Confusion and complexity characterise the world into which our PM is headed

PM Jacinda Ardern heads  into a world that has become more challenging, divisive and complex when she jets off to the World Economic Forum in Davos and a round of European calls. Rarely has a NZ PM been confronted by such a confusing global situation.

First, Europe is convulsed by two major challenges, the future of Brexit and the slow-down in the European economy which has given nationalists fresh ammunition.

Second, China and the US are inching towards an  economic and strategic confrontation.

At home US President Donald Trump is facing incoming tides of confusion and uncertainty.  The New York Times has put the focus on his five meetings with Russia’s Vladimir Putin of which no substantial record exists.

Now there is fresh dispute among his former and present advisers over the nature and scope of his contacts before, during and after the presidential election campaign in 2016.

Our New York correspondent has been in Washington DC to test the waters and reports a perplexing scene.

He says the partial government shutdown has started to tip the balance against Trump. In part this is because of the Democrats under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (think Helen Clark on steroids) has turned the closure into an existential challenge.

Buoyed by pro-wall talk-show pugilists including Rush Limbaugh, Trump holds fast to his call for a wall along the Mexican border to preserve the sanctity of the US state from the threatening hordes south of the border. No matter that the bulk of narcotics and potential terrorist threats enter through conventional entry ports.

Now such substantial commentators such as Jami Dimon, chairman and CEO of banker  Chase Morgan, has warned of the consequences in terms of impact of the economy on the shutdown. This tears at the heart of Trump’s achievements.

The economy  has been booming thanks in part to tax cuts (IRS tax assessors have been recalled to work unpaid to ensure taxpayers don’t miss their refunds.)   Any slippage would be costly from Trump.

Already the farmer base is starting to suffer on two counts: first, tariffs and their impact on soya bean producers are biting; now the shutdown of the Department of Agriculture means that farmers cannot receive their income compensations.

On the broader scene, Ardern faces a delicate pas de deux in London with PM Theresa May.  The UK government is desperate for runs on the board and anything like a great free trade agreement with NZ would boost morale.

This must be balanced against whatever impact this would have with NZ’s hard-fought battle to secure an FTA with the much larger European Union market.  So  does  Ardern  cosy up  to  Labour  leader Jeremy Corbyn in the  hope  he  may soon  be stepping  into   10 Downing  st?

Altogether a   test   for   both NZ’s youthful PM,  and her  advisers…

3 thoughts on “Confusion and complexity characterise the world into which our PM is headed

  1. A test that will mean that Jacinda can’t help but be found wanting. She simply lacks the depth to be able to foot in with almost any overseas politican. Further I would suggest that your comments about Trump are simply following the usual MSM trend and do not take into account today’s action he has taken against Pelosi (Helen Clark on steroids-you must be joking ! -she’s 79 and fast loosing it for starters). Trump is not a quitter whatever he is-I suggest he has just begun to fight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. New Zealand’s stocks can hardly ever have been lower, This government has refused to stand with its friends over Chinese abuses against the Uighurs and the hostage taking of Canadians and now the imposition of the death penalty against a Canadian citizen. It has just sided with Hamas, a terrorist organization, in the UN. The UK is in no position to discuss an FTA with New Zealand – the Remainers in May’s government are strangling the Brexit outcome sought by the majority of British voters. An FTA with the EU will have many strings attached on social and political matters including burden-sharing of illegal migrants (especially given the signal sent by this government’s December vote in support for the UN Compact on Migration). The US is a beacon of sanity and stability compared to Europe and the major recession that looms for the Eurozone. Ardern should stick to photo-opps in her korowai prop.

    Liked by 2 people

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