Viktor Orbán misunderstands Donald Trump

Unfortunately, Viktor Orbán’s speech delivered this morning at a conference organized by the Hungarian National Bank is still not available in its entirety. Nonetheless, I will try to cover it as fully as possible because of its importance.

First, a few words about the conference itself. György Matolcsy established the Lámfalussy Prize, to be awarded to someone in the field of economics and finance who has done outstanding, internationally recognized work. Alexandre (Sándor) Lámfalussy was a Hungarian-born Belgian economist and central banker, known as the father of the euro, who died in 2015. The first Lámfalussy Prize was given to Ewald Nowotny, chairman of the Austrian central bank, in 2014. A year later the prize was awarded to Benoît Coeuré, a member of the executive board of the European Central Bank. Last year it was the Bank for International Settlement with headquarters in Basel that was honored. These prizes are handed out at the Lámfalussy Lectures Conference.

It was on this occasion that Viktor Orbán shared his latest ideas on the state of the world. I consider this speech especially noteworthy because it was Orbán’s first major speech since the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

If I had to point to the most frightening message of the speech, it is perhaps the following sentence: “Unipolar Europe must be transformed into a multipolar entity.” Add to that: “We have received authorization from the highest secular place that we are free to put ourselves at the head of the line. What a great thing, what freedom, and what a great gift.” To my mind the first sentence can mean only one thing: the end of the European Union and the return to a divided Europe of smaller and larger nation states. As for the meaning of the second sentence, it is hard to find words to describe my disgust. So, from here on Orbán with the backing of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will destroy Europe? Is this his plan? I’m afraid so.

In the speech he pretty well describes what he is expecting of the new constellation after the arrival of Trump in the White House. First of all, “the end of multilateral trade relations has arrived and the age of bilateral treaties has come.” As a result, “national interest will be at the forefront” of each bilateral negotiation. Each country will be able to follow its own ideas as far as economic policy is concerned. I found a quotation that is fitting in this context. “Isolation and egoism fell on that day of the Treaty of Rome.” Orbán’s ideas aim to bring back the Europe that existed before 1957.

One of his first suggestions is the immediate abandonment of the negotiations on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Viktor Orbán will not have to wait long since all details about the TTIP were wiped from the White House website shortly after Trump was sworn in as president. Orbán’s idea is to replace TTIP “with something else,” without explaining what this something else will be. His reason for abandoning multilateral trade agreements in favor of bilateral ones is their unwieldiness. Moreover, it is hard to harmonize national interests within such a huge trade agreement.

I’m afraid, however, that Orbán doesn’t understand what the new American administration’s objection is to multilateral trade agreements. If one can believe Trump’s press secretary, his government “will pursue bilateral trade opportunities with allies around the globe.” What is the problem from the American perspective with multilateral agreements? The press secretary put it bluntly: “When you’re entering into these multi-lateral agreements you’re allowing any country, no matter of the size … to basically have the same stature of the US in the agreement.” Keep that in mind and good luck, Viktor Orbán.

Orbán’s criticisms of the European Union are well known, and it is not worth rehashing them here. There was, however, one criticism that deserves notice. He pointed out that none of the goals of the European Union that were promised at the time of Hungary’s negotiations with Brussels has materialized. He specifically mentioned “a Eurasian economic area all the way to Vladivostok.” Clearly, Orbán is still working on a possible Russian-European Union common market.

Another point Orbán made, which should be mentioned, is the EU’s security policy. He seems to be taking NATO’s collapse for granted because he reflected that “Europe would not have been able to defend itself without American help.” The creation of a common EU defense force “mostly depends on a German-French military agreement, which is easier said than done since it has no precedent.” I must admit that I don’t know what Orbán is talking about because post-war Franco-German cooperation is based on the Élysée Treaty, which was signed by Charles De Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer in 1963. This treaty contained a number of agreements, extending even to military integration.

If Donald Trump delivers what he has been promising for months, and he seems to be doing it at record speed, Viktor Orbán might not be such a happy man as he seems today. He may come to realize that “America First” means just that. Trump will treat other nations, especially smaller ones, accordingly. Then we will see what Orbán will have to say.

