Trump to world: Our word is worthless
In using a national security provision to break trade treaty obligations, Donald Trump has declared to the world that the United States cannot be trusted, it's word is worthless. Allies may sign treaties that establish rules and relationships with the United States but those rules and relationships have only the value that any given president wants them to have. The Senate may approve treaties by great margins, but the Senate is irrelevant if the sitting president decides it to be so.
In a system where it makes no difference whether or not treaties and alliances are negotiated, the logical thing to do is -- not bother.
Today Trump says if he gets the deal he wants on NAFTA he'll consider exempting Canada from his trade aggression on steel and aluminum. But there is no value in having any trade treaty, including NAFTA, if it is subject to the arbitrary whim of a clown to disregard it. This is a grave problem because it is not limited to this particular clown. If Congress, particularly the Senate, does not reassert its role over treaties by blocking this blatant abuse, it will remain available to future clowns forever. Which means no trade deal has any real substance, nothing is binding, solemn agreements are merely guidelines.
Trump wants the world to quit playing with him. So the world should let him be. Let him take his toys and play with himself.
The outrageous disregard for trade treaties is certainly worthy of contempt, but the surrender to Putin's Secret War is by far more dangerous. The unhappy truth is that the United States can no longer be trusted even as an ally in the defense of freedom. Whatever resources the allies are currently committing to cooperation with the United States need to be redirected to self-defense in the cyber war being waged against them right now. And face it, if the allies leave ISIS alone, they are unlikely to target us but will return their full focus to the United States. We are in the Middle East more to protect the American interest than to defend ourselves. Few of us imagined we would see the day the United States was brought to its knees before a Russian tyrant, not by force but willingly in surrender. The unimaginable has happened and the remaining free world must redouble our efforts to confront our adversary.
Canada cannot accept a NAFTA that binds it but does not bind its partner. It appears to be time to leave, work through the pain, and get about the business of building a new economy not dependent on American political party games. There will still be lots of trade with the U.S. but the pressure will be intense to replace as much of it as possible with partners who stand behind their word rather than tweet about their delusions.