Trump is breaking all the rules, and that could be great for America

BostonGlobe.com | 3/12/2018 | Staff
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OVER THE PAST WEEK — indeed, over the past year — President Trump has broken one political rule after another. “When I signed up to be a conservative,” an eminent Washington think-tanker said to me on Thursday, “I thought conservatism stood for free trade, fiscal responsibility, and personal character.” He might have added firmness toward dictators.

Fairness - Trump - Republican - President - Tariffs

In fairness to Trump, he is not the first Republican president to impose tariffs on imports, to run a very large budget deficit, and to agree to meet a Communist tyrant. (I’m pretty sure he’s the first to be sued by a porn star, but let’s leave Stormy Daniels out of this.) Both Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford imposed tariffs in the name of national security. Both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush ran substantial fiscal deficits. And if Trump goes to Pyongyang, there will be an unmistakable echo of Nixon’s famous trip to Beijing in 1972.

Nevertheless, there is a near-universal consensus among political commentators that Trump is breaking all the rules. By announcing tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium, he not only will hurt all those sectors of the US economy that depend on those imports, but also risks plunging the world into a protectionist trade war.

Dictator - Kim - Jong - Un - Trap

By agreeing to meet with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, it is said, he is falling into a trap other presidents were prudent enough to avoid, for Kim will claim a diplomatic victory — “See! The dotard treats me as an equal!” — and then cheat on any deal, as his father did in the 1990s.

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