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By Robert A. Vella

This is how world wars start.  First, domestic hardship triggers cultural fragmentation across multiple nations and hostility towards the socioeconomic status quo.  Second, political strongmen gain power by exploiting the social unrest with bravado, charisma, and cunning which sway the populace.  Third, these authoritarian leaders consolidate power by demonizing and targeting various “enemies” which distract the public from their charlatan ways.  Fourth, such tactics cause international tensions to rise on a global scale.  Fifth, trade wars emerge and intensify.  Sixth, the world’s geopolitical alignment shifts and polarizes.  Seventh, some lunatic fires the first deadly shot and… well, you know the rest.

Trump’s new trade war

From:  Grassley slams Trump tariffs on Mexico: ‘A misuse of presidential tariff authority’

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) condemned President Trump‘s new tariffs on Mexico late Thursday, calling the move a “misuse” of presidential tariff authority and cautioning the levies could derail passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

[…]

Trump announced he would impose the tariffs to pressure Mexico to stop the flow of migrants into the U.S. via the southern border.

From:  Trump’s Mexico Tariffs Risk Economic Turmoil Ahead of 2020 Vote

President Donald Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs on Mexico unless it stops the flow of migrants into the U.S. could cause massive economic disruption ahead of the 2020 elections and doom his signature renegotiation of a North American trade deal.

Trump announced a 5% tariff on all imports from Mexico unless it takes “decisive measures” — as judged by his administration — to stem migrants entering the U.S., according to a White House statement. The tariffs would begin June 10 and scale up incrementally until they reach 25 percent on Oct. 1.

The surprise move rattled global financial markets as investors were counting on slow but steady progress toward congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that Trump’s team negotiated to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect in 1994.

Related story:  Exclusive: DHS watchdog finds 900 people at border facility with maximum capacity for 125

International tensions rise

From:  China threatens corporate hit-list on eve of new tariffs on U.S. imports

BEIJING, May 31 (Reuters) – China threatened on Friday to unveil an unprecedented hit-list of “unreliable” foreign firms, groups and individuals that harm the interests of Chinese companies, as a slate of retaliatory tariffs on imported U.S. goods was set to kick in at midnight.

The commerce ministry did not single out any country or company, but the threat could further heighten tensions after Washington this month put Huawei on a blacklist that effectively blocks U.S. firms from doing business with the Chinese telecoms equipment giant.

From:  Pompeo to Germany: Use Huawei and lose access to our data

BERLIN, May 31 (Reuters) – The United States may no longer share sensitive security information with nations that install next-generation networks, like those made by China’s Huawei, that it regards as insecure, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

Pompeo issued the warning after meeting his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin, which has so far stood with European partners in resisting U.S. calls to ban the state-owned manufacturer from 5G mobile networks now being built.

From:  Pentagon calls Turkey plan to buy Russian missile ‘devastating’

A top Pentagon official said on Thursday the consequences would be “devastating” for Turkey’s joint F-35 fighter program and its cooperation with NATO if the country bought a Russian missile defense system.

Kathryn Wheelbarger, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, said that Ankara’s planned purchase of the S-400 system would damage Turkey’s ability to work together with the Western alliance, and force Washington to hit the country with sanctions.

From:  Russia Rejected Iran S-400 Missile Request Amid Gulf Tension

(Bloomberg) — Russia has rejected an Iranian request to buy S-400 missile defense systems, concerned that the sale would stoke more tension in the Middle East, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, including a senior Russian official.

[…]

Russia and Iran have enjoyed close political and military ties in recent years, though there have been signs that Moscow is seeking to gradually reduce Iran’s footprint in the Middle East as it seeks to protect its relations with other regional powers such as Saudi Arabia and Israel.

North Korea executes envoy in a purge after failed U.S. summit: media

More domestic turmoil in the U.S.

From:  Outrage over McCain incident adds to Shanahan’s hurdles

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan’s quest for the Pentagon’s top job faced a new obstacle Thursday amid outrage over an aborted attempt to hide the name of the destroyer USS John S. McCain during President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan.

Anger by Democratic lawmakers and retired military brass added to months of questions about the former Boeing executive’s leadership style, on top of months of complaints about his role in implementing Trump’s Iran and Syria policies, as well as his willingness to shift billions of dollars to build the president’s border wall despite opposition in Congress.

From:  Federal prosecutors demand Cindy Yang records from Mar-a-Lago, Trump campaign

Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., this week sent subpoenas to Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, and Trump Victory, a political fundraising committee, demanding they turn over all records relating to Republican Party donor Li “Cindy” Yang and several of her associates and companies, the Miami Herald has learned.

Yang, a South Florida massage-parlor entrepreneur, is the target of a public corruption investigation seeking to determine if she funneled money from China to the president’s re-election campaign or otherwise violated campaign-finance laws.

From:  Trump administration accused of obstructing congressional probe of Education Department

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings on Thursday accused the Trump administration of blocking a congressional investigation into the attempted removal of the Education Department’s acting independent watchdog.

Cummings (D-Md.) said that Education Department officials refused to turn over documents related to the Trump administration’s efforts earlier this year to replace the agency’s acting inspector general. The move by the administration came after the acting IG opened an investigation into Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ decision to reinstate the federal powers of an accreditor of for-profit colleges.

From:  Democrats ramp up campaign to get Mueller to testify

House Democrats are ramping up their campaign to get Robert Mueller to testify despite the special counsel’s stated aim to avoid such an appearance on Capitol Hill.

Democrats negotiating for Mueller to come before several committees hope to avoid the antagonistic step of issuing a subpoena to compel his testimony, but they’re not ruling it out.

[…]

“I understand his reluctance,” Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Thursday by phone. “But I think the stakes are so high that he has an obligation to [testify].”

Richmond said he wants Mueller to parse the details of the Justice Department guidelines barring the agency from indicting a sitting president. Mueller cited those rules Wednesday in asserting that bringing charges against President Trump was “not an option.”

Missouri’s only abortion clinic faces closure at midnight

15 thoughts on “As Trump opens another trade war, international tensions rise in Asia, Middle East, Europe, and America

  1. Well, Robert, you’re just full of good news today.😜. John is right…he will ruin everything for everyone and probably invite WWIII as a possibility.
    I’m really beginning to feel we are seeing the end of America as we all thought we knew her. It seems to be unraveling faster and faster.

    I still can’t help but wonder if some of this isn’t driven by the religious right and their “end times” that they lust so after. These people are nuts and people don’t realize how dangerous they are.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Trump’s insanity has nothing to do with the End Times fanaticism of the religious right. They are aligned politically, but that’s all. Trump is consumed by egomania, the lust for wealth and power, and the pursuit of white supremacy. Remember, before he became president, Trump displayed little to no interest in practicing his religion.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I do not know how long European patience with the actual US government & president will continue but the US administration can no longer be regarded as trustworthy or reliable. And visiting us in Europe (like just now Pompeo) for further threatenings is a very bad behaviour of what is usually called an enemy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A moron who spouts triple oxymorons, “extremely stable genius?” If a clinician I supervised wrote a chart note saying, “patient is an extremely stable genius,” I would suggest they switch to a job that is less demanding of competence, like I guess, the presidency of the United States. How can this even be happening?????

    Liked by 2 people

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