“Trade War” is a term the enemies of Donald Trump use to denigrate his proposals for restoring a balance to American trade policies.
Only it’s not “trade war” but trade brinkmanship, which, as it was first used to define JFK’s strategy against the USSR in his years in the White House, were intended to prevent a war, not execute one.
I’m actually old enough to remember those days, and the term’s use so know it’s not unlike the principle’s laid down by Donald Trump in his best seller Art of the Deal.
JFK’s use of the term vis a vis the USSR and Khrushchev was not unlike Reagan at Reykjavik in ’86 or Trump-Putin at Helsinki only a few days ago. In each case the American president, out of the hearing of the media, laid all their power cards on the table, making it clear to the other side we could not be matched. Out of sight of the kibitzers this could be done by allowing them to save face, and go home and give it some deeper thought. Khrushchev brought the missiles out of Cuba, Gorby threw in the towel as he knew they could not match our economy in developing our Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), and likely Putin got the same message, for of three Russian versions, 1962, 1986 and 2018, his position is weakest. Yep. Weakest.
Trade issues with the European Union and China are essentially no different; known strengths versus known weaknesses.
All of China’s plans for regional political hegemony are based on the success of their economy, and most of that would go up in smoke if America quit buying their stuff. The sheer size of our market dwarfs all others.
(There are dozens of fatal flaws in the Chinese internal management system and the way they did their book that made them vulnerable to even regional competition, with US private sector support, which I first set out to prove in 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall which directed me elsewhere. In Asia I liked working with local entrepreneurs but found American partners impossible. The American manufacturing ethos has since changed, so if I were to midwife relationships today, I’d look for American small business entrepreneurs who are a little more hands-on.)
China cheats and has for years. It’s in their nature to cheat, but since they know they do, they don’t want to go to war or take great risks over it, once caught. Their economy is still a fraction of ours, and ours has weathered far more economic storms than they have. They know Trump can plunge them into recession while denying the American consumer very little in buying choices, only, maybe for just a little while, at higher prices.
The idea of trade brinkmanship is to open and close a door in short order, a few weeks or months, a year, tops.
The Chinese would get that quickly.
Europe is different, for they are trying to support a two-tiered system of government that eats up more of their GDP than ours by a wide margin (and we’re pretty bad).
Euros aren’t cheats as much as they are cheap. They look for the free ride. They have their hand out, but not as a request but from a sense of entitlement. We see this sort of attitude all over America now, thanks to our many entitlement programs. But this sort of ingratitude began in Europe and their government class. (Let’s be clear, this in not about their people but their government management class.) Many countries never repaid much, and some, not any, of the loans we gave for reconstruction after WWII. In their best French, they often promised to repay, but always there were more pressing needs, such as needle parks in Amsterdam, my favorite. Since 1945 they have lived under the security of the American nuclear shield – America paying the far larger portion of their national defense, while they still cheat on the paltry percent they are promised to pay. And their bureaucracies continue to grow in leaps and bounds.
But for America, they would have been beggared by 1960. But they not have bred themselves out of existence, and may even still have a few churches open for business. And no Muslim rape gangs.
Unlike China, Europe’s trade deals were designed to protect their bureaucracies and their status as a kind of nobility of civilization which actually ended a century ago. The EU actually believes that once the European cultures are no longer able to reproduce themselves, say 50 years or so, and the Continent has been engulfed by the rabbit wing of Islam, that somehow the EU management holdouts in Brussels will be allowed to maintain control.
Their entire vision of the future is of a Globalist Shangri-La, although I’m not sure where their high castles will be located. Could be Montana, or maybe Mars.
Globalism or cartelism, call it what you may, is the elephant in the room about trade. Much of the trade problems that Trump sees, and what has effected all those lost American jobs and factories to Mexico and other places, are part of a larger vision of cartelists about keeping America as an open-bordered job market that would benefit those top tiers of world corporations who believe they can manage the world’s problems better than the world does already.
Beyond the Left, Trump’s proposals tweak the designs of many on the (putative) economic right, many even calling themselves conservatives.
There actually is a realm where leftist and rightists are joined at the hip, and that is their dream of dominion over roughly 80% of the other people, of whom neither think very highly of, but about whom, the Constitution was all about.
While Left and Right have a different vision of the design of globalism (it’s an evolving process) I’ve always referred to it as fascist-in-aspect, for one does not have to look far to understand why Marxism went from being dressed in plain uniforms made of brushed burlap to $1000 business suits with just fabulous creases, in just under a century. Even Bernie Sanders found unimaginable comfort in a mansion-dacha by the lake.
You already know how this novel ends. You also know that the 80% of the people most effected will have no say in this new world order. At least that’s the general area where some conservatives and Leftists agree.