Trump seems intent on escalating the war. On Aug. 15, he threatened China with “the ultimate form of retaliation. … There’s a long way I can go.” On Monday, the president suggested he might cut off trade entirely. If China didn’t meet his terms, he proposed, “Let’s not do business together.” Trump has also threatened the European Union, even while sitting next to European leaders. A week ago, as he departed for the G-7 meeting in France, he warned that if the French government didn’t ease up on American companies, “We’ll be taxing their wine like they’ve never seen before.”
Trump’s incessant belligerence is a warning. So is his use of the Bush rhetorical playbook. That playbook—glorifying sacrifice, appealing to patriotism, and calling opponents of the Iraq war weaklings and cowards—worked. It got Bush reelected, and it cowed his critics. The war went on for another seven years. Don’t fall for it again.