Trump-brand buccaneering?

He ditches a Pacific-region trade alliance aimed at constraining China and starts a trade war with China over steel subsidies, provoking retaliation against Maine lobstermen that benefits Canadian competition. Fixing that requires subsidies for Maine’s lobstermen, opening up fishing out beyond Cape Cod, crowning LePage unpaid “lobster czar” and threatening the E.U. with car tariffs to get them to lower lobster tariffs. The E.U. does — well, for five years anyway, to cover Trump’s “second term.”

The trade-off: Trump gave up some current U.S. tariffs on glass and lighters, but crucially gave up on the decades-long U.S. goal of ending E.U. Airbus subsidies distorting the worldwide plane market. And, add years of disruption to Maine’s lobster market and to Midwest farming.

Such politics-driven jury-rigging, with its disruption of trade and alliances that will be needed to productively manage a growing Chinese threat in the Pacific region, can’t be wise.

Philip Keith, Farmington


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