January 23, 2017
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Roderick Beck
Guest

Given Trump’s evident incompetence, I am not really convinced he is a godsend to Orbán. His first day fiasco at CIA headquarters does not suggest a savvy political player. Moreover, he will probably Hungary as just another poor country stealing jobs from rich ones.

e-1956
Guest

Not so fast.
Trump is so refreshingly direct that no other president is even close to him.
Compare that with the ocean of lies in Budapest.

Guest

Trump is a refreshingly direct liar. Trump’s spokesman evidently is going to be a fountain of lies. Lie to the Americans first. A lie is only an alternative fact.

Member

IPussy grabbing might be direct. Is it also refreshing ?

petofi
Guest

You’ve gone off the rails, e-1056. Trump is not
‘refreshingly direct’ but ‘in-your-face’. He is the instrument of the destruction of civil society. Somehow, he’s become the tool of the basement- brigade, no less than Orban. What has yet to be discovered is how the Russians have achieved the mass twisting of the perception of reality…

petofi
Guest

@ e-1956

I will grant you that Trump was the angry retort
of a populace that had realized that the political game was rigged by both the Republicans and the Democrats. Interestingly, the word ‘rigged’ was widely used by Trump and seems to have resonated with the emotions of the angry Americans. The US was in a political cul de sac–the people saw no way out. The last resort was Bernie Sanders but he was quickly marginalized. It is to the eternal shame of H. Clinton that she brought the reality of Trump to the presidency–but for her rabid ambition, Sanders would be president. Sanders was the honest option for the working class. When even that was stolen from them, they angrily chose the suicide option of Trump.

petofi
Guest

Since I’m on the topic of the US politics, Obama never showed himself as hapless as when Putin had the audacity to put out the news that the election of Clinton would lead to a world war. That statement alone was a gross intrusion into the election and should’ve been met by the immediate closure of the Russian embassy, at the very least.

e-1956
Guest

obama/clinton were not just hapless.
they were deliberately close to russia.
trump and co. is refreshingly resilient.

Roderick Beck
Guest

That is a crazy suggestion.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Your assumption is wrong. There is no American consensus that the political game was rigged. If it was, then Hillary would not have crushed Trump in the popular vote.

Guest

Just look at this:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/24/photo-trump-womens-rights-protest-reproductive-abortion-developing-contries
Marie Stopes estimates that, as a result of the reimposition of the global gag order, the loss of their services alone could result in 6.5m unintended pregnancies during Trump’s first term, 2.1m unsafe abortions, and 21,700 maternal deaths. In passing this law, these patriarchs have fathered millions of unwanted children, helping to create lives that could very well turn out to be painful and potentially motherless.

A real Trump! Back to the patriarchat and the Middle Ages!

e-1956
Guest

99% of the women were decent and refreshingly progressive.
The leaders and organizers were something else.
They wanted to weaponize, mislead, deceive their captive audience.

Roderick Beck
Guest

You are noise.

gdfxx
Guest

I would remind everyone that both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton spoke against the TPP and, implicitly, also against the TTIP.

vomart huli
Guest

Antisemitic.

Roderick Beck
Guest

And they were all wrong.

Linda Horvath
Guest

Viktor Orban is often wrong, but it isn’t fair to say that he wants to destroy Europe. He wants to maintain the real multicultural Europe where the French can be French and the Spanish can be Spanish and the Hungarians can be Hungarian without undue control from a non-democratic centralized bureaucracy that thinks it knows what is best for everyone. He wants to roll-back not destroy, the over zealous European Union. The EU should be a peaceful trade union as it was intended to be at the founding of the Common Market.

Guest

Linda, that’s a very stupid lie!

De Gaulle, Schumann, Adenauer etc all agreed that there had to be a United States of Europe to finish those Centuries of regular wars between all the European countries!

For them the common market was just the first, easy step in cooperation – actually it was the second, the “Montan Union” was the first.

Why do you crazy Nationalists hate cooperation between all Humans? Still thinking that you are the “better race”?

PS and a bit OT:

Some US lunatics again introduced a proposal for a law that makes the USA leave the UN …
And do you know who was/is a big fan of that: Ron Paul.

