A wall is a wall is a wall. CNN says that drug cartels believe President Trump’s Mexico wall will increase their profits and strengthen criminal networks.

The tricks of the multibillion drug business include using drones, submarines, ultralight planes and even frozen sharks to transport product across the US-Mexico border. Just consider that in 2016, US Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations agents attempted to seize a submarine in the Pacific Ocean with nearly 194 million USD worth of cocaine.

And yet President Trump argues that his proposed border wall, a throwback to a bygone era, will “stop much of the drugs from pouring into this country and poisoning our youth.”

As he said last July, he is worried that smugglers will throw “large sacks of drugs” over the wall and hit US citizens on the head — a preoccupation that led to his request for a transparent border wall.

Should he get funding from Congress to build such a wall, Trump will be faced by an even bigger problem — the geographical reality of the border itself. Any wall will have to navigate floodplains, international treaties and the rights of landowners who refuse to sell their land. Simply put, Trump does not understand the dynamics of the US-Mexico border.

But more importantly, the wall will be a gift to the drug cartels. In interviews with a New York Times contributing writer, drug dealers and human traffickers have preemptively thanked Trump for his border wall. Smugglers see the wall as a quaint distraction, because it has little practical application in a world where they harness the latest technology to move drugs and people into the US. If anything, they believe the wall will increase their profits, strengthening criminal networks.

And they might not be far off. According to a2015 report by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, 95% of drugs coming into the US were entering via container ships and other vessels.

In addition to drones and submarines, drug dealers and human traffickers rely on the trucking industry to move drugs and people via the 52 legal crossing pointsalong the US border. In July, eight dead migrants were discovered inside a tractor-trailer parked in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas, while two more died at the hospital and dozens were injured.

None of this would be stopped by a wall.

And the truth is: US citizens provide a constant demand for drugs from Latin America. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 27.1 million people aged 12 or older had used drugs within the past 30 days — the equivalent of 1 in 10 Americans in that age group.

Americans also rely on the labor of undocumented migrants who often cross the US-Mexico border. A 2017 Pew report shows that more than 11 undocumented immigrants live in the US. And they comprise roughly 5% of the US workforce.

But even undocumented migrants don’t fear Trump’s wall. While interviewing migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador during the past year for a project at Longreads, I’ve found that they see the wall more as a symbol of racism than a functional barrier. Many of them laugh at the wall, mentioning the unparalleled tunnel architecture of Mexican smugglers.

This architecture even extends tounderwater tunnels manned by scuba diving smugglers. These same migrants, ironically, are also fleeing unprecedented violence, much of which is caused by the US demand for drugs.

The drugs are pouring in at levels like nobody has ever seen. We’ll be able to stop them once the wall is up.” As a businessman, Trump should understand that the laws of supply and demand apply equally to selling Ivanka’s clothing line as they do to the drug trade. As long as demand exists in the US, suppliers, whether in Mexico or Afghanistan, will find creative ways to meet that demand.

And until Trump addresses the illegal drug epidemic as a public health issue rather than criminalizing it, the demand for drugs from Central America will only continue to grow.

In Trump’s reality, narcos smuggle drugs in sacks, and only a transparent multi-billion dollar wall will stop them.

The truth is, the wall is just a symbol. It is a physical monument to the idea of returning to a more homogenous white past — a past that ignores the contributions of undocumented migrants and the fact that they have raised our children and fed our families.

Narcos, who are consummate businessmen, will thank Trump for this distraction of a border wall while flying the drones and building the submarines that will fuel our drug-filled dreams.

Source: CNN

Corruption is a global problem that requires global solutions.

Once at a meeting I heard Kofi Annan, at the time Secretary General of the United Nations, say his famous words ‘corruption is the enemy of the poor’. These are very true words. Corruption doesn’t hurt the wealthy or powerful as much as it destroys the world for the poor.

In the Customs world and by the Borders, there has always been corruption. Where money is exchanged – corruption exists.

World Customs Organization (WCO) has a massive programme with capcity building activities on how to fight corruption and promote integrity in Customs, trade and at our borders. I lead the WCO Integrity work from 2006-2010 and I learned a lot about anti-corruption during those years.

Also G20 has an anti-corruption group and United Nations has huge programmes on how to combat the desease of corruption that undermines sustainable development.

