Where will the trade wars stop? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Where will the trade wars stop?

Everyone agrees that U.S. President Donald Trump's additional import tariffs on steel and aluminum are the beginning of "new trade wars." It must be remembered that the trade wars have become hot wars and have exacted a heavy toll on humanity. It was trade rivalry between Germany and Britain that drove them to the "First World War." Germany becoming a growing rival to the British industry, and it later trying to assemble a great Naval Force caused a war. Competition did not only include European markets but also Asian and African markets. So, people who thought that the war would start in Europe and quickly end in where it began were wrong. World War II was only the second stage for the issues that could not be resolved by the first war between imperialist states.

The idea that the rise of Germany led to an inevitable war with world power Britain has become a source of inspiration for some historians today. American Professor Graham Allison used the history of Athenian General Thucydides, who had written the "Peloponnesian wars" in ancient Greece, as a primary source. Rivalry between Sparta, an established sovereign power, and thriving Athens changed regional alliances and led to wars. According to Allison, 12 out of 16 wars in the last 500 years broke out for the same reasons. What made Allison stand out was the use of Thucydides as a key concept in the description of the rivalry between China and the United States. Allison, who titled his book "Fate that Goes to War: Can the U.S. and China overcome the Thucydides Trap?", was searching for the answer: "Will rivalry between China and U.S. lead to war?"

The trade wars started by Trump, not being limited to China alone and including many other countries can be much more dangerous when it is added to the crisis of the already collapsing world system. There are some people in Trump’s own political party who see his decisions, which brings the U.S. face-to-face with its allies, as a dangerous attempt. In Trump's economic administration, free trader globalists and nationalists defending protective policies are in conflict. 'National Trade Council' Director Professor Peter Navarro, who defends Trump's protectionist policies and is adamantly opposed to China, was competing against National Economy Council President Gary Cohn. Cohn resigned because he couldn’t dissuade Trump from the trade wars. Larry Kudlow, who replaced Cohn, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are on the wing of the free traders. While Mnuchin is trying to solve trade issues with China in a moderate way, Navarro advocates an uncompromising policy. Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross seems to be trying to find a compromise between the two fronts.

Trump's tariffs are also negatively affecting countries such as Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Turkey, England, Germany, France and Italy. Trump's decisions are increasingly estranging U.S. from its allies in the Far East like South Korea and Japan. The 11 signatory of the "Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement" were anxious about Trump's withdrawal from the agreement. Now, relations with Canada are tense. Trump wants to annul the "NAFTA" deal that was signed between the United States, Canada and Mexico, and is exceedingly mistreating his NATO allies. Trump seeing Israel as the only ally is also being another matter of criticism in the U.S. In a nutshell, Trump's "America First" slogan is increasingly turning into an "America's war with everyone." Reciprocal tariff wars are not limited to steel and aluminum but are spreading to wider sectors. The tariffs don't only cause trouble for producers and producers in the targeted countries, but also create harmful consequences for consumers and producers in the United States. So, it isn't evident where the trade wars, which is like a sharp double-edged sword, will stop.

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