Bastiat2
Guest

Abusing people telling them they are liars is not very helpful. Furthermore, things are more complicated than you seem to think. After the war, there were two very different points of view: that of Schumann, who was for a Europe of nations bound by essentially commercial treaties. Opposite was the view of jean Monet (that prevailed) of a bureaucratic Europe . This bureaucratic Europe does not satisfy me.
The aspiration of a Federal E Europe could only work if, like in the US, the richest country was willing to donate every year approximately 100 billions euros to the Southern member states, including France. In our case, Deutschland would have to give all its surplus and more to the wine drinkers. Not going to happen any time soon.

webber
Guest

Wolfi didn’t say Linda was a liar. He said she was repeating a lie.
She may well believe it, which means she is certainly not a liar, just misinformed (in my view, too).

Guest

Actually Germany and the other “rich” countries give a lot of money to the poorer Eu countries every year – that’s about the only reason why Fidesz hasn’t yet started the procedure to leave the EU (Brexit happens because the Brits don’t want to pay …)

The Fidesz motto re the EU:
We’re only in it for the money!

e-1956
Guest

wolfi is absolutely right.
the eu, the unity are a potent defense.
orban, duma, brexit are poisonous pills against this magnificent European project.

Roderick Beck
Guest

No, Jean Monet wanted a Europe on common, enlightened values. Not the prejudice and fear mongering that you probably favor.

Ferenc
Guest

“Why do you crazy Nationalists hate cooperation between all Humans?”
Because Nationalists see their one small piece of our Globe aka.Nation as more important than all pieces together aka.our Globe. For them any destruction of other small pieces is secundary to protecting their own piece.
They completely forget/don’t understand/don’t want to see that without our Globe not any human being would be here at all.

Linda Horvath
Guest

I have never thought I was of a better race. I love peaceful people of all races and religions, and my friendships prove it. And I don’t believe that free people should be ruled by professional bureaucrats. I believe in representative government that is elected!

Ferenc
Guest

“I believe in representative government that is elected!”

I believe the same, but unfortunately the current Hungarian government can NOT be called representative!!

Reason??
Fidesz – 45% votes => 67% of seats
Others – 55% votes => 33% of seats

Guest

Ferenc, you don’t get it – Linda believes in “alternative truths”, you know just as Trump was elected with a clear majority … 🙂

Linda Horvath
Guest

Wolf, I’m quite capable of speaking for myself. Quit saying you understand me. You don’t have a clue!

Roderick Beck
Guest

We have a very good understanding of you. You support your fat little Orbán Viktor and his corrupt gang.

Linda Horvath
Guest

Good point. I won’t argue with that.

Linda Horvath
Guest

Ferenc, you made a good point. I won’t argue with it. I said this before, but I didn’t address you as I should have.

Guest

Linda H.: “my friendships prove it”

A reformulation of: “Some of my best friends are Jews.”

Linda Horvath
Guest

Jean, you meant it as a put down, but I am happy to say that some of my very best friends are Jews. And some are Christians of various denominations. And some are atheists. And my husband and I have two very close friends who are gay Hungarians. We love all these people and are happy that they are important parts of our lives. Years ago when I lived in the States I bought a house in an integrated neighborhood because that is where I wanted to raise my children. I’m afraid you can’t categorize me as a racist just because you and I have different views.

Roderick Beck
Guest

I am sure you love all sorts of people as long was white Hungarian nationalist Christians control the system.

Roderick Beck
Guest

No, you believe in pseudo-democracy where your side has political advantages that keep in power indefinitely such as your lovely voting districts, card carrying Fidesz juges, and hate driven campaigns.

Roderick Beck
Guest

No, he uses national sovereignty as an excuse for bad behavior and prejudice. The bed rock of support for populists like Orbán and Trump are the poorly educated white trash.

