Tags: james stavridis | trump | tariff | foreign relations

Stavridis: Trump's Tariff Plan a 'Very Bad Idea' for Foreign Relations

Stavridis: Trump's Tariff Plan a 'Very Bad Idea' for Foreign Relations
(AP)

By    |   Friday, 02 March 2018 02:00 PM

President Donald Trump's plan to raise tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are a "very bad idea" at the time when the United States needs all its allies while moving forward with its strategy on Russia and China, retired Admiral James Stavridis, the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said Friday.

"There are no winners in trade wars," Stavridis told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," while disagreeing with an early morning Trump tweet saying the United States would come out ahead in a trade war with other nations.

"The worst part of this is that we can build a strategy to step up our game with Russia, we can work on a long game strategy with China, but we can't do any of that without allies, partners, and friends," he added.

"That's our nation's greatest asset in the international realm. If we start doing things that drive the Canadians away from us, the Europeans away from us, we weaken ourselves at precisely the moment Vladimir Putin is playing this big hand of aggressive military cards."

Trump said Thursday, while meeting with steel and aluminum industry leaders, that he plans to enact tariffs on imported metals in order to once again build the United States' capabilities. The announcement led to sharp stock market drops and outcry from Washington, including from White House economic adviser Gary Cohn.

"It's a bad mismatch in strategy and we ought to think more coherently about our choices going forward," said Stavridis. "These tariffs would be a very bad idea."

The retired admiral also commented about Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to tout his country's nuclear capabilities this week, including showing a video during a speech of nuclear warheads aimed at Florida.

Stavridis said he believes that part of the reason for Putin's words are because of the United States' approval of the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles and other weaponry to Ukraine.

He said he also believes the strong words are because Putin is up for reelection on March 18, so he's "playing to his base, as we say around here ... frankly, once he's done playing with the base, we're left with a strategic relationship that's in Tatters. I will say I don't think we're quite in a Cold War yet but I can see it from here."

Meanwhile, the retired admiral said he believes U.S. policy, under the Trump administration, is "shockingly normal" compared with other things seen occurring at the White House.

However, Stavridis said he is concerned about three of Trump's major actions, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, pulling out of the Paris climate accords, and the looming import tariffs.

"I want to draw a line under those tariffs," he said. "This would be a truly bad move."

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Retired Admiral James Stavridis says President Donald Trump's plan to raise tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are a "very bad idea" at the time when the United States needs all its allies while moving forward with its strategy on Russia and China.
james stavridis, trump, tariff, foreign relations
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2018-00-02
Friday, 02 March 2018 02:00 PM
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