Friday, 20 January 2017

The Trump heard around the world. Or just hot air in the Americas for UK?

Now The Donald is President almost anything can happen - especially increasing opposition to any of his policies.

As with Brexit the USA election was so narrow as to resolve nothing. While rash statements on a Mexican Wall have disappeared even before the inauguration.

Along with almost all his policy statements even cutting Obamacare, the USA NHS.

Car makers relocating back to USA makes a yuge opportunity for UK and EU manufacturers such as VW and Jaguar in Argentina and Chile and Mexico.

But the reality is we have a US President where nobody knows what his views or polices are.

Trump praising Putin and criticising NATO seems merely random and meaningless, if not endangering US and NATO troops with the continued build-up of US troops in Poland to balance any further gains in Ukraine or destabilisation of the Baltic.

The Admiral Kutzenov aircraft carrier wheezed past Kent and onto Syria proved hardly a substantial threat and resulted only in jet fighters falling off of it into the sea. A danger only to Russian pilots and civilians in the market or hospital.

While China has already been criticised by the ICC over the South China Sea islands, and so may only fear an outbreak of bling-bling Trump Towers across Asia, or Farage popping in for a chinky real estate takeaway as Trump's bagman.

Grisly Cold War warriors like Mad Dog Mattis - never trust anyone called Mad Dog near nukes seems best - look like the past not the future incapable of working with China on the resolving the Spratlys and North Korea flashpoints.

The basketcase nations of the Middle East and East Africa left in his wake are hardly a success story.

Not since Gerald Ford has there been a US president who's a lame duck from the outset. Nor since Nixon in '68 one so hated.

Perhaps the only benefit of Trumpian politics is the end of the Bush and Clinton dynasties.

Both Jeb and Hillary sinking without a trace - it's not that Donald was so wonderful but that they had nothing to say.

But the Mexican Wall outbursts and rise of Hispanic politicians such as Rubio mark a seachange in USA from a WASP to a Latin American focus.

Obama's last reforms in opening up Cuba and releasing more Guantanamo Bay prisoners will certainly see a Trump Casino and golf course in Havana which may be an improvement on the prison.

Kent's Virginian Tim Kaine is a fluent Spanish speaker, with Jamestown and Canterbury pilgrim fathers links, and East Kent's Tom Paine, from his Peace Corps days in Honduras, and resonates more with East Kent than the Trump-lite Farageland of walls not bridges.

Certainly ask not what you can do for your county but for yourself is more the Farage way in deserting both the European Parliament and Brexit team and clogging up the airwaves as an LBC shockjock: “it’s the Europeans I tells ya”.

All less than ideal given East Kent's welcoming nature and focus on France and Benelux tourists and trade, Polish and Romanian students and farmers and Filipino and Indian nurses and doctors. A rise in hate crime and general nastiness could see even the Chinese freight train not bother unloading in Ashford.

But UK is lacking a focus on Spanish language and Latin American courses in schools and universities or even the Magellan celebrations - just look at the weakness of ASEAN in UK.

And the last flecks of Empire whether Falklands or BVI could see a Trump final fulfilment of the Monroe Doctrine and end of a drain on democracies and allies as with Gibraltar. 35 years on from the Fakland war this year, the islands still aren't worth the bones of one British or Argentine grenadier nor the absurd defence costs.

Certainly UK should marshall its resources in trade and culture in USA and Latin America free from the Imperial distractions and failings of the past.

The UK as a non-gringo Western voice and US ally could sail a course to greater prosperity in the Americas.

Brexit is seeing corporations relocating, interminable and random negotiations resulting in nothing much or worse, and immigrants relocating elsewhere with more pressures on the NHS and food. Brexit doesn't even mean breakfast, just a loud raspberry of discontent as the economy slides into the dungheap.

Unless Farage will be urging his pensioners back into the fields or cutting their medicare.

UK trade growth is key in USA, Farage and Trump bromance aside, with the Land of the Free having 17% of UK exports, second only to the 44% of EU.

The new UK trade offices in down the road from Virginia in North Carolina and over the way in San Diego are useful for UK growth in Media and IT and Space innovation.

Even NASA in Florida and ESA in French Guyana

And hispeed rail from Vancouver through to Santiago, and overland to Bering and Shanghai should benefit from the first Trump statements on improving USA’s weak infrastructure.

And sanctuary cities such as Los Angeles with the mayor and council and police refusing to criminalise or repatriate illegal immigrants is grass-roots resistance to the more odious policies against Mexicans and Moslems but a focus on criminal and gun and drug gangs.

Even Scotland has raised the Mexican flag over Trump golf courses.

Mexico is facing severe problems with the drug trade and ports of Central America, as well as Brazil facing a crime upsurge, make them more dangerous than most war-zones for tourists and residents alike requiring US and UK support not hate.

The growth in cocaine routes through Peru and Argentine and West African and Italian ports, even Ostend airport, for example is still unaffected by the Colombian FARC peace deal.

And cruise ships and ferries via Miami with Cuba now open, and no doubt Yucatan and Nicaragua links, as well as the recent widening of Panama Canal should help UK is best-placed in Caribbean tourism and trade too. Certainly, UK should lead more more than just the Commonwealth nations of Caribbean as tax haven economies - Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad or the car crash in slow motion that is the collapse of Haiti.

With a little effort, Cuba is a UK growth market after communism, with agriculture of sugar and tobacco plantations requiring new efforts in Smart Farms and upgrade of tourism infrastructure without destroying what makes the place unique.

Trump is President but it remains to be seen whether he or UK trade in Latin America amounts to little more than hot air.


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