jueves, 28 de junio de 2018

Trump’s Trade Disaster

Tomado de https://www.project-syndicate.org
Trump’s Trade Disaster
Jun 8, 2018 ANNE O. KRUEGER
In the second year of his presidency, Donald Trump has doubled down on his “America First” brand of economic nationalism, by making impossible demands of US allies and escalating a multi-front trade war of his own making. In doing so, however, he has all but guaranteed that Americans themselves will bear the costs.
WASHINGTON, DC – US President Donald Trump may fancy himself a builder, but when it comes to international treaties and norms, he has proved to be a one-man wrecking crew. And now, the chaos appears to be spreading and deepening.
In the last few months alone, Trump’s “America First” administration announced commercial sanctions against the Chinese tech giant ZTE, but then reconsidered that decision, in the interest of – wait for it – saving Chinese jobs. And just weeks after Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin put a trade war with China “on hold,” the administration declared that it would impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports after all, while also slapping sweeping import tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Of course, even if Trump’s advisers have sent mixed messages on trade, it may be the only issue on which Trump himself has remained consistent, much to the detriment of US alliances and economic relations. Almost immediately upon taking office, Trump mothballed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP would not just have united the US and 11 other Pacific Rim countries within a single trade bloc; it also would have established region-wide rules and standards that even China might have been forced to follow, despite its exclusion.1
But whereas Trump had little trouble scrapping the TTIP and TPP, the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Mexico, and Canada has continued to draw his ire. NAFTA – and particularly Mexico’s role in it – seems to epitomize all of the hot-button issues that fired up Trump’s base during his 2016 presidential campaign. To hear Trump tell it, the agreement is a source of lost manufacturing jobs, and a perfect example of the supposed “unfairness” of all trade pacts. So he promised his supporters to use the threat of abandoning NAFTA to force Mexico to pay for his “border wall,” and to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants – whom he has described as “rapists” and “animals” – across the border.
That strategy has not worked. But over the past year, the Trump administration has been meeting with the Mexican and Canadian governments to renegotiate the terms of NAFTA, and those talks are now approaching their crunch point. Given that Trump has laid waste to every US commitment he has touched, Mexico and Canada – and the world – have every reason to prepare for the worst.
For decades after World War II, Mexico pursued many of the same disastrous economic policies as other developing countries. It maintained high protectionist barriers for manufactured goods, and relied heavily on commodity exports, particularly oil. As a result, it experienced recurrent stop-go cycles, whereby accelerating inflation and ballooning balance-of-payments deficits would force a round of austerity, only for the process to repeat itself after increases in commodity prices, but at a slower rate of growth each time. Not surprisingly, the growth rate during these years waxed and waned dramatically, and by the start of 1989, Mexico’s per capita income was around $2,393 – about 11% that of the US.
But then came the early 1990s, when Mexican President Carlos Salinas and his economic team reversed the country’s trade policy and set the stage for negotiations on a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the US. President Bill Clinton’s administration welcomed Salinas’s new economic approach and quickly agreed to talks, which included Canada, because it already had an FTA with the US. The US had long wanted Mexico to liberalize its trade regime and permit more economic competition, and it now had a chance to see those changes through.
Before NAFTA, between two-thirds and three-quarters of Canada and Mexico’s total trade was with the US, and about one-quarter of total US trade was with Canada and Mexico. But at the time, the average US tariff on manufactured imports was around 2%, while Mexico’s average tariff on US exports was around 10%. It was clear from the start that the US would gain more from improved access to the Mexican market than vice versa.
