World Politics: Is Your Country Well Run? Your Destiny May Depend Upon It!
Why Are Some Countries Rich And Others So Poor? What Is the Secret of Success?
- 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”.
Countries to Watch in 2018: Will Their Politicians Show Good Judgment or Make Their Countries Worse?
Political Problems – The Threat of Catalonia Separation: “Junts Per Catalunya!” (Together Catalonia!)
The Catalonia region is in northeastern Spain. Barcelona is the regional capital. This region is the most wealthy and one of the most heavily visited areas within Spain. It is the economic “powerhouse” for Spain, and the source of the country’s biggest political crisis. A referendum was held in Catalonia on October 1, 2017, which Spain’s federal government tried to ban by sending an estimated 10,000 police into Catalonia to stop citizens from voting. The police even resorted to brutal force, dragging away elderly women and literally blocking people trying to enter the voting stations. In spite of these attempts, the “Yes” vote for independence apparently was 90% with voter turnout for the region as a whole at 43%.
Given the results of the referendum, on October 27, 2017 the regional Catalonia Parliament under the control of separatist Members of Parliament declared independence from Spain. The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, used emergency powers to remove Catalan’s President, Carles Puigdemont, and his entire cabinet, and then dissolve Catalonia’s parliament. Prime Minister Rajoy then called for another election to take place on December 21, 2017. Unfortunately, for Rajoy, his tough stance against Catalonia backfired, as Catalan separatists were re-elected and given majority control over the region’s parliament (winning 70 seats in the 135 seat parliament, just 2 fewer than they previously had).
Spain’s answer to solve its political problems with Catalonia is to arrest all of the independence members of parliament by charging them with rebellion and sedition, which can carry very long prison sentences.
No Money to Stop Terrorism But Plenty to Stop Catalonia’s Independence
Spain claims it has no resources to stop terrorism, but plenty to stop Catalonia’s independence movement. Many years ago American security officials advised Spain to devote more police resources to protect its southernmost border with North Africa to prevent the ongoing infiltration of potential terrorists posing as refugees and illegal immigrants coming into Spain and hence the European Union. Spain’s central (federal) government replied that it didn’t have the resources. A while later terrorists struck Madrid (Spain’s capital city) killing 192 people and injuring almost 2,000 people.
In 2017 when the elected government of the Catalonia region decided to hold its independence referendum, the Spanish government sent in an estimated 10,000 policemen to stop the referendum from taking place (at a cost of 77 million euros). It would seem that Spain has minimal resources to devote to stopping terrorism, but plenty of resources from stopping the democratic government of Catalonia from having a referendum. Spain’s priorities seem somewhat confusing!
Issue #1: Is Germany Master of the European Union or an Equal Partner?
Many political and economic commentators for years have wondered about this situation, but it didn’t receive any real discussion till American President, Donald Trump, asked the above question publicly. In true Trump fashion, he remarked that it would appear that Germany is the “master” of the European Union (EU) and the rest of the member states its “subordinates”. In theory all member states are supposed to be equal, but it would appear that some states are more equal than others! It’s as though the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is running “the show”! Two examples were cited: she has agreed to continue the EU’s financial support of Greece and allow it to stay on the euro currency.
It is common knowledge, however, that Greece will never be able to re-pay the massive amounts of monies that it has been borrowing; yet Germany continues to support it. Germany has also been instrumental in flooding the EU with unwanted refugees. As one young French boy stated: “The reason France has a refugee problem is because the Germans let everyone in!” The young 18-year old French boy was stating the obvious, as Merkel herself invited “everyone” to come to the EU, particularly Germany, to be taken care of (which will cost the German taxpayers hundreds of billions of euros to do so and push other EU countries to the brink of bankruptcy.) President Trump described Angela Merkel’s policies as reckless, and a potential disaster for the entire EU.
Issue #2: Is Germany’s Financial Contributions to NATO too Little!
All member states of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) agreed many years ago to spend a minimum 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on national defence. American President, Donald Trump, has emphatically stated that it’s not the USA’s responsibility to be the world’s policeman. He wants to reduce the USA’s financing of everyone else’s protection, particularly with NATO (which is responsible for Europe’s defence).
Even though there are 28 member states, it was reported in 2017 that the USA contributes 22% of the NATO budget. Also, in 2017 the American president stated that the USA was spending 3.61% of its GDP towards national defence while Germany was only spending 1.2% (a little more than Canada’s 1.02%).
