Helping Allies Develop While Repairing US Infrastructure
President Trump rallied in Green Bay City of Wisconsin and stressed again the importance of reciprocal trade regarding tariffs. The U.S. aims to match tariffs on other countries imposing high tariffs on US manufacturers. The idea of reciprocal engagements should go further still, in the development of global infrastructure. For over a century, the U.S. has helped build other nations and provided support in times of struggle. Today’s challenges with China and Russia and the competition of global trade require a new approach to resource development nation building. For some regions, stability is a ticking time bomb while others have stagnated on too few industries and require economic diversification. The rise of global terrorism and other crime, migration, and new races in technology are reshaping a different balance of power. The U.S. should utilize its current economic vitality to reshape reciprocal engagements.
This model shows US companies and how new investment coalitions can compete with China and other rising actors on the world stage. In energy, transportation, communications, the reciprocal aspect of this Private Sector Engagement (PSE) and B2B service provides a way for international allies to co-develop across multiple countries and regions. This means resource allocation can become more streamlined and AI logistics can follow to improve the management of resources more efficiently. This also provides financial bridging between bond financing usually used to build domestic infrastructure and AID development finance usually allocated for allied countries. The co-development model building infrastructure across multiple countries incentivizes further Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and opportunities for private companies working internationally to grow.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in New York for a meeting at the United Nations has invited President Trump to swap prisoners. Secretary Pompeo announced earlier this week that the U.S. will not allow further exemptions for its trade partners like South Korea and Singapore to purchase Iran’s oil exports. Now that Iran’s government is facing the full impact of sanctions, it wants to talk prisoner exchange. The nuclear agreement under the Obama administration saw the release of prisoners and frozen assets along with delisting a large number of companies for previous sanctions violations including airlines, freight companies, and banks among others. Under the Trump administration, U.S. intelligence communities are undergoing some much-needed house-keeping concerning Iranian influence. It is unclear how many are detained between the two countries.
IRGC Floods Residents of Ahwaz
International human rights attorney, Irina Tsukerman, based in New York says the IRGC is once again violating human rights in Iran regarding recent flooding. To save oil facilities leased to China operated by IRGC, the waters were diverted to the province of Ahwaz. “Videos and reports documenting the regime’s deliberate policy of changing the floodwaters’ course so that they would submerge residential areas and farmlands, causing a humanitarian catastrophe, rather than letting the waters run along the river beds to the delta area where oil and gas rigs and refineries are located” according to DUSC have inspired outrage. Tsukerman says the events also represent a land grab in the province by the Iranian regime which has already displaced some 300,000 people. “It claims to have moved them to more secure locations; however, it is obvious that given the deliberate nature of the flooding the scheme was to deprive the Ahwazis of their land and to depopulate Ahwazi lands,” stated Tsukerman.
The IRGC is defending with tanks, heavy artillery, troops, and militia the berms and barriers securing the oil fields. The leasing of such properties to China [China also has significant leases for fishing in the Gulf.] is one of the Iran regime’s tactics to secure protection from the Chinese military protection should an invasion occur. It enables the IRGC and Iran backed militias to be more aggressive in the region, and against Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the U.S. globally.
The media black-out in Iran and absence of coverage internationally is part of the liberal establishment media despite claims that they stand for human rights to regain power in 2020. This is at the expense of the Iranian people and global stability. It will not stand. The Iranian people are not alone.
Mere weeks after Kim Jung Un and U.S. President Donald Trump met in Hanoi, the North Korean leader is now making a play to gain Russian support and influence, no doubt to ease the effects of economic sanctions felt by his [Kim Jung Un’s] country, while also maintaining its nuclear program. Analysts speculate this is a strategic move in order to establish himself as a global force with friends other than just China. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim Jung Un are set to meet this Thursday in the Russian port city of Vladivostok. Un’s objective is self evident: keep his nuclear program intact while at the same time lifting sanctions that are crippling his economy.