Yet, despite the obvious benefits, there was a great deal of political dissent within the US about the prospect of Mexican workers threatening American jobs. In a 1992 presidential debate, the independent candidate Ross Perot famously warned that an FTA with Mexico would result in “a giant sucking sound going south.” Of course, nothing of the sort happened.1
NAFTA entered into force on January 1, 1994, and between 1993 and 2000, US unemployment fell from 6.9% to 4%. Today, it stands at 3.8% – its lowest point in almost two decades. Professional economists generally consider an unemployment rate of 4-4.5% to represent an economy near “full employment” – meaning that virtually all who are willing and able to work can find a job.
Put another way, total US civilian employment in 1993 was around 120.3 million, compared to 136.9 million in 2000 and 148.8 million in 2016. The rate of turnover in jobs today is about 20% annually, with only a small share of the gains or losses attributable to Mexico. Overall, though some American jobs were lost over the lifetime of NAFTA, more were gained, owing not just to the additional exports resulting from lower Mexican tariffs, but also to the falling costs of inputs for US producers, which boosted their international competitiveness.
With NAFTA in place, US-Mexico trade grew rapidly, in part because cross-border value chains multiplied. Mexican producers employing unskilled labor exported components for cars and other goods to the US. And the US manufacturers that imported those less expensive inputs were better positioned to compete with Japanese, European, and other firms that already had access to cheaper components from South and Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Moreover, US firms also invested in Mexican facilities, which enabled Mexican firms to expand their capacity faster and meet the growing demand from US producers.
These invest t and trade activities have undoubtedly benefited both countries. Access to cheaper components has lowered US producers’ costs, while exports to Mexico have increased. Meanwhile, Mexican output, employment, and wages have grown more than they would have otherwise. For all three signatories, NAFTA represents a win.
Nevertheless, the Trump administration has insisted on renegotiating NAFTA. To be sure, there are a number of ways that the agreement could be updated to account for changes in economic activity, including those spurred by technological advances, since the early 1990s. But that has not been Trump’s focus. Instead, US trade negotiators have demanded amendments to NAFTA that would turn it into a lose-lose-lose deal.
Some of the demands directed at Mexico, in particular, are so outrageous that no country could ever accept them. Others, such as the US proposal for more stringent rules of origin (which require that a certain percentage of an imported article be fabricated within the NAFTA trade bloc), are very problematic, but a compromise can probably be reached.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s extreme approach has made meaningful progress impossible, even in areas that actually could stand to be improved. One of the US’s most disruptive tactics has been to demand that Mexico bring its auto workers’ pay up to the level of their US counterparts. The minimum wage in Mexico is currently around $4 per day, and around $6 per day in manufacturing industries. But the wage floor US negotiators have reportedly demanded is $16 per hour – 21 times the average wage in Mexican manufacturing. That is the equivalent of asking the US to raise its auto workers’ wages to $588 per hour (based on the $28 average hourly wage for unionized auto workers).
Needless to say, no producer in the world could absorb or pass on such a cost increase. Mexican firms would either have to close or demand tariff protection, which, at best, would allow them to produce only for the smaller Mexican market. And it is inconceivable that the Mexican electorate would stand for one segment of workers earning $128 per day while everyone else still earned an average of $4-6 per day. The social and political backlash would be unmanageable. In fact, the Trump administration’s demand is so absurd that even the US auto industry opposes it , not least for what it would do to US producers’ value chain.
