The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump, his campaign and his party are moving to lay blame for the 80,000 U.S. dead at the feet of the Communist Party of China and, by extension, its longtime General Secretary, President Xi Jinping. "There is a significant amount of evidence" that the... Read More
The devastating impact of the coronavirus on Italy has sparked considerable speculation as to why the country appears to have suffered so disproportionately from the disease. Some initial theories suggested that the deaths might be due to lower standards and ill-advised practices in the Italian national health system, but the reality is that northern Italy,... Read More
Nobody, anywhere, could have predicted what we are now witnessing: in a matter of only a few weeks the accumulated collapse of global supply chains, aggregate demand, consumption, investment, exports, mobility. Nobody is betting on an L-shaped recovery anymore – not to mention a V-shaped one. Any projection of global gross domestic product (GDP) in... Read More
You don’t need to read Michel Foucault’s work on biopolitics to understand that neoliberalism – in deep crisis since at least 2008 – is a control/governing technique in which surveillance capitalism is deeply embedded. But now, with the world-system collapsing at breathtaking speed, neoliberalism is at a loss to deal with the next stage of... Read More
Dr. Brian Monahan, attending physician of Congress, told a closed meeting of Senate staffers this week that 70 million to 150 million Americans -- a third of the nation -- could contract the coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Fauci testified that the mortality rate for COVID-19 will likely run near 1%. Translation: Between 750,000 and 1.1 million... Read More
President Trump's State of the Union was objectively an excellent center-right speech. He told stories of strength in the face of adversity and heroism through individual Americans from all walks of life, effectively projecting the image of a unified, meritocratic, compassionate, prosperous and ascendant America on the brink of achieving world peace and Martian exploration.... Read More
The first thing to understand is that it is not a trade deal. It is Trump backing off his tariffs when he discovered that the tariffs fall on US goods and American consumers, not on China. Trump is covering his retraction by calling it a trade deal. China’s part of the deal is to agree... Read More
Trading With China Since 1988
In 1941, the Council on Foreign Relations produced a key document for the US State Department, Methods of Economic Collaboration: The Role of the Grand Area in American Economic Policy. The report proposed that the Western hemisphere, large parts of Europe, the British Empire, the Dutch East Indies, and the Pacific Rim including China and... Read More
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Ignorance or Denial by the U.S. Poses Grave Dangers
The recent China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai attracted little attention in the Western press but it is one more reminder that China is an economic and trading powerhouse that has surpassed the US. That is right, the word is “surpassed.” The CIIE also serves to remind us that China’s economic power now stands... Read More
Thirty-eight years ago when I was in charge of United States domestic economic policy, the US Treasury and President Reagan believed that the purpose of economic policy was to serve the country, not Wall Street and the banks or the corporations or any of the various organized interest groups. Our idea was that policy could... Read More
New European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants a “carbon tariff” on imports to Europe.
After decades of piously reciting neoliberal orthodoxy, extolling a ‘post-political’ borderless world, the European Union seems finally to be turning away from free trade. Numerous factors are working in this direction: a decades-late reaction to China’s mercantilist trade policies which have gutted European industry, the threat of trade wars with America under President Donald Trump,... Read More
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It is very popular these days to talk and write about the “trade war” between the United States and China. But is there really one raging? Or is it, what we are witnessing, simply a clash of political and ideological systems: one being extremely successful and optimistic, the other depressing, full of dark cynicism and... Read More
"Who Lost China?" With the fall of the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, the defeat of his armies and the flight to Formosa, that was the question of the hour in 1949. And no one demanded to know more insistently than the anti-Communist Congressman John F. Kennedy: "Whatever share of the responsibility was Roosevelt's and... Read More
According to the great military thinker, Maj. Gen. J.F.C. Fuller, ‘the object of war is not victory. It is to achieve political goals.’ Too bad President Donald Trump does not read books. He has started economic wars against China, Russia, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela without any clear strategic objective beyond inflating his ego as the... Read More
I was surprised to be given credit by readers for Trump ordering American corporations out of China and to bring the jobs back to the American workers that the corporations had abandoned. American economists, financial media, and Washington policymakers had never paid any attention to my analysis of US economic decline in terms of globalism... Read More
Ten weeks of protests, some huge, a few violent, culminated Monday with a shutdown of the Hong Kong airport. Ominously, Beijing described the violent weekend demonstrations as "deranged" acts that are "the first signs of terrorism," and vowed a merciless crackdown on the perpetrators. China is being pushed toward a decision it does not want... Read More
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EMBARGO DILEMMA Modern China has spent forty of its seventy years under American and Western embargoes, so the current round is nothing new. How likely is it to succeed? In 1949 Mao inherited the poorest country on earth, devastated by a century of wars, occupation, disease, and famine. The US immediately broke all contacts, withdrew... Read More
