President Trump’s recent threat to escalate his trade skirmish with China into a full-scale trade war is a foolish gambit with little historical precedent. It is also hard to take seriously, given how quickly Mr. Trump changes his mind and how rarely and clumsily he tends to follow through on tough talk.
Mr. Trump said on Thursday that he wants to slap tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese imports in response to Beijing’s plan to retaliate against an earlier American proposal that was aimed at $50 billion in Chinese goods. The president also said he was seeking ways to protect American farmers hurt by Chinese retaliation — a move that could result in fresh trade fights with other countries as they seek to defend their farmers from subsidized American grain.
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