Today, the logistics centers play an important role in the development of various formats of international interaction at the beginning of the new Millennium. At the present stage, their role is particularly high in the context of integration processes at the regional and global levels. The trends of globalization and regionalization led to the formation of the concept of “global region” and the increasing competition of integration associations for sales markets.
The current fight in the transit transport market in the regions of the world is becoming more complicated, as in modern conditions, competition for transit cargo flows is moving from offering more rational routes and cost-effective services to meeting the geopolitical and geo-economic interests of the main participants.
In this regard, initiatives by individual States or mega-partnerships to build new systems and channels of economic interaction between individual countries and subregions are emerging in regions of the world. It should be understood that the implementation of such projects requires the creation of a new architecture of international transport corridors. Thus, in response to the new challenges of developing economic relations between Europe and Asia, EU leaders began to take steps towards the development of logistics routes on the continent.
The Concept of the pan-European corridor was one of the first to appear as part of the concept of pan-European transport infrastructure and was developed for more than 8 years at the so-called Prague (1991), Cretan (1994) and Helsinki (1997) conferences. Its main goal was to increase the EU’s connectivity with its (back then) potential members – the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). After the Helsinki conference, the content of the pan-European transport and infrastructure network was formulated, which consists of : 1. Trans – European transport network in the EU (TEN-T); 2. 10 pan-European corridors in CEE; 3. 4 pan-European transport zones; 4. TRACECA Eurasian routes.
The implementation of the 10 pan-European corridors program (in 1995 – 2005) was closely linked to integration processes in Europe and the desire to develop pan-European cooperation. Nevertheless, the large number of States in Europe and the borders separating them, and differences in the rules governing international transport, significantly slowed down the cross-border movement of goods.
After the EU enlargement in 2005, a Program was developed to expand the main transport routes (5 logistic roads) to neighboring countries and regions, which were considered as an infrastructure framework for pan-European economic cooperation, which was linked to the future prospects of the EU .
Deepening integration processes within the Union and building up mutual economic and social ties have revealed bottlenecks in European logistics in the form of disparate national projects for its development, lagging in the introduction of intermodal transport technologies, and insufficient coordination of the development of individual modes of transport and improving their environmental friendliness. In order to eliminate these bottlenecks, the EU adopted the Trans – European transport network development program (TEN-T), designed up to 2050.
TEN-T consists of two subsystems: a comprehensive one that provides integrated transport development in the EU countries and a high-speed connection of about a hundred European urban agglomerations, all major seaports, airports and border checkpoints, and a basic one in the form of Trans – European highways, where international traffic is concentrated. There are 9 main logistics hubs: North sea – Baltic; Mediterranean ; Rhine – Danube ; Baltic – Adriatic ; North sea – Mediterranean ; middle East ; Atlantic ; Scandinavia – Mediterranean; Rhine – Alps.
The implementation of the program allows ensuring the smooth functioning of the internal market, economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU, and improving transport accessibility throughout the Union.
Another EU project to strengthen logistics routes along the EU – Asia line was the TRACECA project created in 1993. Over the past ten years, more than 50 technical assistance and investment projects have been implemented under the TRACECA program, in which 14 States participate, and private investment has exceeded $ 1 billion. In particular, over the past five years, $ 25 million has been invested in the development of the ports of Baku and Turkmenbashi, $ 70 million in Amirabad (Iran), and about $ 100 million in Aktau.
As a result, a significant part of the cargo traffic passing through the Caspian region already goes through TRACECA. However, difficulties in the implementation of the project are also present and the deadline for the corridor to reach full capacity has been pushed back to the 2020s. This project provides for the reconstruction of logistics between Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Geopolitical changes on the world map and the strengthening of the PRC as one of the main actors in international relations not only in the region, but also in the world, attracted the attention of European political and business circles to a new project put forward by the PRC in 2013 – Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
According to the Chinese side, the BRI concept should not be considered an integration structure, international or regional organization. This is an initiative of mutually beneficial cooperation and joint development of China and neighboring countries.
