Why a “Made in America” Mentality Could Make Us Less Safe

It’s “Made in America” week at the White House and it seems like President Donald Trump is trying to keep the promises he made on the campaign trail.  However, doing so could disrupt a brilliant plan to diminish Russia’s role and influence in the world.

For two years on the campaign trail, Donald Trump frequently invoked saving jobs in manufacturing, coal, and any other industry that was near and dear to the hearts of rust belt voters.  It was a smart move. The voters in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan were the ones who put Trump over the top on that surprising November night.  However, there has always been a healthy skepticism on whether Donald Trump would actually follow through on this promises. The results have been mixed.  President Trump certainly talks a good game, but the recent news from Ford and Carrier that jobs may not be saved after all show it’s sometimes more style than substance.  Steel tariffs could be Trump’s first substantive action to protect a specific domestic industry.  Unfortunately, that same decision could have devastating consequences from a national security standpoint.

President Donald Trump has been complaining of steel dumping, focusing mostly on China, since even before he announced he was running for President.  Normally when it comes to enacting tariffs, the argument is always based on economics.  However, the current debate in the White House is actually a national security one.  Currently, there is a 232 investigation into steel dumping, a kind of trade investigation to determine the effect of imports on national security.  Advocates for tariffs argue that dumping of foreign steel in the domestic markets could cause American steel producers to go out of business.  This would then put us at a disadvantage in a time of crisis.  However, even if this is true, the global implications of steel tariffs could still make us less safe.

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