How the world is changing

The advent of Mr Trump on the world diplomatic scene is making some big changes.

Mr Trump has in many ways a very conventional US view of the world . He sees his main allies as the UK in Europe, Japan in the Far East, and Israel in the Middle East. He tells Israel he wants them to reach a settlement with the Palestinians, but he no longer insists on what that settlement might look like. He warns China on trade,and is friendly towards Taiwan. He  condemns the harsh words and warlike gestures  of North Korea. He is keen to tackle the persistent large trade surpluses run by China and Germany, which he sees as disrupting the world economy and fair commerce.  He wants a world of bilateral relations between nations, rather than complex diplomacy between jostling regional power blocs. The US has traditionally  been suspicious of international bodies taking too much power, and has often found itself in disagreement with the liberal consensus that tends to dominate in those institutions.

The biggest change he is proposing in US foreign policy is the reappraisal of the strength and helpfulness of the EU. Where Mr Obama saw the EU as a benign force, and looked to Mrs Merkel to be his best ally in return for his support for the supranational body, Mr Trump is concerned. He sees the dangers of an inadequately resourced European defence activity that weakens NATO further but still expects US military capacity to be the guarantor of the peace. He is concerned about the low level of the Euro allowing Germany to build a colossal export surplus. He sees how the current level of EU integration is creating a force against it in rising independence movements around the continent. He is doubtless not impressed that the IMF has run up large bills lending to the weaker member states of the Eurozone, when the zone overall is rich enough to  be able to handle its own financing.

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96 Comments

  1. Iain Gill
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Surely a bigger defense problem in the short term is most of the British submarines have faults stopping them putting to sea, and their trident missiles tend to misfire?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill,

      I agree. There does seem to be a problem that the UK has given up expert know-how in buying US nuclear deterrent, US F35s, US drones, European armoured vehicles and satellite launch/use via US and Europe. Moreover there seems to be much big ticket buying to hit the 2% of GDP, whilst it is not clear that there is sufficient small ticket.

      I wish no one were making and using weapons of war, but I’d feel more confident if UK kept more R&D, manufacturing and supply chain know how.

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        That’s the inevitable result of being part of a US dominated NATO with harmonised systems.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Defence procurement has been handled with the usual state sector efficiency! Politics and often corruption over what actually works. All made even worse by EU interference and the desire of many in the remain camp to go for an EU army.

  2. Jerry
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    “The biggest change [Trump] is proposing in US foreign policy is the reappraisal of the strength and helpfulness of the EU.”

    Really?! Surely it is his policy ideas with regards to so called (man made) Climate Change, this is going to have far wider foreign policy repercussions than any ‘local’ issues he might have with USA-EU, or indeed USA-China relations.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Indeed a Trump agenda on the climate alarm religion will be hugely positive. Another thing I hope Trump goes through with is killing state support for the entertainment industry or “The Arts” as the (nearly all) lefty, greencrap pushing airheads who infest this industry like to call it. Just why should people who like watching football be taxed to subsidise those like me who prefer athletics or listening to William Byrd, Bach or Wagner?

      Or those who like musicals subsidise the films or the Theatre with tax breaks.

      Hopefully in the UK we can sort out the dire lefty BBC and Channel 4 too for the same reason too many lefty, greencrap, art graduate airheads pushing idiotic unworkable agendas.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        Hope fully he will expose all the corruption and date manipulation from the climate alarmists.

        • hefner
          Posted February 19, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          Are the 47 degrees reported yesterday in coastal Australia a fake news?
          I am breathlessly awaiting your next pearl of wisdom on the topics.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 19, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps not, but the weather changes everyday. There are always weather “events” and always have been.

            The average world temperature has not risen for 19 years despite the increase CO2 concentration. Just look at the real non “adjusted” figures.

          • hefner
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

            Where should I look? Obviously not the MetOffice, nor the NASA, nor the NOAA, nor the European Space Agency, nor the European Meteorolical Satellite agency, nor the World Meteorological Organization, so which agency is not pulling the wool over our eyes?

          • libertarian
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

            hefner

            Any thoughts on the flooding in “drought hit California” ?

            Any thoughts on this report?
            These bizarre scenes from the Sahara Desert show locals sledging down sand dunes after the heaviest snowfall in living memory. … But today the snow has been falling steadily and is now waist deep in some parts of Ain Sefra, which is known as “The Gateway to the Desert. Jan 2017

          • hefner
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

            Libertarian, As it happens I have some ideas about the flooding in drought hit California. If you were to bear with me, the increase in CO2 concentration results in warmer polar regions, thus a decrease gradient in the temperatures between equatorial and polar regions.
            As you might know, such a gradient together with a rotating planet is what creates the strong westerly wind around 200-100 hPA (the so-called jet stream).
            With the reduction in the temperature gradient, fluid mechanics would show that the wind will start undulating more with marked patterns of what become more S-N or N-S components of the wind to get “stuck” usually for durations of 3 to 7 days. Which is likely to explain very cold Arctic wind on the East Coast of the US together with warm (rich in humidity) air (and precipitation) on the West coast.
            In meteorology, these are known as blockings.

