March Topic: America First

Updated: May 28, 2019

You might think that you completely understand our president’s rhetoric. You might believe that he’s simply a patriotic, well-meaning strategist who will ultimately bargain a flawless deal for us to benefit from. And while he might not be the worst man for the job, he’s most certainly wrecked a few international relationships. And while that’s happening, there’s a bridge that I’ll sell you for a few hundred bucks.

No country can stand alone, and no country can stand in any way with a shaky leader who is unable to keep ties friendly. Our diplomatic relations have been strained ever since Trump announced his intentions to put America first. If all countries did that, though it might not be an all together bad thing, we would have issues everywhere. Cooperation is key to a harmonious national prosperity, and the fluctuation of other countries’ economies always affect our well-being, no matter how far away we are. We can’t ignore the legitimate opinions and threats of other countries, as that will be our downfall. We need to take good care of our international relations, so that we keep ties smooth in steady in case of conflict. Out president doesn’t seem to understand this, pulling out of multiple trade deals in the name of America First, and totally disregarding the powers of other world leaders. The White House opened with a statement recently that altogether detailed that, “The U.S. has opened a multi-front trade assault on allies and adversaries alike, imposing metal duties on the EU, Canada and Mexico, threatening tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese imports, and is mulling a 25 percent levy on auto imports. Washington has also taken direct aim at the World Trade Organisation, blocking judicial nominations that will render its appellate body useless starting in 2019.” Basically, Trump has decided to disrupt the flow of world trade, not just temporarily, but for what seems to be the long term, throwing back numerous deals and organizations in the process.

While he has done well in the recent North Korean negotiations, due to the fact that the North Koreans have tried to cooperate, his successes don’t show the weaknesses that seem to be everywhere. For one, America cannot fight multiple trade wars against our own allies, without heavy losses and embargoes that will ultimately only hurt the average, middle class consumer. Our allies, the ones that have been staunch and united with us, have almost all decided to levy heavy sanctions against us. We cannot stand against almost twenty countries’ combined effort to knock our countries economy flat. We don’t always need our allies, but when we do, it’s best to be on positive trade footing and international cooperation. It’s not exactly the best thing to be angry with other nations.

We can’t and we won’t be able to stand against a barrage of trade wars, and since even Canada, our mild-mannered neighbor of the north, has gotten angry, we need to find a way to negotiate without a dozen countries out for our heads. We can’t just levy tariffs and expect other countries not to strike back, because if everyone is looking out for their own interests, there will be others that will bleed in the process. Workers on both sides will be hurt, americans and other nationals alike, so that Trump’s theory will be ineffectual. If both sides raise tariffs and levy high bans against other countries, in theory we would reduce our trade deficit, but we would also lose money in our export areas, causing more volatility in the market.

I’m not saying, of course, that mercantilism is strictly wrong. We do need to reduce our trade deficit. We currently losing trillions of dollars each year to a multitude of countries like China and Canada. The theory of mercantilism has proved true for many, many, many years so far, but mercantilism also relies on other countries’ cooperation. We cannot stand alone. We cannot stand against an overwhelming multitude of nations. If we do want our own interests advanced, subtle trade tariffs and smaller wars would probably get the job done faster, more efficiently, and in a safer way. We just need to improve our tactics.