Home Analysis Observations of an Expat: The Hip Thigh Bone Theory of the World

Observations of an Expat: The Hip Thigh Bone Theory of the World

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Observations of an Expat: The Hip Thigh Bone Theory of the World
Image depicts the theory behind World Free Trade - Courtesy: ThoughtCo

It is time for a review of the hip thigh bone theory of the world. The world is in danger of tearing out its global backbone. And once disassembled, the bones of the world body politic will not magically reassemble

By Tom Arms

It is time for a review of the hip thigh bone theory of the world. The theory is based on the 1920s African-American spiritual “Dem bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones.”

The ditty in turn was based on a Biblical passage in which a collection of dry bones reassemble themselves before the astonished eyes of the prophet Ezekiel.

The foot-tapping, hand-clapping tune is a roof raiser in evangelical churches around the world. It is also a popular song in young children’s anatomy classes.

NRC-Dem-Bones-1-1024x683For the purposes of this article, however, it is a perfect metaphor of how the rapidly shrinking and interconnected world has become increasingly dependent on its constituent parts (or bones) working together. Recognition of this interconnectability is becoming increasingly important as the world’s political leaders appear to be intent on disassembling the skeletons and protecting their constituent parts behind fast growing economic, political and—sometimes—physical walls.

Globalization has become a dirty word. Forget the fact that it lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty in the 1990s and early part of the 21st century. And that it ushered in decades of growth and low inflation. Substituted in its place is the mantra of “economic security” and “national interests.”

Also forget the fact that the new buzzwords totally ignore reality. Like it or not– that the world body politic has become totally interconnected. In fact, the bones that comprise the skeleton of our globe are not so much connected as fused  and then overlaid with a complex web of nerves, muscles, sinews, international political and trade organs, ligaments and a protective skin of military alliances. In fact, it seems, that the only thing missing from this political metaphor is a functioning brain.

The advantages of free trade are not new. They have been propounded for centuries. They are at the very core of the capitalist’s Bible, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and were later developed by David Ricardo who urged countries to exploit their “comparative advantage” through free trade.

Free trade is also one of the recognized major contributors to world peace. You are much less likely to go to war with a country which you depend on for your financial well-being. This concept was at the very heart of the creation of the European Union, and until Ukraine, has prevented any major European wars for 77 years—the longest period of European peace in history.

The two biggest threats to free trade are the world’s two biggest economies—China and the United States. Both are raising tariff barriers and increasing subsidies to protect their industries from competition from each other. The trade war started with Donald Trump but has continued under the Biden Administration. US tariffs on Chinese imports currently average 19.3 percent and cover 66.4 percent of Chinese goods—six times higher than in 2018.

President Biden is on the cusp of announcing new tariffs to protect the US electric vehicle market, steel industry, aluminum production and shipbuilding. But his plans are nothing compared to those of Trump who wants to impose an across-the-board 60 percent tariff on Chinese imports.

China has tariffs too—five to 25 percent on American imports. But its biggest spanner in the world economy’s machinery is subsidies. According to the Centre for Strategic International Studies, China devotes nearly two percent of its GDP to bankrolling its industry. This compares to 0.39 percent that the US government spends on subsidizing American industry.

At the moment, US subsidies are focused on developing green technology– $369 billion through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This is unpopular with America’s competitors because part of the IRA is a “buy American” policy which is encouraging foreign-based companies to relocate to the US.

The Sino-America trade war and the IRA means that the world’s largest trading bloc, the European Union, is in danger of following suit because of fears that it needs protection from the two super powers. Meanwhile, Russia—along with China and a growing number of players from the Global South—are pursuing a policy of might is right in the belief that they will gain advantage in the ensuing chaos.

9780811808279_large_249c4482-4840-415a-954f-95243266f2ec_580xThe trade wars have inevitably spilled over into the military and political fields. The Ukraine War is the most obvious example. Except for its oil and gas resources, Russia has comparatively few advantages in an economic conflict. Its economy is smaller than Italy’s– $1.7 trillion GDP compared to the Italian GDP of $2.1 trillion, and doesn’t even come close to the American GDP of $20.5 trillion. Russia, however, is a military super power, so it follows David Ricardo’s advice and exploits its “comparative advantage.”

The Ukraine War has in turn encouraged an American isolationist lobby who have tired of the “endless wars” that have plagued US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. In response to the US isolationists French President Emmanuel Macron recently called on fellow European leaders to shake off their decades-long dependence on the American nuclear umbrella, thus threatening the cohesion of NATO from both sides of the Atlantic.

The world is in danger of tearing out its global backbone. And once disassembled, the bones of the world body politic will not magically reassemble as they did in the Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 37, verses 1 through 14.

World-ReviewWorld Review

It was a week of military parades, trumpets, nuclear saber-rattling and an inauguration in Russia this week.

It started with another threat from President Vladimir Putin when he announced on Monday the start of military exercises involving non-strategic nuclear weapons. This was in response to America releasing its $61 billion aid package to Ukraine, and the repetition of French President Emmanuel Macron’s threat to consider sending French troops to Ukraine.

Then there was Putin’s inauguration as he started his fifth term in office with a long walk past applauding crowds lining the red-carpeted corridors of the Kremlin. Putin’s first inauguration in 2000 was hailed as Russia’s transition to democracy. This one followed an election in which he “won” 87.5 percent of the vote while all his political opponents were either dead, in exile or in prison.

