It’s called reciprocity.
Yesterday, I kicked out a small piece regarding President Trump and his decision to put China on notice by the use of tariffs. He had done so previously, to the tune of a 10% charge on a limited array of items that China dumps on our market. Midnight Thursday night, at the direction of the President, that rate jumped to 25%.
As a Conservative, I’m ordinarily not a supporter of tariffs, especially the “protectionist” sort that artificially raises labor costs and consumer prices. This is different.
This is called “reciprocity,” and should have been a major tool in our trade negotiators’ toolbox a long time ago. For too long, with China, North Korea and other bad actors, we’ve tried the sweetness and light approach, or when that failed our pushback has been flaccid at best. Witness former Secretary of State describing U.S. use of force against Syria…”unbelievably small” air strikes. Really? That’s going to engender respect for us and cause a murderous tyrant to modify his behavior?
China, for a long time, has had huge tariffs and other import requirements that are far and away greater than what we do for their products. We’ve tried negotiation and positive incentives to little or no avail. This has done nothing but foster a lack of respect for us and demonstrates our (former) lack of determination to protect our citizens.
As I pointed out yesterday, sometimes it’s time to take a cue from Don Corleone. Make a reasonable offer. If that’s rebuffed, go ahead and jump right to the horse head in the bed.
Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.
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