PC: Gage Skidmore

Trump’s Potentially Brilliant (or Stupid) Tariff and Foreign Policy

Source: Executive Office of the President of the United States

Note: This is an op-ed and does not reflect the views of Teen10 or 10 Mag.

It is no question that often Donald Trump is mocked in the liberal media for his inconsistent presidential decision making from time to time. His signature red tie, elementary speaking style, and often “impulsive” decision making has forced many voters to reconsider the decision they made on November 8th, 2016.

Trump’s trade policy, which sums a total trade tariff of $3.5 Billion on China, has come to the attention of many globalization advocates. More recently, however, with the divulgence in perspective between the G7 nations, Trump has put an additional $8 Billion tariff on EU and $12 Billion on Canada. This has shocked the international community, mainly because in an economist’s perspective, it is a factually unwarranted tariff.

China, in comparison to Canada, is by far a stronger trade competitor that can inflict devastation to the US economy. A large portion of U.S based companies hire workers in Foxconn. The Asian country makes up 16% of United State’s Trade. Furthermore, the United States suffers a trade deficit 33 times more when trading with China than Canada.

It is a widely considered fact that the specific tariffs set up on steel, aluminums, washing machines, and solar panels arguably hit Canada the worst.

So why is China only sanctioned $3.5 Billion, while Canada nearly four times the amount? To sensationalize the news, the media is advocating the stupidity of Trump in order to sell online subscriptions. Personally speaking, I do not believe that someone as allegedly unintelligent as Trump would have been able to win both the Republican Primaries as well as the national election.

Then what is the end goal of Donald Trump? To debunk “professional” predictions and justify Trump’s actions, a bit of analysis is required.

Trump is starting a new era to prove that playtime is over with it’s “Western Allies.” From Harriet Truman to today, the United States has maintained its role as an International Police, trying to advocate human rights and impose democracy on as many countries as it can. The majority of the US Presidents, though there may be some exceptions, have maintained a mindset of globalization in order to promote intercontinental trade, stability, and unity. Trump, however, promotes the “America first” mindset. He restricted funds to the U.N,  he put sanctions on any business related to Iran, and he tried to pull out of NATO. Trump cares more about his economy than he does about international influence, especially since his re-election campaign in 2020 depends so heavily on it. Trump no longer has an incentive to protect his allies who gain him no political leverage, and has thus decided that any trade surplus potential that the previous administrations failed to take advantage of will change. Any lucrative important deduction will mean a trade surplus, and a stronger economy in its most simplistic form.

So then why doesn’t Trump put more tariffs on China? For one thing, China doesn’t require the United States to pay its fees, and thus has an incentive to fight back. When China put their own tariffs, Trump threatened to put up an additional $100 Billion in return, only to back down when he realized that he was fighting a losing battle. He understood that this was going to be an arms race, or as we could say, a tariff race that he would inevitably lose. China could sustain heavier hits as it’s international hegemony reaches far beyond the European countries, with Xi Jinping’s arms extending to the African and Latin American countries. Trump is fighting multiple fronts, including the North Korean conflict, Iranian Nuclear deal, and Israeli battle, and thus had to withdraw his statement.

Maybe the Canadians and the Europeans will try to play the long game: they will wait for the the 2020 elections, where Trump may not be re-elected and thus a “normal” president will come back. But even in this case, nothing can be guaranteed. Trump may be the start of a new normal, which, to anyone’s standard, will have a lasting impact for our generation, should future presidents decide to follow his track for “America First.”   


More Stories
The Human Condition: Exemplified in Refugees and Asylum Seekers