Myth-Takes about Trade Wars and Politicians


By Miles Clyne

One of the myths in Western society is that wars are somehow good for the economy. This faulty belief stems from a misunderstanding of the economic way of thinking. Wars, even world wars, are almost always about egos.  Egos so large that the human tragedy created is irrelevant to the perpetrators.  Today, most nations are fighting to protect their own protectionist tariffs. There are only 17 nations without some form of tariffs. 

In the case of President Trump, he may not bring the Superpowers to the point of physical war, but he’s definitely engaging in emotional and intellectual warfare on the global stage through his trade wars. As a president, his ratings, like our PM’s, had been falling steadily, ergo their egos. And what is more important than their egos? Not you or I, or likely anyone else globally.

Sadly for us, ours truly, PM Trudeau and his cohorts are suffering under the mythical delusion they can be bigger bullies than Trump. Like a Disney movie, the little guy beats the big guy and then we’ll all rally around our leader for his heroic David and Goliath deed. If we think for a New York minute Trump will let this happen, we’re delusional also.  The upside for our retaliatory behavior is likely zero, but the consequences, which don’t appear to have been thought out can be much worse, like what is going on with cannabis. Remember the old story; if you are digging a hole that you can’t get out of, stop digging!

It is easy to sit back and throw stones, but the reality is that the Canadian economy is a fraction of the size of the US economy.  To give some perspective on Canada vs. the US, California is the 6th largest economy in the world and Canada the 10th.  I’ve provided several links to reasonable articles written about the current trade wars, how both the Americans and definitely Canadians will be hurt, so this is very likely a battle of will(not)s.

There are strategies on any battlefield that need to be considered, and they differ depending on whether the odds of winning are in your favor. I’m not equipped to go into negotiations with Trump, Trudeau or anyone on this level. But the one thing I’d do before attempting any negotiation that was out of my league would be to get some serious help.

One guy I’d go to is ex-Navy Seal officer Jocko Willink, I wrote about him a couple of years ago. Check out this link for a bit more info on him and why I think he is exceptional. Neither Trump nor Trudeau served in the military and they are both benefactors of very wealthy families so I wonder about their abilities to fight the good fight, and even if they know what it is. The good fight being what is good for the long-term of their respective countries vs. the next election. 

What I believe PM Trudeau needs to know if he is to have any hope of negotiating with Trump is understanding the rules of war. The link below to Jocko’s podcast is brilliant and witty, and comes from a guy who was in charge of making life and death decisions for the soldiers who served directly under him and himself. This is a place neither Trump nor Trudeau have been, nor will likely ever be. 

When you listen to Jocko it is evident the logic needed to succeed in conflicts, regardless of whether they are in a real war, business or our personal lives, is very consistent. Jocko Willink Podcast: How to win in Battle, Business, and Life with The 36 “Strategems.” The Spirit of Wu

If you don’t have time to listen to the podcast. Here are a few of the tactics of Wu you should find relevant. As you read them, ask yourself with each stratagem who you think is the deceiver and who is being deceived in our current politics?  And if you have time for neither, have a listen to this version of Bob Dylan’s, Stuck in the Middle With You. (link to full 36 Stratagems)

Fool the Sky to Cross the Sea - Openly act as if you are intending one thing then do something else.

Relax While the Enemy Exhausts Himself - Encourage your enemy to waste energy and resources while you conserve yours. When they are at last exhausted, attack them.

Loot a Burning House - Cause the enemy problems which they are forced to attend to. Then attack them when they are distracted.

Pretend to Take One Path While Sneaking Down Another - Pretend you are going to take one action while you are secretly preparing to take another.

Raise a Corpse From the Dead - Take something from the past and re-use it in some way.

Fish in Troubled Waters - Take advantage of confusion and chaos.

Play Dumb While Remaining Smart - Play foolish or weak so they do not take you seriously. Conceal your strengths until it is the best time to reveal them.