Critics of Donald Trump claim that there’s no rhyme or reason to his foreign policy. But if there is a consistency, it might be called reciprocity.
Trump tries to force other countries to treat the U.S. as the U.S. treats them. In “don’t tread on me” style, he also warns enemies that any aggressive act will be replied to in kind.
The underlying principle of Trump commercial reciprocity is that the United States is no longer powerful or wealthy enough to alone underwrite the security of the West. It can no longer assume sole enforcement of the rules and protocols of the post-war global order.
This year there have been none of the usual Iranian provocations — frequent during the Obama administration — of harassing American ships in the Persian Gulf. Apparently, the Iranians now realize that anything they do to an American ship will be replied to with overwhelming force.
Ditto North Korea. After lots of threats from Kim Jong-un about using his new ballistic missiles against the United States, Trump warned that he would use America’s far greater arsenal to eliminate North Korea’s arsenal for good.
Trump is said to be undermining NATO by questioning its usefulness some 69 years after its founding. Yet this is not 1948, and Germany is no longer down. The United States is always in. And Russia is hardly out but is instead cutting energy deals with the Europeans.
More significantly, most NATO countries have failed to keep their promises to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense.
Yet the vast majority of the 29 alliance members are far closer than the U.S. to the dangers of Middle East terrorism and supposed Russian bullying.
Why does Germany by design run up a $65 billion annual trade surplus with the United States? Why does such a wealthy country spend only 1.2 percent of its GDP on defense? And if Germany has entered into energy agreements with a supposedly dangerous Vladimir Putin, why does it still need to have its security subsidized by the American military?
Trump approaches NAFTA in the same reductionist way. The 24-year-old treaty was supposed to stabilize, if not equalize, all trade, immigration, and commerce between the three supposed North American allies.
It never quite happened that way. Unequal tariffs remained. Both Canada and Mexico have substantial trade surpluses with the U.S. In Mexico’s case, it enjoys a $71 billion surplus, the largest of U.S. trading partners with the exception of China.
Canada never honored its NATO security commitment. It spends only 1 percent of its GDP on defense, rightly assuming that the U.S. will continue to underwrite its security.
During the lifetime of NAFTA, Mexico has encouraged millions of its citizens to enter the U.S. illegally. Mexico’s selfish immigration policy is designed to avoid internal reform, to earn some $30 billion in annual expatriate remittances, and to influence U.S. politics.
Yet after more than two decades of NAFTA, Mexico is more unstable than ever. Cartels run entire states. Murders are at a record high. Entire towns in southern Mexico have been denuded of their young males, who crossed the U.S. border illegally.
The U.S. runs a huge trade deficit with China. The red ink is predicated on Chinese dumping, patent and copyright infringement, and outright cheating. Beijing illegally occupies neutral islands in the South China Sea, militarizes them, and bullies its neighbors.
All of the above has become the “normal” globalized world.
But in 2016, red-state America rebelled at the asymmetry. The other half of the country demonized the red-staters as protectionists, nativists, isolationists, populists, and nationalists.
However, if China, Europe, and other U.S. trading partners had simply followed global trading rules, there would have been no Trump pushback — and probably no Trump presidency at all.
Let’s see… the Democrats big accusation that they hang all their hopes of impeachment (I guess they’ve given up on winning elections) is that Trump has befriended Putin and is serving his demands.
BUT, they also are harshly critical of Trump for demanding NATO step up to the plate and fork over more for their own common defense.
BUT, Trump should not be entering into discussions with Putin because he is a bitter enemy and dire threat with his growing military power.
BUT, Trump is hammered for criticizing Merkle and the EU for entering into a pipeline deal with Russia, who will use their profits to strengthen their military.
BUT, Trump is chastised for demanding the EU treat the US fairly in trade because the EU has placed high tariffs on US goods while the US has little or no tariffs on EU goods.
BUT, Trump is chastised for not being a good friend to our allies.
BUT, Trump is accused of being a warmonger when he threatens Un with extinction if he continues to make nuclear threats against the United States or any of our friends.
BUT, Trump is labeled a fool for entering into talks to denuclearize N. Korea REQUESTED by N. Korea.
No matter what Trump does or who he picks for the soon to be open Supreme Court position, even if he selected someone that says no one anywhere should own any firearm and every woman should be required to have at least one abortion in her lifetime, the left would oppose it. Ultimately, Kavanaugh will be confirmed and the nation will not be torn asunder by that; the damage will continue to be wrought by crybaby liberals who cannot accept the curtailment of liberal power and a procession towards socialism. Is there any more clear a message to the American people than the fear the left shows at the prospect of the Constitution being preserved over the next two or three decades?