U.S. suspension of trade program with India ‘a done deal’ | Reuters


The suspension of a U.S. trade preference program with India is a “done deal,” a senior State Department official said on Thursday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his second term.

U.S. law requires the administration to wait 60 days after it notifies Congress of the move before it formally ends India’s participation in the program. Trump notified Congress of the move in early March.

Source: U.S. suspension of trade program with India ‘a done deal’: U.S. official – Reuters

U.S., China firms scramble as new tariffs hurt business | Reuters

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On both sides of the Pacific, importers and exporters are scrambling as further tariffs of 15% come into effect, on top of the 10% duties imposed last September.

The new tariffs will force them to raise prices, take a further hit on margins, or, if they can, find alternatives.

Source: U.S., China firms scramble as new tariffs hurt business – Reuters

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How Trump’s trade tariff tweet put Mexico’s back to the wall | Reuters

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It should have been a good day for Mexico’s veteran point man for trade with the rest of North America.

But Jesus Seade had just wrapped up an optimistic speech to a friendly Mexican Senate, aimed at winning ratification for a regional free trade deal, when he was sideswiped.

At 6:30 p.m. (2330 GMT), U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that Washington would impose a 5% tariff, rapidly ratcheting higher, on all goods coming from Mexico unless the flow of illegal immigrants across the southern U.S. border was stanched.

Source: How Trump’s trade tariff tweet put Mexico’s back to the wall – Reuters

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US says India’s exit from duty-free import scheme is ‘done deal’ | Hindustan Times

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The United States on Thursday said India’s suspension from the list of countries benefiting from a duty-free import scheme that was announced in March is a “done deal”, but left the door open for restoring the benefits when India yielded, conceding more access to its markets to American firms.

Previewing Trump administration’s vision for US-India ties under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new government, a senior administration official also warned of the “very serious” Turkey-like “conversations” if India goes ahead with its planned purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

Source: US says India’s exit from duty-free import scheme is ‘done deal’ | world news | Hindustan Times

The Truth About Tariffs | Council on Foreign Relations

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Tariffs have long been used to prop up homegrown industries by getting locals to buy goods produced domestically. For most of the past century, however, tariffs have fallen out of favor because they often lead to reduced trade, higher prices for consumers in tariff-wielding countries, and retaliation from abroad.

With tariffs once again rising under U.S. President Donald J. Trump and global trade slowing, many experts fear companies could soon face higher costs and the world economy could suffer.

A tariff is a tax imposed on goods imported from a foreign country. Tariffs are paid by an importing business to its home country’s government, most commonly as a fixed percentage of the value of the imports.

Tariffs can serve several goals. Like all taxes, they provide a modest source of government revenue. Several countries have also used tariffs to help their infant industries at home, hoping to shelter local firms from foreign competitors.

Some tariffs are also meant to address unfair practices that other countries have used to make their exports artificially cheap.

Almost every country imposes some tariffs. Exceptions include Hong Kong, which as a “free port” never imposes tariffs.

In general, wealthy countries maintain low tariffs compared to developing countries.

Source: The Truth About Tariffs | Council on Foreign Relations

Could America’s Senior Military Leaders Ever Revolt Against Trump?


Civil-military relations in the United States work smoothly most of the time. Whether senior military leaders personally agree with a president’s decisions and policies or not, they normally support them, at least publicly. In exchange, civilian leaders respect the authority of military leaders within their own professional domain, particularly on things like military discipline and order.

There have been times, though, when U.S. civil-military relations have been more troubled.

Luckily, this has never happened on a wide scale, at least not yet. But it could. Civil-military relations rely on unwritten norms and principles—the very things that President Donald Trump has often abandoned.

Trump’s willingness to trammel tradition, and his threats of radical action using U.S. military force, could upset the longstanding comity between the president and senior military leaders. While a series of principled resignations—a revolt by generals and admirals—remains unlikely, its chances are greater than they’ve ever been.

.. He has shown a persistent willingness to violate longstanding civil-military norms, while suggesting he might violate even bigger ones. He has also politicized the military to an unprecedented degree, capped this week by revelations that the White House ordered the USS John McCain to be moved out of Trump’s sight during his recent visit to Japan.

