The Jury Talks Back

6/24/2018

Should Other Countries Target Trump’s Businesses?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:02 am

Business Insider has an article that claims that countries upset about Trump’s tariffs are thinking about targeting Trump’s businesses in retaliation:

President Donald Trump’s headlong push toward a trade war is prompting unprecedented responses from countries around the world and blowback from top US allies.

In the past three months, Trump has hit countries around the world with a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum exports to the US. The decision prompted a swift response from US allies, including retaliatory tariffs and a radical departure in treatment from other formerly friendly foreign leaders — from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to French President Emmanuel Macron.

But so far these responses have done little to deter Trump from moving forward with his trade agenda, prompting the the consideration of an out-of-the-box response for an out-of-the-box president.

Op-eds in The Houston Chronicle and the Canadian news magazine Maclean’s suggested the only way to quell the rising trade tensions is to strike at Trump’s businesses. While some countries, such as China, have appeared to try and sway the president through treating his family’s businesses more favorably, countries have not made moves to curtail the businesses’ activity within their borders.

This appears to be a case of fantasy; it’s a couple of op-eds and some politicos replying politely when asked about it. To me, it’s not worth a post based on the notion that it’s going to happen, because it’s not. It’s worth a post as a thought experiment about how people would discuss this option if it did occur — and as a warning about the danger of double standards.

Because if any country actually got up the nerve to do this (none will), it would be hard to mount a principled argument against it — that is, if you have been claiming so far that the favorable treatment his businesses have received from other countries is defensible.

And this is the problem with defending the indefensible. Eventually the argument gets turned around on you. As Popehat pointed out:

Similarly, if you promote the notion that Trump’s businesses are unrelated to his decisionmaking, and try to portray other countries’ using Trump businesses as a matter of no concern, then if it comes time for you to point out that countries are now targeting his businesses, you may find nobody cares.

The larger problem here is when a Democrat with very flawed character seeks the presidency. Remember how bad you said Hillary was? In four years, you’ll be telling me that whoever they picked this time was worse. But if you’ve spent four years defending Trump’s poor character, your complaints about the Democrats’ character are going to be less convincing.

And so it goes with applying a different standard to Trump than you would apply to anyone else. People will remember.

1 Comment »

  1. People who feel that way won’t care but I will remember. And I won’t care.

    Comment by DRJ — 6/24/2018 @ 9:15 am

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