            So here are my “thoughts”. Thank you for reading, and possibly getting yourself informed on the topics in the future.

          • hefner
            Posted February 21, 2017 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

            Ever heard of meteorological blockings? These seem to be made more frequent with a decreased temperature gradient between equatorial and polar regions and thus a more meandering jet stream.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

        Yes it would be good to see the statist luvvies taken down a peg or two. I haven’t seen the much praised leftist propaganda movie made by Ken Loach but I’m sure it is an exemplar of its ilk. I have seen the immensely tedious – but bizarrely much praised – movie LaLa land. I would like to see a review of it eg by the distinguished journalist James Delingpole.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 19, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          Well all the left, from Theresa May to Jeremy Corbyn are indeed in complete LaLa land. Magic money tree, greencrap pushing, vanity project pushing, the bloated state know best dopes lot of them.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 12:00 am | Permalink

            Lifelogic, sorry but so often you just seem to point out what’s wrong. You don’t offer a vision. I – everyone wants – a vision for their country. Yes, more money in people’s pockets. But not just money. A country where people get on with each other better. Where their environment is more appealing to be in. And so on (not only is all this good for the soul it ironically also helps the economy – as people will be more happy to get up in the morning and work hard, work more diligently).

            So what’s your vision (including how you would TRY to achieve that – cutting tax may be one way but that on its own isn’t enough). Regards

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 18, 2017 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

        Unless of course you don’t believe in the Fatherland (unless you believe in the state or just anarchy). If you do believe in the Fatherland, then let’s here you talk more about things that help glue this country together, and give it some depth, such as a healthy arts life.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 19, 2017 at 12:08 am | Permalink

        ‘Patriotism is a love for everything to do with our native land: its history, its traditions, its language, its natural features. It is a love which extends also to the works of our compatriots and the fruits of their genius. Every danger that threatens the overall good of our native land becomes an occasion to demonstrate this love…I belive that the same could be said of every country and every nation in Europe and throughout the world’ – Pope John Paul II.

        If we don’t have a Fatherland (in the sense of the Catholic Church which views patriotism as a virtue ,for many centuries – not in the sense of the Nazis), then we’re left with a (socialist) state or anarchy.

        If you really think through your position, and you’re opposed to the state as well, then the only alternative is anarchy or dictatorship (but then that just leads to people’s freedoms being removed and lots of evil and people being murdered).

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 19, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          I am not opposed to the state for some things defence and law and order for example. I just want it to be of a sensible size circa 20% of GDP is more than enough.

          • hefner
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

            It was reported in the Sunday papers that the UK agencies do not seem to have any way to know who is coming in or going out of the country. I was surprised as in the airports, Eurostar terminals, or Eurotunnel I am used to go through, passports/identity documents are always required.

            So if the State is already unable to keep a tally of who is in the country, how a much smaller state (at 20% of GDP) is going to do it? Isn’t there some kind of a contradiction in your argument?

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 19, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          So patriotism is a virtue. However, like anything good, it can become bad if we revere it more than God (that would be idolatry which the fascists, for example, were guilty of in 1930’s / 1940’s Europe).

          • libertarian
            Posted February 20, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

            Ed M

            Or we could just live in the rational modern world and let go of medieval superstition that has caused so much human grief for centuries

  3. Alex de Tocquiville
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    People treat Mr Trump as a ridiculous idiot.
    Me, I do not.
    Conservative in every way, yes. Decisive. Yes. Good with politicians. Yes. Back to the palmy 1950s, probably.
    Last gasp of the European supremacy in the USA before the Afro Americans, Asians and Hispanics take over? Could be.
    One thing is for sure – we are light years away from the Founding Fathers and the Pilgrim Fathers!

  4. Bernard from Bucks.
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    “He sees the dangers of an inadequately resourced European defence activity that weakens NATO”.
    A European defence force?
    Where in all this, does a British defence force fit?
    Are we planning to retain one, or are we going to be part of this European force even after leaving the EU?

  5. DaveM
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Mr R,

    In line with what you have written, plus the vote for Brexit, rising nationalist sentiment in Europe, etc, I would suggest your blog’s title is contradictory. All these things indicate that the world isn’t changing at all; these things perhaps indicate that some people have tried to change it over the past 20 years but people want it to stay as it is.

    I’m not sure you need to commentate on Trump for our benefit – the BBC is a whisker away from reporting his bowel movements.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      I suspect that this lefty, interventionist, tax borrow and waste government is very close to regulating and taxing everyone’s bowel movements too. Doubtless we will be required to report any gender differences (in volume or frequency) and send regulate samples to be tested at our expense as a vital public service of course.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 19, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        With fines for any failures or any late submissions.