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If President Trump doesn’t waver, his border deal with Mexico will be a victory. The Mexicans have agreed to quit serving as conduits to hundreds of thousands of central Americans headed for the U.S.A. Despite protests from Democrats, stateside—Mexico has agreed to significantly increase enforcement on its borders. At first, Mexico was as defiant as... Read More
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The G20 Meeting in Japan
President Trump has threatened China’s President Xi that if they don’t meet and talk at the upcoming G20 meetings in Japan, June 29-30, the United States will not soften its tariff war and economic sanctions against Chinese exports and technology. Some meeting between Chinese and U.S. leaders will indeed take place, but it cannot be... Read More
As his limo carried him to work at the White House Monday, Larry Kudlow could not have been pleased with the headline in The Washington Post: "Kudlow Contradicts Trump on Tariffs." The story began: "National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow acknowledged Sunday that American consumers end up paying for the administration's tariffs on Chinese imports,... Read More
Wherever I look at US policy, foreign or domestic, I see only insanity, ignorance, and incompetence. Take the issue of tariffs, which is Trump’s mistaken approach to bringing the jobs back home. The tariff “solution” overlooks that offshored US production counts as imports when US firms bring their goods into the US to be marketed.... Read More
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It’s Already Under Way
In his highly acclaimed 2017 book, Destined for War, Harvard professor Graham Allison assessed the likelihood that the United States and China would one day find themselves at war. Comparing the U.S.-Chinese relationship to great-power rivalries all the way back to the Peloponnesian War of the fifth century BC, he concluded that the future risk... Read More
Last week the United States, Mexico, and Canada agreed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with a new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Sadly, instead of replacing NAFTA’s managed trade with true free trade, the new USMCA expands government’s control over trade. For example, under the USMCA’s “rules of origin,” at least 75... Read More
Third Time's the Charm
This is America’s third trade war on China: we held its head under water from 1949-1971 and from 1989-92. Inter alia, the US, the EU and the USSR embargoed all weapons technology to prevent China from independently developing the H-Bomb or launching satellites. She did both and kept her economy growing debt-free, twice as fast... Read More
The Rise of an Anti-Trump Movement Globally -- and on His Home Turf
One thing already seems clear in the Trump era: the world will not turn out to be the American president’s playground. His ultra-unilateralist, rejectionist policies on trade, the Iran denuclearization agreement, the costs of defense, and climate change are already creating an incipient anti-Trump movement globally (and in the United States as well). To a... Read More
One of the most insidious ways politicians expand government is by creating new programs to “solve” problems created by politicians. For example, government interference in health care increased health care costs, making it difficult or even impossible for many to obtain affordable, quality care. The effects of these prior interventions were used to justify Obamacare.... Read More
Ecological economists, such as Herman E. Daly, stress that as the external costs of pollution and resource exhaustion are not included in Gross Domestic Product, we do not know whether an increase in GDP is a gain or a loss. External costs are huge and growing larger. Historically, manufacturing and industrial corporations, corporate farming, city... Read More
On meeting with the EU's Jean-Claude Juncker last month, Donald Trump tweeted: "Both the U.S. and the E.U. drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies! That would finally be Free Market and Fair Trade." Did Larry Kudlow somehow get access to Trump's phone? We know not. But, on hearing this, Steve Forbes, Stephen Moore and Arthur... Read More
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Five Financial Uncertainties of 2018 (So Far)
Here we are in the middle of the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and if there’s one thing we know by now, it’s that the leader of the free world can create an instant reality-TV show on geopolitical steroids at will. True, he’s not polished in his demeanor, but he has an unerring way... Read More
"Make America Great Again!" will, given the astonishing victory it produced for Donald Trump, be recorded among the most successful slogans in political history. Yet it raises a question: How did America first become the world's greatest economic power? In 1998, in "The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to... Read More
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Introduction Journalists, academics, pundits and experts have ignored the complexity of President Trump’s impact on the state of the US Empire. To properly assess the geopolitical configuration of power, we will consider the military, economic, political and diplomatic advances and setbacks of the Trump regime in Latin America, the European Union and Asia (including the... Read More
When are America’s global corporations and Wall Street going to sit down with President Trump and explain to him that his trade war is not with China but with them. The biggest chunk of America’s trade deficit with China is the offshored production of America’s global corporations. When the corporations bring the products that they... Read More
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How Donald Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Leaders are routinely confronted with philosophical dilemmas. Here’s a classic one for our Trumptopian times: If you make enemies out of your friends and friends out of your enemies, where does that leave you? What does winning (or losing) really look like? Is a world in which walls of every sort encircle America’s borders a... Read More
In the rush of Trumped-up events, history -- of the last month, week, hour -- repeatedly gets plowed (or tweeted) under. Who can remember what happened so long ago? Perhaps it’s not surprising then that, in the wave of abuse from the president and his men (including economic adviser Larry Kudlow and trade hardliner Peter... Read More
