Derek Thompson at The Atlantic writes—Why Donald Trump’s Trade War Will Fail: Despite the president’s assurances, trade wars are bad—and impossible to win:
So what exactly is President Trump trying to accomplish here? It’s important to state that American and European companies have real gripes with China, which has spied on foreign companies and forced Western tech firms to hand over patented technology as a condition for selling into the Chinese market. Pressuring China to change course will take a coordinated global effort, a careful construction of alliances around the world, and a cautious approach to nudging China toward lowering its barriers to entry.
But rather than cultivating alliances, Trump is smashing them left and right. He’s raised taxes on steel imports from Canada and the EU and trashed the nato alliance, at the very time that the China problem begs for international assistance. The tactics and the strategy are going in opposite directions.<>[…] there are better ways to ameliorate displaced manufacturing workers than waging a trade war against the entire world. A stronger safety net, universal benefits, and a federal strategy to pay people to move to different cities would all help soften the acute effects of globalization for workers in certain industries. “The U.S. has not done well with moving people around, helping them skill up, preventing free trade from leading to political backlash,” [says Josh Meltzer, a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution]: “You need to have a more comprehensive system in place to help workers who have lost their jobs, and the U.S. has never done that well.”<><><>
U.S. economic policy has failed to make globalization safe for democracy.