  6. Mark B
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The US has traditionally been suspicious of international bodies taking too much power, and has often found itself in disagreement with the liberal consensus that tends to dominate in those institutions.

    The Long march through the institutions that has been the favoured method of those from the Frankfurt School of Marxism of subverting democracy and imposing world Communism.

    In my view the biggest change that President Trump is making is the one with regards to the MSM. No longer are they the bearers of the ‘truth’. They are at long last being called out and, whilst President Trumps press conferences may not be to everyones taste, you can tell that he is destroying them and he is using them to do it.

    He is calling them liars and bringers of ‘Fake News’. He is humiliating them and belittling them. He is using people’s natural suspicion of the media to render it impotent. They are being trashed and, they only way out is to actually do their jobs and report the news unbiasedly.

    This Presidency is turning out not to be, Trump vs The Establishment but, The People and the People’s President vs The Establishment. And when you have the people behind you, history shows you always win 🙂

    • hefner
      Posted February 19, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      As far as numerous historians reported it, Mr Hitler had a large majority of the people behind him in the ’30s. So your argument is rather of a crumbling sort.

  7. Alan
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Interesting that Mr Redwood recognises that the Eurozone is rich enough to deal with its problems. Usually he gives the impression that he believes it to be an economic failure.

    The puzzle to me is where does all the German money go? It doesn’t seem to go to the German workers.I know a lot goes into the banks to keep them solvent, but surely not all of it? If Germany spent more in the Eurozone then the economies of Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal would recover more quickly.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Germany’s domestic investment is only about 70% of domestic saving.

  8. ChrisS
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    There is much to commend in President Trump’s Foreign Policy objectives, most evident in his straight talking to China and NATO members.

    Given China’s vast trade surpluses with the West I see no reason why the US and its allies around the South China Seas should put up with having to go along with the fiction of the “One China” policy or China’s bullying and aggressive tactics in taking over disputed islands and creating new ones in order to take over vast swathes of International Waters.

    Similarly, the ludicrous situation where the US spends 4% of its GDP on defence, a lot of it defending Europe, while immensely rich countries like Germany have been cynically taking advantage by spending no more than 1%.

    The US has allowed this situation to go on for so long only because the average American taxpayer takes no interest in Foreign Affairs. Merkel loved having Obama in the White House because he did more or less nothing and was a soft touch.

    The whingeing coming from Berlin and Paris is a pleasure to see.

    • rose
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      It seems to me some of the continentals are playing a dangerous game: they refuse to pay up when told unequivocally they must stop freeloading and landing the burden on the American taxpayer. Are they hoping Trump will withdraw from NATO so they can realize their nightmare of a European Army? And will Frau Merkel’s importations provide the manpower?

    • hefner
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      USA: 3.61%
      Greece: 2.38
      UK: 2.21
      Estonia: 2.16
      Poland: 2.00
      France: 1.78
      Turkey: 1.56
      Norway: 1.54

      Germany: 1.19

      source: http://www.nato.int

  9. stred
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    The decision to sell GM Europe to Peugeot seems very strange. They have better design and build excellent strong cars here and after Brexit would have a foot in each camp with zero tariffs but parts available in both areas, while the UK will have tariff- free access to the US.

    Peugeot and Citroen will be able to close down competition and foist their weird cars on Germans, while the UK will buy Japanese and Korean instead. Maybe Pres Trump will have a word with them.

    • forthurst
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      “The decision to sell GM Europe to Peugeot seems very strange.”

      They probably don’t want to lose any more money. Unlike Ford, they have not rationalised their model ranges to satisfy different market segments globally, so there is no particular merit in retaining the Opel brand or its Vauxhall-badged variant.

      • stred
        Posted February 19, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        The answer would be to improve their range rather than give up and hand the market to a French manufacturer with the same problems.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      GM Europe has been losing money for years , $9 billion since 2009 alone. The loses are mounting up and having a downward impact on the rest of their business.

      They have 2 plants in the UK but a dozen or so across Europe. They’ve been offered $1billion only by Peugeot but they’ve agreed to undertake their loss liabilities so probably a good deal for GM. A really poor deal for PSA but then this is a political move ( PSA are part owned by French government)

  10. alan jutson
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    As well as Mr Trump having a different view of the World, the World has become a very different place in the past couple of decades as you outline.

    Those who attack the US President have perhaps not yet caught up with the facts that you outline.

    Trump was elected because of the failures of past Presidents, because he held different views, because he proposed different solutions, but above all because the present system was failing millions of Americans.

    I do not know if he will be successful or not, but certainly he will be different.

    The media do not like him because he challenges them, because they are now themselves being exposed and put in the spotlight.

