Analysis, Side Feature

Views on the News – 25 Oct 2019


  • Brexit: EU Considers Extension as MPs Mull Election
  • Trump Ready to Mediate on Kashmir If Asked by India Pak US
  • China is Trying to Bring America to its Knees, Trump Trade Adviser says

Brexit: EU Considers Extension as MPs Mull Election

EU ambassadors are meeting to discuss what length of Brexit extension to offer the UK, as MPs consider Boris Johnson’s call for an early election.  Most EU states are understood to favour a three-month delay, with an option to end earlier if a deal is ratified sooner than this by Parliament. But France has argued for a shorter extension to the 31 October deadline. The PM has said he will give MPs more time to debate his Brexit deal if they back a 12 December poll. The government has said it plans to bring forward a Commons vote on an early general election on Monday if the EU offers a delay until 31 January. Chancellor Sajid Javid admitted the government’s pledge to deliver Brexit before the end of the month now “can’t be met” because “everyone expects an extension”. He told BBC Breakfast the Budget on 6 November would also not be going ahead as planned because “what is more important right now, I think, is getting Brexit done and then having that general election”. But the chances of enough MPs backing the motion – which under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act requires the support of two-thirds of MPs – appear uncertain, with Labour not committing to how it plans to vote. Speaking on Friday, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said Labour was “up for an election” but needed to know more about the type of extension offered by the EU, as well as gain an “explicit commitment that no-deal is off the table”. “That might mean further legislation in Parliament, I’m not sure – but we want to be absolutely certain,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.  The EU’s decision on what length of extension to offer will be discussed in a closed-door meeting in Brussels on Friday morning. Marie Lebec, a member of the French National Assembly representing President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party, said France would only agree to a delay if it was sure it was not an “extension for nothing”. [Source: BBC]

The British elite is unable to leave Europe without securing a go ahead from the parliament. This repetitive cycle of negotiating with the EU to extract concessions followed by rejection of the deal by parliament and then seeking extensions appears to be well choreographed routine intended to extract the maximum from the EU.


Trump Ready to Mediate on Kashmir If Asked by India Pak US

US President Donald Trump is ready to mediate between India and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir only if asked by both the countries, a senior administration official said on Thursday reiterating that the onus for peace talks lies on Islamabad by taking sustained and irreversible actions against terrorist groups. President Trump obviously has expressed his concern over the level of tension between India and Pakistan. And he discussed Kashmir directly in his meetings with Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Imran Khan, a senior State Department official said.  “He (Trump) certainly is prepared to play a mediation role, if both the countries ask. It has been India’s position not to seek outside mediation,” said the official in response to a question. Requesting anonymity, the official said the US will continue to encourage an atmosphere that will allow for constructive dialogue, that also includes important steps that Pakistan will need to take to show there are irreversible and sustainable actions as one precludes the cross border terrorism that has hijacked earlier efforts at constructive bilateral dialogue between the two countries. If the president is asked to mediate by both countries, he has expressed his willingness and his interests to help facilitate a solution, the official told a group of reporters when pressed further. India has been quite clear in Prime Minister Modi’s offce saying that they are not seeking mediation, the official said.    That doesn’t mean that the US is not actively encouraging that a dialogue take place and that an atmosphere for constructive dialogue between the two countries be established, the official said.

Trump’s desire for peace talks between India and Pakistan is solely driven by domestic politics. Trump wants to boost his re-election fortunes and is interested in exploiting the Kashmir issue for this purpose.


China is Trying to Bring America to its Knees, Trump Trade Adviser says

The US-China trade war is rocking America’s manufacturing industry. It’s denting profits for major companies like Hasbro and Caterpillar. And farmers are hurting badly. Yet Peter Navarro, trade adviser to President Donald Trump, downplayed the pain from the trade war and stressed the need to stay unified against China. “We are dealing with a strategic rival — and they are trying to buckle our knees,” Navarro told CNN’s Jim Sciutto at the CITIZEN by CNN conference in New York. Navarro was quick to say China’s economy is “hurting” — and it is, with growth slowing to the weakest pace since 1992 — but refused to acknowledge the damage at home. Yet the erratic trade war between the United States and China has also exacerbated the global economic slowdown and stung America’s factories. The US manufacturing sector in September suffered its worst month in a decade. Executives and economists pinned the blame on the tit-for-tat tariff battle with China. Farmers have been caught in the crossfire, with China halting its purchases of soybeans and other agricultural products in retaliation for tariffs. “This one’s self-inflicted by our President, and we definitely agreed with him at the beginning, but it doesn’t appear that there’s a plan B,” Gary Wertish, the president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, recently told CNN. Navarro downplayed the dissent from farmers. “They love President Trump in farm country,” Navarro said. “No one has the backs of those farmers more [than Trump].” Navarro expressed cautious optimism about trade negotiations between the United States and China. “We are on a glide path now for a Phase 1 deal,” Navarro said. “As the president has said many times, we’ll either get a great deal or we won’t. We’ll see what happens.” Navarro stressed that the battle with China is more than just a trade war; it’s about trying to address broader issues, including intellectual property theft, currency manipulation and shipments of fentanyl into the United States. “Your computers are at risk every day from Chinese government officials hacking into them to steal your information. That’s not about trade,” he said. The democracy protests in Hong Kong have posed another obstacle in the US-China trade talks. Trump promised Chinese President Xi Jinping in June that the United States would remain quiet on those protests in Hong Kong while trade talks continued, two sources told CNN earlier this month. Navarro denied that the Trump administration would go soft on China over the unrest in Hong Kong in exchange for a trade agreement. “It’s not who we are,” Navarro said, adding that he hasn’t seen an indication that’s “ever” been on the table. [Source: CNN]

Trump’s trade war with China is motivated by the desire to restrain Chinese global economic hegemony. America fears China’s meteoric rise and is looking for every opportunity to restrain China’s ascendency.