January 29, 2017

IF ONLY WE HAD A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT...:

Trump is in the way of Theresa May's global gamble : With Brexit, Theresa May is seeking alternative free trade partners, but Trump's nativism is standing in her way. (Richard Seymour, 1/28/17, Al Jazeera)

[T]he British prime minister is out to achieve something improbable. If Britain is going to leave the European Union, May has decided, it will leave decisively, even sacrificing tariff-free access to the single market - Britain's largest export market - and seek its fortune elsewhere.

But if the British state is to put border controls and withdrawal from the European Court of Justice ahead of its major trading relationship with Europe, it will need a world in which it can turn a profit. And for May, that means an American-led world, a "free trade empire" in which US-led multilateral institutions open markets in labour, goods and capital, suppress legal obstacles and defend strong property rights for corporations.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Trump has overruled with an executive order, would have given new property rights to companies, such as pharmaceuticals, and allowed businesses to sue over environmental and other restrictions to their profit-making. It was worth hundreds of billions to US corporations and would have been a goldmine to anyone who gained access.

Only in this context can May's pivot to "hard Brexit" make sense. The Financial Times pointed out a particular irony in her turning her back on the single market, a model Thatcherite institution. But it has long been a dream of the middle-class right in Britain that it could recover its old colonial elan by shaking off European shackles and becoming a dominant, freewheeling "global trader".

If May could achieve this epochal shift, she would reconcile diverging branches of conservatism, restore the Tories as the dominant party of government, tighten the Atlantic alliance, and use new agreements to drive down labour costs and make British capitalism more competitive.

Her biggest problem is Donald Trump. 

Posted by at January 29, 2017 7:32 AM

  

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