This is what happens when you get into a perpetual nut-kicking contest with everyone on the planet. Every other country gets to take a shot on goal eventually, while you’re stuck playing defense.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump has no appreciation for the vulnerable spot he’s put us in. For all the attention he’s suddenly paid to the rest of the world, he appears to have forgotten that they can trade with, you know, each other.
And now, the relatively minor fear about a temporary hardship for American manufacturers and farmers is starting to give way to a hair-on-fire emergency involving the potential loss of trading partnerships that took decades to establish.
China can easily find other countries to buy agricultural goods from instead of the U.S., its vice agriculture minister said, warning that American farmers could permanently lose their share of the Chinese market as a result of the trade war.
“Many countries have the willingness and they totally have the capacity to take over the market share the U.S. is enjoying in China. If other countries become reliable suppliers for China, it will be very difficult for the U.S. to regain the market,” Han Jun told official Xinhua news agency in an interview on Friday.
He also warned that American farmers could lose the position in the Chinese market they have spent several decades building up. Han said they may not be able to make up the losses brought by retaliatory tariffs, even with the White House’s planned $12 billion aid package for farmers caught in the dispute.
He said Beijing had imposed duties on 90 percent of the agricultural goods the country imports from the United States since the trade war kicked off at the start of last month, with limited impact on China.
“Levying additional tariffs will cause a great decrease in exports of U.S. agricultural products to China,” Han said. “But the impact on China is very limited, due to the diversified import sources.”
In other words — duh. Our country’s willingness — and even eagerness — to take a flyer on a moron president this time around won’t just screw us for the duration of his term in office. We could be seeing a permanent derogation of not just our global prestige and influence, but also our ability to maintain existing markets and open new ones.
If China and other countries do establish reliable trade partnerships elsewhere, why in the hell would they ever come back to the United States, which has proven itself to be unreliable?
We may not have a lot of time to fix this — just as we may be running out of time to address climate change, repair our infrastructure, pay down our debt, and save our democracy (from both foreign interference and unlimited dark money).
Needless to say, Donald Trump has made all these problems worse and more difficult to deal with.
Hey, how about we elect a smart person next time? It would be a step in the right direction, anyway.
Yo! Dear F*cking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump by Aldous J. Pennyfarthing is now available at Amazon! Buy there (or at one of the other fine online retailers carrying it), or be square.