The GOP Debate: What Candidates Showed The Most Wisdom On World Affairs?

Por Alejandro Chafuen: Publicado el 7/8/2015 en:

It’s true that the economy of the United States—which represents between 16 and 17 percent of the global economy—is of tremendous importance for the rest of the world. But with 80 percent of the world’s production being created beyond our borders, those aspiring to lead the country can’t neglect the foreign scene. Most candidates answered questions about the three difficult “I” topics: immigration, ISIS, and Iran. China and Russia also appeared in the discussions. Mexico was mentioned mostly on the immigration front and, briefly by Donald Trump, as a competitor—but not as the important trade partner that it is. What was not discussed is also relevant to understanding how key players in the United States see the world scene. The debate did not include discussions on trade and monetary issues. The trade pacts with Europe and the countries in the Pacific are not moving forward due to distrust more than to anti-trade feelings. Trade, even if the administration can’t move forward, is not moving backwards. In the monetary arena, the U.S. dollar has strengthened considerably against the Euro, gold, and many commodities, especially oil. Today the U.S. dollar is 20 percent stronger against the Euro and gold than one year ago, and buys twice as much oil than a year ago. The only purely economic topic addressed—with implications for the world economy—is the 18 trillion dollar debt. Much of that money is owed to foreigners and foreign governments. While Sen. Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson focused on the destructive potential of this debt and cited it as an example of the betrayal of voters’ trust, Sen. Rand Paul connected the debt to one of his foreign policy stances: “Do you borrow money from China to send it to anyone? Out of your surplus, you can help your allies, and Israel is a great ally. And this is no particular animus of Israel, but what I will say, and I will say over and over again: we cannot give away money we don’t have. We do not project power from bankruptcy court. We’re borrowing a million dollars a minute.” Looking beyond economics, the absence of questions on Cuba is also telling. In my view, there are three main reasons that Cuba was not addressed: 1) location: if this debate had been held in Florida, rather than Cleveland, the recent policy change towards Cuba’s tyrannical regime would not (could not) have been neglected; 2) economic relevance: given the small size of the Cuban economy, this recent policy change cannot compare to the tremendous impact of Immigration, ISIS, and Iran; 3) with the exception of Venezuela, Latin American countries with large economies might flirt with Cuba, but will not be overrun by it. Immigration was covered by all the candidates. Except for Trump, who repeated his conspiratorial theories that Mexico authorities plan to send the worst of the country’s inhabitants north, the candidates sounded very similar: legal Immigration yes, illegal no! Sen. Marco Rubio correctly pointed out that today, “the majority of people coming across the border are not from Mexico. They’re coming from Guatemala, El Salvador, [and] Honduras.” Yet the overwhelming majority of extra-legal immigrants today are from Mexico. Requiring them to leave, a take most candidates seem to support, only seems realistic if there is a fast way to invite those who can find a job to return legally—much like the Krieble Foundation’s Red Card proposal holds. This would require bringing the capabilities and strength of the private sector as a powerful collaborator in this essential but thorny issue. Gov. Scott Walker had a chance to speak about foreign policy, which was very important for a candidate from a state which is seldom mentioned in the international scene. He focused on the importance of having allies “not just in Israel, but throughout the Persian Gulf” mentioning Egypt, the Saudi leaders, and the United Arab Emirates. When he asked them, “What’s the greatest challenge in the world today? Set aside the Iran deal,” they answered “it’s the disengagement of America.” All of the candidates disparaged U.S. foreign policy and the Iran deal. Donald Trump did not hold back, declaring brashly, “what’s happening in Iran, is a disgrace, and it’s going to lead to destruction in large portions of the world.” Sen. Ted Cruz was not so different: “We have abandoned and alienated our friends and allies, and our enemies are stronger. Radical Islam is on the rise, Iran is on the verge of acquiring a nuclear weapon, China is waging cyber warfare against America.” Cruz stood by his criticism of General Dempsey, who argued that ISIS could be defeated by jobs and ideology alone. Jeb Bush piled in and criticized Barack Obama for abandoning Iraq: “He left, and when he left, Al Qaida was done for. ISIS was created because of the void that we left, and that void now exists as a caliphate the size of Indiana. To honor the people who died, we need to—we need to—stop the—Iran agreement, for sure, because the Iranian mullahs have their blood on their hands, and we need to take out ISIS with every tool at our disposal.” Dr. Carson shared similar concerns: “Our friend can’t trust us anymore. You know, Ukraine was a nuclear-armed state. They gave away their nuclear arms with the understanding that we would protect them. We won’t even give them offensive weapons.” Gov. Walker endorsed arming Ukraine and went one step further: “I would work with NATO to put forces on the eastern border of Poland and the Baltic nations, and I would reinstate, put in place back the missile defense system we had in Poland and the Czech Republic.” The feisty exchange between Gov. Christie and Sen. Paul on how to conduct proper surveillance of potential terrorists was one of the highlights of the debate—yet their focus is more on internal freedom and security than world affairs. In his closing statement, Donald Trump, leader in the polls, focused on other countries but spoke about the U.S. the way someone who is trying to become the coach of a team speaks about his team and its competitors, “Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t win anymore. We don’t beat China in trade. We don’t beat Japan, with their millions and millions of cars coming into this country, in trade. We can’t beat Mexico, at the border or in trade. We can’t do anything right. Our military has to be strengthened.” The first debate is over, voters will continue to watch—and so will the world.   Alejandro A. Chafuén es Dr. En Economía por el International College de California. Licenciado en Economía, (UCA), es miembro del comité de consejeros para The Center for Vision & Values, fideicomisario del Grove City College, y presidente de la Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Se ha desempeñado como fideicomisario del Fraser Institute desde 1991. Fue profesor de ESEADE.

