Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Art of War

This week has witnessed the escalation of Donald Trump's trade war against the world and the selection of John Bolton, a man who is comfortable with idea of actual shooting wars against Any US adversary, as National Security Advisor.  Neither action bodes well for Amreican economic security or influence in the world.  The trade war minimizes one of the most effective tools for avoiding actual shooting wars.  Trading with other nations establishes relationships that typically preclude military conflict.  Trading partners are more likely to seek to resolve disputes with diplomacy than attacking each other.  Trump's trade war turns that relationshp on its head by asserting that US interests are superior to all others.

Same-same with soon-to-be National Security Advisor John Bolton who takes the America First concept all the way to military action against any nation that does not accept American hegemony.  Fifteen years after cheerleading the disastrous US invasion and occupation of Irag, Bolton insists that the US military action n was correct and beneficial.  He will most likely encourage Trump's innate militarism.  In comparison a trade war seems like nothing of consequence.

In fact, a trade war is war.  Armies are not shooting at each other but the logic is the same.  In either case one nation believes that its interests are so threatened by one or more other nations, that it must agressively assert its interests to the detriment of those others.  The means differ--tarrifs versus armed force--but make no mistake, the point is to take something from another unilaterally without mutual consent.  War also means the other may retaliate and begin an escalating cycle of hostility and resentment.  Throw in ill-informed, nationalist politicians pandering to their base and it's easy to see how trade wars can morph into actual shooting war.

Donald Trump thinks trade war is "easy to win?"  John Bolton thinks war is always the answer

I do not see this ending well.

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