The main goal of the project is to redirect the flow of exports of goods and capital to those countries with which China has begun to develop cooperation in the last decade, primarily to countries in Africa and Central Asia and Western Europe. The project’s focus on solving China’s long-term Eurasian problems is clearly visible. After solving numerous political, organizational, financial and other issues, the communication basis of the project should be implemented in the current logistics.
According to the initiators of the project, the New Silk Road should include land and sea components. The land-based silk road, as it was a thousand years ago, will start in Xian (Shaanxi province), then pass through China to Lanzhou (Gansu province), Urumqi district, and cross Central Asia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Then, passing through the Bosphorus Strait, it will go to Moscow (Russia), continue to Rotterdam and end in Venice (Italy), where it will meet the sea component.
The Maritime Silk Road will start in Quanzhou (Fujiian province), pass through the major cities of southern China, Guangzhou (capital of Guangdong), Beihai (Guangxi) and Haikou (Hainan), reach the Strait of Malacca with a stop in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), cross the Indian ocean with calls in Kal-Kutta (India), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and the Maldives, and reach Nairobi in Kenya. Then it will pass through Djibouti, the Red sea and the Suez canal to Athens (Greece) and then to Venice (Italy), where it will connect with the land route.
Control over two Silk Road routes ensures China’s energy security and helps protect its investments in strategically important regions. In addition, the implementation of the project allows to reduce logistics costs. Thus, it is important for China to ensure the security of East, Central and South – East Asia, on which political and economic stability depends the well-being of a number of border regions of the PRC, as well as the stability of its trade.
The emergence of the Belt and Road Initiative has become the embodiment of a competition of development models that challenges the former role of the EU as a global model of regional integration. “Belt and road” partnerships of ASEAN with major international players (USA, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea), as well as the Trans – Pacific partnership are a set of new initiatives, “significantly different from classical integration schemes, which are formulated in the theory of international relations based on the experience of the EU, and “new regionalism” relying on non-state actors and transnational processes that occur “apart from” state” .
China’s ability to respond with interest to new plans for regional cooperation has become an advantage against the background of the EU’s wary attitude to the BRI, which has led to the involvement of the interests of Central Asian and Eastern European countries in the initiative. Thus, as a consequence of the involvement of the Eastern partnership countries in the Chinese investment zone of influence, the EU and China decided to combine their logistics routes.
Analyzing the Sino – European relations, it can be noted that the current relations between the EU and China are characterized by a comprehensive content of the bilateral agenda. In an effort to strengthen a common foreign policy line in relations with China, in 2015 The EU has developed a document“Elements of a new EU strategy towards China”. A new “Connecting Europe & Asia: The EU Strategy” was adopted in 2018, which specified the European policy towards Asian countries as part of the “connectivity” approach, providing a forum for coordinating EU and Chinese infrastructure investment relating to TEN-T and the BRI.
A key objective of the “Connectivity Platform” is to ensure that investment takes place within a framework of fair and undistorted competition based on regulatory convergence, while promoting cooperation in areas such as technology, engineering, construction and the development of standards.
An important initial area of work for the “Connectivity Platform” is the financing of investment on priority transport corridors. The Sino – EU summit 2016 in Riga (Latvia) provided further confirmation of an increasing focus on BRI – related projects and initiatives. At the closure of the summit, participants declared that they would make concerted efforts to develop synergies between the BRI and relevant EU initiatives such as the Trans – European Transport Network, more generally support the development of transport routes between Europe and Asia, and establish multimodal logistics centres throughout the area of the New Eurasian Land Bridge. They also committed to improving the international supply chain and border crossing rules on key transport corridors and the connection from the Port of Bar (Montenegro) to the railway network in Central and Eastern Europe.
Analysing the logistics along TEN-T, it should be mentioned that the EU has ports on the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea (including the Aegean, Adriatic, Tyrrhenian and Balearic Seas), North Atlantic Ocean, North Sea and Baltic Sea, providing a wide range of access points for shipping from outside the EU.
