Michael Swartz / Jan. 3, 2020

Considering Trump on Trade

His strategy with tariffs has and will cause pain at home, but the end goal is worth the price.

If a bully took your lunch money day after day for weeks on end, one of two things would likely happen: You’d continue to acquiesce and keep the peace while hoping that the bully will one day grow tired of victimizing you, or you’d take a stand and say “no more!” while hoping that the prospect of a fight might cause the bully to change his ways. While presidents before him have taken the former approach with China, President Donald Trump is in the arena, fighting to make the communist nation a trustworthy trade partner. Round one of their bout is slated to come to an end later this month.

The punches being thrown in this instance are tariffs, and we’re told that these are crippling blows to American manufacturing. Still, it’s Trump’s willingness to fight that we’ve been interested in. For example, last spring our Mark Alexander made the case that this president has finally addressed three decades’ worth of piracy, noting about our reticence to act, “In exchange for a market that has for years been flooded with cheap Chinese goods, American politicians have empowered Communist China to become the greatest existential threat to our national security.”

As these predicaments often do, this one began with noble intentions: a belief that engaging China and its underdeveloped market would bring it into the modern world, and the exposure to capitalism would encourage the Chinese people to demand reforms or even regime change. Unfortunately, the way it’s worked out is the opposite of those good intentions.

As the Washington Examiner’s Nathaniel Black asserts, “Going into business with murderous, quasi-communist bastards gives them leverage, and they use it. Our trade relations with China have not liberalized that country; they have given the thugs who rule it more tools of repression at home and the means to buy favor and bully critics abroad. After adding up the expensive externalities and the social cost, cheap stuff from China does not look as affordable as it does on the store shelf or the online cart.”

There is also an electoral factor to consider. A best-case scenario for the ChiComs would be a trade war resulting in a weakened American economy that allows one of the Democrats to beat Trump in November. Yet even if Trump wins, the Chinese can just wait him out. At worst, they know he’ll only be in office until 2025, and that his successor is unlikely to adopt the same tough approach.

The unknown factor in all this, however, is just how badly the trade war is affecting China. We know its economy has slowed considerably in recent years, and to an extent the Chinese are victims of their own success, as some industries have left China for even cheaper destinations in southeast Asia. And inasmuch as those nations aren’t pointing missiles at us and would be amenable to bilateral trade deals of their own, this is good news for the U.S.

But it’s going to take more than a few manufacturers leaving China to rectify nearly a half-century of misguided policy. It will hurt in the short run, but the Trump way of drawing a little blood himself from the Chinese bully is arguably the best — and most peaceful — way forward. It’s better to be bloodied in a trade war than a shooting war, and we’ve become dangerously indebted to the Chinese in more ways than one.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.