“There’s A special place in hell” for leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on “Fox News Sunday.”
This, as President Donald Trump was about to sit down with the head of a totalitarian North Korean regime responsible for crimes against humanity without parallel in the contemporary world, as a U.N. commission reported four years ago.
What could account for such White House savagery against a historic U.S. ally? Trudeau had engaged in “bad-faith diplomacy,” Navarro maintained. “He really kind of stabbed us in the back,” Larry Kudlow, head of the National Economic Council, agreed on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
How so? Trudeau said at a news conference at the end of a tense Group of Seven summit that U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum were “kind of insulting,” because Trump cited national security to erect them. This is nothing all that different from what Trudeau had said before. It is also a mild reaction relative to the sheer irrationality of the president’s increasingly unmoored trade policy.
In fact, Canada has every right to be insulted that Trump would invoke national security in their trade dispute. Canada has stood with the United States in every modern war and crisis.
Wildly exaggerated economic grievances, not national security, are driving Trump’s trade agenda.
Trump’s trade offensive is an insult. The United States maintains a largely free and fair trading relationship with Canada.
Trump might have been deploying extra bravado to demonstrate strength before his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
But, in fact, he was demonstrating moral and strategic obtuseness. To alienate allies while fawning over dictators is not a sign of strength.