Another impossible US demand, which would affect Canada as much as Mexico, is a sunset clause that would force each government to renew the renegotiated NAFTA every five years. The fact that the entire deal could potentially expire every five years would create a permanent state of uncertainty for businesses throughout North America. Most companies base their investment decisions and output plans on a time horizon of at least five years, so it is hard to believe that any would make investments in Mexico to sell to the US market under such conditions.
As if the situation was not bizarre enough, the Trump administration has now subjected Mexico and Canada to import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum, after first trying to use exemptions from such tariffs as a bargaining chip in the NAFTA negotiations. The sweeping metal tariffs – which have now also been imposed on America’s European allies – are highly objectionable for obvious reasons. They will raise costs for all US firms that use steel and aluminum inputs – a group that of course includes the auto industry.
The Trump administration has justified the tariffs on national-security grounds, which makes absolutely no sense when one considers that US allies are bearing the brunt of the costs. The exception is South Korea, which was exempted from the tariffs because it agreed to quotas limiting its steel exports to the US.
The Trump administration’s approach to both allies and adversaries represents the worst kind of “managed trade,” which the US and other countries with market-based economies have long condemned. South Korea did not achieve strong, sustained growth until it liberalized its trade and other economic policies, starting around 1960, with the encouragement of the US.
But under its new managed-trade agreement with the Trump administration, South Korea must now create an administrative apparatus to limit its steel producers’ exports to the US. That means tracking 52 different categories of steel to ensure that exports remain at or below 70% of their 2014-2017 levels. It is estimated that South Korea has already met its quota for this year for nine categories of steel.
At the same time, there is a need to monitor and regulate the inflow of steel and aluminum, whether by the US, South Korea, or both. For the US, expanding its own customs service to perform this task would carry enormous administrative costs; and the new dispensation will likely lead to all manner of influence peddling as firms try to win scarce licenses from customs officials.
There is little reason to think that Mexico or Canada will accept the Trump administration’s demands unless they are significantly watered down. But even if they do accept them in some form or another, the result will be the opposite of what Trump and his team intended.
There are around 80,000 jobs in the US steel industry, more than 900,000 jobs in the US auto industry, and millions more in other industries that use steel or aluminum. The Trump administration’s metal tariffs will drive up the price of cars and reduce domestic demand, thus offsetting any increase in auto-industry employment that Trump might have hoped for. And if Trump were to follow through on his threatened tariffs of 15-25% on imported autos, car sales across the US would decline, and the hundreds of thousands of workers who sell and service them would bear the costs.
Beyond the auto industry, the prices for all products that use steel and aluminum will increase, thus depressing demand and threatening output and employment across a wide range of sectors. Many steel- and aluminum-using producers compete directly with producers from around the world. But by protecting domestic producers, the Trump administration is raising steel and aluminum prices within the US, while reducing them in the rest of the world. In essence, Trump is conceding even more cost advantages to non-US producers, for no good reason.
After World War II, the US led the way in establishing a rules-based trading system, first with the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, and then with its successor, the World Trade Organization. The past 73 years have shown that when there are legitimate grievances between trading partners on issues such as high-tech secrets, bilateral efforts to resolve them often prove ineffective, whereas action taken through the WTO has a strong track record. Unless and until the Trump administration recognizes this fact, Americans themselves will bear the costs of its disastrous trade policies.1

