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Government Watch / Keeping America Safe / Politics

Linking Trade and Security, Trump Scored Big on Southern Border

trade and security

On our southern border and globally, the Trump Administration is playing a deft game, methodically advancing American security interests by linking resolution to America’s powerful economy and trading relationships.  To be clear, this is no mistake. And it is generating results.

Exhibit one is the recent agreement with Mexico – secured last Friday – to help reverse surging Central American economic migrants.  The agreement – benefiting both nations – came after President Trump boldly threatened to put a five percent tariff on Mexican-origin goods and raise that tariff by five percent each month until it hit 25 percent.

The pain was too great, even to contemplate.  While a measurable but marginal impact would be felt from such tariffs in the United States, the impact in Mexico – would have been devastating.  Mexico’s economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019.  These tariffs would have caused some sectors to begin a long, possibly irreversible slide.

All that was averted, when Mexico agreed to serve their own security interests and ours by tackling this persistent, rising, regional threat.  Specifically, Mexico committed to putting 6,000 Mexican National Guardsmen on their southern border, deploying more guardsmen nationally, accepting return of US asylum seekers, working with US law enforcement against drug and human traffickers, and continuing negotiations for the next 90 days. 

While President Trump “suspended” imposing tariffs, the 90-day period is important.  It gives both sides time to see if Mexico’s new efforts reduce the flow of economic migrants from Central America north, while allowing continued discussion of Mexico as a “safe third country” for fleeing asylum seekers. 

The 90-day period also encourages candid discussion between big allies of how better to share information and tackle drug cartels, which continue to disrupt rule of law in both countries, fomenting violence in Mexico, death by addiction and internecine violence in America. 

And one other issue:  Both countries may now be able to talk turkey on getting rule of law, economic stability, and more foreign investment into Central America, where radiating crime, gangs, poverty, public corruption, fear in the present and for future generations is common. 

With concerted effort, at times in the past, life in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras was not so dark.  Creating conditions that encourage their people to stay, invest themselves, believe in institutions and trust in the future would be time, money and effort well-spent. 

But none of this new energy was afoot, before President Trump used tariffs to refocus everyone.  His tariff threat was an action-forcing event.  The result was favorable for all, a renewed commitment to regional security – including at America’s southern border.  Can there be any question?

Interestingly, leading Democrats refuse to give this president credit, the House Speaker blithely calling President Trump’s use of trade to boost security “reckless threatening.”  This, from a “responsible” House leader who, just days earlier, told America’s allies as our President celebrated D-Day ceremonies, she wanted him “in prison.”  Why?  Forget reasons, she is just against.

Now pivot to a larger issue.  If the President’s thoughtful application of progressive tariffs, that is, use of America’s economic power in a deliberative way to increase US security worked to re-set priorities with Mexico, where else? 

In just eight days, the President turned a major page with a major ally, ironically creating a favorable inflection point in our relationship.  Mexican leaders now have good reason – in the context of domestic politics – to refocus energy on security.  Information sharing goes up, along with rule of law, public health and safety, border security and dialogue in both countries. 

Moreover, new life may be breathed into the US Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which benefits the three countries, is favored by industry and labor in all three, and which Congress continues – not to ratify.

The longer-term impact of President Trump’s successful Mexico deal, and linkage of trade and security negotiations – is easily overlooked.  By refusing to play the game – accepting the idea that security and trade are not related – Trump is calling the world out. 

The positive effect is an infusion of new truth into international relationships, foreign policy and future security relationships.  Next up is China.  A final accord would cement longer term cooperation, placing the relationship between the world’s number one and two economies and number one and number three militaries on a firm foundation for decades. 

President Trump knows this, and so does President Xi.  That is why both continue to negotiate, and neither is interested in a flip, near-term, hit-and-run political agreement.  They both understand trade and security are linked.  Ignoring that is a fools’ paradise – and neither is a fool.

More broadly, think about allies and adversaries, all now wrestling with a new reality – an American president who says what he thinks, does what he says, refuses to be cowed, is ready on both the trade and military fronts, and worse – has linked trade to security. 

