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We don’t want to go where trade wars have taken us before

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President Donald Trump has unveiled a long list of punishing tariffs that will affect everyone. Is this the beginning of a worldwide trade war or simply a clever negotiating tactic by a man who sees himself as an expert on “the art of the deal” – an opening salvo in his campaign to get a better deal for American workers?

Obviously, we don’t know the answer to this question yet, as world leaders scramble to figure out their responses. However, once the dogs of war are unleashed – in a shooting war or a trade war – we’re tossed into the realm of the unpredictable and we would be wise to take some time to consider our position.

Perhaps a look back at trade wars in history might be a useful place to start.

At one time, it was routine for countries to go to war to protect their trading interests. England, France and Spain carved up the world into spheres of economic interest and routinely engaged in battles to protect what they saw as theirs. In fact, The United States came into being as a direct result of a trade war with Mother England. The Boston Tea Party was a fight over the payment of a tax on imported tea.

However, by the 20th century the idea of going to war to defend trading interests was fading.........

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