Física cuántica

Por Alejandro Tagliavini. Publicado el 26/7/15 en:


Es primitiva la idea de que la violencia puede detener a la violencia: va contra la lógica -es incoherente- y no tiene fundamento científico sino que es una creencia -de «fe», evidente según sus fieles- que los datos empíricos desmienten: por caso, van años de «guerra contra el terrorismo» iniciada por Bush, incluido el homicidio de Ben Laden, y el delito recrudece.

Creencia que surge de la reacción, ante racional, de quién prejuzga que si se elimina a un terrorista, o a los que sea, el terrorismo desaparece. Sería cierto si el delito fuera una persona, por caso, si fuera Pablo, muerto, desaparece el terrorismo. Pero no es Pablo, sino una reacción -inmoral- amplía de modo que si no se corrige la acción que da lugar a esa reacción, muertos los terroristas serán reemplazados por otros.

Así, Occidente, en lugar de asesinar culpables e inocentes, agravando la violencia con guerra debería desandar la acción que provoca la reacción terrorista. Para empezar, dejar de sostener -por negocios de armas y petróleo- al mayor foco de fanatismo islámico: la tiranía de Arabia Saudita. En este país -sede de La Meca y Medina, las ciudades «sagradas» del Islam y prohibidas a los «infieles»- no hay cines, ni teatros, las mujeres son esclavas, la posesión de una Biblia puede acarrear la muerte… y más. Así, la mayoría de los yihadistas son saudíes.

Pero los políticos occidentales premian a los fanáticos: cerrarán una playa cerca de Cannes para el rey saudí. El premier británico anunció medidas para destruir al Estado Islámico en cinco años. No lo logrará como no lo logró Bush. Además de bombardear, propone prohibir discursos de «predicadores del odio», vulnerando la libertad de expresión, y definir al «extremismo» punible como «oposición a la democracia… «.

Hablando de democracia, Donald Trump es el favorito de los conservadores, 24%, luego Scott Walker, 13%, y Jeb Bush, 12%. Gracias a discursos agraviantes. Ya decía Lee Atwater, jefe de campaña de George Bush, que debía ser agresivo porque da que hablar y es importante que se hable ya que existe una relación entre la cantidad de votos y la cantidad de publicidad tanto que, según Michael Deaver, la televisión «elije a los presidentes». O sea, que la democracia puede ser manipulada.

En fin, cuenta Lourdes Bouton que Einstein cambió todo con sus teorías sobre relatividad y física cuántica. Lo que nos rodea no se compone de materia, sino de campos energéticos entre 12 partículas: protones, neutrones, electrones, quarks… Somos antenas electromagnéticas y, según nuestra energía, atraemos posibilidades positivas o negativas. Las funciones celulares de la felicidad se disparan: serotonina, endorfinas, dopamina…  Puedes amar y crear tu mundo, co-crear el universo.

En fin, no sé en qué medida es física cuántica, pero definitivamente la ciencia demuestra que el bien se consigue solo con bien y no con militares, policías y cárceles. En Los miserables, Víctor Hugo describe el comportamiento humano. Por robar para sus sobrinos hambrientos, Jean Valjean terminará en una prisión que lo volverá rencoroso. Liberado, se refugia con el obispo de Digne a quien roba piezas de plata. El obispo, sabiendo que la policía empeoraría las cosas, testimonia que se las había regalado e incluso entrega a Jean dos candelabros más. Conmovido, con riquezas producto de su trabajo, Valjean termina siendo un gran benefactor.


Alejandro A. Tagliavini es ingeniero graduado de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. Es Miembro del Consejo Asesor del Center on Global Prosperity, de Oakland, California y fue miembro del Departamento de Política Económica de ESEADE.