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DAVID KRUSE

By Staff | Apr 1, 2016

I have long considered the Economist Magazine, based in London, to be the best source of information on the state of current events in the world. It is an international magazine with roughly half its subscription base in the U.S.

Wikipedia says the Economist is supportive of free trade, globalization, free immigration and cultural liberalism. The Economist bluntly purports that its aim is, “To take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.”

I hate ignorance and there is way too much of it going around. I do not recollect more baseless opinions being expressed that are unsupported by valid criteria for political aims ever before than during this campaign season unfolding.

Most often facts are facts and the chips fall where they may. During the recent election discourse I saw claims made that are as categorically incorrect, equivalent to “the sun rises in the west,” that are being embraced by simple majorities being misled as fact.

We have a very shallow electoral discourse going on over issues that are extremely important. We are seeing an unusual amount of demagoguery being embraced.

The Economist Magazine has an independent Intelligence unit that assesses risks around the world for business and government leaders. It rates potential events on a global risk scale of 1-25.

Its top risk today is scored a 20, that being a hard landing for the Chinese economy. Anew cold war with Russia – 16. An emerging market debt crisis – 16. A Brexit or fractured EU – 15. Coming in at a 12 was ISIS and the election of Donald Trump. They tied.

If you take the trade, immigration and foreign policies espoused by the Donald, it would move global institutions off their foundations destabilizing the global economy inflaming geopolitical flashpoints around the world.

Trump’s nativism, protectionism, tariff offensive and challenge of constitutional limits and freedoms, would rock the world.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report noted that he has been exceptionally hostile towards free trade, including notably NAFTA, and has repeatedly labelled China as a “currency manipulator.”

The EIU warned that, “His strong language directed towards Mexico and China, in particular, could escalate rapidly into a trade war. Mr. Trump has called for a big, big wall to be built on the U.S.-Mexican border, paid for by Mexico, to keep its illegal immigrants and drug dealers out of the United States.

“On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump has advocated killing the families of terrorists, waterboarding prisoners and invading Syria to eradicate the so-called Islamic State group and appropriate its oil. His militaristic tendencies towards the Middle East and ban on all Muslim travel to the U.S. would be a potent recruitment tool for jihadi groups, increasing their threat both within the region and beyond.

“Mr. Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese/Japanese imports, ridiculed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and (has) been hostile towards Mexico on trade and immigration.”

I would also point out that many military conflicts in history started out as trade conflicts and escalated into wars.

NBC News noted that, “This appeared to be the first time the EIU had rated a presidential candidate’s election as a global risk,” the firm told Politico. The EIU said, “Although we do not expect Mr. Trump to defeat his most likely Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton, there are risks to this forecast, especially in the event of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil or a sudden economic downturn, the authors wrote.”

The one response consistently heard from Trump supporters is that he will not do the things he says that he will do. I find that impossible to reconcile. The pattern has been for him to promise to do something and then as if he believes that he is not being taken seriously, he always doubles down, saying again for emphasis, reiterating that he will do what he says.

What don’t you believe? When he describes some action that he will take or when he says again that you should believe it? Do they mean that he is essentially lying twice? Why would that draw support?

Others think that Congress will restrain him – HA! He will coerce what he wants from Congress, making deals in trade for what Congress wants.

If the GOP Senate wants a conservative appointed to the Supreme Court they will have to enact 35 percent tariffs on Mexico and he will appoint who they want … it’s the art of the deal.

I don’t think that this train wreck is near over. The cattle industry will be producing more and more beef in competition with a pork industry that is building three new packing plants and poultry integrators that are profiting retail.

Stop for a moment and imagine how over-exposed the U.S. livestock industries are to a loss of exports given how all are expanding and how all the major presidential candidates are competing to see which is the most protectionist.

Industries are expanding into what would be an unmitigated economic disaster if Trump’s trade war or anything like it materializes. Go ahead and panic later if you want, but it may make more sense to step up politically, while there still is some chance to stop this.

Anyone who thinks that Trump’s trade policy is good for the ag sector or specifically, the livestock industries, is as delusional as he is.

What he is promoting for trade and immigration policies would break these industries; and I don’t believe that he has a clue and, as his only adviser, if he doesn’t know, there is no one to tell him.

This guy is a 12 along with ISIS on the scale of threats for potential to create global chaos.

The Economist is right.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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