    For all our sakes I wish him well, but be under no illusion, he will put America first because that is his job and what he has been elected to do.

    Lets see if a hard nosed commercial businessman can cut through the political crap and fudge that causes delay, inefficiency and frustration to many.

    I have to say I rather like the way he is challenging the media instead of giving the usually mealy mouthed politically correct answers, which actually mean and contain absolutely nothing of substance.

    • getahead
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      ” instead of giving the usually mealy mouthed politically correct answers, which actually mean and contain absolutely nothing of substance.”
      Now who does that remind me of? Someone closer to home who scarpered with his tail between his legs.

  11. Bert Young
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    If today’s blog really sums up Trump’s view of the world and the basis of the USA’s relationships ; then I fully support his objectives . I consider his blunt no nonsense approach to be a breath of fresh air and a proper smack on the rear to the establishment .For too long bureaucratic systems have decided for us ; they are costly , unwieldy and out of touch with the people . Those countries that have built up huge surpluses have done so at the expense of others ; it is time they were brought into line and face reality as it really exists . The Euro has done this for Germany and at the same time wrecked a unity of principle .

    Typically people like Blair who have exploited their own position and damaged the lives of so many , now believe they can re-emerge and tell everyone what is right . His statement yesterday – as Boris pointed out , is an insult to the electorate ; he believes his judgement is superior to the majority and he is right to go public with his views . Personally I would etc ed

    • getahead
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Personally I would etc ed.
      Me too.

      • stred
        Posted February 19, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        When the government is raising taxes and unable to fund social care, it is nauseating to see that ex-PMs like Blair, who have made millions from their contacts, have millions spent on personal security paid for by the taxpayer. The Treasury is willing to introduce retrospective CGT taxes on unreal gains and tax unreal profits. They should introduce a charge for ex politicians security, which could be means tested.

  12. A.Sedgwick
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The recently publicised German trade surplus coupled with the ongoing Greek debt crisis highlights the supreme hypocrisy of the EU, its federal aspirations and the Euro. German Governments have luxuriated in the Euro against what would have been an increasing value DM. Writing of hypocrisy one of its arch exponents was much in evidence yesterday, especially on the anti Brexit Broadcasting Corporation. His airtime was very noticeably greater than his adversaries.

  13. William Long
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    At his core, which one has to admit at times is well concealed, Mr Trump is no fool. As you say the basis of most of his foreign policy is not that different to what has gone before and the changed stance on the EU is a refreshing recognition of reality. What the liberal intelligentsia would consider the negatives, and probably a good many of the less liberal might be expected to take the same view, are the often politically incorrect rhetoric, and the reactions which often seem to come from the gut rather than the brain.
    The thing I find most interesting about the new President is that conventional wisdom would have said that these two supposed disadvantages would have prevented his election; actually it seems they may very well have caused it.

  14. MickN
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I am loving the way he handles the hostile press. Did you see his put down of the BBC during the week. This is what we like about Trump and Farage. We don’t always agree with everything they say, but their ability to tell it as they see it instead of spinning everything is very refreshing.

  15. ian wragg
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    The more I see of Germany the more I see parallels with the 1930’s.
    The difference being this time instead of military aggression, we have an economically powerful Germany riding on the back of a cheap Euro.
    Nothing is going to stand in the way of German dominance of Europe with its vast military/industrial complex.
    It is quite happy to bankrupt the rest of the EU them in its own image. the only problem is of course Perfidious Albion spoiling the pitch again and those pesky east Europeans who don’t want to be ruled from Berlin again.
    Trump I think understands this and without using diplomatic niceties tells it how it is.
    I fear we are in for some turbulent times and much of it caused by the EU and Euro.

    • Andy
      Posted February 19, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      You should read John Rohl’s biography of the Kaiser and you will begin to realise that Germany Foreign Policy has not changed in over a century. As Nick Ridley remarked the Euro was ‘just a German racket to take over Europe’. In the process it has reduced the Greek people to penury but the callous indifference coming from Berlin is shameful. As to ‘Perfidious Albion’ I rather think that Germany wanted the UK out of the EU, as it certainly changes the dynamic in the EU and enhances German power. The UK was one of the few States who could tell the Germans where to get off.

  16. Norman
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Yes, the world is seismically changing. I hope Mr Trump, who is only a man after all, and needs balanced encouragement like everyone else, somehow gets to read what you have written. It is good to see the BBC get a mauling, but the liberal establishment will try to push him (and Brexiteers) to extremes, which they can then misrepresent. The left is seething. They are looking for a leader to emerge to champion their cause, but I don’t think Tony Blair will cut it – probably a dangerous outsider we have yet to see come on the scene. America and Britain are in the throes of an ideological civil war, with external enemies waiting to wade in. So outside comment such as yours today is very welcome, and probably hard to come by from this side of the Atlantic.

