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How should democracies trade with the enemy?

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  • How should democracies trade with the enemy?

    Confronting Russia shows the tension between free trade and freedom
    Liberal governments need to find a new path that combines openness and security

    The invasion of Ukraine is the third big blow to globalisation in a decade. First came President Donald Trump’s trade wars. Next was a pandemic in which cross-border flows of capital, goods and people almost stopped. Now armed conflict in Europe’s breadbasket, besieged Black Sea ports and sanctions on Russia have triggered a supply shock that is ripping through the world economy. Wheat prices have risen by 40%, Europeans may face gas shortages later this year, and there is a squeeze on nickel, used in batteries, including for electric cars. Around the world many firms and consumers are grappling with supply chains that have proved too fragile to depend on—yet again.

    If you look beyond the chaos, Vladimir Putin’s warmongering also raises a question about globalisation that is uncomfortable for free-traders such as The Economist. Is it prudent for open societies to conduct normal economic relations with autocratic ones, such as Russia and China, that abuse human rights, endanger security and grow more threatening the richer they get? In principle, the answer is simple: democracies should seek to maximise trade without compromising national security. In practice, that is a hard line to draw. Russia’s war shows that a surgical redesign of supply chains is needed to prevent autocratic countries from bullying liberal ones. What the world does not need is a dangerous lurch towards self-sufficiency.

  • #2
    Should be amended to remove the "in time of war" clause.

    § 4301 et seq.) is a United States federal law, enacted on October 6, 1917, that gives the President of the United States the power to oversee or restrict any and all trade between the United States and its enemies in times of war.


    Effective: October 6, 1917

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    • #3
      House votes to strip Russia of trade status

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      • #4
        Profiling the GOP's Putin fluffers...

        Today, the House of Representatives voted to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, permitting the administration to raise tariffs against them. The measure passed by a vote of 424 to 8. The eight votes against the measure came from Republican members Andy Biggs (AZ), Dan Bishop (NC), Lauren Boebert (CO), Matt Gaetz (FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Glenn Grothman (WI), Thomas Massie (KY), and Chip Roy (TX), all staunch Trump supporters.
        - Heather Cox Richardson

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        • #5
          Drunk Monkey, thoughts? Or just another echo-chamber-friendly thread?

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          • #6
            Free trade with free countries. Have been saying that for decades. But the interest groups on either side (and sometimes both) have always framed trade by interests and not principles.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BroncoBeavis View Post
              Free trade with free countries. Have been saying that for decades. But the interest groups on either side (and sometimes both) have always framed trade by interests and not principles.
              What does that even mean?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Roh View Post

                What does that even mean?
                Illustrative example for discussion... the Nafta debate back in the early 90's.

                Commercial trading interests obviously were mostly pro-ratification.

                US labor interests at the time were mostly vehemently opposed.

                In my mind that mostly aligned with each group's financial and political interests vs any larger philosophical principle.

                Maybe your take is different on that. But to me one side wanted access to cheaper labor while the other (on the labor side) opposed access to cheaper labor.

                A more principled standard (to me) would simply say "Do these workers have a choice in their government and by (long) extension, their labor standards?" If they do, then let them compete... on an even, tariff free playing field. Even if (when) it comes at the cost of some segment of American labor.

                If they don't, American markets should not do business with labor markets that can't truly be considered voluntary at the most basic level. Obviously that kind of prohibition can't be universal, but significant tariffs at the very least should function to offset competitive disadvantages of having a free labor force.

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