Category Archives: Karl Reiner

Arizona’s international trade relationships

In 2017, Arizona’s merchandise exports to other countries totaled $20.8 billion, down from a 2016 level of $22.0 billion. The five largest markets for Arizona products were: Mexico-$7.5 billion, Canada-$2.0 billion, China -$1.1 billion, the United Kingdom -$977.0 million and Germany-$693.4 million.

Arizona’s $7.5 billion exports to Mexico in 2017 continued a downward trend from the $8.2 billion recorded in 2016 and the $9.1 billion posted for 2015. Arizona ranked fifth among the states exporting to Mexico in 2017, behind Texas-$97.2 billion, California-$26.7 billion, Michigan -$12.5 billion and Illinois-$9.8 billion. Of the states cited, only Arizona’s exports to Mexico declined, the other states recorded increases from their 2016 levels.

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The dicey Korean situation

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950 when North Korea launched an invasion of South Korea. After the engaged forces seesawed up and down the peninsula, it concluded in a military stalemate on July 27, 1953. An armistice agreement ended the fighting, no final peace treaty has ever been signed. A heavily fortified line running along the 38th parallel continues to divide the countries of North and South Korea. In South Korea today, approximately 10 million people live in the range of the North’s massive border concentration of artillery and other weapons.

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Past, present and future tribulations

When the Gadsden Purchase was completed in 1854, Mexico received $10 million from the United States for the 29,670 square miles of territory, south of Gila River, which the U.S. government added to the New Mexico Territory. At the time, the only military presence in the vast purchase area was the Mexican force stationed at the Tucson presidio. In November 1856, four companies of U.S. dragoons arrived with orders to establish a garrison in the vicinity of Tucson. After scouting the area, they established Fort Buchanan, named for the new president, at the headwaters of Sonoita Creek on the eastern side of the Santa Rita Mountains.

As the troops stationed at Ft. Buchanan chased down outlaws, tried to counter Apache raids and provided protection for the Butterfield stage line, the national political consensus was unraveling due to sectional quarrels over the issues of states’ rights and slavery. Regrettably, President Buchanan and the other national politicians of the day failed to find a peaceful resolution to the sectional crisis. After President Lincoln took office, hostilities erupted in South Carolina in April 1861. As a result, Fort Buchanan was abandoned in July 1861, its troops transferred to places more vital to the war effort. Fortunately for the fragmenting United States, the European powers decided to stay mostly on the sidelines. In America, the Lincoln administration fought a bloody Civil War as slavery and its attendant issues were settled by four years of warfare.

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The world’s human feces problem

In such places as the United States, Europe, Japan and most of China, the people take basic sanitation virtually for granted. Sanitation is not a concern because there is no shortage of toilets, sewer lines or waste treatment plants in these areas. Elsewhere on the planet, approximately 950 million people still defecate outdoors in the open due to a lack of outhouses, latrines and sewers. The link between sanitation hygiene and health has long been known to medical professionals and governments. The flies feeding and breeding on exposed human feces are one of the main transporters of infectious organisms. Contaminated flies can cover a wide area, they have the capability to travel more than a mile. The diseases that flies can help spread can result in chronically infected adults and stunted, sick children. Around the world, the diseases resulting from poor sanitation practices and polluted water kill about 1.4 million children per year.

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Mexico’s trade apprehensions

Representatives from the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States have met four times regarding the revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Although NAFTA needs updating and most trade negotiations usually include a batch of acrimonious subjects, Canada and Mexico view some of the American revision demands as very extreme. This has led some negotiators and analysts to suspect that the Trump administration’s real goal is to put an end to the agreement. Since additional negotiating sessions remain scheduled, the NAFTA trade talks will continue for a while. As the talks drag on, however, the involved business communities of Canada, Mexico and the United States have growing fears that a deal will not be concluded. In the current testy NAFTA negotiating environment, it is difficult to see how a revised agreement can be negotiated that will be approved by the Canadians, Mexico, Congress and the White House. The growing sense of economic unease will surely affect Arizona’s economic ties with Mexico in the future.

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The calamitous Syrian situation

The country of Syria has become the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. In geographical size, Syria is slightly more than 1.5 times the size of the state of Pennsylvania. Syria had a population of around 23 million in 2011. The ongoing fighting has caused approximately 5.2 million refugees to flee the country. The refugees are mostly housed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Millions more of Syria’s people have been displaced within the country. Since the conflict began in 2011, the number of deaths among Syrian government forces, opposition paramilitaries and civilians is estimated to exceed 400,000.

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