On Thursday it was the Victory Day Parade to mark the end of what the Russians call “The Great Patriotic War.” May Day was the big parade in Soviet days. May 9, was important, but it was not even a public holiday until 1965. Putin, has revived the celebration and elevated it to a collective remembrance resembling a religion.

One of the highlights of the parade is the march of the “Immortal Regiment” in which relatives troop past the reviewing stand holding aloft pictures of family members who died in the war. The scene is reminiscent of icons being carried in Russian Orthodox Church services. The 60th and 70th anniversaries of the war’s end (in 2005 and 2015) were the biggest public holidays in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the inauguration and Victory Day were marked by increased Russian bombardments and missile attacks as Russian troops tried to gain the military upper hand before the latest batch of Western military aid arrived.

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The two main Palestinian factions—Hamas and Fatah—hate each other almost as much as they do the Netanyahu government.

They have barely spoken since 2007 when Hamas won elections in Gaza and booted Fatah and the Palestinian Authority out of the seaside strip.

That is why it is significant that representatives from the two factions met recently in Moscow and Beijing. The Chinese meeting was especially interesting because Beijing is keen to project itself as Middle East peace broker as opposed to its characterization of the US as Middle East war monger.

The Chinese have already successfully brokered the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between regional rivalries Iran and Saudi Arabia. Shortly after that success, foreign minister Wang Yi wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offering to mediate in the decades-old Arab-Israel conflict. Netanyahu politely refused.

Brokering a rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas could be a diplomatic back door for Beijing to constructively inject itself into the Middle East conflict. It is generally agreed that the two-state solution is the logical solution to the conflict.

The Israeli government, however, is adamantly opposed to living alongside a properly constituted and recognized Palestinian state. And as long as there are two warring Palestinian factions, Israel will play them off against each other and prevent the two-state result that the international community (including China) seeks.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Beijing talks between Hamas and Fatah were “in depth and candid” with a clear purpose of promoting “Palestinian reconciliation.” The Chinese added that they yielded “encouraging progress” and that more talks were planned.

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Donald Trump appears to be desperate to be sent to jail. What a political coup that would be.It would be the ultimate proof of his martyrdom. He would happily languish behind bars so he could claim that he was the victim of a Biden-controlled political witch hunt.

Oh, and how he would suffer. He would grasp the crown of thorns and shout from the jailhouse steps that he was suffering at the hands of the democrat-controlled deep state on behalf of the millions of “oppressed little people.”

There is, of course, a long history of political prisoners being dispatched to prison, only to be declared a martyr to their principles and raised to power upon their release. Nelson Mandela is perhaps the best known example. He spent 27 years at the notorious Robben Island prison before leading his country out of apartheid.

In fact, a spell in prison, is considered a passage of rite in many countries. The fact that the political figure is prepared to endure the rigours of prison life is seen by many as proof of their commitment to the political values they espouse.

The list of such figures is a long one. Fidel Castro, Martin McGuinness, Indira Gandhi, Jomo Kenyatta, Dilma Vana and Kim Dae-jung, are just a few of the political leaders who have risen to the top after a spell behind bars.

Judge Juan Merchan—the trial judge in the Stormy Daniels case—is all too aware of Trump’s pursuit of martyrdom. It probably explains why he has not yet thrown him into prison and has restricted himself to fining the former president. The total fines to date– $9,000—is probably less than the daily lunch bill for Trump’s legal team.

And there is unfortunately, a limit on the financial penalties that he can impose. On top of that, having threatened jail time, the judge would look foolish if Trump continued to flout the court’s strictures. Judge Merchan is trying to keep politics out of his courtroom by keeping Trump out of prison. Trump is doing his best to bring politics into the courtroom by doing his utmost to goad the judge into sending him to prison.

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Remember Nikki Haley? Quite a few others have not forgotten her. The former Governor of South Carolina and US Ambassador to the United Nations is still winning votes even though her name is not on the ballot and she has withdrawn from the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

It is not generally reported, but the Republican primaries are still in progress. Donald Trump has won enough of them to secure the Republican nomination at the party’s July convention in Milwaukee. But the primaries do not end until June.

Thus it is worth noting that Trump is not clean sweeping the remaining ballots. On Thursday Ambassador Haley secured 21.8 percent of the Republican votes as a write-on in Indiana. This is not a fluke. Since she dropped out of the race, Haley has won 13.2 percent of the vote in Georgia, 17.8 percent in Arizona, 14.4 percent in Ohio, 12.8 percent in Wisconsin and 16.6 percent in Pennsylvania. Not bad for someone who isn’t even running for office.

And not good for Trump because it indicates that there are still a large number of Republicans who oppose his return to the White House. In fact, there are indications of a growing rebellion against the far-right Republican tail that has been recently wagging the party dog.

Also on Thursday there was a vote in the House of Representatives on whether Mike Johnson would be allowed to remain in the Speaker’s chair. Marjorie Taylor Greene carried out her threat to challenge the Speaker for allowing the vote on aid for Ukraine. She managed to garner a mere 43 votes for the proposed ousting of Johnson. A total of 163 Democrats joined forces with 196 Republicans in a bipartisan slap in the face for Ms. Greene and MAGA.

Read: Observations of an Expat: Campus Powder Keg

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Tom Arms Journalist Sindh CourierTom Arms is foreign editor of Liberal Democrat Voice. He is also the author of “The Encyclopaedia of the Cold War” and “America Made in Britain.” To subscribe to his email alerts on world affairs click here https://tomarms.substack.com/publish/posts

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