegal immigrants and refugees from Central America to try and do the same. Lately, even thousands of Africans have turned up at the border and tried to illegally enter the USA. It is little wonder that Americans feel like they are under siege.
Possible Course of Action: Work with Mexican authorities to get them to patrol their border towns properly. If little cooperation is forthcoming, then one option could be to seal the border at certain problematic areas, and at the same time, bring in the military to help with patrols.