On Wednesday, July 25, President Donald Trump met with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, at the White House. The U.S. has already slapped tariffs on European steel and aluminum, and the EU has reciprocated with tariffs on $3 billion worth of American exports, such as whiskey and motorcycles.
Tiberio Graziani, chairman of the Vision & Global Trends, sheds light to the policy of the trade war in an exclusive interview with News Front.
NF: Initially US tariffs were directed towards China, was it a friendly move that the EU decided to impose retaliatory measures and then it escalated into a real trade war?
T.G.: The policy of tariffs, or rather the war of duties, conducted by the Trump Administration is the direct consequence of the new orientation given by the current tenant of the White House since his inauguration as president of the USA. Trump broke with the traditional US economic and military policies hinged on multilateralism. This sudden turn of the US in bilateral practice must be considered in the broader framework of world politics. Donald Trump understood before many others that the US was forced to change its attitude in international affairs.
The US, at least until the previous administration led by Democrat Obama, had tried to manage with poor results the ongoing geopolitical transition. After the long period of bipolarity, led by the US and the USSR (1945 – 1989) and after the short unipolar moment (1989 – 2001, collapse of the Berlin Wall and US aggression to Afghanistan) a period of great instability began at world level, that the US tried to manage by applying the so-called geopolitics of chaos. This conduct has generated a resettlement of alliances and agreements of collaborations between those countries that did not tolerate US hegemony anymore, changing irreversibly the international order.
The economic and financial crisis of 2007/2008 has caused an impoverishment of the American middle class and made the USA very weak. After ten years, multilateral practice was no longer a viable option for the US. Trump understood all this and, consequently, initiated a bilateral practice, in order to break a potential anti-US global front and, above all, to reinvigorate the domestic economy.
This involves an offensive that Trump selectively leads on different levels. Regarding the trade level, Trump activated at first a war of tariffs against China. Then against the European Union, later it will be the turn of Canada and Japan, also as a function of a reformulation of the so-called Western system.
NF: Trump-Juncker meeting. After a three and half hour meeting, Trump promised Juncker he would hold off on further tariffs on Europe. Will he keep the promise?
T.G.: Trump is above all a businessman and a pragmatist. The promise made to Juncker is a promise similar to that one of a negotiator whose purpose is to improve his economic and social status.
In this case, the value of the promise must be considered exclusively in the context of US-EU negotiations on the issue of defending the interests of the US auto industry. No wonder, therefore, if, in the course of a few weeks. Trump will change his mind.
NF: Do you think this situation with the trade war is going to be settled down in near future or all the parties would stand one’s ground?
T.G.: The trade War is destined to last, at least until the mid-November elections. These elections will be a test to verify the rooting of President Trump’s domestic power and the outcome of the clash between the current head of the Administration and the so called Deep State, the Establishment.