The U.S. State Department will keep a watchful eye on this meeting, as many officials believe this is largely a ploy to bring the U.S. back to the table for discussions. For this reason, diplomats are already in Russia in an effort to gauge the temperature of the Putin administration and its willingness to work with North Korea. [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Many believe the outcome of this meeting is far too predictable. Much like a child wanting something he or she knows won’t happen, they’ll go to one parent first and ask for permission. When the answer isn’t what they want, move on to the next parent, and so on until they finally find an ally who will permit their request or just don’t care. While U.S.-Russia relations aren’t the greatest at the moment, a nuclear-armed North Korea isn’t in anyone’s best interest, regionally or globally.
Critics of the United States argue that N. Korea is arming itself only because the regional U.S. presence is a constant threat and Kim Jung Un’s posture is that of self-defense only. Some European leaders are of the opinion that Un is looking for allies to pit against the U.S., including Russia. But the sudden acceleration of North Korea’s desire to move up the meeting signals a bit of desperation. Perhaps the Kim Jung Un leadership feels the pressure of the economic sanctions on a new level? This may be a clear indication that the U.S. policy and international sanctions are in fact working.
President Trump’s negotiations with President Xi Jinping report a shocking win on global technology transfers, but US companies need to make the next move. Knocking China out of number one on global exports will take mobilizing the American private sector and formulating a strategy of coordination and cooperation among US companies and allied partners internationally. In 2017 China showed a positive trade balance of $873B after the communist state exported $2.41T and imported $1.54T. One belt, one road is the theme for Chinese direct acquisition and other strategic investments in port facilities on a global scale in recent years that now point to its $1.78T lead in the global export market over the United States. With American manufacturing making a comeback we need to consider export logistics.
Beyond the imbalanced trade tariffs and currency manipulation addressed in recent negotiations with President Xi Jinping, China was reaping the benefits of its overseas mining operations, its manufacturing capabilities, and its global transportation infrastructure investment known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) spanning several continents to transport material from international trade partners to China. Gordon Chang interviewed on Fox Business remains cautious on China’s dominance in 11 sectors of technology and its Made in China 2025 manufacturing initiative. How can US companies compete? The answer lies not in the New Green Deal that aims to eliminate aviation on the cusp of commercial supersonic flights and commercial space travel as well as the petroleum industry as a whole, but in coordinated efforts to invest in transportation infrastructure at sea, air, and ground facilities in the US and throughout global supply chains.
Pushing China out of its current number one spot on global exports calls for streamlining air, sea, and ground transportation infrastructure to improve logistics in the US and allied countries along global supply chains. Rather than overspending on large land acquisitions to create vast road networks that connect to the US as China is doing with its Belt and Road Initiative, the US should focus on sea and air bridges for freight in allied countries and regions where US influence is expanding. Inside the US, rather than following the recently proposed agenda eliminate oil and gas consumption, the US should look for ways of connecting its top producing cities with high speed freight and passenger rail systems that push out product in record time. This includes high-speed rail systems to connect regional airports in growing middleweight cities within an ideal distance for high speed rail travel. The technology currently exists for regional rail systems to compete with regional aviation logistics. Japan in 2015 tested a seven-car maglev, magnetic levitation, train that reaches a top speed of 603km/h or 374.68 mph. Siemens is currently testing customizable trains for intercity travel in Germany that can travel at 223.69 mph. Germany is ranked 2nd in global exports.
This initiative will enable airlines to focus on longer distance flights where they earn more money and unclog some the nation’s busiest roads. Some rail systems recently proposed may be too close together or too far apart. Rail destinations are too close to one another such as commuter distances do not earn enough revenue to be cost effective, and distances too far apart such as an east to west coast line cannot compete with air speed. The ideal rail system would convert road travel times between 4-6 hours and air travel times of at least one hour in the air and 2 hours in the airport down to roughly half an hour by rail competing with some of the most advanced Japanese engineering. Anything longer is better suited to air travel and shorter distances such as cities only an hour apart may still be better suited to more cost-effective commutes by road. Short distance rail commutes between nearby cities are also difficult to market and sell passes to commuters who then have to rely on taxi services that raise their costs of commuting by rail. Growing cities around 4 to 5 hours apart are most ideal for cost-effective rail construction and ticket sales.
