Paul Krugman points out how President Trump's alternating bluster and surrender over trade has left us "less trusted, less respected, and weaker than we were before:"
On U.S. unreliability, consider the way the current administration has treated Canada, probably the friendliest neighbor and firmest ally any nation has ever had. Despite generations of good relations and a free-trade agreement, Trump imposed large tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, invoking national security as a justification. This was obviously specious — in fact, Trump himself basically conceded this point, justifying the tariffs instead as retaliation for Canadian dairy policy (which was also specious).
The lesson for the world is that America can’t be trusted. Why bother making deals with a country that’s willing to slap sanctions on the best of allies, and clearly lie about the reasons, whenever it feels like it?
Meanwhile, the sudden retreat in the confrontation with China shows that we talk loud but carry a small stick. It would be one thing if the U.S. had changed course on the merits. But backing down so easily, after all the posturing, tells the world that the way to deal with America is not to bargain in good faith, but simply to threaten the president’s political base, and maybe offer some payoffs, political and otherwise. (I’m still wondering about those floors China’s largest bank rents at Trump Tower.)
Meanwhile, Michelle Goldberg looks forward to the multiple congressional inquiries launched this week as "Trump's TV Trial."
As America and the West get weaker, Russia gets stronger. So much winning. Just not ours.