Watching the Yemenis seize and sink ships in solidarity with the people of Gaza has me thinking about world trade and its discontents. The simple act of forcing global shipping to avoid the Red Sea and to add 4000 nautical miles to the transit of goods from Asia to Europe has injured the bottom line of global capital in a way that few other courses of action could possibly achieve. The US and UK governments have responded with missile strikes against a country that they’ve already been either bombing or helping to bomb for a decade, expecting that this will somehow create deterrence.
The official White House statement justifies the missile strikes by citing “weeks of delays in product shipping times” and President Biden followed up by saying “‘I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary”. Someone on Twitter described that sentence as the liberal’s version of the “14 words”, the infamous phrase that Neo-Nazis use to describe their ideology and signal to each other about what they really want. When the issue is global trade, however, you can just come out and say it. Money moves, or people die.
We’ve paid too little for too much for far too long. Time to start paying in earnest.