By constructing high-speed rail systems to run between major regional airports and seaports, outgoing product for export will reach both aviation and seaside connections at a faster rate and incoming products will reach interior destinations in that region more quickly. This will increase each city’s export capacity as the US has begun producing more material for export in steel and other metals, oil and petroleum based commodities, automotives, and many other manufactured products. It will also increase the combined GDP for connected tri-city networks and encourage regional diversity with growth. China’s cluster cities are made up of one or two more major cities with surrounding smaller cities and towns that combine to form the 6 economic diversity and GDP needed for each area. In the US, tri-city or tri-state networks can be utilized in a similar way to increase the productivity of the region.
Overseas airports, seaports, and other transportation facilities are being supported by USAID and development finance in new allied countries. These are also destinations where US companies will be expanding globally. Top GDP earning cities along international supply chain routes are ideal candidates for transportation infrastructure investment to increase the speed and efficiency of the import/export process across international partners and increase the quality of global security concerning the exploitation of transport logistics for illicit trafficking. Mirroring the transportation development in the US at the seaports and airports inside the growing cities of allied countries will strengthen international supply chains, improve international diplomacy, and speed up overall infrastructure development for developing countries. This will be provided in the form of raised GDP with raised export capacity and higher revenue from tariffs. This will also strengthen the growing economic development and security for countries allied with the US as smart technology and advanced surveillance systems are applied to transportation logistics. The cumulative effect is a more fluid transportation network internationally capable of directly competing with China’s Belt and Road Initiative overseas while maintaining smaller footprints however in key territories. US investment in its global supply chain facilities will offer a direct countermeasure for subversive Chinese investments such as those in Europe.
When will Europe learn that helping Iran skirt sanctions will not reward them with economic gains nor the security they seek. President Rouhani is threatening Europe with floods of migrants to their borders and drugs. It’s called narcoterrorism and Iran is a major chemical producer of heroin from poppies grown in Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the region.
The trafficking in narcotics from Iran runs to Eastern Europe through Turkey and also includes human slave trade and arms smuggling. Though this drug war began in Afghanistan by the US efforts in the Cold War after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to compromise the Soviet Union. Today it is considered effective narco-terrorism by Iran and its allies to shift the drug flows west to destabilize western society. The US military and intelligence refers to this as blowback.
It is not a coincidence that rivers of heroin and other narcotics are invading western countries at the same time corrupt officials want to legalize drug use under the banner that sales can be regulated. This would simply be another service to sponsors of narco-terrorism and effectively turn these and other drug cartels into wholesalers to attack western states from within.
While conflicts and economic ruin are sending millions of migrants towards safer places in Europe and the US, loose border policies have been exploited and have enabled this blowback to reach maturity. The mainstream media is blaming this move by Iran to be the result of US sanctions on Iran, but this covert war has long preceded sanctions.
Europe is incurring tremendous expense in the efforts to stop migration from Africa and the Middle East including people escaping Iran, and these examples are chief reasons for the tougher border policies in the US and greater expenses by Congress to more quickly process legitimate asylum seekers amidst migration attacks.
The US recently increased defense spending by $87 billion to $716 billion for 2019. US Africa Command is currently witnessing its 10 year anniversary and supports about 1,000 personnel operating in the Sahel region alone supporting African-led and French assisted missions. This is a significant percentage of the total of number of uniformed personnel, Department of Defense civilians, and contractors that work on any given day at 7,200 men and women. US AFRICOM’s drone base is relocating from Niamey to the city of Agadez in Niger and is providing training and equipment to Nigerian Armed Forces under the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership. While enemy combatants in Niger are largely forces belonging to Al-Qaeda and ISIS-Greater Sahara, Chad is composed of mainly Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa. The US AFRICOM mission in Chad includes logistics, sustainment, and maintenance with the Chadian Special Anti-Terrorism Group (SATG). In addition, the US military is also helping with intelligence, border surveillance and counter-IED capabilities according to a recent testimony before Congress.
While conflict areas in Africa remain high priorities for global security, local civilian populations in these areas will continue to demand AID. However, the current state of AID remains the subject of wide criticism for corruption. In an effort to address internal corruption within many AID programs, Congress is in the process of possibly rolling up some organizations. In addition to this, the US government and international community addressing the security and humanitarian crisis should institute a multilevel program that begins in AID provided at the crisis phase and ends in development finance upon reaching increasing levels of stability. Results should be measured at milestones and benchmarks along the way in order for local governments to be provided the opportunity to qualify and meet expectations for future development that require outside countries and the businesses to take risks. These milestones showing incremental progress along targeted benchmarks in stability and growth will drive the risk of development down and increase interest for private investment. Currently AID programs do not require local governments to set goals that can reached to show investors and risk assessors progress which could drastically affect credit and financing and offer collateral.