  17. acorn
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Basically, Trump wants Washington DC to be the centre of the planet. All other countries would be controlled by bilateral “spokes” umbilically attached to the US “hub”.

    Control of all commerce; communications and weapons systems would be routed via the Washington / Pentagon hub. The US Dollar would replace all other currencies and only issued by the US Treasury to currency using spoke nations, with approved budgets.

    All supranational entities would be closed down except those that were already owned and operated by the US and its transnational corporations. The IMF; World Bank; WTO etc,.)

    It will be compulsory for all citizens to watch re-runs of the film “Dr Strangelove” once a week.

  18. English Pensioner
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I, for one, fully agree with what Trump wants to do. He may not express himself in the nice smooth diplomatic manner of his predecessors, but he says what he needs to say with no uncertainty, unlike so many politicians who hedge every statement that they make with so many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ that they are meaningless. Certainly if I had been a US citizen, I would have voted for him.

    His attacks on the media are, I believe, fully justified. Certainly what he says about the BBC rings true as it is extremely rare for them ever to give a balanced presentation of the facts on most issues. Indirectly, large sections of the media, like the BBC, are the basic cause of much of the “fake news” as they force people to look elsewhere for unbiased news, which, unfortunately is often just as biased as the BBC but in other ways.

    I’ve just listened to the VP, Mike Pence, speaking in Munich to a conference where he reiterated all that Trump has said about defence, essentially that all members of NATO should be paying their way towards the alliance and not relying on the US.

    I suspect that most of us in this country would also like to disentangle the country from all the various international organisations which spend their time trying to tell us what to do. Indeed for all the good that the UN does these days, many might hope that Trump withdraws US funding for this organisation which is now nothing much more than a platform for the world’s dictators.

    I wish Trump well.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 19, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      They’re all guilty of guff: Guardian, Telegraph, Ind. Mail. Express, Telegraph, BBC, Mirror – the whole bloody lot of them. Please don’t just let the BBC be the villain and let all the others off the hook.

      – And Trump’s as bad as any of them, too, for guff.

      Until we recognise that right left wingers, the right wingers and social liberals are ALL responsible then we’re never really going to tackle and diminish all this ‘post truth’ / ‘fake news’ / ‘alternative facts’ rubbish.

  19. rose
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    How strange it is to read a grownup, intelligent assessment of all this instead of the pathetic leftwing comedy that passes for news and comment today.

  20. adams
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Quite so !!

  21. Bob
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    My word Mr Redwood, you have hit the nail squarely on the head today.

    I seem to remember that the UK was placed on the hook for billions of pounds of EU bridging loans for some of the failing Eurozone members. We were told at the time that this would prove to be a sound investment. How’s it looking now?

    Reply I think it was repaid

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      The bridging loan for Greece was repaid, but the UK is still owed its share of the sums lent to Ireland and Portugal through the EFSM, €46.8 billion together, plus Ireland has not yet repaid the bilateral loans from the UK and two others, €4.8 billion, plus there are the outstanding loans from the IMF.

      The “Total outstanding loans (as of 31 December 2016)” row in the table here:

      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/join/2014/497721/IPOL-ECON_NT(2014)497721_EN.pdf

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        And the idea that EU and IMF loans outstanding to the likes of Greece and Ukraine are going to be repaid is pure fantasy.

    • Mark Watson
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Ireland won’t have repaid us until March 2021,officially.

  22. a-tracy
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Why did the UK allow our European neighbours not to pay their fair share, 2% of GDP, in the defence pot? Why for example are Ireland allowed to opt out when the Northern Irish have to pay 2% to put a defence cloak around their island, how can Germany get away with it, isn’t it true that the extra 1% we pay of our GDP would work out around £700 million per week for us to spend on other priorities.

    I think this is a question for Blair and the Kinnocks and Mandelson, Prescott and the other UK commissioners being paid to look out for the UK interests in Europe for the past few decades. They have given an advantage over these decades why? I’m not suggesting we pay less in the future I’m suggesting they pay more and there’s one thing we can thank Trump for it’s shining a light on yet another EU inequality.

    • rose
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Angela Merkel came out with even more than usually weasel words today: because they are doing other things to stabilise the situation, they don’t have to pay! Does she mean because she has extended Free Movement to other continents?

  23. zorro
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Indeed John, an objective by us may come to those conclusions, but what about the BBC? I am afraid that the rabid BBC reporting from Washington is beyond the pale…. Especially from Mr Sopel (and Ms Kuennsberg when given a travel pass)…. I have not seen such histrionics in a long time although Trump has him sussed out. The other day on Wednesday, he was fulminating thst Trump’s WH was a mess/chaos with ‘no work being done’ because he hadn’t made a security announcement on Tuesday!! Is it too much to ask that the BBC gets a grip. It is playing very badly in main town USA ??. Sopel had the cheek to say he was from the ‘free, fair, and impartial BBC’ with a clear sense of irony. Free? – licence enforcement empowered – Fair? – To whom? – Impartial? – Ha ha ha…..

    zorro

    • Timaction
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. The ITV reporter hasn’t been much better and is also reporting fake news/opinion!

