“A One-Man Smoot-Hawley”

Five Things You Need to Read Today

1. A One-Man Smoot-Hawley

President Trump’s trade war combines the three things he likes best: fear of foreigners, posturing about being “tough,” and the capricious exercise of unilateral power. So there is no reason to think he is ever going to end it.

That’s the big takeaway from the latest blowup. Just as Congress was getting around to approving Trump’s renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Trump announced a new plan for escalating tariffs on Mexico. And of course he did it on Twitter. The remarkable thing about this president’s use of social media is that it is not merely an instrument for talking about and defending his policies. It is the medium through which he makes policy. It routinely happens, as in this case, that nobody knows anything about what the president wants to do, except what he has said in a tweet. And that includes the people in the administration who are tasked with implementing those policies.

Noah Rothman describes how this latest outburst is “mission creep” in the trade war.

The rest of this article is available only by e-mail to paid subscribers.

, , , , ,

Comments are closed.