Global economic & political uncertainties


Rashid A Mughal

UNCERTAIN job market and economy are no doubt the biggest troubling issues facing world led by Americans for some time now. The middle class has suffered major brunt during the great recession of current American history from 2007 to 2012. Their jobs have been largely outsourced and the American wealth has been increasingly relocated overseas in the shape of factories and investment in assets. It was the main platform for the Trump election strategy that paid dividends to him. Donald Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements have been sending tremors to the capitals of the world, excepting Russia. One China policy, NATO, European Union, TPT, NAFTA, Iran deal, Israeli settlements, two states theory, nuclear disarmament, Soviet expansionism, all these issues are embroiled and dipped into a deluge of uncertainty. The world is aghast with all kinds of conjectures and raw estimations. It would be good thinking that America is stabilized before it attempts to stabilize the world.
The policies of the incoming administration have by now crystallized and communicated unambiguously to the nations around the world so that they could view their relationships with the new America. This only could be in the best interest of American people and the people of the world. The utterances, devoid of wisdom and vision from America, have so far only multiplied the confusion prevailing amongst the Leaders in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has hinted at forming a group of likeminded leaders minus America, to forge unity to tackle global issues. On his return from meeting with Trump, he said that the whole world benefited from a strong European Union and that the bloc and his country needed to lead the international economy in challenging times. Trudeau told the European Parliament that the Union was an unprecedented model for peaceful cooperation in a speech that manifested his distance from both the United States under President Donald Trump, who has questioned the value and future of the Bloc and from Britain, which has voted to leave it.
An effective European voice on the global stage was not just preferable, but essential, Trudeau said “You are vital player in addressing the challenge that we collectively face as an international community”, he told EU lawmakers a day after they backed an EU-Canada free trade deal. “Indeed the whole world benefited from a strong EU”. Trudeau said that Canada and the European Union shared a belief in democracy, transparency and the rule of law, in human rights, inclusion and diversity. “We know that, in these times, we must choose to lead the international economy, not simply be subject to its whims”, he said, adding both parties had shown they valued trade and a belief that it could bring prosperity to their citizens. With the passage of their trade deal, Canada and the European Union offer a counter to Trump, who has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and wants to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement. For Canada the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is important to reduce its reliance on the neighboring United States as an export market.
For the EU, it is a first trade pact with a G-7 country and a success to hail after months of protests at a time when the Bloc’s credibility has taken a beating from Britain’s vote to leave and French got a warm welcome from lawmakers in Strasbourg as he signaled Canada’s distance from both its big neighbour to the south under Trump and from London, where Brexit supporters argue that ties to Britain’s old empire can help expand trade once out of the European Union. Both Canada and the EU, said Trudeau, needed to ensure that their Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), set to enter force in months, worked for people. He said,“if we are successful, CETA will become the blueprint for all ambitious, future trade deals. If we are not, this cold may very well be the last. So make no mistake, this is an important moment for us. “Trudeau said many people were worried that the currents system only benefited society’s luckiest few and that this was a valid concern. Trade, he said, must be inclusive, so that every one benefited. “And this agreement…. Delivers just that. On the other hand,if we look at Asia, all the unsettled territorial disputes are in Asian continent for quite some time now; Asia is hosting four full fledged nuke powers, some almost at loggerheads. Europe is lurking behind the much thrashed veil to see when and how Asia gets into hottest boil; in the unraveling of European forum world hawks are piercing their sharp eyes on the widening of possible chasms. Britain Brexit is further complicating the European power dream beyond the borders.
On a European roadshow, Trump’s lieutenants have sought to reassure jittery allied that the administration will hold fast to existing foreign and economic policies, including maintaining sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Hours before Lavrov addressed the Munich Security Conference, Pence told the same forum that the United States will stay loyal to its old friends. “The United States is and will always be your greatest ally. Be assured that President Trump and our people are truly devoted to our transatlantic union”, Pence said. The US would also not relent in pushing Russia to honour the Minsk ceasefire accords with Ukraine, he said. The utterances and policies of the global leaders have only added to the political and economic uncertainties. The trade war has already taken its toll by slowing down the global economy and unless these un-necessary and un-prudent policies are scrapped, majority of the countries of the world rich or poor will continue to suffer.
— The writer is former DG (Emigration) and consultant ILO, IOM.

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