Nlw there id an UN call on all to stand #UnitedAgainstCorruption! We need to support this initiative since this is how we build sustainable solutions for the developing and developed world.

The UNODC Integrity and anti-corruption charter with activities to fight corruption.

Corruption undermines the development of a sound economy and it creates non-tariff barriers that slow down trade development.we know today that development of trade is one of the best ways to develop our societies.

We need to work together to fight corruption, anyway we can.

When travelling with a new airline somewhere in the world, I always first check the EU Airline Blacklist.

Flying high – but not in Europe

It is good travelling advice to always check this list when considering travelling with new airlines around the world.

References:

  1. EU Air Safety list
  2. EU Air Blacklist
  3. EU Blacklist More Information

After the Second World War, US President Harry Truman called on the US to assume the mantle of world power. “Great responsibilities have been placed upon us by the swift movement of events”, Truman told the US Congress in March 1947.

Seventy years later, the world looks very different. Cities, states, and regions – known as sub-national entities – are gaining autonomous global authority. They contribute to local citizens’ welfare and address global challenges such as climate change, migration or terrorism.

These entities have their own foreign policy, which is known as paradipllmacy. It is the new normal for mayors and governors. They sign international agreements, organize trade missions, and join international organizations, seeking global solutions to their local challenges. At the recent COP23 in Bonn, the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders adopted the Bonn-Fiji Commitment “to deliver the Paris Agreement at all levels”.

Every US state and the majority of US cities with more than one million inhabitants conduct foreign affairs, with varying levels of efficacy and resources. Approximately 40 US states have a rough total of 250 representations abroad. Pennsylvania and Missouri operate the most overseas offices (15), followed by Florida (13) and Georgia (11).

But while power has grown at a sub-national level, leadership has not. National states have manifest leaders and the narratives of power are clearly demarcated by economic, military, technological or social strength. But sub-national mayors and governors have not shown the same drive. Leadership is diffuse and often absent. This makes activity fragmented, experimental, and often duplicated. Although there are more than 150 international networks and organizations with cities and states as members, about a third of them present overlapping agendas and questionable performance. This shows poor governance.

California is the world’s wealthiest sub-national entity – and its sixth largest economy, between the UK and France. Now is the perfect time for it to step in. To paraphrase Truman, California “must take immediate and resolute action”. It has made some headway in the international arena over the last decade. But it has been punching beneath its weight. California is the modern version of Kumbhakarna, the Hindu giant cursed to fight for six months of every year – and sleep for the remaining six.

California is a cradle foreign affairs experiment. Many signatories of the state’s original constitution, which was ratified in 1849 prior to California’s admission to the Union in 1850, had an international background. They were born in Mexico, France or Spain, such as Miguel Pedrorena or Pierre Sainsevain. But the constitution neglected international affairs. However, the practice was starting to germinate elsewhere. In 1857, the Australian state of Victoria became the first to set up a representation abroad, in London.

Throughout its history, California has attracted people from all over the world. But it took until Governor Pat Brown’s administration, from 1959 to 1967, for it to grasp the relevance of an international agenda. It opened offices in London and Tokyo, since discontinued, to strengthen international trade. Then it 1977, the state established an internal Office of International Trade. In 1999, it nominated a Secretary of Foreign Affairs to strengthen political and economic ties with international partners. Under Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger (2003-2011) and Jerry Brown (2011- present), it made some important achievements around trade and climate change.

Source: WEF

Forbes determined the Best Countries For Business 2018 (https://lnkd.in/dDd8ys6) by rating 153 nations on 15 different factors: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, infrastructure, market size, political risk, quality of life, workforce, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape and investor protection.

The United Kingdom gets the top rank this year for the first time, up from fifth last year. Interesting also from a Brexit perspective.

Sweden is on 4th place.

Forbes Full List: Countries Ranked 1 to 153: https://lnkd.in/d5dxgtp

I am very proud of my blog. I also think that I have found the new mix of news. So do you.

I have now for the first time reached the same number of blog readers as before the break.

In December lore than 14.800 people read the blog. Thank you for comkng back. Thank you for reading a blog about Capacity Building, Customs, Borders, Trade, Brexit, reform & modernization, music, film, sport and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.,

Now we are going for a record breaking 2018. This is year with huge multiple activities in all the topics of this blog. So let’s do it together! Let’s break a record.