The dissolution of the Soviet Union removed the constraint on Washington’s unilateralism. The neoconservatives, who had just risen to power, seized the opportunity and replaced diplomacy with threat and coercion. One infamous example is from the George W. Bush regime when the Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, told Pakistan to do as you are... Read More
"There is no Republican Party. There's a Trump party," John Boehner told a Mackinac, Michigan, gathering of the GOP faithful last week. "The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere." Ex-Speaker Boehner should probably re-check the old party's pulse, for the Bush-Boehner GOP may not just be napping. It could be comatose. Consider.... Read More
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Introduction The world is riven with class conflicts in Latin America, political conflicts between the Anglo-Americans and Russians, and economic conflicts between Washington against Europe and Asia. The conflicts have called into question the capacity of ruling elites to promote growth, to secure international stability and to foster global as co-operation. To understand the underlying... Read More
Introduction US Presidents, European leaders and their academic spokespeople have attributed China’s growing market shares, trade surpluses and technological power to its “theft” of western technology, “unfair” or non-reciprocal trade and restrictive investment practices. President Trump has launched a ‘trade war’, - raising stiff tariffs, especially targeting Chinese exports – designed to pursue a protectionist... Read More
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"This is a Game We Can Win"
In 2003 I congratulated a young Chinese banker on his country’s accession to the WTO, cautioning that the trade body was a Western ideological post-Cold War creation designed not merely to enshrine export-oriented development models but to advance neoliberal trade norms. After a moment’s reflection he responded, “I agree with your view of the WTO’s... Read More
SHARMINI PERIES: It's The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or known as the OECD, predicted on Tuesday that Trump's tariffs on aluminum and steel imports could initiate a wave of protectionism and slow global economic growth. The tariffs have already spurred various... Read More
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In the turbulent times of Trump, it seems like an eternity, but last week, Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic advisor, resigned from his position. President Trump had asked “Cohn directly” if he could be relied on to help implement tariffs. Cohn said no, by Bloomberg Politics’ telling. Hours later, he was out. Asked and... Read More
Robert Bartley, the late editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, was a free trade zealot who for decades championed a five-word amendment to the Constitution: "There shall be open borders." Bartley accepted what the erasure of America's borders and an endless influx or foreign peoples and goods would mean for his country. Said... Read More
President Trump’s planned 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports may provide a temporary boost for those industries, but the tariffs will do tremendous long-term damage to the American and global economies. Tariffs raise the price of, and reduce demand for, imported goods. Tariffs ensure the preferences of politicians,... Read More
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Trump’s series of threats this week was a one-two punch. First, he threatened to impose national security tariffs on steel and aluminum, primarily against Canada and Mexico (along with Korea and Japan). Then, he suggested an alternative: He would exempt these countries IF they agree to certain U.S. demands. But these demands make so little... Read More
From Lincoln to William McKinley to Theodore Roosevelt, and from Warren Harding through Calvin Coolidge, the Republican Party erected the most awesome manufacturing machine the world had ever seen. And, as the party of high tariffs through those seven decades, the GOP was rewarded by becoming America's Party. Thirteen Republican presidents served from 1860 to... Read More
"We got China wrong. Now what?" ran the headline over the column in The Washington Post. "Remember how American engagement with China was going to make that communist backwater more like the democratic, capitalist West?" asked Charles Lane in his opening sentence. America's elites believed that economic engagement and the opening of U.S. markets would... Read More
There is much President Trump does not understand about the outside world. High up on the list is the crucial importance of US trade policy in creating and sustaining the American Empire. The key to the post-World War II US imperium was granting other nations commercial access to the huge, vibrant American domestic market. This,... Read More
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Introduction By the end of the first month of President Trump’s Administration we are in a better position to evaluate the policies and direction of the new President. An examination of foreign and domestic policy, particularly from a historical and comparative perspective will provide insights about whether America is heading for a catastrophe as the... Read More
Steve Forbes once joked that if you ever find yourself in a middle seat on a plane and want to create some elbow room, try starting a conversation about U.S. monetary policy. It is a subject whose power to bore the pants off fellow passengers may diminish in coming years. Of dozens of potentially explosive... Read More
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Introduction: During his inaugural speech, President Trump clearly and forcefully outlined the strategic political-economic policies he will pursue over the next four years. Anti-Trump journalist, editorialists, academics and experts, who appear in the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have repeatedly distorted and lied about the President’s program as... Read More
PastClassics
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
How a Young Syndicate Lawyer from Chicago Earned a Fortune Looting the Property of the Japanese-Americans, then Lived...