Slate Would Like You to Know that Trump’s Trade Wars are a Lot Like the Iraq War

trade war

William Saletan, Trump Is Following Bush’s War Playbook: The president opposed the Iraq war as a candidate. Now he’s using Bush’s bad arguments to support his trade war:

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.