Writing for PS since 2014 
5 Commentaries
Anne O. Krueger, a former World Bank chief economist and former first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is Senior Research Professor of International Economics at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Development, Stanford University.

miércoles, 27 de junio de 2018

AMLO and Mexican Democracy

Tomado de https://www.project-syndicate.org
AMLO and Mexican Democracy

Mexico is already a deeply polarized country, so the last thing it needs is a president who practices a politics of division, however fiscally prudent he may be. But that is almost certainly what it will get when, as seems likely, voters elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador on July 1.
SANTIAGO – With the outcome of Mexico’s presidential election on July 1 virtually assured, financial market analysts are now asking how bad Andrés Manuel López Obrador (popularly known as AMLO) will be for the economy. The honest answer is that it’s anybody’s guess.
But markets like few things more than concluding that a populist is not that bad after all. As they did with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil and Ollanta Humala in Peru, among many others, pundits are rushing to identify reasons for optimism.
One cause for hope is that AMLO has moderated his incendiary rhetoric and is no longer threatening to do away with the North American Free Trade Agreement. Another is that Latin American populists can also be fiscal hawks, as Evo Morales has shown in Bolivia. AMLO’s tenure as mayor of Mexico City was fiscally sound, and Carlos Urzúa, his likely finance minister, played a part in that. Moreover, Mexico has a capable central bank with a strong tradition of independence. AMLO’s campaign manager has spent much time attempting to reassure investors, and markets may have already priced in whatever AMLO will do. The list goes on.
This is all probably right. But it is also of secondary importance. Financial market gurus are not asking the right question. The key issue is not what AMLO may do to the economy, but what he may do to Mexican democracy. And here the news is not good.
Yes, populism is an approach to economic policy that refuses to acknowledge the existence of budget constraints. As a result, when in power, populists tend to undertax, overspend, overborrow, and allow inflation to rise.
But populism is also – and above all – a style of politics that weakens checks and balances, runs roughshod over institutions, and replaces pluralistic deliberation with the allegedly infallible leadership of a single charismatic leader. For all these reasons, as writers from Princeton’s Jan-Werner Mullerto Harvard’s Yascha Mounk have stressed, political populism is a growing threat to liberal democracy.
The United States and Europe may just be discovering (or rediscovering) this, but Latin Americans know well from history that populism harbors a dangerous authoritarian streak. From Getúlio Vargas in Brazil and Juan Domingo Perón in Argentina decades ago to Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela today, populists have abused democratic rules and, in some cases, become outright dictators. AMLO has spent most of his long political career playing by the rules of the democratic game. One does not have to believe that he is a chavista or a castrista – he is not – to conclude that his presidency could further weaken the already vulnerable institutions of Mexican democracy.
AMLO’s behavior after losing the 2006 presidential election by just 0.5% of the vote suggests what may lie in store. Without producing a shred of evidence, he declared the election had been stolen from him and camped out in Mexico City’s main square in a fruitless attempt to prevent the victor from taking power. Mexico had actually made a great deal of progress on democratic reform, strengthening the independent Federal Elections Institute (IFE) to oversee an election that the journalist and writer Héctor Aguilar Camín has called “the most competitive and best counted” in Mexican history. But this did not prevent AMLO from calling IFE directors “thieves,” the election process a “pigsty,” and the winner, Felipe Calderón, an “illegitimate president.”
No one should be surprised that AMLO has made fighting corruption the centerpiece of his campaign. In doing so, he has connected with a voting population that is not only tired of politicians’ shenanigans but also frightened by what seems at times like a breakdown of the rule of law under pressure from growing (if localized) drug-related violence.
But no one should expect AMLO to produce a ten-point plan to fight corruption and lawlessness. One problem is that some of AMLO’s associates in the motley coalition that is trying to propel him to the presidency – more than a few of them former PRI members – are not exactly paragons of transparency. More fundamentally, AMLO’s approach to corruption is textbook populism: social problems that seem complex have simple solutions, and they have not been solved only because traditional elites do not want them solved. Elect a strong leader with sufficient willpower, and those problems will conveniently melt away.
That leader, of course, can only be AMLO. In the words of political scientist Jesus Silva-Herzog Márquez, “the medicine offered by AMLO to combat corruption is AMLO.” Remember Trump’s boast in the Republican National Convention that “I alone can fix it”? The parallel would be amusing if it were not so frightening.
Populism is a kind of identity politics. It thrives on division. It is always us against them. The kind of divisive speech that blames all of society’s ills on someone else – bankers and businesspeople, foreigners and immigrants, Muslims or Jews, pious folk or atheists – is the common thread that binds together right-wing populists like Trump or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán with left-wingers like Hugo Chávez or Ecuador’s Rafael Correa.
AMLO is a faithful member of that brotherhood. His political insults are legendary. He probably lost the 2006 election for calling president Vicente Fox “chachalaca” (a small bird with an annoying chirp). He recently has referred to Mexico’s business community as a “rapacious minority” that opposes him because “it does not want to stop stealing.” For him, politics is the continuation of war by other means.
Mexico is already a deeply polarized country. It does not need a president who preaches a politics of division, even if he turns out to be fiscally prudent. But that is what it will get once it elects AMLO.

Writing for PS since 2001 
82 Commentaries
Andrés Velasco, a former presidential candidate and finance minister of Chile, is the author of numerous books and papers on international economics and development. He has served on the faculty at Harvard, Columbia, and New York Universities.