Again all member states of NATO are supposed to be equal, but only 5 member states are currently meeting the 2% target. The German government under Chancellor Angela Merkel has denied that Germany is not contributing its fair share towards defence spending, yet the statistics prove otherwise. The USA will not continue the status quo, so Germany will have to reluctantly devote more financial resources to its own national defence and not rely so heavily upon the USA (which it has done since the end of World War II).
Observation: It does not help Germany’s case when by all observations Germany seems to have no problem allocating massive amounts of extra funds (hundreds of billions of euros) to willingly take in over 1.3 million refugees, giving them access to German’s generous welfare system (many of these refugees were living in Turkey and were not living in war-like conditions), yet it can’t find the money to pay its fair share of NATO costs.
Issue #3: Germany’s New Political Landscape: The Rise of Nationalism and the AfD
Germany had a national election on September 24, 2017 and its results were quite shocking, particularly for its longtime chancellor, Angela Merkel. Even though she was re-elected as chancellor for a 4th term, her policies allowed a right-wing pro-nationalist political party to enter the German Parliament (the Bundestag) for the first time since World War II. The AfD (Alternative for Germany) party won 94 seats in Parliament, and is now the third largest political party.
Interestingly, support for the AfD was highest amongst those aged from 35 to 44 years and lowest amongst those age 70 and older. Afd has vowed to rein in Angela Merkel to prevent her from allowing refugees and migrants indiscriminately into Germany (where they can gain access to Germany’s welfare system). The Afd is not a fan of the euro and wants Germany to return to its previous currency, the Deutschmark.
Should Germany abandon the euro and the European Union?
The German economy is the strongest in Europe. Given that fact, Germany could easily abandon the euro and return to the Deutschmark. It will be interesting to see how much longer the average German taxpayer is willing to fund (and basically prop up) many of the poor economies within the European Union (EU) such as Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland. In many ways,
Germany does not need the European Union as much as the European Union needs Germany. New political parties such as AfD could easily argue that German taxpayers funds should be spent on such initiatives as trying to reduce the amount that Germans have to pay each month for their health care costs as opposed to Germany spending its tax revenue trying to endlessly prop up other EU countries (many of which are mismanaged).
Great Britain (the United Kingdom – UK)
Issue: Will the UK Be Able to Conclude Brexit Negotiations in 2018?
Brexit negotiations are still underway in the UK, and will probably be for most of this year. If an agreement is reached, then the UK can begin to chart its own course. Immigration and the rights of EU nationals living in the UK will be major points of contention. Preliminary estimates are that far more EU nationals want to live in the UK than British citizens want to live in the rest of the EU.
Nigel Farage versus Tony Blair and the U.K.‘s Remain Campaign
The Remain campaign has tried to convince UK citizens that Brexit will spell disaster for the UK. They want a second referendum on Britains’ departure from the EU, and have embarked on a campaign to scare the British people into remaining within the EU.
Chicken Little (Henny Penny) & the Remain Campaign
Like the popular children’s folk tale, Chicken Little (also known as Henny Penny), they have repeated the same message, “The sky is falling!” Like the children’s story, the sky over Britain, however, has not fallen.
Even the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has joined the Remain campaign. Tony Blair’s credibility, however, is somewhat tarnished these days, owing to the allegation that he dragged Britain into the war with Iraq under false pretences. The British people were told that Britain had to join the war with Iraq (led by American President, George Bush), as Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (i.e. biological and possibly nuclear weapons). This was totally discredited years later, when it was revealed that there never was any proof of such weapons. The massive cost, destruction, and loss of lives stemming from the Iraqi war was totally unnecessary.
The Remain Campaign Underestimates the British People
Supporters of the Remain campaign seem to underestimate the strength and innovative spirit of the British people. It was not too long ago that the UK had the largest empire in history: the British Empire covered 25% of the earth’s entire land mass and had 25% of the world’s population. They did it on their own, without the assistance of any organization like the EU! No doubt the politician,
Nigel Farage, will counterbalance the scare tactics of the Remain campaign. Nigel is famous for being brutally honest and he is no fan of the EU (which he blames for the uncontrolled flow of refugees, the ongoing threat of terrorism, and the loss of British sovereignty).
Issue: Will President Macron Be Able to Radically Transform France?
President Macron assumed power with a huge majority within France’s parliament. His motto has been similar to President Donald Trump, as he has vowed to make France great again! He has announced an ambitious re-structuring of France’s political, social, and economic landscape. He has in particular vowed to do the following:
- Decrease the number of Members of Parliament (the National Assembly) by 33% (there are currently 577 members within the National Assembly).