    • getahead
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Sadly our Theresa is probably of the same political persuasion as Cameron which is also that of the BBC though not as blatant.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      I agree the BBCs Jon Sopel adopted a smug and sneering tone towards President Trump. The journalist Peter Oborne made the interesting observation that the Trump administration’s attitude to the media is little different in substance from that shown by the Blair/Brown govt with its henchpersons such as Alastair Campbell. Think also of the opprobrium heaped routinely by leftists upon papers such as the Daily Mail – is it really any different from Trump’s behaviour? The left can dole it out but they can’t take it.

  24. Antisthenes
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Trump is the result of many ordinary people not liking the political direction currently being taken and how those who have the power over us are herding us down that political path. Those many who are not ardent supporters of the socialist progressive religion are indignant at being coerced into changing their lives to fit the new social order as laid down by the progressive elite. Trump is a manifestation of a desire to return to earlier trusted traditions and values as they like the new ones not at all.

    So battle has commenced for the hearts and minds of the populace. On the one side are the progressive left who feign hurt at any slight on their integrity and the veracity of their cause and will fight by all means necessary to maintain their dominance. On the other are ordinary people who see the socialist progressive religion for what it is. A religion full of Utopian promises that are predicated on embracing new cultural, economic and social orders that evidence suggest will not be in the least Utopian. In fact just a recipe for moral, cultural and economic decay.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 19, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Great post.

  25. Prigger
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    “Mr Trump has in many ways a very conventional US view of the world ”

    JR you’ve got it in one!

  26. Peter D Gardner
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    The last concern is particularly telling. If the EU is serious about ever closer union it will have to agree to make Germany poorer by transferring some of its budget surplus, aka money, to the poorer members like Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Put up or shut up. Time has run out. The experiment has had more than enough time. It is now time to make a judgment: is it a success or not? if yes, then by what measure? All measures beyond free trade at least within its membership seem to me to point to failure.

    And arming this elite undemocratic supreme government is an act of extreme folly. It cannot lay any claim to benevolent intent unless A) it demonstrates that it is prepared to distribute its wealth more generously and to do so without forcing Greeks to live by German ways and mores, and b) drops its imperial ambitions of territorial expansion.

    If the EU were to do these two things, Blair might even get his wish for Britain to vote to stay or rejoin in a second referendum. On the other hand, if it did, Blair would no longer favour Britain’s membership.

  27. Tom William
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I fear you are being too generous to President Trump. His recent solo press conference showed his inability to answer any question which did not praise him and he was in full campaign mode. He was repetitively offensive to the journalists, as well as judges, and his conceit was on a level with his ignorance.

    He makes “policy” on the hoof, then retracts it or also has contradictory policies. His tearing up of the need for a two state solution to the Palestine problem indicates a total lack of understanding, as does his two/one China policy. His Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has an impossible job.

    Having lost his Secretary of State for Security the desired replacement very sensibly refused the post.

    He boasted in his campaign that he “had a secret absolutely foolproof plan to defeat Isis”. He hadn’t. He has now given the Department of defence 30 days to produce such a plan.

    His views on everything have been thought through as carefully as would a pub bore. It would be laughable were it not so worrying.

  28. ian
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    The reason he doing a lot on foreign policy is because that the one of the only things he full control over, nearly everything else has to go through congress and that takes years, anyway the betting on trump lasting 4 years is low according to the bookies, they reckon he will be gone by 2019 at the latest, never seen betting on a president before on how long he will last, the liberals and lefties are throwing everything they have got at him, as you can see from this is that it the liberals and lefties way or no way, the same as hear.

  29. ian
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Like the pension changes coming in april, don’t have myself, never believed in them, something about 4000 pound limit, john can tell you all about it in a blog one day maybe a round about april.

  30. ian
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Ukip leader look a bit like trump at the moment, attacked by establishment media on all sides and he thinks a few tears will help out, he surly does not know his vote base, they are looking for a strong leader not a cry baby, only liberal uses that technique.

  31. Mitchel
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Judging by statements made by Mr Trump’s appointees at the UN, this weekend’s security conference and elsewhere(which seem to be at variance with what Mr Trump has said),it is not at all clear what US policy going forward is actually going to look like and whether he is actually “in power”.

