Where Are the Peacekeepers?

What one should be asking oneself about the conflict in Ukraine is where are the peacekeepers? It is obvious that a settlement of the dispute would be very beneficial to all the parties — Europe, Russia, and most of all Ukraine itself, for, if this war in Ukraine continues and no doubt escalates, the entire country will be ravaged.

But where are the third-party peacekeepers who might aid in brokering an agreement between Russia and Ukraine? No one seems to be stepping up to this task despite the clear benefits for all.

The areas of Ukraine that the Russian military has taken over have a majority of ethnic-Russians in their populations, so it isn’t unrealistic for these areas to be incorporated into Russia — that’s called democracy or rule by the majority. The deal would include the guaranteeing of the new borders of Ukraine against any further incursion by Russia, along with the compromise that Ukraine remains unaligned with NATO. Those are the obvious parameters of such an agreement.

Why would Ukraine entertain such an agreement with loss of territory? Because they are facing devastation to the middle and western parts of their country — currently relatively unscathed — as well as the loss of the entire coastline, including Odessa, so that Ukraine would become completely landlocked, and so no longer benefit as a lucrative transit point for the eastern trade route.

But instead of stepping up to encourage such an agreement, the West has elected instead to open the floodgates of military aid to Ukraine. Clearly, the West, egged on by the US, doesn’t want peace, but is willing to sacrifice Ukraine in order to debilitate Russia. That’s why there are no peacekeepers. The West is using Ukraine to wage covert war against Russia.

This will not end well for the West, certainly not for Ukraine.

Waging war, even indirectly, is an unpredictable animal. The current generation of would-be diplomats in the West seems to have forgotten this fact. And Kennedy’s sword-of-Damocles remark relative to the threat of nuclear war is still very pertinent today — perhaps more pertinent than ever.

Outbreak of War

European Union (EU) and Tariffs

Trump’s comment that the EU is a “foe” from an economic point of view made me look into our trade relations with Europe.  It turns out that we have a consistently large trade imbalance with the EU every year.  Most people are aware of the gigantic trade imbalance with China that has persisted now for decades, but may not be so aware of this problem with the EU.  Here are the numbers for 4 years:
2014 276.3 billion
2015 271.9 billion
2016 269.5 billion
2017 283.3 billion
So what the above means is that, on a net basis, for those 4 years, over a trillion dollars has left our country and gone to the EU — quite literally, on a net basis, the US is 1 trillion poorer and the EU is 1 trillion richer.  Why is this happening?  Why is the US selling to Europe so much less than we are buying from them when the US, by any measure, has very good companies and very competitive products?  I suggest the problem occurs because of EU tariffs.  Actually, tariffs are almost a definition of what the EU really is.  For states that are members, the EU is a genuine free trade zone — there are no tariffs between member countries, that’s the whole point.  But for the rest of the world, including the US, the EU uses prohibitively high, protectionist tariffs to shield domestic industries of member states from foreign competition.
It will be interesting to see what impact there will be on the trade balance between the US and the EU if a genuine free trade agreement is put in place where there are no tariffs at all on either side so that American products will be unimpeded by EU tariffs and their products unimpeded by our tariffs — a completely level playing field.  Who knows — we may even see a trade surplus on the US side of the ledger.

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