TENSES

In a world that is tearing itself apart, the European Union should make trust in the European project a top strategic priority.

Despite a succession of severe convulsions, European integration has recently undergone a historic acceleration.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe two and a half years ago, practically all of the EU’s decisions have sought to strengthen member states’ political integration.

In the 1930’s, Germany and Japan resorted to forcible regional integration, not economic nationalism, in response to economic crisis.

By contrast, in today’s crisis, the largest members of the European Union, the best model and greatest hope for benign regionalism, have turned their backs on integration.

Instead, the large states are now promoting informal groupings to look for worldwide solutions.

The clash of two visions of Europe is eroding the political stability of an area that once represented the best model and greatest hope for benign regionalism.

Suddenly, in the face of the economic crisis, these problems have become major sources of political instability.

The House vote came more than a year after the three countries’ leaders signed the USMCA in Buenos Aires in November 2018 – a longer wait than many had anticipated, but shorter than others had expected after the Republicans lost their House majority in last year’s midterm elections.

Officials and analysts in the three countries had been hopeful that Congress would approve the agreement.

PASSIVE VOICE

Moreover, the whole idea of Keynesian demand stimulus was developed, again in the 1930’s, in the context of self-contained national economies.

IF-SENTENCES

If the country meets the bloc’s entry requirements, there is no reason why it should not be admitted.

Promises of eventual membership and the long negotiations that precede it will harm the Union if they generate frustration among candidate countries’ governments and citizens.

Without the EU’s 2004 enlargement to Eastern Europe, the bloc would not be the commercial and regulatory power it is today.

The political issue was obvious: if Pelosi supported the USMCA (thereby showing that the Democrats could “do the people’s business”), she would give Trump a win at the same time that the House was impeaching him.

But if the pact is intended to boost Mexico’s economic growth and welfare, and bolster the rule of law, it will not achieve these goals any time soon.

But if she opposed the pact on the grounds that it failed to meet the demands of US labor organizations, she would expose the Democrats to Trump’s charge that they are interested only in overturning the result of the 2016 election.

But if the pact is intended to boost Mexico’s economic growth and welfare, and bolster the rule of law, it will not achieve these goals any time soon.

INDEFINITE FORMS

But today, the European Union is stymied by having squandered the chance to build stronger institutions when times were better and tempers less strained.

The EU is suffering from a number of problems that have been widely discussed for many years, but never seemed to be that urgent.

Globalization survived Brexit and Donald Trump, and it appeared to be thriving even after the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, the economic “mutual assured destruction” that was supposed to deter deglobalization has apparently reached its limits.

Most shortages proved to be short-lived

Given the potential costs of this shift, it is worth retracing how we got here.

Following the end of the Cold War, globalization brought about a drastic reduction in extreme poverty, not least by enabling East Asian countries, including China, to achieve rapid growth and development.

Now, countries are seeking to build resilience by turning inward, embracing industrial policies for sectors that are viewed as critical for national security, such as semiconductors and energy.

The country is central to the manufacture of a wide range of common consumer products, including mobile phones, computers, and household goods.

Countries attempting to stockpile supplies of vital goods would also run into cost constraints.

Fortunately, China seems to have brought the coronavirus under control, and economic activity in the country is returning to normal, so the disruption has been limited.

MODAL VERBS

The fiscal problem could be dealt with by issuing generally guaranteed European bonds, which might be a temporary measure, restricted to the financial emergency. From the perspective of Berlin or Paris, there should be no systematic Europeanization.

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement may well succeed in marginally improving America’s position regarding jobs, investment, labor, the environment, and dispute settlement.

Building a new multilateralism won’t be easy; it may even appear impossible.

Such a disruption could come in the form of another public-health crisis or a natural disaster.

Climate concerns and carbon border taxes could compound the problem, by spurring cycles of retaliation and intensifying strain on international trade.

It may not be too difficult for very large economies to cover the costs of diversifying their production.

STRUCTURES

With many companies and industries dependent on faraway suppliers – and lacking any alternatives – no part of such value chains can function unless all parts do.

The more interconnected countries are, the easier it is for disease to spread among them.

But the more the crisis affects them, the more they think largely in national terms.

So, despite an unprecedented public-health shock, the global economy kept going

Many congressional Democrats demanded that the agreement be revised to allow US officials to conduct unannounced in situ inspections of plants and companies in Mexico.

ADJUNCTS

Moreover, by entrenching a volatile long-term rivalry, it would pose a grave threat to peace.

Likewise, reducing trade and foreign investment in the name of national security may actually increase political tensions and, by spurring a cycle of reprisals, place economies on a downward spiral.

Similarly, protocols and financing for rapid vaccine development and production capacity should be agreed (and continually updated).

RELATIVE CLAUSES

One of the most powerful drivers of support for deglobalization is the vulnerability of production models that rely on long and complex global supply chains, which have sacrificed robustness and resilience at the altar of short-term efficiency and cost reduction.