NARROW VIEW: Donald Trump.

Is Trump draining the swamp to replace it with a toxic dump?

I SUPPOSE when one reflects on most of Donald Trump's actions and rhetoric, to ask "Why?" becomes a somewhat useless exercise.

The fellow has built a career from being unpredictable and volatile.

That might have worked well for him most times in the corporate world but politics and international diplomacy are different games altogether. The ultimate stakes are considerably higher than if one can successfully close a real estate contract or not.

Individuals like Trump seem incapable of seeing the value of things like friendship, truth and loyalty. Just because such things cannot be quantified, cannot be given a monetary value does not make such concepts worthless. Loyalty, trust and friendships can often take a considerable amount of time and effort to nurture and maintain. And can evaporate so quickly.

Despite what that little voice in his head is telling him, America has done quite well thank you very much from the diplomatic, trade and defence relationships it has been party to over the decades. It's so very sad that his view is so narrow that he is prepared to destroy all of that with almost religious conviction.

America remains the world's biggest economy. That's a fact not even Trump can find an alternative spin on. China is challenging that position but still has some way to go. Yet he seems determined to undermine America's position and give China free kicks. So it makes Trump's tariff decree even harder to understand.

The US-China cross-trade position is firmly in America's favour. Chinese steel and aluminium just isn't flooding into his country and destroying American jobs. Bizarrely, these proposed tariffs are not likely to affect China at all. Instead, they will affect some of America's closest allies.

Obviously, the fact that Trump hasn't batted an eyelid at reneging on his promise to the Australian government last year, reflects poorly on how Trump's America now treats once close friends. Fortunately for Australia, our exposure to the detrimental affects of these tariffs isn't as great as some other countries.

However, as noted by the head of our Reserve Bank, this situation has the potential to escalate. In which case, we are not well positioned to withstand an all out trade war that Trump seems intent on waging. He has called for international leaders to be cool-headed and not to retaliate.

We all need to operate with a more rational mindset than the White House incumbent.

What becomes quickly evident is just how mind-boggingly stupid and misdirected Trump's tariff decree is. Those who will be most affected are the very ones Trump says he is acting for: American industry and workers.

And ultimately, the American consumer will have to pay more for housing construction, cars and white goods for example. Because import tariffs don't make locally produced products cheaper. They just make everything cost more. And this ultimately impacts on manufacturing and jobs.

So you just have to wonder who advised Trump that this was a good idea?

It clearly wasn't his chief economic advisor. Gary Cohn who quit in disgust this week (there's another one gone). Corporate America might have been cheering only a few weeks ago as they became the recipients of massive tax cuts. I doubt some of them will be cheering as loudly now, particularly those using steel and aluminium.

So what is the motivation behind this action, as it clearly won't benefit the workers and businesses that Trump purports to support?

Is it just that this bloke gets some kind of perverted kick out of being controversial and watching people panic?

Of course, the real danger is that countries will retaliate and impose their own swathe of tariffs on American products. At which point, the Orange One is likely to counter with more economically damaging actions.

The US Congress holds the power to reject Trump's tariffs. But they'll have to grow a collective backbone first.

You just have to wonder if, all those months ago, when Donald Trump defiantly boasted that he was going to drain the swamp, any of them suspected he intended replacing it with a toxic waste dump.

Gympie Times

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