The real reason for Trump’s steel tariffs? He’s preparing for war, by Lawrence Solomon

Once in a while SLL posts two articles together that reach diametrically opposed conclusions. Such is the case with these next two articles. From Lawrence Solomon at

Those who see Trump as threatening a free market in steel should see the world as it really is and welcome, rather than berate Trump’s initiative

President Donald Trump speaks before signing the ‘Section 232 Proclamations’ on steel and aluminum tariffs in the White House on March 8, 2018Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump’s decision to apply steep tariffs to steel imports on grounds of national security met with a loud chorus of protests at home and abroad, by many trying to divine what could possibly be going through Trump’s mind. Trump is an economic illiterate, he’s a protectionist, some reasoned; he’s targeting Canada to get concessions on NAFTA, he’s playing to his base, others pronounced.

These explanations miss the mark. Though Trump doubtless sees taunting Canada on NAFTA and playing to his political base as furthering his agenda, these are but freebies, sideshows to the main event. Trump is acting sincerely, and legitimately, in the national security interests of the United States. Canada isn’t his target; China is.

Trump is old enough to know that during the Korean War, president Harry Truman seized the U.S. steel industry to maintain production for America’s then-vulnerable wartime economy. During the Second World War, when the U.S. dominated the world’s steel production, rationing was nevertheless needed — the public was even exhorted to donate their automobile bumpers to the war effort as scrap steel.

Today, the U.S. has not only lost much of its steel capacity, it’s at risk of losing the balance, making it dependent on a host of countries: Canada, its largest and most reliable foreign supplier, meets just five per cent of U.S. needs. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the United States is now at risk of finding itself “in a position where it is unable to be certain it could meet demands for national defense and critical industries in a national emergency.” If dependent on a foreign country, the department warns, the U.S. would not have the legal authority to commandeer supplies as it could within the U.S.

To continue reading: The real reason for Trump’s steel tariffs? He’s preparing for war


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