Also should be taking into the consideration the possible approaches to the EU by land and sea and the TEN-T core network corridors. Thus rail services between China and the EU currently operate mainly on the route through Russia, Belarus (where they transfer from the Russian, broad gauge (1,520mm) to the standard UIC gauge (1,435mm) at Brest) and Poland, using the North Sea – Baltic TEN-T Core Network Corridor (CNC) at least as far west as Warsaw. In the course of this research, various rail routes from the Far East to the EU were assessed to determine the most likely ones for carrying rail freight in the future. To that end, the attractiveness of the time of the shipment was considered. Based on the above assumption, it was found that, with shipping times to the North Sea up to one week longer than to the Mediterranean Sea, rail would be most attractive for transport to Europe north of the Alps, including to EU Member States bordering the North Sea and Baltic Sea.
Containers carried by rail, therefore, would primarily be those previously shipped to North Sea ports, and would travel along the route from Moscow (Russia) through Brest (Belarus) and Warsaw (Poland) to Berlin (Germany). Containers carried by sea would first pass or call at ports in Southeast Europe, such as Athens/Piraeus in Greece, where they could in principle be transferred to rail for travel further north. However, most freight of sufficiently high value to justify the additional costs of rail across the Balkans would already have switched to overland rail travel across Asia. It would therefore be more cost-effective for the remaining containers at Athens/Piraeus to continue by sea to ports in the north Adriatic Sea, such as Venice and Trieste in Italy, Koper in Slovenia and Rijeka in Croatia.
Assuming that sufficient end – to – end capacity is available between China and the EU, the focus of future rail freight flows, including those attributed to the BRI, is likely to be the North Sea – Baltic TEN-T CNC from Brest to Warsaw(Poland).
Some freight trains through or around Warsaw (Poland) currently continue to Berlin and Duisburg in Germany, but, by 2040, services may diverge to a range of destinations: south via Katowice in Poland to Hungary and Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and onwards to southern Germany, Switzerland and France; southwest via Łódź and Wrocław in Poland to Germany; west, as at present, via Poznań (Poland) to Germany, and onwards to the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and via Hamburg to Denmark and Sweden; and northeast along Rail Baltica to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonian and Finland.
The routes to the west and to the northeast form part of the North Sea – Baltic Core Network Corridor of the TEN-T, which extends from Warsaw west to Berlin, Amsterdam and Rotterdam and north to Tallinn and Helsinki. The North Sea – Baltic Core Network Corridor Study includes estimates of rail freight tonnage crossing the border between Belarus and Poland in 2025. While it is difficult to compare estimates of tonnages and TEUs, the estimates in the Corridor Study appear to be small compared with the potential volume of BRI – related traffic by 2040.
Despite wide range of synegration of TEN-T and BRI, the analysis showed, that the geographical and project scope of the BRI are not clearly defined and that they continue to evolve.
The analysis of potential future traffic flows in this study suggests that the first study should focus on the New Eurasian Land Bridge Corridor connecting with the North Sea – Baltic Core Network Corridor of the TEN-T. This would require dialogue with other organisations already engaged in the development of rail transport routes in Eurasia, in particular CAREC. It would also require engagement with organisations such as UNIFE, representing manufacturers of rail equipment, with an interest in the promotion and application of EU standards beyond its borders.
The analysis of BRI – related traffic flows in the EU suggested that the BRI could generate additional rail freight of approximately 3 million TEU (equivalent to 50 – 60 trains per day or 2 – 3 trains per hour each way) between the Far East and the EU by 2040. Subsequently, it was concluded that the most likely TEN-T corridor to be required to accommodate this traffic would be the North Sea – Baltic Core Network Corridor.
It is not expected that the BRI changes patterns of shipping traffic materially other than to reduce slightly the volume of freight entering the EU via the North Sea Ports. Any effect might be offset by a growth in the shipment of BRI – generated freight across the North Sea to the UK. Nevertheless, it should be noted that maritime trade between China and the EU is already well-established, and that it is not possible to forecast possible changes in related trade patterns as a result of the BRI.
