American foreign policy has long been dominated by people who seemed to care more about being admired for their good works than about getting the best deal for the American people. That yearning for external validation has clearly been thrown to the wind. But being tough on trade is not enough by itself.
To win a trade war, the Trump team also has to play smart. Given all the weapons in at their disposal and all the advantages on their side, they should be able to win a trade war without a fight, the way Reagan beat the Soviet Union without firing a shot. With Europe in political turmoil and China on the verge of economic meltdown , a burst of presidential bluster might be all it takes for America to win on trade.
Salvatore Babones is an American sociologist and professor at the University of Sydney, Australia. He focuses on China, the global economy, quantitative methodology and the long-term impact of technology. He has written extensively and is the author of The New Authoritarianism: Trump, Populism, and the Tyranny of Experts.