Despite hearing a lot about the possibility of a ‘trade war’ with China in the news in the past months, we have heard very little about the trade that wars require. The buying and selling of arms is a major global market, facilitating every more brutal wars and repression of civilians across the world. The United States is the world’s top exporter of arms according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, exporting over $143 billion worth of arms since 2000 and $12 billion worth in 2017 alone. And Trump wants more…
Peter Navarro – director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy and Trump’s highest ranking trade advisor espousing the ideals of economic nationalism – told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this Tuesday that the administration’s new conventional arms policy will boost U.S. arms exports to countries where the main suppliers are currently China and Russia. This new policy would make it easier to sell military equipment to allies and other friendly countries according to Navarro’s statement at the event, proposing that increased arms exports would be a significant pathway to reducing the United States trade deficit.
Trump’s policies foment increased militarism in the United States and worldwide by imposing US military might and augmenting the economic benefit to a very small group of people who benefit immensely from a multi-billion dollar industry. Trade that is fair and benefits workers in the United States and abroad does not deepen the possibility for brutality in wars and civilian repression, it seeks to foment economic co-operation and well-being across borders. While Trump is prioritizing the deregulation of arms exports, the minimum wage continues to be way below the living wage, ‘right-to-work’ laws are crushing unions across the country, and enforceable labor standards have not been proposed by the United States Trade Representative in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
If we want trade that actually benefits working people, the average person in this country, the government needs to offer solutions that creates jobs at home that ensure prosperity here and abroad. It is deeply unfair that the government’s trade policy seeks to create more jobs in a sector where the product is used to kill people while the Environmental Protection Agency is stripping the possibility of the United States becoming a leader in creating jobs that promote sustainable energy creation throughout the world. We do not want an economy that runs on guns, we want an economy that runs on co-operation and decent living standards for all workers.
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