Trump tells trading partners that it's 'America first' from now on
In the very first sentence of his inauguration speech, Dondal Trumop made it clear that he was addressing the entire world:
Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.
Several pundits, including the estimable Charles Krauthammer, have declared that the speech will be known as his “forgotten man” speech, ignoring his politically correct formulation that “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.” [emphasis added]
True, the speech amounted to a declaration that the DC establishment – which surrounded him on the platform where he made his speech – has enriched itself at the expense of ordinary people.
But there was another equally far-reaching declaration that came in the speech, one addressed overseas. The words chosen by President Trump indicate he is resigning America from the role of manager and balancer of the world trade system. All of our trading partners are now on notice that the United States will behave like every other nation and put its own welfare, not the overall health of the system of trade, first.
This is a fundamental change, and will lead to extensive negotiation,
Ever since Harry S. Truman debuted the structure of the Cold War alliance with America as its leader and promoter of trade and prosperity, the United States has been willing to take economic hits in the cause of a liberal trade system. And our overseas partners took great advantage of our comparative openness to trade, and took over industry after industry, devastating great swatches of the American heartland. Here is what he said:
For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We've defended other nations' borders while refusing to defend our own.
And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We've made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.
But that is the past. And now, we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first, America first.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.
Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
This is a fundamental redefinition of the role of the United States in the world system. Uncle Sugar is dead.