- Decrease the number of Senators by 33% (there are currently 348 senators).
- Reduce the overall size of the public sector by eliminating 120,000 government jobs. (France has more government workers than any other European nation.).
- Decrease the corporate tax rate from 33.3% to 25%.
- Reduce the size of the country’s deficit by cutting 60 billion euros in public spending over the next 5 years.
- Rewrite the labour code (code du travail) to make France’s employment laws more flexible (i.e. business friendly). He has vowed to modernize it, removing the imbalance where the majority of power has resided with employees.
Observation: Most economists and political commentators have stated that President Macron’s ambitious plans will radically transform France for the better. People do not like change, so he has to expect much push-back from many interest groups. Many people are watching to see how successful he will be.
Major Political Issue: The Threat of Nuclear Weapons Launched from North Korea
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan warns that North Korea’s threat to launch nuclear weapons upon Japan is the greatest threat to Japan since the end of World War II. Since 1945, Japan has solely depended upon the USA for its national security. In 2017, American President, Donald Trump, has informed the Japanese government that it has to take more responsibility for its national security, and cannot rely solely upon the USA to protect it from other hostile countries. This is a huge shift for Japan to make, as it has a pacifist constitution, preventing it from re-arming.
Given the fact that North Korea recently fired a “test” missile at Japan, the Japanese may not have any other option but to re-arm their country. North Korea has embarked on a dangerous arms race creating nuclear weapons and threatening to use them against other Asian countries as well as the USA.
Security analysts have speculated that either Communist China or Russia has been secretly assisting North Korea with its nuclear weapons program, which would explain how such a poor country and backward country like North Korea could suddenly have unlimited funds to develop an expensive and technologically sophisticated nuclear weapons program.
National Defence Options for Japan include:
- Install American anti-missile systems to destroy any incoming missiles from North Korea
- Install nuclear weapons to counter any aggression from North Korea or Communist China (a long-term ally of North Korea)
- Re-build Japan’s army, navy, and air force to be proactive and monitor any outside threat.
Observation: North Korea may be the instrument that “pushes” Japan into re-arming, which it may be forced to do in order to survive a possible nuclear attack. Up until now, China has had “free rein” in Asia to use its military power to intimidate everyone else, but that may change if Japan re-arms.
If China has been responsible for developing North Korea’s nuclear capability, it may inadvertently push Japan into re-arming (which would not happen under normal circumstances). The end result could be a weakening of China’s military power, not enhancement (all due to its possible “game” with developing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in order to threaten the United States and its ally, Japan). The “game” that China may be playing with North Korea and the rest of the world could easily backfire.
Issue #1: Will the USA Pull Out of NAFTA?
The USA is Canada’s largest trading partner, so any trade issues are of paramount importance to Canada’s economy. For decades Canada has benefitted economically from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It has served both countries equally well, providing for the removal of many trade barriers. Costs are generally higher in Canada, so the USA does not have to fear businesses relocating from the USA to Canada in search of cheaper labour and production costs. The same situation, however, does not exist with the third trade partner, Mexico. Many American companies have closed their factories within the USA and re-opened in Mexico to take advantage of cheap labour costs, in particular. This has pushed the American government to re-visit the necessity of NAFTA and whether it still serves the interests of the USA.
Observation: Should the USA Remove Mexico from NAFTA?
Some economists have proposed that the USA should simply remove Mexico from NAFTA and continue the status quo with Canada. This is a suggestion that the American government is considering. If enacted, it would be disastrous for Mexico, but beneficial to Canada.
Issue #2: Can Canada Reform its Antiquated System of Government?
Canada’s system of government has not changed since 1867. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on the promise to reform Canada’s system of government and make it more democratic [(i.e. implement proportional representation as opposed to the current “first past the post” system of electing Canada’s Members of Parliament (MP’s)]. Without warning or consultation Prime Minister Trudeau (who campaigned for “change”) abandoned his campaign promise, leaving Canada’s system of government frozen in time. It will be interesting to see if another political party is willing to take up the cause of proportional representation and be honestly committed to make necessary changes to Canada’s antiquated system of government.
Issue #3: Will Canada Ever Get an Elected Senate?
