The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Tariffs and Tone

Donald Trump's use of tariffs as a policy weapon has the establishment on both the right and the left warning of apocalyptic consequences—trade wars, the death of trust among allies and adversaries, the wreckage of a growing economy, the loss of jobs, and worse. Except as we have seen repeatedly during the Trump presidency, the establishment's predictions and concerns never actually pan out, and Trump continues to win—sometimes indirectly, but win nonetheless.

Mexico, at long last, has begun to take action against Central American illegal immigrants flooding their southern border with the intent of ultimately entering the United States. Mexico's actions should help reduce the flow of illegal immigrants across our southern border. That's a good thing, long overdue. It's also a win for Trump. Oh ... BTW, he never had to apply tariffs against Mexico—the threat was all that mattered. All of the establishment's handwringing was—um—wrong.

Conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt comments on another tariff related concern:
Assume that voters know our competition with China is far more than an economic race, but rather a complex geopolitical rivalry that both sides wish to keep contained short of open conflict and that is waged through proxies, cyber-confrontations, intellectual-property battles, freedom-of-the-seas disputes and the relative size and power of our armed forces and those of our allies. In that context, tariffs on Chinese goods are just part of an overall negotiation toward a new normal that is in everyone’s interest. So “tariffs bad, free trade good” is simplistic. “Free trade is good and agreed-upon international conventions are required for genuinely free trade and tariffs may be necessary to achieve those conventions” is accurate. And widely understood.

“Alliances are good” is simplistic. “Alliances in which allies actually do what they promise with regard to percentage of GDP spent on national defense while not increasing dependence on Russian natural gas” is complex but accurate.

Hard as it is for the Manhattan-Beltway echo chamber to believe, sounding sophisticated isn’t actually being sophisticated.
But the elites worship the right sophisticated, nuanced language, the right style, and the right intonation. They want a "Presidential" look. No matter that all of this often leads to bad decisions, few if any actual accomplishments, or worse, significant harm to our country's interests. The previous presidency is a classic example of exactly that.

It's the tone that matters to the elites and their trained hamsters in the media. Trump's tone is certainly not the best, but his harsh language and not-so-vailed threats often result in actual accomplishments—and it makes the Democrats, the media and GOP #NeverTrumpers crazy because it demonstrates their failure in strategic and tactical thinking.