By Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer
Modern geopolitics has moved from the distinguished realm of the cloak and dagger that it was during the cold war and the 1990’s to more 1990’s romantic comedy feel. The G7, the leading nations globally, have become the cool kids club that dictates the national interests of its members, much like the “cool kids” in a 1990’s movie ostracize those who step outside the social norms that are created by the group. In the modern world, as long as your economy benefits the G7 leaders, who had become England and Germany under the Obama presidency, you can sit at the cool kids table. However, if you break down this hegemony of international influence you will be punished and sent to be one of the “uncool” kids.
In a world so concerned with bullying, the main area where we see it happening is on the international stage. Merkel, May, and Trudeau have claimed that the new tariffs by the United States are offensive because the….. undercut the economic advantage that their long-standing tariffs create within the global economy. Germany, Britain, and Canada have excessive tariffs on the products of the United States’; however, when the United States attempts to balance the playing field by issuing moderate tariffs on aluminum and steel it is treasonous. This can be seen in Trudeau’s statements on June 10th saying that Canada will “retaliate” as early as July 1st if the United States does not quit protecting its national security interests.
What kind of tariffs are we looking at in all of these arguments? The United States has proposed a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum. Meanwhile, Canada has tariffs of 245% for Cheese, 298% for butter (0.2% of trade), liquor (which is controlled state by state) and massive restrictions on American grain. Britain and the EU threaten that they will extend their current tariffs with additional tariffs on “Trucks, handkerchiefs, hose pipes, shoes, and porcelain ornaments are among the other products facing tariffs.” But the threat of new tariffs is simply a mask to cover up the hypocrisy of the established tariff regime.
The United States has already stated that if the tariffs from other countries are lifted the United States will enter into bilateral free trade agreements. This seems simple enough. If tariffs are as evil as May, Merkel, and Trudeau say they are, then why are they not embracing the idea of dropping their tariffs for free trade with the United States. The answer is quite simple, they would lose their “cool kids” control over the global hegemony. Under the Obama depression, the EU and other nations realized that they could exploit the United States during its manufactured economic issues. This resulted in unfair tariff systems being put into place. Leaders in the G7 are afraid that if they allow “fair trade” with the United States the corporations that fund political campaigns in their countries will withdraw support.
The G7 this year was an example of how the “cool kids” will double down on hypocrisy just to prevent losing face. If any of the G7 buckles, which Japan looks like it may do to have a free trade agreement with the United States, the power of the other 5 nations goes out the window. Like the cool kid who starts the slow clap of support for the new kid in a 1990’s movie, Japan could be the adult in the room who sees that there is not that much difference between the different players. If all nations drop their tariffs, then the world economy will have the opportunity to bloom into something that helps all people, not just the politically donating nations.
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