These tensions only add to the dangers posed today to America’s constitutional order.

Source: Could America’s Senior Military Leaders Ever Revolt Against Trump?

Why This Is Not a Great-Power Competition


A new era of great-power competition is upon us. That, at least, is the emerging conventional wisdom among foreign policy analysts in Washington.

Great-power competition describes a specific pattern of relations between states—the sort practiced by the great empires and nation-states from the seventeenth through the early twentieth centuries. China’s rise as an economic and political power and Russia’s increasing assertiveness on the world stage have understandably fueled analogies to that time.

But the emerging era does not match the patterns of the past. Treating it as though it does risks misunderstanding both the character of today’s threats and the source of the United States’ competitive advantages.

Each of these three elements—a multipolar system, a general disregard for rule-based constraints on behavior, and dominantly political-military forms of rivalry—is present during periods of great-power competition. Yet none of them accurately describes world politics today.

The NSS (National Security Strategy) and NDS (National Defense Strategy) are right to point out the growing competition between the United States and China and, in less comprehensive terms, between the United States and Russia.

But these rivalries (and other relationships between major powers today) are unfolding in ways, and within a larger international context, that bear little resemblance to great-power competitions of the past.

Source: Why This Is Not a Great-Power Competition

Why Venezuela’s Regime Hasn’t Collapsed


What happened?

Some have suggested that Guaidó, who has mounted a direct challenge to Maduro’s presidency since January, did not manage to project enough of a sense of confidence and inevitability for the uprising to gather momentum.

Others have claimed that, forced by rumors that the government was going to issue an arrest warrant, Guaidó had jumped the gun and acted a day earlier than he and several military leaders had agreed on, spooking his allies in the armed forces.

The truth, however, is more complex.

In order to get Maduro to step down and call for free and fair elections, Venezuela’s opposition must break up the military-civilian alliance that is keeping him in power. Getting there will require, first, that the military no longer benefits from supporting Maduro. With the support of international allies such as the United States, Guaidó has already made some progress on this front.

Yet the military also needs credible guarantees that it won’t be prosecuted or penalized under a new regime—something that the opposition has failed to provide so far. Absent such a guarantee, it is unlikely that the military will turn on Venezuela’s dictator.

Source: Why Venezuela’s Regime Hasn’t Collapsed

A Review of “The U.S. Army in the Iraq War” | Joel D. Rayburn and Frank K. Sobchak

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Learning the Wrong Lessons From Iraq

Blandly titled The U.S. Army in the Iraq War and based on 30,000 pages of newly declassified documents, the study recounts a litany of familiar but still infuriating blunders on Washington’s part: failing to prepare for the invasion’s aftermath, misunderstanding Iraqi culture and politics and sidelining or ignoring genuine experts, disbanding the Iraqi army and evicting Baath Party members from the government, ignoring and even denying the rise of sectarian violence, and sapping momentum by rotating troops too frequently.

Years in the making and admirably candid, the study has largely been ignored by the media and the policy community. That may be because of its daunting length and dry, “just the facts” narrative.

Or because some understandably prefer independent accounts to authorized after-action reports.

Or because, compared with other major conflicts in U.S. history, so few Americans experienced this one firsthand.

Or because the study declines to focus on more timely and contested questions, such as whether it was ever in the realm of possibility to invade a large and diverse Middle Eastern country—one that posed no direct threat to the United States—at an acceptable cost.

But the study also comes at a time when many of the supposed lessons of Iraq are increasingly contested, with significant implications for a debate that is raging between and within both major political parties over the most consequential foreign policy choice any country faces: when and how to use military force.

Source: A Review of “The U.S. Army in the Iraq War,” edited by Joel D. Rayburn and Frank K. Sobchak

16 Companies Form Digital Services Coalition | ExecutiveBiz

nullSixteen small- and medium-sized companies have established a new coalition to promote the use of Agile processes in government information technology contracting and encourage collaboration between agencies and industry.

The Digital Services Coalition will work with the U.S. Digital Service, the General Services Administration’s 18F organization and other agencies to improve the delivery of government services to citizens, the coalition said Wednesday.

Source: 16 Companies Form Digital Services Coalition | ExecutiveBiz