Given these results, and taking account of the uncertainties surrounding the definition and evolution of the BRI, recommendations to address particular constraints or bottlenecks on TEN-T beyond those already highlighted by the corridor studies would be premature. In the absence of greater clarity on the scope and priorities of the BRI, there is a risk that the development of specific investment projects designed to accommodate more traffic on the North Sea – Baltic Core Network Corridor, for example, would prove either inadequate or redundant.
It is also worth noting the issue of stabilization of subsidies for infrastructure and logistics projects of the PRC through the EU – Asia line.
At the same time, the TEN-T Corridor Studies should be reviewed and developed periodically as the work of the “Connectivity Platform” progresses and the BRI is defined more clearly. This would require TEN-T policy to become more outward-looking, with an explicit requirement to take account of major policy initiatives sponsored by countries outside the EU. It could also be facilitated by the development of periodic forecasts of BRI – related traffic, following the model of the European Commission’s Reference Scenario, with forecasts developed under the framework of the “Connectivity Platform” and jointly approved by participating countries.
Despite the presence of problem areas in the development of logistics ties between the EU and China, partners (especially the EU) note that the development of the logistics is greatly influenced by the geopolitical considerations of countries, in particular the desire to strengthen their foreign policy influence through modern infrastructure, reduce the geopolitical risks of entering major markets, and diversify options for communication with world markets. In other words, the dynamics of the developing of the EU – China logistics is a reflection of technological progress in transportation, the progress of globalization and regionalization of the world economy, geopolitical and geo-economic interests of participating countries in the development of international communications.
It should be understood that one of the key advantages of continental cooperation in the Eurasian space is the possibility of developing transport potential and related infrastructure. Work in this direction will lead to a number of positive effects, the main of which are the use of the transit potential of countries, localization of industry along the Trans – Eurasian transport corridors, export development and increased connectivity of inland States and regions.
Constructive interaction between the EU and China on the development of logistics routes in Eurasia shows that participation in the Eurasian cooperation can help the participants of the initiative “consolidate the strategic rear”, provide a basis for the rise of countries and influence the restructuring of the world structure, become a useful platform for global governance and international policy building.
The Economy Against the Tide
The world evidently grappled with the effects of the Covid pandemic in 2020 and continues to wedge forward against the odds to survive and stay afloat. The major economies contracted as the global boards pinned records after records in economic depreciation, monetary devaluation and corporate deterioration. However, whilst the pandemic pushed the metaphorical brake over the developed and developing economies alike, and simultaneously nudged the least developed into desperation, China posted surprisingly positive growth figures as it bid adios to the yesteryear. While anything remotely lucrative seems like a farce nowadays and although the relatively booming Chinese economy seems superficial at the first glance, a detailed analysis dissects the tenets of the trade that have set the People’s Republic apart from the struggling world.
China stands as the figurative ‘Ground Zero’ of the Coronavirus pandemic; reporting the earliest emergence of the virus in the ultimate month of 2019. China later went on to have a gloomy start to the new year; struggling to deal with the strange occurrences, rising death toll and having no answer to the surging uncertainty. The new year celebrations were cancelled, holidays extended and even corporate giants like Toyota and Apple were resorted to immediate closure across the Mainland. The year expected to be of expansion turned polar as the world started to isolate the country to contain the virus; turning exports to the lowest levels over decades of preceding economic flourish.
However, while many global experts predicted the downfall of China; extrapolated by the dismal figures of the first few months of 2020, China quickly recovered and surpassed expectations in both containing the virus within the country and stabilising the tattering economy. The main contender and outright rival of China, however, faced the music in the most ironic way possible. Whilst the United States pillared on the trade war between the two since before the Covid pandemic, Mr. Trump left no stones unturned in maligning China for spreading the virus around the globe; deliberately and in an attempt to exponentiate its accession to power over US. The US economy faced the brunt of the pandemic rather expectantly since the time was wasted on hurling accusations instead of proactively adopting protective measures beforehand. While US is currently the worst affected country around the globe, its economy is no different than the mounding death toll on charts each day.