    • zorro
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I think that Mr Trump needs to keep a close eye on Mr Pence. Mr Pence said….”Know this: The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground which as you know President Trump believes can be found,”….. I think Mr Trump would be happier if Pence said that he too thought that common ground can be found…. Mr Pence shouldn’t try and give the impression that the President is isolated in his point of view….

      zorro

  32. forthurst
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Mr Trump is clearly not a globalist; in the past he has questioned the role of both NATO and the UN. Certainly, he has no time for regional based trade deals that enable poorer countries to take the jobs of their erstwhile more prosperous partners.

    However, Mr Trump faces many problems at home, quite apart from not having completed his cabinet appointments successfully. He inherits a foreign policy apparatus that is interventionist and confrontational. When Mr Trump questioned the role of the NATO, it can only have been because he questions whether Western policy in response to the collapse of the Bolshevik Empire, the most evil and brutal, ever to have existed, has been appropriate or beneficial. He may also note that the deracinated cosmopolitans who make all the noise, and that, in particular, hate Putin also hate him; that they are opposed in principle to the existance of nations and their indigenous peoples.

    How will Mr Trump’s Presidency be seen in retrospect? Will he able to change the direction of US foreign policy towards a more peaceful world with fewer migrant flows, or will he be bamboozled into foreign adventures through weakness at home and poor advice?

  33. agricola
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    It may be changing ,but I feel that the idiots are still in charge of the asylum when I read about the proposals on business rates. Business rates are based I believe on the perceived value of the property. I would maintain that the property and the business in them are totally unrelated entities apart from location. If rates are increased or decreased then it should be between local government and the property owner. If you wish to tax the business owner it should be based on their accounts profitable or otherwise and not related to the property they are in.

    That the whole system is in need of a re-think goes without saying. That the present proposal goes against everything the conservative party is supposed to stand for is unarguable. Do something before it gets out of hand.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Business rates and Council Tax both need abolishing in favour of local sales tax, which presumably once out of the EU and the need for VAT we could implement.
      Such a competitive move could see councils amalgamate, reduce costs and become more businesslike and fully self funding. One example – there are 6 million public sector pensioners and growing on largely unfunded final salary pensions – it is unsustainable – over 25% of council tax already goes to local government pensions.

    • rose
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      The business rate dates from the days of luny left councils who used to bleed business white. The government took it over to prevent that happening.

  34. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    We should join with the USA to make sure all countries contribute to NATO at the same rate even if this means some countries reducing their contributions. I would suggest reducing them by 10% each year until parity is reached.

  35. RomeoSJ
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    John, you haven’t mentioned Trump’s favourable view of Putin and Russia, which could sideline Europe (including the UK). How do you see that developing?

  36. Edward
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    “how the world is changing”

    Indeed it is Mr. Redwood.

    What is needed more than ever is a UK Government which is willing to recognize the rather obvious, that, the old ways are not the way to renewal and ensuring a propersous future for any administration let alone one as strapped as we are in the UK.

    “Big government”: is no longer affordable.

    It is way past time the Tories admitted the reality that, statism and paying for a welfare system which is past broken, with lashing out on a vast and bloated public sector, loading taxes onto business and people is not the policy which can bring about economic success. The “£” took another hiding on yesterdays ‘consumer boom’ that wasn’t but really does Britain still require to be an economy just based on building up credit fueled debt?
    Britain, needs to retrench forthwith to come to awareness in the sober light of day and be kicked into focusing on what its priorities should be. Also to come to terms with these facts; we can no longer be the destination of choice for the world who want to resettle and neither can we be their free at the point of access credit card.

    Less government, low taxes, closed borders, out of the EU – that’s what needs to change for Britain if it requires to be a future sovereign and successful economy.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Edward – quite agree .
      Ever since an initial burst in 2010 we have given up on eliminating the deficit

      Our lazy government has discovered that QE is much easier than making real decisions . The printing presses just keep running at £10 billion or so per month masking all our inefficiencies by adding to our debt .

      We’ll soon find out the direction of travel of this government on Budget Day.

      I feel that we’ll be attacked with more taxes .

      If only they believed what should be obvious – People spend their own money more efficiently than government .

  37. Anna
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Listening to BBC radio 4 news a few minutes ago, I was bemused to hear a report that Mr Trump’s very reasonable demand that all Nato members should pay the required contribution of 2% of GDP is regarded by the laggard nations as ‘bullying’. It is particularly disgraceful that Germany, a rich nation that was built up from the ruins of Nazi-ism by the US and protected from the threat of the Soviet Union for so long by Nato should behave in such a shabby and reprehensible way. Poland and Estonia, much poorer countries, pay their full whack.

  38. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see Trump oppose abortion. I’d like to see Conservatives here to do more to oppose abortion (and support women who don’t want to have abortions not to go through with it). Especially after it was the Conservative party here who introduced gay marriage (unbelievable).

  39. Anonymous
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Trump and UKIP are what I recall as normal but 20 years ago.

    Since then the western world has gone bonkers.

