9 September 2016   Leave a comment

North  Korea has exploded its fifth nuclear bomb.  The explosion was far larger than the previous four tests conducted by North Korea, and registered a 5.3 magnitude earthquake according to the US Geological Survey.  More troubling, North Korea claimed, although the claim cannot be verified, that this test was of a smaller nuclear bomb, one capable of being place in a warhead that could be carried by a ballistic missile.  If true, North Korea now has to capability to threaten many states in East Asia and potentially any state reachable by one of its submarines.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, one of the most prestigious and long-lived citizens groups focused on world politics, has released the results of a poll that genuinely surprised me.  One of the themes of the current presidential campaign in the US is a strong anti-trade, anti-globalization attitude.  But the Council conducted a poll last June that shows:

“Two out of three (65%) Americans say that globalization, especially the increasing connections of our economy with others around the world, is mostly good for the United States (compared to 34% who say that it is mostly bad), with majorities across the political spectrum expressing a positive view.”

More curiously, Republicans showed less support for free trade than democrats, a result totally at odds with the rhetoric of many of the leading spokespersons of the party.   It is going to take me a while to parse the real meaning of these results.

On the issue of trade, we have clear evidence that the global trading network is unquestionably slowing down.  The Hanjin shipping company, one of the world’s largest cargo companies, has filed for bankruptcy, leaving billions of dollars of goods floating on the oceans as many harbormasters refuse to allow them to dock for fear that the cargo ships could not pay the docking fees.  There are far too many container ships afloat today for the amount of goods that need to be transported.  It is not likely that global trade will pick up any time soon.



Posted September 9, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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