Machiavelli once said “a man will sooner forget the death of his father than the loss of his patron”. Trump is doing exactly that to the whole world, one country at a time, while citing his ‘America first’ philosophy. He’s not waging hot wars on them, he’s hitting them right where it hurts most – the pocket book.
Japan is one of the most recent cases of yet another country taking issue with Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, joining Europe, which has been griping about the issue right and left, promising stiff reprisals should America continue its course and apply these tariffs indefinitely.
The move was designed to hurt China, which America claims is being ‘aggressive’ about its economic development in a number of ways, which has not only resulted in several rounds of counter measures from China, but the ire of countries the world over.
Japan and the European Union have notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that they are ready to implement an array of retaliation measures against Washington in response to tariffs on steel and aluminum imports imposed by US President Donald Trump on Tokyo and the European bloc.
“We plan to decide appropriately, considering the impact on Japanese companies as well as related US measures,” the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. However, it stopped short of indicating when Tokyo might take action.
The statement also said that the WTO had been informed that Japan had the right to implement tariffs on American goods worth 50 billion yen ($451 million), which would be the equivalent value to duties quite recently imposed by Washington on Japanese metal products.
Tokyo has not yet lodged an official complaint with the intergovernmental organization, but it is gesturing that it could impose the counter-measures if it does not obtain the tariff exemptions it has been seeking from the US…
On March 8, the US president caused fear when he decided to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports, primarily to target China, but also allies, including the EU countries as well as Japan.
Trump argued at the time that enormous flows of imports to the US were putting in jeopardy the American national security, making an odd departure from a decades-long US-led move towards open and free trade.
In an attempt to prevent a possible trade war, the WTO’s director-general, Roberto Azevedo, called on Trump not to impose hefty tariffs on aluminum and steel exports, saying it could spark a deep global recession.
“An eye for an eye will leave us all blind, and the world in deep recession,” he told members of his organization on March 7, adding, “we must make every effort to avoid the fall of the first dominoes.”
America is demonstrating to its allies and ‘partners’ that it has no intention of being a partner, or even a friend. There are only strategic interests.. America will be first. America will win, even if that means everyone else must lose. For America, the goal is America’s global hegemony at all costs. For everyone else, there’s crumbs.
Japan has issued some tough statements. Time will tell us if they really mean anything, or if it’s just a lot of hot air.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.