Nosotros, los culpables

Tomado de https://www.14ymedio.com/opinion/culpables_0_2462753705.html

Nosotros, los culpables

Ortega ha ordenado matar y lo seguirá haciendo para conservar la silla presidencial. Carente de la mística revolucionaria que una vez lo rodeó, ahora solo le quedan la represión o la claudicación
Fidel Castro estuvo una semana en Nicaragua para la celebración del primer aniversario de la Revolución Sandinista. En la imagen, acto del 19 de julio de 1980. (La Prensa/Archivo)
Fidel Castro estuvo una semana en Nicaragua para la celebración del primer aniversario de la Revolución Sandinista. En la imagen, acto del 19 de julio de 1980. (La Prensa/Archivo)
Corrían los años 80 y, desde Cuba, Nicaragua parecía la esperanza de que las revoluciones de izquierda iban a tomar el poder a lo largo de la geografía continental. La caída de la dictadura de Anastasio Somoza encajaba en las piezas de mi puzzle infantil, en el que compartían espacio los muros del Kremlin, la barba de Fidel Castro y los volcanes del país centroamericano.
Una colega de mi aula de tercer grado se pavoneaba de que su padre estaba en Managua como asesor militar. Esos viajes, además de garantizar la importación de regalos exóticos en medio de la aburrida distribución del mercado racionado, aumentaban el prestigio social porque se pasaba de inmediato a la categoría de "internacionalista proletario".
El ajedrez de la geopolítica había convertido a Nicaragua en un tablero donde Moscú movía fichas a través de los cubanos y Estados Unidos hacía otro tanto con los "Contra"
Años después, cuando aquella neblina de consignas y quimeras se despejó, comprendí que ese eufemismo oficial escondía una realidad mucho más repudiable: la intervención militar en otra nación. El ajedrez de la geopolítica había convertido a Nicaragua en un tablero donde Moscú movía fichas a través de los cubanos y Estados Unidos hacía otro tanto con los "Contra".
A la par de aquella presencia física y de la ascendencia que la Plaza de la Revolución mantuvo sobre los comandantes sandinistas, la ofensiva principal se desarrolló en los medios de difusión y en cuanta manifestación cultural sirvió para transmitir la idea de que la hoz con su implacable martillo destruía los viejos regímenes latinoamericanos.
Así surgieron documentales, carteles, himnos y ripios poéticos de consulta obligada en las escuelas cubanas y, sobre todo, se creó un molde del que era imposible escapar. Ser sandinista y apoyar a Daniel Ortega, el líder de aquella revolución al que más espacio se le otorgaba en el discurso oficial de la Isla, era un catecismo necesario para poder ser "ordenado" como revolucionario cabal y comunista a toda prueba.
Castro apoyó a los sandinistas con estrategas y armas, como también hizo con tantos otros movimientos guerrilleros en la región. Testimonios y documentos que han salido a la luz confirman que el gobernante cubano mantuvo una fluida comunicación durante la insurrección con el cuartel principal Palo Alto, en Costa Rica, porque siempre le gustó jugar a la guerra en la distancia, con las balas hiriendo otros cuerpos.
Castro apoyó a los sandinistas con estrategas y armas, como también hizo con tantos otros movimientos guerrilleros en la región
Tras alcanzar el poder, los comandantes sandinistas visitaron La Habana y el gobernante conversó con ellos en un maratón de más de 70 horas del que han salido a la luz al menos dos consejos. Les recomendó convocar elecciones lo más pronto posible y no instaurar el servicio militar obligatorio. Los tercos camaradas no hicieron caso, quizás porque se dieron cuenta de que el "consejero en jefe" no había aplicado ninguna de aquellas premisas y, no obstante, seguía controlando la Isla.