Further, no coordination exists between local governments, public private partnerships, private companies, and NGOs working in the same geographic areas with each investing resources in its own agenda irrespective of opportunities to pool resources, divide costs, and promote shared or common interests. This lack of coordination increases the overhead of each organization and can even create imbalances or introduce new problems between multiple institutional efforts. This coordination should be taking place across the continent as well, because opposing visions for the security and development of Africa are currently contributing to the instability of the region which has reached a global scale.
This can be seen currently in mass migration movements. While terrorism is shaping the Horn of Africa and the Sahel and West Africa, the other more stable Sub Saharan countries are undergoing large scale development but in such a way as to contribute to the security and humanitarian problems on the continent. Large scale land purchases in Tanzania, Guinea, Gobon, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, D.R. Congo, and Mozambique by foreign entities in Korea, China, India, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and others for industrial farming has contributed towards continental deforestation, desertification, other ecological problems, as well as mass migration. Land purchases in order to carve large industrial farms have been recorded as lows as US$0.80/hectare/year in Ethiopia and $0.50 – $7.10 per hectare/year in other countries. These land conversions to industrial farms is also sending the majority of the continent’s food supply for export while requiring increasing quantities of food from AID programs to import food or cash injections to buy it.
The distribution of food needs to be reorganized with public and private sector cooperation regionally and internationally, because relatively few infrastructure projects are being built in compensation for these low values of land, and the creation of industrial farms has driven many of the local populations including local farmers into migration. The quantity of land purchased for industrial farms measures almost the size of the United States. Migrants pushed out of these lands show a high probability of inflating numbers to conflict areas where rebels recruit a steady stream of fresh fighters among migrants. With unemployment being one of the big drivers of migration, the lack of education and job training are secondary problems of employment to the issue of employable men being former combatants from violent extremists networks. NGOs working in disarmament and reeducation of former al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram, or al-Shabaab servants discuss the difficulties of having such a large percentage of the workforce in a country or region being former combatants whom nobody wants.
African migrants who are also former combatants will continue to be a problem for African countries and foreign interests much the same way that Idlib is in Syria, but on a much larger scale. Idlib currently houses some 30,000 terrorists of differing nationalities ranging from European to Middle Eastern and Asian in which their country of origin will not accept their reentry. Often disarmed former combatants are driven from their families and neighborhoods and employers do not want to hire former terrorists. Thus the placement of former al-Qaeda, IS, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab or other violent extremist group will continue to limit the size of the region’s desirable work force and hinder the progress of security, law enforcement, and border protection. Thus, the manner in which large land purchases are made and development projects commence should target local populations for work and attract peaceful migrants to new jobs instead of continuing to displace workers that could potentially fuel rebel militias.
Development and foreign investment also needs to fuel the local economy and the local government’s ability to finance further infrastructure and industry development. Stable countries that are undergoing economic transformation should serve as a model for countries currently engaged in conflict. African countries should leverage the competition between foreign interests to maximize their development capacity and negotiate reciprocal engagements within public private partnerships and close loopholes that fuel corruption on multiple sides. With critical infrastructure needed in the US, Europe especially UK, Russia, and China as well as throughout Africa, the resource development of mining minerals, oil, and gas in African countries should be organized with the cross-development of infrastructure in both Africa and outside countries.
This would create a new development model for the continent that could reduce risk to foreign investment and head off further instability caused by imbalanced state agreements, loans, or one-sided business deals. In other words, the development of oil, gas, and mining industries in African countries should fuel infrastructure development in both the African country and foreign country investing in security and AID. This way, the African country receives security, AID, infrastructure, and industry development, and the foreign country receives raw materials needed for infrastructure development in its country. Private companies get the domestic and international business to build the infrastructure and develop industries. The cross-development of infrastructure between Africa the outside country would lower the risk factor for investment. This approach serves the peace and stability of the region and the global community.
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