Ferenc
Guest
Viktor Orban’s first aim isn’t destroying Europe, at the moment he only sees the EU as the main obstacle to his actual need, which is getting more power. He doesn’t have any serious power in Europe (and is hopefully seen by the leaders of other EU countries as what he really is, a charlatan), so the EU is standing in his way and must be destroyed (as action, not as aim!). As it seems (at least in his mind) he’ll soon be elected the first ‘king’ of Hungary (e.g.the preparation of ‘his new working palace’ at the castle-hill), so he is preparing to make expansion of ‘his future kingdom’ possible. As this expansion is most easily into neighbouring countries, he continually pushes this Visegrad 4 group to the forefront. And he hopes to be it’s future leader, so the Hungarian nation will not be the limitation for his power. And when he achieves this, I suspect his nest action will be increasing his power by enlarging Hungary with V4 help and at the ‘cost’ of other neighbours. So far he seems to have the biggest V4 nation, Poland, on his side, but as I understand in the other two, Czech… Read more »
webber
Guest

“he continually pushes this Visegrad 4 group to the forefront. And he hopes to be it’s future leader, so the Hungarian nation will not be the limitation for his power. And when he achieves this…”
Are you hallucinating? “When he achieves this”???? When?
There is no way anyone in Bratislava will allow Budapest to call the shots. Egos are rather large in Prague as well. But they are largest of all in Warsaw. If you think Orban is really going to run the show for the political elite in Poland, you’ve lost it. I suppose at most they’d like it the other way around there – some nuts there may imagine “helping” Budapest to run things (also not going to happen).

Ferenc
Guest

I just tried to explain OV’s hallucination., not mine.
For the rest I fully agree and hope with you that this will never succeed.
From personal experience: have heard many Hungarians explaining their deep friendship with Poland, haven’t heard many Poles speak in the same way about Hungary. So can’t imagine any future V4 leaded by OV or any other Hungarian.

webber
Guest

I see. Sorry, I misunderstood you.

Ferenc
Guest

I’m sorry too, I wasn’t clear enough.
PS: apart from some V4 conferences, can’t imagine any serious V4 group anyway

the Pole
Guest

I agree with Ferenc Orban wants to destroy EU to increase own power. Kaczyński in Poland wants the same increase own internal power. The both perceive strong EU as a obstacle in their road to absolute power in Poland and Hungary. liberal democracy is obstacle and EU law and of course EU Comission is seen a obstacle because it’s interfering into internal matters. Kaczyński wants weak EU just as a free trade organizaton. He pretends that transfer of money form the West will still be possible in that situation. Kaczyński sees Visegrad group as a tool that can be used internally against power of Germany in EU and externally against Russia. IT will never happen cos all players in Visegrad group have different agenda.

e-1956
Guest

too simple.
orban, duma, brexit maybe russian plumbers.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Yes, but both countries, particularly Hungary, need EU aid. No EU aid and Hungary would be a sad case indeed.

webber
Guest

Hungary enjoys a healthy trade surplus with the United States. If Trump follows through on his promises, that will end. If Trump is as good as his word, Hungary (and all EU countries) will either import as much (or more) as it sells to the US, or not trade with the US at all.

Ferenc
Guest

Here short news report about the conference: http://hirtv.hu/videok/172924 (shown speakers Orban, Matolcsi, Jacques de Larosière), the last one received the price (I think) and spoke quit differently from the two Hungarians.
Link to an official summary of OV’s speech in English: http://www.miniszterelnok.hu/europe-must-be-made-multipolar/ , including the joke of the month:
“we Hungarians are an Eastern people which was infused with Christianity, and this leads to a special viewpoint, meaning that we understand all that is happening in China”.

Guest

“we Hungarians are an Eastern people which was infused with Christianity, and this leads to a special viewpoint, meaning that we understand all that is happening in China”.

Orban says understand and means approve.

Guest

Did he really say this? Unbelievable!

Ok, I just read that article and well …
every nation has the right to put itself first, before everyone else
If that means that Germany etc should stop financing Hungary’s (or rather Fidesz’) crazy ideas – why not?
If they don’t want to be part of something “multinational” – f*ck off!

It might be wonderful for us Germans to be treated in Hungary as kings again – like in Kadar times …

Hey, we might even ask the Russians to take them back! (end of sarcasm)

PS:
The German right wingers like AfD probably think along these lines – like the Brexiteers and UKIP they don’t want immigration etc from the East, and that includes not only the Arab counties but also what they call the Balkan (which in the mind of many includes the Visegrad4).

