BERLIN: The fault for any potential global trade conflagration would be mainly his. But this does not absolve the European Union from maturity and strategic thinking.
The United States has been Europe’s only major reliable ally for at least a century. We rely on the US for protection from most dire threats. Competing centres of power already pose major geopolitical challenges and wait to pounce on any conflict between EU and US.
US would be weakened without Europe, but would survive. Without US, EU in its current form would cease to exist.
The US commerce secretary observed recently that Chinese exports to third countries dislodge domestic demand, resulting in exports to US, adding: “Too much time has been spent just talking about steel overcapacity, very little time has been spent doing anything about it. We are taking the leadership […] to deal with this chronic overcapacity problem.”
While the EU may dislike the approach taken by the US, China is a major challenge for EU industry.
Instead of a distracting trade confrontation with America, the EU should minimise its effects focusing on the real target: Chinese distortions.
The EU leadership generally dismisses president Trump. But US citizens, not EU elites, elect US leaders.
We owe Trump the respect we give the United States. Trump’s ‘Section 232’ action is taken pursuant to a statutory mandate from US Congress.
Until Congress intervenes, which it may, we must deal with tariffs as US policy, not some flaky whim of one unstable despot.