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The sad fact is that America spent perhaps $5 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan and has little to show for it, while its principal competitors, Russia and China, invested a minuscule fraction of that amount in advanced weapons technology and leapfrogged American technology. That places inherent constraints on American strategic action. Washington may object to Russian bombing in Aleppo, for example, but is in no position to force the Russians to stop. By the same token Washington may object to China’s acquisitiveness in the South China Sea but can do nothing to counter it (as the Philippines noticed before declaring that they wanted to change sides and stick with China, the evident winner).

There is no short-term fix to such problems. There have been many calls for Nato to stand up to the Russians, but little explanation as to just what that might entail, once the deployment of stealth fighters to Syria is ruled out for compelling technological reasons. Under the best of circumstances, Nato would require some years to develop effective countermeasures to the present generation of Russian and Chinese military technology. Trump has promised to rebuild America’s military, and his election occasioned a leap in the share prices of the major American defence contractors, as well as British Aerospace.

A large and sustained increase in American defence spending would be of economic benefit to Britain, whose defence industry is closely integrated with America’s. It is noteworthy that of all the major currencies, sterling was the only one to rise after Trump’s election victory. Markets evidently believe that a post-Brexit UK and a Republican-led America will have a great deal to do together, and that the UK’s economy may benefit from the Special Relationship. It does not seem likely that Donald Trump and Theresa May will rekindle the natural sympathy of Ronald Reagan to Margaret Thatcher, but there is considerable room for the Special Relationship to evolve to both countries’ benefit.
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ancient briton
January 29th, 2017
2:01 AM
Bearing in mind the distribution of IQ along a normal bell curve, there will always be a substantial group of people who can't cope with IT, indeed who may be functionally illiterate.Such people always had manual jobs in factories, farms, and local government cleaning the streets and so on. It is a very callous and foolish society that casts such people, many of whom have estimable qualities, aside, to survive on handouts. They form a part of the group who feel themselves displaced or worse forgotten by an establishment obsessing over BLM and LGBTQ rights and so on. Other better qualified people see their factories being transferred to low-wage countries, and know through every trip to Walmart that manufactured goods which could well be made in the States, are coming in from overseas. These conditions didn't exist under Roosevelt who governed an almost completely insulated economy and who had no thought of black rights, never mind LGBTQ etc. Reagan presided for the most part over a prosperous manufacturing country, although the rust belt was beginning to emerge. Many of those residents became Reagan Democrats. I see the Trump effect as being not dissimilar but now nationwide as the famous red map shows. Voters want a lot less by way of political correctness, and a lot more by way of making America the home of mass production once again. It's a tall order, but Trump is the only one who has it in him to recognize the problem, talk openly about it, and at least try to get things done. Scepticim at this early stage is just a little premature.

January 23rd, 2017
11:01 PM
Reaganomics, that which started the US economy on the current slippery slope. The figures say it all, taking the USA from a creditor to a debtor nation. In 1981, shortly after taking office, Reagan complained of "runaway deficits" that were then approaching US$80 billion, or about 2.5%GDP Within only two years, however, his policies had succeeded in enlarging the deficit to more than US$200 billion, or 6 % At the end of the Reagan/Bush era it had was down to US$150 billion, still almost double what it had been under Carter. However the National Debt had climbed from US$995 billion, when Reagan took office, to $4 trillion by the end of Bush1's presidency, Under Reagan and Bush Republican Administrations it climbed as a % of GDP from 26% to 42%. Clinton managed hold/wind back both of them in returning the budget to a surplus of some US$280 billion and reducing the National Debt to 35% of GDP. But George, The Faux Texan and late encumbrance in the White House even managed to outdo "The Gipper" and his own Dad. He has set another unenviable record. The deficit was to be $482 billion in the 2009 budget moving from black to red ink in the order of US$750 billion from the end of Clinton's term. Lest We Forget The Faux Texan Folly of the Three Trillion Dollar Wars, The Iraq Fiasco and the Afghanistan Imbroglio followed now by the resultant wide spread conflict with Daesh. It is interesting to note that from 1978-2005 under Democratic Presidents, Federal Spending went up by 9.9%. Federal Debt by 4.2%, GDP by 12.6%. Under Republican Presidents Federal Spending was up 12.1%, Federal Debt by 36.4% , GDP by 10.7% So which is the big spending, big debt and drag on the economy party?

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