Istvan
Guest

Eva is correct PM Orban does not understand US nationalism. America first means just that, Hungary has relevance only to the extent it helps increase US GDP and job growth or possibly sends its soldiers to fight in the Middle East without being subsidized to do so by the USA.

webber
Guest

Orbán thinks anyone who fails to put Hungary at the center of his worldview is mistaken. For the time being, Orbán will be delighted by the change in direction at the State Department, where democracy-building will no longer be part of the agenda. When faced with the realities of US protectionist trade policy, however, and certain security demands, Orbán will learn to dislike Trump.

Given Hungary’s utter irrelevance to Trump’s world vision (as explained by you, István), I doubt Orbán will be a frequent visitor at the White House. That, too, will offend him.

wrfree
Guest

You know looking at both VO and Donald shows that they start from the same referential point of view. Both appear to think they and their countries have been acting like chumps relative to others in their respective neck of the woods. For the US it’s the global stage. For Hungary it is Europe. One country is already a big cheese the other is a ‘wannabe’.

For the future, let’s hope everybody can play together in the economic sandbox. If not guys like VO and Donald will smell up the place. Leave it to Vlad and his China counterpart to eye their vulturian prospects in the new world of trade policy around the world. And with those economic troughs there will be a VO always ready to feed.

Ferenc
Guest

OT
A Hungarian taxpayer wrote to the NAV (tax authority): requests back money from the state, because it’s used for things it shouldn’t be used for – http://444.hu/2017/01/24/egy-magyar-adofizeto-megirta-a-nav-nak-visszakeri-a-penzet-az-allamtol-mert-nem-arra-forditjak-amire-kellene
As reasons he mentions: MNB foundations scandal, public money used by certain people for private purposes while hospitals have to ask patients for toiletpaper etc. and schools where parents have to collect money for chalks and heating, etc.*
His letter ends with (referring to the MNB scandal):
“If the public funds in Hungary following a decree from one day to another day aren’t public money anymore, and I as a citizen can not do anything against this, in this case I prefer to see this money at the very beginning of the (tax) process losing it’s public funds character (as once that will be it’s fate anyway). Therefore, you shouldn’t ask me this money, because it is no longer that, it’s not public money.”

*if I could, I would add public media (actually one-party media now) to the list (actually why don’t people in Hungary ask back their public stations, just block the studios and claim broadcasting time, it’s their money that’s used for it!!)

bimbi
Guest

When Orban speaks in Hungary, he sees himself, like the cock crowing on top of his mouldering midden as the leader at the centre of the world. Unsurprisingly, now he feels that there is an opportunity for the Orban crowing to be heard over all the EU, with himself in the leadership position. Delusional? Sure but we are dealing with the Great Leader here.

Anyway, Guy Verhofstadt (the EU negotiator with Britain over Brexit) has other ideas as to the direction of the EU, eg., that the EU now has the opportunity to become a tighter and more coherent union once the UK doubters are out. It seems that crowing Orban on top of his midden, will not have his own way either in the EU or internationally and his government will continue to be viewed as the boil on the backside of the EU.

The shame of all that is that it is so damaging to Hungary, strip-mined by its own government despite all the EU funding and subject to year-after-year of callous neglect.

Holger Kaus
Guest

444.hu writes that Gorka Sebestyén (Sebastian Gorka) is becoming an advisor to Donald Trump on national security matters.

Gorka received a Phd from Corvinus University and his thesis advisor was one András Lánczi.

http://nol.hu/belfold/jobbikos_nevrokona_van_gyurcsanyek_partjanak-1261361

e-1956
Guest
Guest

A bit OT:
The German SPIEGEL has an interesting graphic on the US imports/exports that clearly shows the US economy’s basic problem:
comment image

You don’t have to know German to understand this …

webber
Guest
Exactly so. All Americans know the country imports more than it exports. Angst about that helped Trump, whose ideas about this are not all that different from Bernie Sanders’ solutions. Trump just tore up TPP, and Sanders applauded. If Trump raises import tax barriers enough, it really should cut consumption of foreign-made goods, and will surely give a boost to domestic manufacturing, and Sanders will applaud this too. Trump is certainly right that the Chinese government subsidizes industry and protects its own market in ways that the US government does not. As to Europe: I have read many German economists who say that the German model is unsustainable for Europe (not for Germany), and that Germans should consume more. I would say the German model is also unsustainable for the US now, in political terms, not just economic ones. I hope German leaders come to understand that. It could make things a bit easier. Comments made by Germany’s FM about the comparatively worse quality of American products will not help one bit. They may play well in Germany, but will harden attitudes in the US. In the meanwhile, Germans should be proud that a German-Swiss company, SIG Sauer GmbH, has… Read more »
Guest

