• Bryan

Trump's Scatter-Gun Tariffs Are Damaging Western Alliance

If President Donald Trump is capable of reflecting for just two minutes - not sure if he can manage that - then he will realize why staunch allies like the UK and Germany are defying US advice and turning to Huawei to help build their 5G network. It is unhelpful to act as a gunslinger in an old western movie - quick on the draw to impose tariffs - even when it's against your adversaries. To do that to your allies is unforgivable. President Trump's readiness to act against friends and foe alike in his trade disputes, has done more damage than any other US president to the alliances that the US has built over the years with countries that share its values. These alliances like the transatlantic alliance are the bedrock of US power, and they have helped promote Western values as well as project US power and leadership across the globe. And now President Trump is at it again as the US government announced on Friday it would increase tariffs on aircraft imported from the European Union to 15 per cent from 10 per cent. In their usual misguided approach, which has been a hallmark of the Trump presidency, is the belief in Washington that this latest move will put pressure on the EU in the long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies. But if there is still any adult left in the Trump administration, then they need to point out to the administration that there will be blowback not just in terms of retaliatory tariffs, but in other ways the administration may not have thought about. These tariffs against allies threaten the transatlantic partnership between the US and Europe, which is based on mutual values and respect. The EU and the UK will feel that they can no longer trust the US, and this will make it harder for European nations and the UK to cooperate on other important issues. The growing lack of cooperation and disunity was evident at last week's security conference in Munich, where President Emmanuel Macron slapped down US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he accused the Trump administration of weakening the West. This plays into the hands of US adversaries like China who exploit the differences in the transatlantic partnership. And European nations will be only too willing to work with other parties because they no longer feel any obligation to the US not to do so. It was reported that President Trump was incandescent with rage when he learned that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had decided to use Huawei in the UK's 5G network - he slammed the phone down on Mr Johnson. Sadly for Trump and the US, there will be more presidential tantrums if the US continues to undermine its allies and alliances.


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