Canada’s Senate remains one of the world’s most undemocratic institutions: the senators are personally appointed for life by the prime minister. Many of the senators are affiliated with the party in power and are rewarded for their loyalty by receiving patronage appointments from the prime minister. Canada has 105 senators and no one really knows what they do or even what their role is supposed to be. They are a huge burden to Canadian taxpayers and are part of Canada’s antiquated system of government.
Issue #4: Will Canada Ever Reduce the Size of its Bloated Government?
Are More Members of Parliament Making a Positive Difference?
During the 2015 election, the number of M.P.’s rose from 308 to 338. This has been an added burden to Canadian taxpayers, and made Canada’s size of government even more bloated. Many political commentators have noted these past few years that most backbench M.P.’s do very little constructive work to improve the efficiency of Canada’s Parliament. Whichever political party is in power expects their backbench M.P.’s to simply “rubber stamp” whatever legislation is presented to Parliament, and that is what happens the majority of the time. Given the fact that Canada’s Parliament was already bloated and inefficient, many Canadians are probably wondering what use 30 more M.P.’s will make to its composition. Is more better?
Are More Civil Servants Improving Service from the Federal Government?
Just as the number of government officials has increased, so has the size of the federal government’s civil service, which in 2017 topped nearly 263,000 civil servants. There are more civil servants than ever before, yet many would argue that service has not improved. Of particular interest has been the steady increase in the number of management-level jobs, many of whom receive annual performance bonuses (just for doing their jobs).
Apparently between 1990 and 2016 the number of executive positions within the public service increased by almost 55%. Some government projects (overseen by supposedly top-notch managers) such as the implementation of the federal government’s new pay system, Phoenix, has been disastrous with out-of-control spiralling costs and the inability to properly pay staff. The current federal government seems to be incapable of administering this project, relying upon “unlimited” taxpayer funds to try and fix a poorly designed and ineffectual pay system. At some point a Parliamentary committee will need to investigate such misuse of government funds.
Issue #5: Will Canada Ever be Able to Reduce its Federal Annual Deficit?
Canada’s current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has no plans to reduce out-of-control budgetary deficits. For the fiscal year 2016-17, the federal deficit was a record $17.8 billion of which $16 billion can be attributed to an increase in program spending. Such deficits are being added to Canada’s total national debt, which continues to spiral upward.
Many economists have questioned the government’s fiscal management ability. Any political party can simply spend money, which this current government seems to be able to do quite well. It’s more difficult (and of vital importance to Canada’s future economic prosperity) for Canada’s government to spend its taxpayer funds wisely and to get its annual budgetary deficits under control.
Issue #6: Will Canada’s Housing Crisis Continue to Get Worse?
The housing market within two of Canada’s largest cities, Toronto and Vancouver, has been spiralling out of control for years. Housing costs have increased to the point where most residents can no longer afford a house or even an apartment. Many economists blame money laundering from countries such as China where people are moving vast amounts of cash from China and depositing it into Canada in order to buy real estate. China has currency controls, but many people are easily able to circumvent them.
Canada’s Federal Government Ignores the Problem
Unfortunately, for Canadian residents, Canada’s federal government and many provincial governments have turned “a blind eye” to such money laundering for many years. Proposals have been put forward to stop the influx of “illegal” money, but they have been effectively ignored. Many economists have warned that unrealistic housing costs will make it more difficult to recruit workers and it will inflate the costs of doing business (which will lead to fewer companies willing to relocate to either Toronto or Vancouver). Recently, Amazon released its “short list” for potential cities to relocate its $5 billion headquarters: Toronto made the list, but Vancouver didn’t.
It is unlikely that Toronto will be chosen, however, as the out-of-control housing costs will make it extremely difficult for Amazon to recruit new workers (an estimated 50,000 staff).
General Observation: Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is good friends with President Macron of France. Trudeau has continually stressed how much both of them have in common, yet both of these men have very different visions for their respective countries. The French President has vowed to “make France great again”, while Canada’s prime minister has vowed to “do nothing, but keep the status quo”. Two countries on two very different paths!
Major Political Issue: Is Vladimir Putin Russia’s Mugabe? He Just Won’t Leave!
No doubt many Russians wonder if their country will ever have a democratic government. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was supposed to remove Russia’s autocratic system of government and bring democracy to the people. That hasn’t happened yet! Russia has been basically ruled by dictators determined to retain control over the government at any cost ever since Tsar Nicholas II was removed from power in 1917. At present Russia is ruled by President Vladimir Putin, former KGB Officer (the KGB operated like the Gestapo of Nazi Germany) who then took over the Federal Security Service (FSB). (The FSB replaced the KGB.)