Manufacturing in the US – is also done by German companies like BMW and Mercedes, but there just aren’t enough qualified people in the USA for this …

And anyway many products would be too expensive – it’s the same here in Europe: Hungarian workers get one third of German workers, so some of the low end Mercedes cars are produced in Hungary now.

Rather OT (or not):
There’s a daily direct Delta Air flight from Stuttgart to Atlanta – it’s essentially the commute for all those BMW and Mercedes experts that have tohelp out in the factories. When it’s not sold out it’s a good start for a holiday in the US South East, we took it once to Florida …

webber
Guest

Now, now, Wolfi – that will not do: Are there more qualified people in Mexico, where BMW wanted to move a plant? Really?

Companies like Toyota, Ford, and GM seem to be able to find enough qualified people in the US to make cars there. Toyota’s Lexus is made in Kentucky. (Just FYI: I’d prefer a Lexus over Mercedes, if I could afford one. Japanese quality is tops. Bog standard Toyotas are superb, too)

Well, perhaps a Lexus doesn’t count as high tech or quality with you? How about the Tesla? Made in California. How does Tesla manage to make its cars without enough qualified workers in the US? I suppose you think fairies put it together?

No, you are going to have to find a more plausible reason than that – but I wonder why you would bother?
I mean, there was the scandal about Volkswagen’s lies recently. Isn’t trying to come up with a reasonable explanation for BMW, and not you to do?

webber
Guest

P.S. If there are high enough import taxes, you can bet that BMW, Audi, and Mercedes will very quickly find more than enough qualified workers in the US. There is no way that the managers of those companies will just leave that whole market to the competition.

PPS Volvos are also going to be manufactured in the US – in S. Carolina. The work on the plant started in 2015.

If even Swedes can find enough qualified workers, one has to ask what is wrong with German manufacturers?

Guest
Webber, didn’t you get that my remarks were tongue in cheek? Of course there are qualified workers to find – and if you offer them enough they’ll move to where the factories are to be built, but they obviously will ask for more money than say a qualified egineer/technician in Mexico or Hungary. I’m not an expert in these kind of calculations but I remember very well (doing some courses for Opel) when Opel and Ford built their first production in Spain and had to claculate the cost difference to thei British/German facilities (including schooling etc) – in the end itcame out as worthwhile. So the different wage levels are not the only factor – but they have to be taken into account. PS: I’ve seen a lot of advertising by Opel, Audi etc in the local Hungarian newspapers – it seems that more qualified workers are moving abroad so they have difficulties now finding enough people … Hotels, spas and restaurants have similar problems – the summer season at the Balaton will be “interesting”! PPS: I’m not a fan of BMW or Mercedes, never had one – and I totally hate VW! They’ve been selling crappy technologies for 60… Read more »
Roderick Beck
Guest

Mexico has far more free trade agreements than the US. Bloomberg ran on an article on why auto companies prefer Mexico. Free trade was 65% of the cost advantage.

webber
Guest

Fine. Though cheaper labor is clearly also a factor. But that is not the question. Do you, or do you not believe Trump will tear up NAFTA and introduce higher import taxes? I believe he will.

webber
Guest

Wolfi – sorry! I missed the sarcasm.

You know, if someone were to offer me a BMW, I would not say “no.” I would think twice about a VW, though.

