Council on Foreign Relations Embraces Trumpian Trade Policy

The 3rd post on the Journal of American Greatness originally published in February, 2016.


Writing in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, Robert Blackwill and Jennifer Harris echo Trump in lamenting the “lost art of economic statecraft,” which, they correctly point out, was once standard American policy.  They write:

For the country’s first 200 years, U.S. policymakers regularly employed economic means to achieve strategic interests.  But somewhere along the way, the United States began to tell itself a different story about geoeconomics.  Around the time of the Vietnam War, and on through the later stages of the Cold War, policymakers began to see economics as a realm with an authority and logic all its own, no longer subjugated to state power….International economic policymaking emerged as the near-exclusive province of economists and like-minded policymakers….

At the very time that economic statecraft has become a lost art in the United States, U.S. adversaries are embracing it.  China, Russia, and other countries now routinely look to geoeconomics as a means of first resort, often to undermine U.S. power and influence….

In a rare point of agreement between them, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson shared a basic enthusiasm for economic tools of foreign policy.  Hamilton, the father of American capitalism, stressed the value of commerce as a weapon, a proposition that few trade policy-makers would agree with today….

The Journal of American Greatness applauds this worthy contribution to the formulation of a Trumpian policy and commends Foreign Affairs for its broadminded discussion of Trumpism.
Could it be that Trump’s questioning of AEI’s ostrich-like policy dogma actually has serious policy merit?  Could it be that the only clownish candidates are those still repeating their freshman year economics lecture on Ricardo?
Like the Psalmist’s watchman, we wait in vain for the supposedly conservative press to embrace a trade policy actually grounded in American interests rather than simplistic textbook formulas.  But that, after all, is why the Journal of American Greatness exists.

— Plautus

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