The US economy contracted on record levels and even itsworld-renowned indexes like DJI and S&P500 posted negative rallies; first since the Great Depression of 1929. Although the economic damage to the US has been cushioned, now twice, by heavily strategized monitory polices of the FED and colossal fiscal stimulus, the world superpower is showing signs of weakness as it deals with over 250,000 fresh cases each day yet can’t function to facilitate the 14 million and counting Americans facing unemployment for months and seeking benefits, taking the national bill to unprecedented heights.
Even compared to the regional counterparts, China stands out in much more than just the economic stability. Europe currently deals with a detrimental surge of the virus-variants while simultaneously accommodating the challenging deals across the borders in the wake of Brexit. The United Kingdom faces contradictions over new trade policies and procedures; not just with EU but with its very own states like Northern Ireland. The monetary rates now touch zero with a possibility of further plunge into the negative territory as London shivers with fatal blows of the highly infectious variant of Covid and the nation facing the second country-wide lockdown as hospitals run at full capacity.
Meanwhile, EU falters with the economic fiasco even under the improving financial conditions and finally grabbing an agreement on the year-in-year-out negotiations of the Silk Road Initiative. The distinction, however, is clear as while Germany, Europe’s most powerful economy, wrestles with a catastrophic recession, China completely avoided recession throughout the year 2020. While Germany looms into negative growth rates, China posted a steep 6.5% growth in the last quarter (Oct-Dec); a cumulative growth of 2.3% in 2020. A stark opposite of the slump caused by Covid restrictions that initially pulled China’s economy down by 6.8% in the first quarter compared to 2019.
While China has been gauged as “The only major economy to quickly recover from the pandemic and find the normal course of business operation”, the recovery has been uneven over multiple sectors of the domestic industry. The boom in the economy has been celebrated and attributed to the growing optimism of Chinese investors in the relentless recovery of the economy. The Shanghai stock market was recently pulled up by 1% even under the rippling conditions of the global economy. However, while the consumer electronics sector has enjoyed the waves pushed by the ‘stay at home’ mottos under the lockdown, service businesses like hotels and restaurants have faced a crunch which has eventually carried forward to the blue-collar workers in China. While the factories in the Mainland have turned into an overdrive to fill in the boom of exports since many countries face a manufacturing break, the exporters to the poor countries are dealing with the devastation alike to their clients. While magnates like Jack Ma have made a fortune, the recent graduates are struggling to find new jobs.
Now, with the resurgence of the virus, the fear in lacing the country again. The recent tally has jumped up to 769 new cases whilst reporting first death in over six months. However, the health officials have deemed the sporadic spread as ‘very, very small’. Ultimately, China came about to be a tough nut to crack, analytically due to its effective centralised strategies in dealing with the pandemic followed by aggressive policy making; focusing on the advanced manufacturing industries to stay proximate to core competencies whilst simultaneously maintaining a free market structure in other areas of the economy, setting a path for a predicted average 5.7% growth until 2025. Thus, paving China’s way to attain the coveted title of ‘World Superpower’ and surpassing US by 2028.
Indian Farmers Protest Against the Parliament’s Encroaching Bills
The new agricultural reforms in India aim to permit farmers to offer their produce to private purchasers beyond a state-run discount or wholesale markets, where farmers are guaranteed a minimum cost for their yields.
However, the farmers state that the laws would undermine their livelihoods and will solely be profitable to large companies, leaving producers helpless under the heel of a free market. Such patters can be gauged from the Modi government’s corporation-oriented policies. For instance, the current corporate tax rate – 30 percent – has been considerably reduced: 22 percent for existing companies and 15 percent for those established after 1st October, 2019.
Farmers regard these bills with suspicion, for they feel threatened by the corporatization of their agricultural domain and the dismissal of the MSP regime. Introduced in 1966-67, the MSP regime promises the sale of specific crops at a fixed price thus assuring the farmers of a regular income in spite of escalating input costs and unstable prices.
Primary leaders of farmers’ associations have called for protests, even willing to observe fasts during the protest in order to challenge the new farmer laws. With almost 250 million protesters, to protest is being called the largest protest in human history.
