Third Party & Independents Archives

Mercantilist Gridiron! - Trump Trains the Navy and Sanctions on China

We’re months away from football training camp, but here goes:

His “reddish” hair slicked back under his Cleveland Browns helmet, “DJ” slaps his hands up under the center’s backside and barks out the signals:

Two thirty two! Two Thirty Two! Hut! Hut! Hut!!

It's a an off-tackle that gets two yards in the mud. After a completed post pattern that yielded a first down and then a ball lobbed out of bounds because no one understood the play, DJ hunkers down again behind the center:

Three Oh One! Three Oh One! Hut! Hut!!

A tight spiral ... right into the hands of the outside linebacker who drifted left, sensing the zone DJ was aiming for. DJ is furious and sprints towards him throwing his body into the tackle and separating his own shoulder in the process. Game over. Career possibly over.

So. When we talk trade, is President Donald Trump Otto Graham? Or Mike Phipps? And before you scream. neither of 'em! let's consider what in the world might come next in terms of trade sanctions and/or tariffs that this administration is considering.

Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 was an exception to the general thrust of the Act which was to boost trade, not start a trade war. But Section 232 allowed for the Executive to levy tariffs after determining that certain imports were a danger to national security. In other words, section 232 allows the Secretary of Commerce to initiate an investigation to determine if any imports are a threat to national security and then that allows the President to apply tariffs. The act was passed at the height of the Cold War with the Cuban Missile Crisis on the horizon. Should the President and his Cabinet Secretaries have this power nowadays?

Yes. But not on steel and aluminum. Chinese manufacturers gobbling up huge market share for drones, and more importantly, high-tech systems that are vital to advanced weaponry? That's a problem. Steel production? Less so if you're talking about national security. Steel and aluminum are still important if you're delivering on promises to your base in Mid-Western States. But not as a national security issue.

So now in the Washington Beacon - funded by Paul Singer who understands a things or two about international trade and finances (just ask the Argentine government who folded after years of angry rebuttals and delays and handed Singer billions in profits on a leveraged junk debt play that he brilliantly shepherded through the courts) - we have an interesting article by Bill Gertz who is their national security expert/commentator.

According to Gertz, a Section 301 action aimed at China and dealing with the theft of intellectual property among other issues, is coming within the next weeks or perhaps months. Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 allows the President to take retaliatory actions over cheating with regards to trade agreements. The Trade Act of 1974 itself was about handing the presidency fast-track authority to negotiate trade agreements and thus avoiding Congressional gridlock.

The retaliation will be against China, according to an anonymous senior government official, in order:

to address the issue of forced technology transfer, theft of intellectual property, and China's bid through the China 2025 architecture plan to capture the emerging industries of the future

China is now seen as a strategic rival and not as a competitive partner in a globalized world economy. This is the New Mercantilism, complete with navies facing off for control of the trade routes. Although one could argue that America's naval forces in the South China Sea were previously ensuring that the global rules-based trading system could continue to operate without being intimidated by China's actions around the Spratly Islands, for example.

Now it would seem that those very same naval forces are engaged in a strategic rivalry over who will be the dominant Mercantilist power of the 21st century. A more volatile environment that would seem more likely to lead to open conflict.

This is hardly an unanticipated event. Trump's administration launched both Section 232 and Section 301 investigations in the spring and summer of 2017, respectively. To further muddle my metaphors, Trump's mercantilism is in fact a Slow Train A-Coming that's been sitting rusty and ignored for a couple of decades as citizen Trump dreamed of bashing what he saw as trade exploiters. That Slow Train A-Coming has now been repaired, given a new coat of paint and sent out down the tracks. Let's hope it does not speed out of control and come to a crashing, splintering, shuddering stop.

If, on the other hand, China suddenly begins to show more flexibility and willingness to comply with generally accepted standards - especially around intellectual property - then QB Trump really is Otto Graham. That, however, is most unlikely, if not downright delusional. But we don't know that yet. Keep your eyes on this one. It matters.

Posted by AllardK at March 13, 2018 5:40 PM
Comment #425371

Mr. President, Stand Up to Dumping in International Trade

“…the American people intuitively understand what our country’s globalist political class refuses to admit: free trade does not work if it is undertaken on an unequal playing field. It does not work when one side, with the support of its national government, engages in dumping aimed at wiping out an American industry.

Amid growing trade imbalances, the days when the United States could just ignore the costs of illegal trade practices are over. It is incumbent on the Trump administration to send a message to our trading partners that economic partnership requires respect for agreed rules, including that dumping is illegal. It can do so by acting on the ITC’s forthcoming recommendations on trade sanctions and imposing a tariff.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 13, 2018 6:27 PM
Comment #425398

I guess this article is intended to be ironic, right Stephen?