Tras aquella alianza, los niños cubanos tuvimos otros comandantes a los que adorar, otra revolución por la que gritar vivas y una geografía que explorar en los mapas, pensando en el día en que desembarcaríamos en ella con botas, un brújula y un fusil para matar o morir en nombre de la utopía. La Isla nos quedaba estrecha y entonces podíamos proyectar una Cuba continental, dar el salto desde nuestro caimán hasta esa apretada cintura que nos prometía seguir avanzando hacia la voluptuosidad de las dos Américas.
Mientras ese momento del sacrificio físico llegaba, aplaudimos. Cantamos loas a Ortega y a sus compañeros incluso cuando las confiscaciones que impulsaron mostraron más voracidad que justicia, cuando la estatización arruinó al país o cuando no les tembló la mano para apuntar los fusiles contra el pueblo. La amistad ideológica implicaba entonces ese tipo de miopía selectiva.
Aunque algunos de los comandantes sandinistas se apartaron del insaciable Ortega, para la propaganda cubana siguieron siendo "los guerrilleros nicas"
Los medios oficiales cubanos siguieron también presentándolos como jóvenes rebeldes hasta en momentos de absoluto desprestigio internacional, como el que provocó la escandalosa 'piñata' sandinista en que se repartieron bienes y se forraron los bolsillos. Aunque algunos de los comandantes sandinistas se apartaron del insaciable Ortega, para la propaganda cubana siguieron siendo "los guerrilleros nicas", un grupo apretado, un bloque cerrado.
El diario oficial Granma nunca les dedicó una frase crítica y Silvio Rodríguez siguió cantando aquello de "otro hierro candente" que se había roto en Nicaragua. Un tema que sirvió para difundir, desde la pasión, una mentira. La revolución sandinista, como la cubana, se erigió desde su surgimiento en una insaciable fuente de derechos para sus seguidores, incluso por encima de la ley, se blindó contra sus críticos y olvidó aquel impulso fundacional de cambio que la hizo posible. Envejeció mal y rápido.
Después de casi 40 años, aquel joven que inicialmente conquistó el poder por las armas ahora trata de mantenerlo a través de ellas, en medio de las protestas populares que estallaron en las calles nicaragüenses en abril pasado. Ortega ha ordenado matar y lo seguirá haciendo para conservar la silla presidencial. Carente de la mística revolucionaria que una vez lo rodeó, ahora solo le quedan la represión o la claudicación.
Hoy la mayoría de los cubanos, culpables en parte de aquel espejismo convertido en satrapía, callan, miran hacia otro lado
Para agravar su soledad internacional, el antiguo aliado y mentor lleva casi dos años muerto y La Habana no cuenta con aquellos abultados subsidios de antaño que le permitieron desplegar tropas en otros países. Pero los medios oficiales son un reducto de apoyo al orteguismo y de vez en cuando, en alguna vetusta emisora radial, se escucha sobre la "soga con cebo" que se partió en Nicaragua.
Hoy la mayoría de los cubanos, culpables en parte de aquel espejismo convertido en satrapía, callan, miran hacia otro lado o sueñan con alcanzar otras geografías, ahora no para extender la utopía sino para escapar de ella.
El equipo de  14ymedio está comprometido con hacer un periodismo serio que refleje la realidad de la Cuba profunda. Gracias por acompañarnos en este largo camino. Te invitamos a que continúes apoyándonos, pero esta vez  haciéndote miembro de 14ymedio. Juntos podemos seguir transformando el periodismo en Cuba.