Russia Is Not a Democracy
In theory, Russia is supposed to be a democracy, but it isn’t. According to political analysts, Russia is ruled by President Putin and a handful of very powerful men known as oligarchs (who control most of the country’s wealth). Putin has been in power since 2000, and refuses to leave. Like the dictator, Josef Stalin, he is under the impression that Russia cannot survive without him. Russia will be holding a national election in March 2018. If he wins, he will remain in power till 2024. There is no question, however, of his winning.
Putin’s Rivals Usually End Up Dead, Missing, or Silenced
Any challenge to his leadership is quickly silenced. Many opposition politicians are removed from power or not permitted to run against him (e.g. Alexei Navalny) or simply murdered (e.g. Boris Nemtsov). This is a continuation of both the Tsar Nicholas II’s and Josef Stalin’s policies of dealing with political rivals.
Russia’s Economy Is Getting Worse
Russia’s economy has been deteriorating for years, yet Putin is determined to maintain Russia’s superpower status at any cost. In some cities Russian citizens may not be able to buy groceries for themselves and their families, but Russia’s nuclear weapons arsenal is well funded and as powerful as ever, and Russia’s oligarchs just keep on getting richer.
Observation: At some point, democracy has to be implemented in Russia. The days of keeping dictators for life does not serve Russians anymore. Many people would argue that Putin has to retire. He is too old, and is still stuck in the “Cold War”, dreaming of Russia’s glorious past! (The past was glorious for Russia, but not for the peoples of Eastern Europe which were enslaved by Russia.)
Has Putin become Russia’s Mugabe? Many political commentators would argue “yes”, that he is holding Russia back and needs to go! No doubt, many would say “The sooner, the better!”
The United States of America
America’s Destiny: Make America Great Again!
When Donald Trump took over as president of the United States on January 20, 2017, he would either become 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 Ongoing Top Priorities For Donald Trump in 2018
#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: “Made in USA” versus “Made in China”
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).
American Businesses Are Enriching China’s Manufacturing Sector
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: What to do with so many illegal immigrants?
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.
Implement a Merit-Based Immigration Policy
President Trump has stated that the USA should move to a merit-based immigration policy, welcoming those who can contribute to the USA, grow the American economy, and assimilate into it with few problems. He wants to move away from taking in poor and unskilled immigrants, especially every time a natural disaster hits somewhere in the world.
For decades, the USA seems to be the one country that is supposed to take care of the rest of the world after a natural disaster. Such a policy is no longer realistic, particularly given the increasing number of natural disasters hitting the entire USA (from coast to coast): for example in 2017, wild fires were burning out of control throughout huge areas of California, massive flooding was taking place throughout entire areas of Florida, and widespread damage hit Puerto Rico due to hurricanes.
Many Americans are waiting for natural disaster relief themselves. Such Americans, in particular, could argue that It is a bit unrealistic and unfair for the USA to be more concerned with victims of natural disasters outside of the USA at the expense of its own people. Many Americans would argue the motto: “Take care of your family first!”
#5. Secure America’s Border with Mexico: Should America build a wall across the border?
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. President Trump seems to be quite serious in his efforts to build a wall across the border, if needed, in order to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. The construction of such a wall is quite contentious.
Major Issue: A Rapidly Deteriorating Economy
Italians Are Paying for Years of Mismanagement
More and more young Italians are choosing to leave Italy in search of a better life. The economic situation in Italy is quite bleak:
- Italy’s debt is second worst in Europe after Greece. Its debt as a percentage of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 132% (Greece’s is 179%).
- The country’s high rate of unemployment is leading to higher rates of poverty. It has become so bad that an estimated 33% of Italy’s entire population is at risk of impoverishment.
- In the past 4 years an estimated 600,000 illegal immigrants have landed in Southern Italy looking for economic assistance (e.g. food, housing, and employment). Berlusconi, a prominent Italian politician, has described them as a “social time-bomb ready to explode!”
- For young people between the ages of 25 – 29 years the rate of unemployment is 33%.
- Italy’s banking sector is unstable to the point that its banks hold an estimated 349 billion euros in bad loans (known as Non-Performing Loans or NPL’s). The government has had to spend billions of euros in an attempt to rescue these banks.
- According to Deutsche Bank’s banking analysts, Italy could trigger the next financial crisis, which would wreck havoc for the European Union and its euro.