This is the second time in the previous two weeks that the farmers have called for country-wide protests, requesting all the people to organize sit-ins outside the district organizations across the state. The protests are being led by a large number of farmers sitting outside the capital, New Delhi, obstructing main highways heading towards the city.
Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, and his party ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ have supported the sit-ins by fasting with them. Kejriwal encouraged his party workers and members to join the campaign and asked Modi’s Bharatiya Janta Party to set aside arrogance and fulfill the demands of the farmers.
The agriculture sector contributes almost fifteen percent to India’s $2.9 trillion economy and enrolls the greater part of the nation’s 1.4 billion individuals. In recent years, this sector has been facing setbacks and driving a huge number of indebted farmers to take their lives.
Modi said the enactment was required to support the agricultural sector, and that the new laws would profit the farmers and “free” them from the oppression of middlemen. Farmers, generally from Haryana and Punjab and considered the “grain bowl” of India, have denounced the laws as “hostile to farmers”.
The farmers have demanded revocation of the new laws and assurance of the Minimum Support Price for their yields.“It’s been months now since the farmers began protesting. We have sent a few written messages to the Prime Minister, Agricultural Minister is demonstrating our hatred to the hostile laws but the BJP government is careless on this issue,” said the farmers’ leader.
One elderly woman, aged 75, said that “unless and until Narendra Modi withdraws these laws, we will not go back. This government should know about the strength and determination of the Punjabi people.”
The Indian Supreme Court has received many petitions regarding a ban on the protest, but the top court has declined such calls and ordered the government and unions to form a committee in which the experts would mediate between the concerned parties.
On the birth anniversary of Sikh leader, Guru Nanak, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a Zoom meeting that Canada would always defend the right of peaceful protest.
Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry termed Indian behavior with farmers as “shameful”. He stated that the Indian government’s policies were the biggest threat to regional peace. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on the Indian government to allow protests, asserting the right to raise a voice and show opposition to the government.
The vociferous calls have certainly proven to be a feather in the farmers’ cap, as India’s Supreme Court has recently ordered for the suspension of these farming bills.
U.S. Trade Deficits Increase from Covid
America’s trade deficit (excess of imports minus exports) reached its minimum in February 2020, and since then has increased 84% from February’s -3708, up to November’s -6812. America has one of the world’s highest rates of coronavirus-19, or Covid-19, infection, and therefore is less productive and more needy than most countries are, during the coronavirus crisis, and is consequently importing more and producing less. The reverse has generally been the case for the countries that have had good policy-responses to the virus — those countries’ economies have either been virtually unharmed by, or else have actually boomed from, this pandemic.
China’s mere month-long trade deficit from coronavirus was an enormous -62.05 in February, but by March China popped back up to+19.93 and has remained above +36 since that time, and it reached its high of +75.43 in November. China has one of the world’s lowest rates of coronavirus-19 infection, and is therefore exporting more as it fulfills the needs of countries (such as America) that are producing less because of the coronavirus crisis.
A major study by Jungle Scout, “Global Imports Report 2020”, says that:
Those countries that were able to recover from the impact of early 2020 economic events are the countries faring better later in 2020. For example, China had the most drastic year-over-year reduction in U.S. imports among the top 20 countries in February and March, second only to Hong Kong. But in April, China bounced back significantly, achieving approximately 40% year-over-year growth in U.S. imports. The countries that were able to recover early are the countries faring better later in 2020.
On December 17th, Matthew C. Klein at Barrons headlined “China’s Pandemic Recovery Accelerates While the U.S. Economy Rolls Over” and he reported that, “Soaring consumer spending, rapid manufacturing growth, and robust exports are pushing up the speed of China’s recovery from the pandemic even as the third wave of the viral outbreak and the withdrawal of federal government income support are causing the U.S. economy to turn over.”