martes, 26 de junio de 2018

¿Avances en Corea?

Tomado de www.talcualdigital.com

¿Avances en Corea?, 

por Félix Arellano

En estos momentos las perspectivas en la península de Corea se presentan alentadoras, pareciera superada la nube negra de las pruebas nucleares promovidas irracionalmente por el joven dictador de Corea del Norte Kim Jong-un, que generaron una profunda angustia en la zona, y amenazaban la paz y la seguridad internacional. Las diversas cumbres realizadas: entre las dos Coreas, con China, con el Presidente Donald Trump y, los contactos de coordinación con Japón, parecieran estar dando resultados, los compromisos se están cumpliendo, lo que significa que existe el interés en cultivar la confianza y poder avanzar a las fases más ininteligibles del proceso.
Ahora bien, dada la complejidad de las siguientes etapas y el carácter impulsivo e impredecible, tanto del Presidente Trump, como del joven dictador, reina un alto grado de incertidumbre, lo que obligará al resto de los involucrados, particularmente a Corea del Sur y China, a incrementar sus esfuerzos para blindar el proceso. Cabe una moraleja: que se pueda avanzar en la negociación en un contexto tan difícil como el coreano, debería servirnos de lección en nuestra dramática realidad nacional, que tanto daño está generando, y cuya solución puede depender de la comprensión de todas las partes sobre la dinámica y bondades del diálogo y la negociación.
En Corea las señales positivas son diversas y significativas; al respecto, cabe destacar que se ha avanzado en la entrega de víctimas de la guerra; Corea del Norte ha desmantelado algunas bases de lanzamientos de misiles, para el mes de agosto está previsto efectuar en el encuentro de familias separadas por la guerra entre las dos Coreas, incluso está cambiando la propaganda contra el imperialismo en Pyongyang y, lo más significativo, Estados Unidos ha suspendido indefinidamente los ejercicios militares previstos en la península coreana.
Elementos como los señalados impulsan el proceso, que pronto debería entrar en la fase más crítica; es decir, en la definición concreta, regulada y controlada, por diversas instancias, en particular por la Organización Internacional de Energía Atómica (OIEA) de las Naciones Unidas, del proceso de desnuclearización de Corea del Norte, que seguramente también exigirá la reducción de las fuerzas militares de Estados Unidos en la zona, lo que beneficia fundamentalmente a China, que mantiene otros focos peligrosos, como las reclamaciones de delimitación en el mar de China meridional y los problemas con Bután e India.

La complejidad de los objetivos en las siguientes fases hace pensar que la impulsividad se puede imponer y el proceso fracasar. Los escépticos estiman que el joven dictador de Corea del Norte puede estar buscando fundamentalmente tiempo para avanzar rápidamente en sus planes nucleares, sin mayores controles. Adicionalmente, no debemos olvidar que antes de iniciar esta fase de diálogos diplomáticos, la información que circulaba del joven Kim Jong-un era siniestra y se asociaba a la eliminación de familiares, gerontocracia militar y cualquiera que pudiera hacer sombra a su poder.
Por otra parte, las últimas decisiones de Donald Trump, en materia comercial y sobre la inmigración, incluso contra aliados tradicionales y fundamentales; han evidenciado su carácter explosivo y guerreristas. En negociaciones pareciera que espera ganarlo todo, además que busca triunfos tempranos, para garantizar votos para sus aliados del partido republicano en las elecciones parlamentarias del mes de noviembre.
En un contexto de marcada incertidumbre, la labor de otros actores involucrados directamente en el caso, como Corea del Sur, China o Japón resulta necesaria. Ahora bien, pareciera que China en este momento no reúne las mejores condiciones, por sus planes expansionistas y las crecientes tensiones con el Presidente Trump, pero es un actor clave para presionar a Corea del Norte, y también está interesada, tanto en la desnuclearización de la península, como en el control de la irracional actuación de joven dictador.
Todo indica que la mayor responsabilidad para lograr mantener y encausar los avances del proceso recae fundamentalmente en Corea del Sur y, en particular, en la capacidad dialogante, creativa y prudente de su Presidente Moon Jae-in. El proceso de negociación bien estructurado puede llevar a resultados concretos, beneficiosos para todas las partes, en especial para sus poblaciones. Lo que no parece muy claro es la sensibilidad social de los gobernantes autoritarios presentes en este conflicto, en el caso de Corea del Norte, muy probablemente interesa más el poder que el bienestar social y el Presidente Trump, con su carácter contradictorio, está generando señales peligrosas.