For those who feel that I, and others, on this site are unwilling to give Trump’s policy decisions credit when they are successful, I point to two different locations: the Universal Postal Union and the Bahamas.
Yesterday, the Trump administration’s decision to play hardball with the UPU reaped tangible benefits. After a rule change was agreed upon with the blessing of key member nations, the United States decided to remain in the organization.
The change allows countries which import more than 75,000 tons of mail per year to set their own rates for internal transport of foreign mail. The United States currently covers part of the cost of Chinese mail being sent through the U.S., while the United States pays the full cost of U.S. mail being sent through China.
The high bar of the weight requirement means that only countries with very large populations and significant industry are going to qualify. Right now, that means the United States; it is likely to include China and India as those nations’ industrial and commercial sectors are growing.
This is likely why China was a strong supporter of the rule change. It maintains its competitive edge against all countries except the United States until such time that it is able to set its own rates.
In this scenario, the United States is absolutely the biggest winner; the second biggest winner is China, and most of the rest of the world loses. They simply lose less than they would have if the U.S. had pulled out of the organization.
There are thus the negatives associated with further angering our allies and presenting a selfish face to the world, but the material advantage of no longer having to pay China to distribute their packages throughout the country cannot be ignored. It is a success, and if not an unqualified success, the fact is that few policy wins have no drawbacks.
On balance, this is absolutely a win for Trump’s hardball tactics.
The reason this does not trigger any hesitancy regarding my regular criticism of the man’s policy can be found in another successful result of Trump’s policy.
The latest report on humanitarian aid efforts from Reliefweb counts roughly 2200 people who remain on Abaco island in the Bahamas in need of assistance. There are shelters there, and the shelters are sufficiently stocked with food, water, and medicine, but items like clothing and blankets are in short supply and sanitation is spotty. Hundreds of those affected are children.
This, despite transport of some of those affected by hurricane Dorian to neighboring islands, and despite the fact that efforts have recently shifted to recovery as bodies of friends and relatives who died three weeks ago are being located throughout the area.
The United States absolutely has the capacity to take these people as refugees. It is a standard response for nations to help each other during crisis. We have provided some assistance, enough to claim a political victory, in the form of supplies. Our response to aid our neighbors has nonetheless fallen far short of what we could have easily done.
In our actions, we have placed the lives of thousands of our allies at risk. This is nothing new under this President, who has made the world more dangerous by repeatedly capitulating to the world’s most brutal dictators and abandoning the ideals of freedom in favor of attempted short-term gain.
It is also not accidental. This is the direct result of intentional policy enforcement. It counts as an unqualified success for Trump, in that the results are exactly what his administration desired.
So, yes, I will give Trump his due. When he succeeds – such as with the postal costs, or rescinding oppressive water usage rules – I will give him credit. But on balance, I believe his failures greatly outweigh the successes, which is a reason, independent of his rampant criminality, that I continue to criticize and deride him.