America 2nd to Afghanistan in journo killings : World braces for US’ trade war | Sunday Observer

America 2nd to Afghanistan in journo killings : World braces for US’ trade war

The world’s working classes, distracted by the on-going Football World Cup in Russia, are yet to be alerted to their future livelihood dangers from an imminent trade war between all major economies as a result of simplistic ‘scorched earth’ policies by the current United States regime. Meanwhile, in many regions where the West once exercised ‘policing’ geo-politics, the bloodshed is worsening – in Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Sub-Saharan Africa.

And in gun-laden America itself, its current President’s constant threats against the news media has now borne a bloody outcome with Friday’s first ever deadly attack against a newspaper office by a lone gunman seemingly with no other motivation than a declared hatred for the Fourth Estate. The lone gunman opened fire with a legally purchased rapid-fire shotgun inside the newsroom of a city newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, killing four journalists and a staffer and injuring two others.

According to all police announcements, the shooter, who was found hiding inside the building, had previously issued threats against the news media in several internet social media postings. There is no indication that the gunman was a fanatical Islamist or illegal migrant or an African-American drug addict or any of the pet racist stereotypes that the current American President usually peddles before his mainly White American fandom.

From even before his 2016 election victory, Donald Trump has been vilifying the mainstream US news media before his audiences and has continued to both, spew hatred against the US media and even described the media as being anti-people and anti-national.

Many critics of the American President have now accused Trump of being responsible for encouraging hostile actions against American news media and journalists. Very often in public speeches and even at press conferences, Trump has been spontaneously pointing fingers at journalists and TV camera personnel and accusing them of ‘fake news’ and being hostile to the voter constituencies that brought him to power.

This massacre of five media workers now puts the US on the map of countries most dangerous to journalists.

The Annapolis incident places America second to Afghanistan in journalists’ deaths so far this year. Unless more such gun-happy American civilians take up Trump’s exhortations against the news media, however, Afghanistan is likely to forge ahead with this deadly record, followed, more likely, by such countries as Mexico and The Philippines. Both these countries have regularly been among the most deadliest for media workers.

Meanwhile, some global analysts are warning of an actual contraction of the world economy within a year if American President Donald Trump proceeds (as threatened) this week with more high tariffs against key Chinese exports to the US. China has warned that if these tariffs are actually imposed, then it would impose similar high tariffs on up to US$ 12 billion worth of selected US products imported into the Chinese market.

The United States has already implemented high import duties against massive sectors of imports from its other biggest trading partners – the European Union, Mexico and Canada – and also against second rung trading partners such as Brazil and India.

While Canada and the EU have already announced similar import duties against a similar volume of American products, Mexico is expected to follow suit shortly.

As the European Commission’s ‘Eurostat’ website indicates, the EU, the United States and China account for the world’s highest trade values in goods, together accounting for 46 % of global exports of goods and 45 % of global imports (at 2016).

China (17 %) has the highest share in world exports, followed by the European Union (16 %) and the United States (14 %). In imports, the United States (18 %) has the highest share, ahead of the EU (15 %) and China (12 %).

Given this huge share of the global market, the rapidly worsening trade war between these economic giants will certainly affect the rest of the world, economists are warning. Initially, however, many developing economies could benefit from the US shutting off of trade with these other giant markets. Poorer economies can gain from offering their own products to the warring countries at lower prices not affected by the new tariffs – presuming these poorer countries have similar products of similar quality to offer.

In the intermediate term, however, that is, over the next year, world trade could significantly be reduced in both, volume and value, thereby affecting all economies and, most crucially, domestic job markets. The potential for a corresponding political instability across the world is, then, high – especially, among poorer, more vulnerable nations.

On the positive side, however, there is the long term prospect of a major transformation of the world economy in which the current lopsided bias of market dominance in favour of the ultra-affluent (and wasteful) First World economies could be evened out with more share in world trade going to all emerging economies across the globe. But for poorer countries, this may come at a heavy human cost in the short term. For the rich countries, the imminent possible global market contraction will be far less painful.

Nonetheless, even such a ‘softer’ pain, could mean a negative effect on future electoral prospects for Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues in the long term. Already some analysts are predicting near term losses of hundreds of thousands of US jobs in the metals related industries and ancillary goods. However, such social effects may not necessarily retard the current Republican electoral advantage in the forthcoming mid-term congressional elections in November.

Meanwhile, the real physical wars raging in many areas of the world, that the US and its allies once claimed to be able to ‘police’, are continuing to tear societies and whole countries apart.

The imminent military offensive by Saudi Arabia-sponsored Yemeni forces against the Houthi tribal rebels holding the second largest port of Hadaydah is expected to result in a humanitarian tragedy with heavy casualties expected among the civilian population now trapped in that besieged city.

US special forces units positioned inside the Saudi border nearby are believed to be helping direct the pro-Western Yemeni forces in the offensive.

Likewise, a new Russian-backed Syrian army offensive to drive the Syrian rebels out of the strategically important south-western province of Deraa may displace over 160,000 civilians in that already war-torn region, the UN has warned.

In Mali, local Islamist forces have carried out a suicide attack on the regional headquarters of the European-backed (mainly France) joint counter-insurgency force manned by several Sub-Saharan African countries fighting various Islamic State inspired insurgencies in that region, one of the world’s poorest.

In Palestine, too, the daily bloodshed continues with over a dozen protesters killed by Israeli army firing in the Gaza Strip last week.