The Russia – Ukraine and trade wars are not in America’s interest

By Carlton Joseph

Carlton Joseph

The midterm elections are over and the pundits and pollsters were wrong. The predicted “giant red wave” was not even big enough to encourage surfboarding, Democrats will retain control of the Senate and the House is still undecided.  The Georgia Senate race is headed for a runoff on December 6 as neither candidate got 50% of the vote.  At a White House news conference Wednesday afternoon, Biden said that voters “sent a clear, unmistakable message that they want to preserve our democracy and protect the right to choose in this country.”

Many of Trump’s handpicked candidates for the House and Senate lost their races, Democrats flipped Pennsylvania blue, and Florida decided to go deep red.  Following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade this summer, ballot measures protecting access to abortion won in Michigan, California, Vermont, Montana and Kentucky, some passed abortion initiatives by double digits, prompting conservative scholar, Adrian Vermeule to tweet; “Democracy wasn’t on the ballot, but abortion was, and it seems that the democracy has spoken in favor of abortion.”

Inflation and abortion were the most important issues in the midterm elections, exit polls reveal that voters believe that Republicans are most concerned about inflation, they disapprove of Biden’s performance, and most think that his policies are hurting the country.  Democrats must change that perception and immediately deal with inflation, and acknowledge that blaming Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and blaming oil companies for price gouging, will not end inflation, or improve Biden’s ratings. 

Democrats have retained control of the Senate, and regardless of which party controls the House, Biden must reduce inflation by immediately brokering an end to the war in Ukraine by simply agreeing to have Ukraine become a neutral country with the ability to trade with Russia, the US, Europe and the world.  America was willing to go to war when the Soviet Union tried to place weapons in Cuba, America would never accept to be surrounded by any military alliance, she should understand that Russia cannot accept to be surrounded by NATO.  Most important, Russia, if forced to save itself, might use nuclear weapons to end the war, and claim that the US set the precedent in Japan.  America and the world do not need WWIII, Biden needs to end hostilities now.

It is imperative that Biden end the war because the future of what the US calls “the rules- based International Order”, that the US sponsored and built for the last 50 years, is at stake.   Remember, the U.S. government pushed a globalization agenda, which integrated countries with each other, Russia, China and India were at the core of that integration.  Russia was core because Europe, especially Germany, needed inexpensive fuel to power its economy, and to attract the wealth stolen from the state of the Soviet Republic, by the oligarchs, into international financial markets.  China was also given Most Favored Nation (MFN) status because US multinational corporations wanted access to the 1.3 billion Chinese market. And India was granted the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) so that American companies could gain access to the 1.2 billion Indian market, in exchange India must respect arbitral awards in favor of US citizens or corporations, respect worker rights, and provide intellectual property protection.  

If Biden continues supporting Ukraine in this unwinnable war, and continues the Trump doctrine – to “prevent Russia and China from rising” – the policies that culminated in a trade war and sanctions on Chinese technology companies, the global order will collapse and the world will experience a global recession.  There is hope that Biden will attend the G20 summit, which started on Monday.  Reports indicate that he made the case for strengthening US, EU and Asian ties in an effort to blunt China’s power and influence, however, many Asia-Pacific nations and EU countries maintain close ties to China, and the differing priorities of the G-20 countries could make reaching consensus difficult on a range of issues from the war, to energy, food security and economic policy. Hopefully, this lack of consensus will result in forcing Biden to negotiate an end to the war in Ukraine, and end the trade war that the US initiated against China.

The Ukraine war and China “trade war” are fracturing old alliances and creating new global alliances that would eventually destroy the US created international order, and US hegemony.  Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz has told Biden that if Germany breaks ties with Russia the country will plunge into a serious recession, and cutting trade with China will decrease Germany’s GDP by 1 percent.  In fact, Scholz rammed through approval for a 25% stake in the Port of Hamburg by China’s COSCO, in defiance of his own coalition partners and at the expense of fellow EU members.  Also, the European Union is Russia’s largest trading partner, accounting for 37 percent of Russia’s global trade in 2020, with about 70 percent of Russian gas exports and half of its oil exports going to Europe.  And, since Biden shunned India because she would not condemn Russia, India is now buying large quantities of oil from Russia.  Even Japan’s PM has said that Japan is not going to stop importing LNG and crude oil from Russia.

Biden must understand that America, unlike the EU, is energy independent, and that most of the international community has no interest in taking one side or the other in a new Cold War, or want a global recession.  In fact, EU analysts are now thinking that Europe needs more strategic autonomy to make the union act independently vis-a-vis partners and competitors.  They are viewing America’s bullying as its modus operandi, and are deciding that America’s interests and geopolitical views should not be blindly adopted, but should be seen from the point of view of their own future perspective.

Biden must decide to use America’s managerial, technical and entrepreneurial talent if America wants to continue to dominate the global economy.  Isolating or trying to bully Russia, China, India, or Saudi Arabia is impossible.  These countries have created alliances like the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), BRI, to challenge Western and US dominance, and also play important roles in the G20, ASEAN and other organizations.  The “rules-based global order” has brought development and industrialization to large parts of the world, improved human conditions, increased production, consumption, and technological progress, Biden must ensure its survival.  Boeing has a joint-venture set up in China in the hope of securing some of the more than 8,000 planes that China plans to buy.  According to Boeing, China is going to spend $3 trillion on those planes. If Boeing moves out, it won’t get any of that business.  American conglomerates, such as General Electric, Microsoft, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Citi Bank, etc., and almost every major corporation that enters the mainland Chinese market automatically hire lobbyists on Capitol Hill to keep that market available. 

The midterm elections have kicked the threat to America’s democracy down the road, rising inflation, shortfalls in social security, and healthcare funding are the key factors influencing the American economy.  Continued support of the war in Ukraine and trade war with China will exacerbate the financial and economic conditions globally, resulting in another great depression.  Trade war with, and blocking technologies from, China, is not in America’s best interest.