JUST days after his inauguration, Donald Trump has set into motion his plan to build a wall along the common border between the United States and Mexico purportedly to keep off illegal immigrants.
When completed over the course of Trump’s presidential term, the wall will stretch over 2,000 kilometers. It will cost around 10.5 billion US dollars. But here is the catch. Trump intends to bill Mexico for the cost of construction! If that is not international bullying, I do not know what is.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto (who was one of two heartthrobs during the Apec meeting in Manila) is, naturally, indignant. He cancelled a prior scheduled meeting this week with Trump to express his displeasure. Mexico demands respect, Nieto said. Furthermore, no way will Mexico pay for the construction.
The average Mexican is both angry and resigned. “Trump is a false prophet, leading the US into the desert. But if Trump wants to build a wall on his side of the border, there is nothing we can do about it.”
While Trump has no love lost for the Chinese, his proposed wall along the Mexican border was obviously inspired by the humongous Chinese version.
The Great Wall of China actually consists of several separate walls built over centuries, spanning the reigns of several Chinese dynasties. Its purpose was to prevent foreign incursions into Chinese territory.
When placed end to end, the Great Wall, according to some estimates, would stretch more than 20,000 kilometers. Several portions of the original structures are no longer existent but the remnants are still large enough to be visible from outer space.
What would the Great Wall of Donald Trump look like?
In all probability, the wall would be at least 20 feet high (to prevent scaling) and at least 5 feet deep (to prevent tunnelling). To meet a tight construction schedule, pre-cast cement wall panels would probably be used. This would require an estimated 339 million cubic meters of cement as well as several million pounds of steel. One can be sure, that in accordance with Trump’s America First Policy, the steel would be “made in US”.
If all goes well, the whole project will be completed just about the time Trump completes his 4 year presidential term.
The wall may or may not serve its purpose, according to observers. But one thing is definite. The construction will create jobs for the “forgotten Americans” who voted Trump into office. Farther down the road, the Great Wall of Donald Trump may also attract tourists, just like the original Great Wall of China.
While Mexican President Nieto has cancelled his meeting with Trump, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is pushing through with hers. Theresa May was the principal political beneficiary of the controversial Brexit vote.
The prime minister has some economic plans in common with Trump. One of them is a proposed massive cut in corporate income taxes. Like Trump, she is hoping that the corporate tax cuts would provide sufficient incentives to lure in business.
While many find Trump’s ideas outlandish, it is not necessarily so with the financial market. Cheering the “Trump effect”, Dow Jones last week closed above 20,000 -- for the very first time in its history!
Apparently, Trump’s promises of massive infrastructure spending, corporate tax cuts, 10 per cent tax to encourage repatriation of offshore profits are enough to get the market quite excited.
Of course, these are, at this time, just promises….promises.
Tearing down Laguna de Bay’s fishpens
While Trump is building his wall, President Rody Duterte is on a reverse mode. True to his SONA promise, President Rody has started the demolition of illegal fishpens encroaching on thousands of hectares in Laguna de Bay.
Residents around the lake area feel it is about time that the bay be given back to the small fishermen. After all, the large fishpen operations have not really benefitted many. Further, improper fish feeding practices is blamed for the deterioration of water quality in the lake.
While he is at it, President Rody may wish to order a gradual switch to electric-motor driven bancas only. This policy is largely credited to the better-than-average water quality in most lakes in China.
President Rody can ask his friend, President Xi Jin Ping.