I prefer Japanese cars at the moment, but recently drove a Korean one that really, really impressed me.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Fords, that the company has done nothing to deserve.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Wrong. US exports will decrease as trade barriers are erected. Total GDP in each country will fall. International trade reflects comparative advantage.

webber
Guest
Well, tell that to people who try to export to China. As to comparative advantage (another invisible hand of a sort) – sure, it’s been the flavor of the day since WWII, when autarky fell out of favor. Anyway, again, I am not advocating this or that, I am just saying what I believe Trump is likely to do, and how non-American manufacturers can handle that. I’m old enough to remember very similar sentiments about Japan and Japanese products in the 1970s, when people were saying “everything is made in Japan.” This was when Japanese cars really broke into the market (on the W. Coast, anyway). Things were really jingoistic, on the l. and r. alike. The far left of the Democratic Party had the mantra act locally, buy local, etc. The r-wing of the Republican Party were just traditional protectionists. For both groups, trade was “bad.” If you tried to tell Americans then that Japan had a “comparative advantage” you might have been lynched (figuratively). Senators were calling for high import taxes against Japan. As a result Japanese companies, with Japanese govt. approval (and perhaps assistance), began to move towards manufacturing in the US. It turned out to be… Read more »
Roderick Beck
Guest

Webber, Mexico is used by US auto companies because it has trade agreements that the US does not.

webber
Guest

I KNOW. Trump apparently is going to stop that. (you are paying attention to what he’s saying and doing, aren’t you?)

Roderick Beck
Guest

Nope, it will boost US manufacturing. We manufacture in Mexico primarily because Mexico has more free agreements than the US. And you are assuming that other countries will not block US exports. The result of a trade war is typically all countries lose.

webber
Guest

Roderick: I assume if the US raises tariffs, other countries will raise tariffs against US products.
I am not advocating Trump’s policies: I am just noting what they are likely to be.

Roderick Beck
Guest

The graphic is misleading. It left out sectors where the US runs a surplus. If you had those numbers on this graphic you exaggerate the overall trade deficit.

Guest

Roderick, the article from which I took that graphic wanted to show which countries might be specially hurt by the “Trump import tax”:
http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/donald-trump-so-abhaengig-ist-die-us-wirtschaft-von-der-welt-a-1131514.html
And itis supposed to show how the US industry depends on imports – like production machines from Germany e g.

On the other hand if the USA wanted to manufacture all those cheap things they get now from China – they would become much more expensive.

webber
Guest

That is the overall trade deficit with those countries and regions. The graph left out other countries.

Istvan
Guest

If Orban wants to be best buddies with Trump then this won’t help cement the relationship http://bbj.hu/business/hungary-signs-strategic-partnership-pact-with-bank-of-china_127738

Melanie Zuben
Guest

With all due respect dear Eva, it would be impossible for these two guys (Trump and Orban) to misunderstand each other. They were born under the sign of the “heavenly twins”, that is GEMINI. These people have unbelievable telepathic abilities, they don’t even need WI-FI extender. (Ronald Reagan understood the power of the stars and worked it to his advantage).

Guest

Really?

You made my day!

Ferenc
Guest

Gratulations Melanie, you’re included in the “Joke of the Month” contest!!
So far you’re running next to OV (see a previous comment to this post)

Melanie Zuben
Guest

wolfi/Ferenc
Thank you! (I do fancy myself as a do-gooder extraordinaire)

Guest

Trump’s people are getting more aggressive:

Several journalists were taken into custody during the inauguration protests – and now for the joke:

One of them was Alex Rubinstein of RT America aka Russia Today,Putin’s propaganda outlet …
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jan/24/journalists-charged-felonies-trump-inauguration-unrest

All thes authoritarian regimes are similar, whether it’s Trump, Putin, Orbán, Erdogan …
Journalists are the state enemy no1!
Freedom of the press is the first thing that has to disappear!

Hitler called it “Gleichschaltung” …

Guest

Another disturbing incident – Canadians were not allowed into the USA because they wanted to protest against Trump:
http://www.snopes.com/2017/01/24/canadians-border-inauguration-day/
So will the USA have two walls soon, one to the Soth, the other to the North?

And the latest news from the USA:

Amazon’s most sold book right now – 1984 …

Who would have thought.

e-1956
Guest

no gleichschaltung again!
unfortunately, the bad tactical gleichschaltung was the blanket anger against Germans after world war II.
Russia used it as a cover for all the stalinist and east german crimes.
This one-dimensional, still active anger must be replaced by an intellectual re-analysis of history.
Read the books and studies Walter Laqueur, Michael Kellogs, Sebastian Gorka, Timothy Snyder…

Guest

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Guest

Sorry, Hungary is not in that picture – not important enough, it seems … 🙂