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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Trump Triumphs?

President Donald Trump is having a great time in the Arab world. His hosts, led by Saudi Arabia, expect that he will reverse President Obama's raprochement with Iran [which will cause problems for the newly re-elected President of that country] and open up trade and other relations - including access to US territory - to some of those who would have been excluded from the US if Trump's attempted decree to 'ban Muslims' from the US had not been stymied by the lawful authorities.

The upside from all of this, besides The Donald getting a 'very heavy' gong from the King of Saudi Arabia, is that the Gulf States will buy advanced American weapons [some of which Obama refused to let them have], thereby increasing the profitability of the arms industry - including its British contractors; and the Arab states promise to invest heavily in the next generation of US technology and production. President Trump, of course, is claiming that this is a very quick response to his campaign promises to regenerate the rustbelt: which was a major factor in delivering him the election victory last year. But it is clear that the Arab managers of sovereign wealth funds, who have decades of shrewd investment behind them, are not going to invest in steelworks and metal fabricating factories in the midwest that will not have a chance of profitability in competition with low-wage output from emergent economies. The Arabs will select the knowledge industries and high technology projects that will have a very high probability of being doubly productive: they will have high productivity which means a high turnover per employee; and great productiveness which means that they will generate large profits for the firms that own them, that can be allocated to further projects and to high shareholder payouts and to rising wages for employees [which will raise the general level of demand in the US economy]. Trump and his colleagues may be able to offer incentives [such as have existed through the Obama presidency] for some of the investments to be located in the midwest, rather than on the Atlantic or Pacific coasts; but the plant will not offer mass redeployment of the horny-handed sons and daughters of toil who voted so enthusiastically for Trump. There will be a few posts for janitors, car park attendants, caterers and cleaners: but the tragedy of middle-age uemployment will not be removed by the direct outcome from the President's trip.

Other outcomes from the middle-east leg of this tour will be irritation in Iran, an escalation of the conflicts in Yemen, in Syria and possibly in Iraq, and deeper disillusion on both sides in the Palestine conflict and among the US Jewish population that has hitherto backed Trump enthusiastically. The tour goes on to the Vatican [a photo call], to Belgium [ a meeting of NATO which Trump appears to be learning to love: in contrast to his rhetoric on the campaign trail], and to a high-finance gathering at which he will be, at best, a passenger.

The pot of dissent from his actions as President is bubbling on in the US, and may overboil at any time.

I read that US Psychiatrists maintain strict patient confidentiality, and there is a rule against any doctor with specialist skills publishing any speculative piece about the mental state of a currently-serving officer of state. On the other hand, there are just the beginnings of breaches in that rule as the antics of a very non-standard head of state cause more embarrassment. I am sure that the top women and men in the profession will hold to its highest standards; but as international incredulity expands, there will be more speculation on every level.

The deals that the Donald has done this week are between the US and other governments: they will stand; and that should benefit some few of the American long-term unemployed, as well as the rising sectors of the US economy.

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