Wednesday 5 April 2023

Are Joe Biden and Global Corporations Making America A Honduras?

 This is not an insult to Honduras. This writer lived in Honduras in 1978 in the “campo” where I worked with campesinos in developing agricultural projects that increased corn and bean production by 600%. I simply showed them how to do contour farming, which involved building terraces on the steep mountain slopes. My wife, a registered nurse, trained four “Rural Health Assistants” and created three village health clinics.

Young Larry
Yep, Me and the wife with some of our Honduran friends

The experience in Honduras introduced me to a system where the very poor were hardworking and ruled by a system that favored the very wealthy. While the campesinos who live far away from the two major cities, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, are somewhat insulated from civil violence and crime, the same cannot be said for those Hondurans who seek work in those two cities:

Officer Mendez* had no illusions about fighting crime or making his country a better place when he decided to join the Honduran police force. After a failed attempt to migrate to the United States, he needed a job, and the police were hiring. Peeling paint and dilapidated waiting-room chairs adorn his crumbling police station, and half-broken fans “cool” the humid air. “Do you know why people leave?” the young officer, no older than 21, asks us in a rare moment of conviction. “Por la delincuencia. Y las autoridades,” he adds, shaking his head, “no hacen nada.” He almost spits the words: People leave Honduras because of crime, and the authorities don’t do anything.

Seven years after I left Honduras, I was the CIA’s Honduras analyst and witnessed that country being used as a land-based aircraft carrier to back a guerrilla war in Nicaragua. That U.S. backed conflict was a U.S. policy failure and the political dysfunction in Honduras continued.

So now we have Joe Biden seemingly hell-bent on turning America into a banana republic like Honduras. The U.S. industrial base has been hollowed out and more than 70% of the U.S. GDP is produced by the service sector. America is not building much anymore. It is flipping burgers and delivering food via companies like Uber Eats and Door Dash.

I grew up in Independence, Missouri. Until I turned 18 in 1973, the Independence/Kansas City area were home to two GM plants (Leeds and Fairfax), Armco Steel, Bendix Corporation (Bendix Corporation which, made things like automotive brake shoes and systems, vacuum tubes, and aircraft brakes), Allis Chalmers (which produced agricultural equipment), and Standard Oil. Those enterprises are now shuttered or dramatically scaled back.

My Dad worked as machinist and later as a foreman at Armco. The father of one of my high school buddies worked at Standard Oil. He had a high school education but, as part of the Standard Oil employee compensation plan, he earned shares of stock with each paycheck and retired comfortably in the upper middle class. Those promises and opportunities are now gone, dispatched to the trash bin of history.

This story is being repeated in small and mid-size communities across America as income inequality increases. Sadly, America is beginning to resemble Honduras in that regard.

On the foreign policy front the United States is getting its ass handed to it. The United States is now perceived in a growing number of counties as an inept bully and unreliable ally. I think that is a factor in Honduras’ recent decision to terminate relations with Taiwan and give precedence to Beijing.

More evidence that the U.S. is becoming irrelevant:

  • Ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and Iraq meet in Oman
  • A French expert predicts the inevitability of the world’s players abandoning the dollar—the U.S. has turned it into an economic weapon. “Turning their currency into an instrument of political pressure, the Americans themselves unwittingly began a worldwide movement to impeach the dollar king.” In 2014, BNP Paribas was forced to pay a $9 billion fine to the U.S. for legally, under European and French law, financing in dollars exports from Cuba, Sudan, and Iran, even though these three states were under an American embargo. The U.S. considered this case to be within its competence, because the transactions were made through a BNP Paribas account in New York.
  • Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman says he is “no longer interested” in pleasing the United States, “doesn’t care” what Biden thinks of him – Wall Street Journal.
  • India and Malaysia dump dollar, to settle trade in Indian rupee.

There is a massive supply of dollars floating around the world. With major economies like China, India, Malaysia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Russia abandoning the dollar as the standard for international trade, the value of the dollar will fall. That means that the United States economy, which is dependent on foreign imports, will be paying more, which means more inflation in the United States.

This does not mean that the United States is headed for an economic collapse, but it does mean that the American people will be facing some very choppy, uncertain economic waters ahead. Just like Honduras.

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