One of the very few countries that were hit about as little as China by this pandemic is Vietnam, whose northern border is China. Vietnam has perhaps the world’s most vigorous and well-planned policies to restrain this virus. The country’s only two months of trade deficit were during April, at -12.20, and popped back up to +12.33 in May, then peaked at +49.86 in August, and declined sharply down to +6.00 in November, and then down to -10.00 in December. Although Vietnam’s worst month of the infection was August, after which the numbers of new daily cases returned quickly to the extraordinarily low numbers of the preceding months, Vietnam was hit hard by retaliation (such as complaints and investigations) from the U.S. regime in October, which caused an especially hard drop from 29.39 in October down to November’s +6.00, and then December’s -10.00. China wasn’t hit so hard by the U.S., mainly because Trump had already turned the screws against them earlier, and China had thus already reoriented its exports toward other countries. Yet, still, China has, steadily, each year, during the past five years, produced almost exactly 40% of all imports by the U.S. The impact of America’s policies against China has been much bigger in boosting America’s imports from China’s competitors than it has been in reducing America’s imports from China. America has been increasing its imports mainly from Vietnam, Germany, and Taiwan. So, those have been the chief beneficiaries of Trump’s anti-Chinese policies.
Another of the very few countries that have been hit by this coronavirus even less hard than China has been is Taiwan, which is almost unique in its enjoying a positive balance of trade throughout the year, and so Taiwan has produced record-breaking trade surpluses ever since May. This is largely because Taiwan is selling more to all of the desperate countries, such as the United States (which regime is especially happy to increase its purchases from Taiwan so as to decrease its purchases from China and from Vietnam). Taiwan is perhaps the world’s top gainer as a consequence of this pandemic.
Unlike China, Vietnam, and Taiwan, Germany has been somewhat poor in its coronavirus policies, and has 24,493 cases per million inhabitants, versus 16 in Vietnam, 36 in Taiwan, and 61 in China. America, by comparison, has 73,795. So, whereas America is over 3 times worse than Germany, it’s 4,612 times worse than Vietnam, 2,950 times worse than Taiwan, and 1,210 times worse than China. Germany is benefitting not because its coronavirus policies have been good but because the American regime wants to crush China and for some products this means buying from Germany instead.
The people who were saying that the aggressive types of measures that countries such as China, Vietnam, and Taiwan, were imposing against this virus would hurt instead of help those nations’ economies were not only wrong but they had their understanding exactly upside-down. They were exactly and precisely and extremely wrong. And if the United States (and perhaps some of its allies) had not been retaliating against the countries (other than Taiwan) that are the most successful against this virus, then the countries that have been doing an outstanding job of protecting their populations from this virus would be economically benefitting even more than they have been economically benefitting from their success against this virus. The result for the well-performing countries is not only lower rates of disease and lower rates of deaths, but higher rates of economic production and GDP.
Coronavirus has thus been redirecting global leadership away from the United States. One might anticipate that America will respond by relying increasingly upon its military in order to impose its will — no longer as any sort of role-model to inspire its ‘allies’. For example, on Christmas Day, December 25th of 2020, at the very same time that the nation’s austerity hawks were blocking passage of a covid-19 relief bill in the U.S. Congress, and millions of Americans were terrified at the resulting prospects of soon becoming made homeless, CNN headlined “US Army prototype cannon blasts target from 43 miles away”, and presented video of a successful test of a tank’s cannon firing a small guided missile against a military vehicle that was located 43 miles away, which video CNN accompanied with martial music in celebration of the huge explosion and fireball-annihilation of that targeted vehicle. America would then be selling its threats more, and its benefits less, and CNN was already a liberal cheerleader for this change to a more ‘assertive’ style of propaganda. But if this is liberal propaganda, then what is conservative propaganda; or: How will CNN now distinguish itself from, say, Fox?
Trump’s replacement, Biden, has appointed, to his Administration’s international affairs posts, individuals who are just as intensely neoconservative (or “hawkish” or “war-loving”) as Trump did; and, therefore, the incentive for America’s trading-partners to become less economically dependent upon America is likely to decrease little, if at all, and America’s balance-of-trade numbers will probably improve little, if at all, during his Presidency. America seems set on being an aggressive declining power, economically, no matter how much it will be spending militarily in order to prop-up its power. America’s billionaires have been thriving while America has been spending around half of the entire world’s military expenditures, and, so, this type of U.S. Government is unlikely to change in the near future.
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