    Look at prisons. Completely out of control. They say “Because prison doesn’t work.”

    No. LIBERAL prison doesn’t work.

    Then project liberalism over everything else that has gone tits up.

    • rose
      Posted February 19, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Prisons are just another area of our national life which are in crisis because of overpopulation. The prison population is double what it should be. The top nations used to be Ireland and Jamaica but now it is Poland. We are supposed to be able to send anyone back home who is on a longer than two year sentence but the Poles have said their prisons are full so can we please hang on to them until they have built some more. The least we should do is send the bill to Juncker, but being British, we don’t.

  40. Anonymous
    Posted February 19, 2017 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    People are writing far too much on this blog.

    Any more than five lines does not get read.

    A five line limit please, Dr Redwood.

    I acknowledge I have transgressed.

    Once or twice…

    Maybe more…

    D’oh !

    • Mark B
      Posted February 19, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      I tend to read more than 5 lines, especially from people who have something different to say.

  41. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 19, 2017 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    Just out of interest I watched the last Trump press conference in full, he came across as entirely reasonable. At one point he said he knew the press would report he had been “ranting and raving” which they duly did. He gave short shrift to a BBC reporter who had made the bizarre claim the BBC was “free”. I think in time other politicians will follow his lead and be less deferential to the media.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 19, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      I watched it too. I would have given anything to be in that room when he said the BBC was ‘FREE’ ! And as for the other two please, don’t get me started, we already had a article on that.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 19, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. The media needs to be called out. Particulary the BBC.

  42. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 19, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    But in order to change things you have to be a leader and in order to be a leader you have to command respect from society in general not just from your niche group of trenchant supporters (Mrs Thatcher was hated by some people but she enjoyed widespread Conservative support – where as in the USA, many Republicans want nothing to do with Trump – plus Mrs Thatcher was much cleverer than Trump).

    Trump isn’t a leader because he doesn’t have a wide enough support. Mussolini was an autocrat / dictator but at least he had charisma and he came about when Italy was in a far worse economic condition that the US is today. However, people today are far more wary of Mussolinis for obvious reasons. Plus the American political system is far stronger to withstand an autocrat than Italy in the 1930’s.

    So history and common sense shows us that the odds are that Trump’s presidency will end in failure – and dire failure at that – UNLESS he begins to learn how to govern as a President of a country – the USA – and not treat it like a banana republic or as if he were the CEO of a property company.

    • rose
      Posted February 19, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      I think Trump doesn’t attract all republicans because he isn’t one himself. He is a Democrat. He attracts people across the political spectrum who have had enough of political correctness – which is a real tyranny, not a joke – and who want their country back as well as their jobs. That is quite a lot of people. Mrs T didn’t attract all conservatives – I can remember how snobbish and misogynistic they were about her – but she attracted working class people who had voted Labour before, and not a few intellectuals who had been members of the Labour Party. The broadcasters and leftwing press never once let up in their war against her, nor did the luvvies and comedians. Her way of dealing with it was not to waste time on it. She said it spoilt the day and you didn’t do your job properly. She had a press secretary who did it instead and only showed her what was useful.

      • rose
        Posted February 19, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        Though I do remember her once ringing up the Today Programme to put them right on something they had got wrong. Quite Trumpian. You can imagine the shock horror.

        • hefner
          Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          “remember her once ringing up”. The difference is in the “once” for Mrs Thatcher vs. Mr Trump holding a weekly press conference with 10 to 20 % of the time spent in “fighting the fake news” when he produces other fake news (so often inadvertently) himself.

          I just hope he would calm down, as it looks so much adolescent (at 70!).

  43. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 19, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Mr Trump wants other NATO members to pay more towards NATO’s costs, including more on NATO military capability. NATO is meant to be a defensive alliance, not an instrument of US foreign policy, and this creates problems, not least regarding policy towards Russia, which has an interest in to some extent controlling the countries adjacent to her. Let’s consider these countries.

    Firstly, Ukraine. If Russia wants Crimea, the removal of sanctions and Ukrainian neutrality, it must offer a lot in return. Ukraine must have sovereignty over the Russian speaking enclaves in Eastern Ukraine. All these enclaves can reaasonably demand is that Russian is an additional official language and the right to have seperate history lessons. Russia must also be reasonable about not cutting off energy supplies and about Ukrainian debt.

    Defending Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will be a matter of war if need be. Germany has an interest what happens to these three countries. Should pay money to the US for this or should Germany re-arm in order to assist? Be careful what you wish for!

    The five ‘-stans’ to the south of Russia look up to Russia and want its technical assistance. No need for the west to intervene.

    East Prussia has become Kaliningrad and is part of Russia. Most of the Germans there have died or left; no need for action.

    The Country that is a traditional UK ally is Poland. We have an interest in Polish territorial integrity, resisting both German or Ukrainian encroachment.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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