The overt linkage of trade and security may not usher in a “new world order,” as many thought the end of the Cold War would, but is likely to instill new respect, focus, and realism into global negotiations of all sorts with all parties. 

Trump’s straight-forward linkage of trade and security may help reorder a perennially fraught, opaque, even duplicitous and dissembling world, causing people to think harder about solutions, and less about avoiding them.  That just happened.  Let’s see what comes next.

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Read more articles by Robert B. Charles

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Wayne D Peterkin

Yes, President Trump’s use of economics and trade to affect a desirable foreign policy outcome is brilliant and refreshing, even though the media and liberals will never give him any credit for it. How much better is that than threatening violence with military force or doing nothing while Rome burns? From our perspective, it may cause short-term pain for long-term gain as well as infuriating the open border advocates. Make no mistake that anyone who does not support seriously securing our border by whatever means will work is on the side of an open border which is very nearly what we have today and have had for many years. An open border is actually inviting the drug and human trafficking, meaning that open border advocates are accessories to those crimes. As such, they should be indicted and prosecuted for felonies as accessories. Reality tells me that securing our border must… Read more »

Jack

The Demoncrats want to continue Obummers legacy of destroying our country by any and all means possible. They want to completely do away with the middle class citizen. If they get back in total control, there will only be two classes of people. The extremely wealthy and the impoverished. Wonder who is going to get the nomination for the Czar?

Teri smith

Way to go Mr President. 🇺🇸

Brenda Blunt

The President has an unorthodox way of doing things and not like a lifetime politician AND IS getting the work done that needs to be done. Shame the lifetime politicians can’t see that!!

Diana

This is good Mexico and America both need to work together Mexico could be a great place for all working together maybe they can get the drug cartels killed off and out of Mexico they have a beautiful Country as well but neither of us should have to live with these vile animals time to take them out clean both Countries of these drug cartels, human trafficking any kind of illegal garbage that includes these most unacceptable illegals in either Country they use to be a very Christian Country, but with the gangs and cartels people are afraid that’s not good so hope real good comes out of this for both Countries

Bob Baxter

My cup of tea, south of the border at that. Our president is right on!

Stephen Russell

Can we do this with China?? Radical, awesome.

Gayla schamburg

Right on the mark President Trump. It is their economy (Mexico’s) stupid.

Phyllis A.

If President Trump’s use of tariffs would cause any increases in products for us, I, for one, am still for it. Having grown up during WWII, we did without much and paid higher prices on things that were scarce as our armed forces came first. We managed to live through it all and came out on top. We have to realize that we are so blessed for all that we do have considering those living in third world countries who live much below the U.S. poverty line. We need Mexico to help us keep our borders safe and stop this insanity. We cannot have the whole world coming into our country via Mexico and if tariffs would force them to do their part, so be it.

Wayne

Go Trump Go 2020

Paul

Bravo President Trump!
Your the 1st US President, to get Mexico to Respect the 🇺🇸. After all Mexico would lose income they receive from US Auto Companies that are over there. NAFTA in my opinion was a huge mistake! We should close plants in Mexico instead of the US.

Drue

President Trump is a businessman, and as such, he understands how devastating a tariff would be on Mexico. China is next. Thank GOD we have a President with the stones to do what needs to be done to keep our country safe and free. President Trump, I have your back!

George H

Thank you Mr president for all you do for us and God Bless

Robert

I am completely for President Trump, and I want him to continue to get rid of things that are against the United States. We do not need all the troubles we are having on the border with Mexico. Keep up the great work.

Diane

A strong southern Mexican border is good for Mexico as well as America. Win win.

Keith H

What a joke !! Mexico is laughing at Trump. They are just window dressing the situation. The hoard is still coming across our border !!! Thousands of them !!! Where are you Trump ? Just like our free speech and gun right huh ? Haven’t seen much from you on any of this !!! Wake Up Trump !!!

John H

My opinion, a healthy economy/trade in Mexico provides a living for their people. If the Mexicans have a good job, then they will not want to come across the border. The threat of tariff was an act of bullying & I doubt if Mexico will forget this in the future.
We need Mexico & they need us for trade.