Posted by: ohrealy at March 14, 2018 4:59 PM
Comment #425401

There is sufficient evidence from investigatory bodies proving that Andrew McCabe, ex-Acting/FBI leaked information to the media relative to an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation. His wife accepted $700k from the DNC to run for office in Va in 2015. McCabe began an investigation into Hillary in 2016.

OPM is recommending McCabe be terminated. McCabe has 3 days left until his retirement date. If he is fired in the interim he would lose retirement benefits.

Trump has recommended AG sessions fire McCabe but Sessions hasn’t committed as of now. Surely, Sessions will act to terminate this guy asap. Not doing so would set a really really bad precedent for the FBI, at least since J. Edgar Hoover.

Trump is ramping up the pace of draining the swamp. But, the leftover dims are still able to create news thru bitching about HUD’s furniture and so on … It will probably take the remainder of Trumps 1st term in office to be completely rid of the them.

This dim collusion with the Kremlin to take down Trump is most sad … but, at the same time, most entertaining. Obama and Co. may not go directly to jail but, they will be called on the carpet and soundly chastised, as should the Communist News Network and MSM in general.

I thought Tillerson was a good SecState but believe Pompeo will be the ‘man for the times’. I would suggest he can tell you how many times a day Kim Jung fa.ts. And, he and the Pres. don’t mind nukin Kim if he don’t play ball.

I’m hopeful Kudlow will make a good Economic Advisor. I think the Pres. is not against free trade so much. He just wants ‘fair trade’. Countries can’t continue to dump and actively work to take the US down thru trade and others.

Russia is learning the hard way. China will have to learn a different ball game. N.K. is about to get theirs and Iran can’t be far behind. I mean, it’s just all too good, better than a canned beer, as they say.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 14, 2018 5:28 PM
Comment #425406

“Russia is learning the hard way.”

Learning what? That they can literally get away with murder? That they can intimidate and threaten the US with impunity? That they can take control of Syria without any resistance from the US? Why Assad is even back to using chemical weapons with only a modest rebuke from Mattis.

Posted by: Rich at March 14, 2018 10:19 PM
Comment #425419

Rich, I’m ok with how Trump is dealing with the Kremlin at this point in time. He did put over 200 anti-tank missiles into Ukraine. Wasn’t long ago that Israel blew up about half of Syria’s air force. There are strong sanctions in place on Russia at this time.

I’m thinking that Trump has Syria and their Russian support pretty much cut off and holed up. He wants to cool down the ME and concentrate on denuking Iran over the next few years.

I believe Trump and Puttin are talking and have an understanding about worldly issues. Like, Putin hasn’t played a strong hand in NK as I can tell.

The President will have to kick out a few Russian diplomats in concert with the UK. But, he may not take a heavy hand with Russia until Russia goes out of bounds re their current relationship.

I’m expecting a new regime in Iran within two/three years.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 15, 2018 11:19 AM
Comment #425430

Roy, Putin just arrogantly taunted the US before the Russian Parliament with an animated presentation of a new nuclear missile that the US could not intercept. It even showed the missile delivering nuclear warheads on Florida.

Contrary to your assertion, Russia and Iran have expanded their influence in the region with their winning support of Assad.

”..he may not take a heavy hand with Russia until Russia goes out of bounds re their current relationship.”


Posted by: Rich at March 15, 2018 7:52 PM
Comment #425431

Rich, I do recall where US forces killed a couple of hundred Russian contractors/Syrians in Syria not long ago.

I’m fine with the President taking his time to ‘get to know’ Putin. Should he do anything ‘too quick’ or make a ‘rash’ decision the left will bang on him forever more.

I believe that Trump can leave the Kurds to hold Syria in check at some point in the near future. But, I am certain he has his sights on Iran. They are going to get a regime change pdq, IMO.

As an aside, I believe we will see a surge in stealth military development, better weaponry, bombs and all that … Putin is all sanctioned up, eating at McDonald’s and so on …

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 15, 2018 8:55 PM
Comment #425432

Roy. Putin, Iran and Assad have won in Syria.

As for the Syrian Kurds, Trump is apparently going to allow them to be decimated by Turkey.

Turkey is attacking them with Russian blessing and without US intervention.

Indeed, the US has even agreed to stop arming the anti-ISIS Kurds in order to placate the Turks.

Posted by: Rich at March 15, 2018 9:23 PM
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