Bloomberg Businessweek


Global trade operates on trust—and using the loophole of “essential security” erodes the system

Away from the cameras at the Group of Seven summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was groping for ways to explain to U.S. President Donald Trump that trading with Canada is not a threat to U.S. national security. According to a Canadian official who spoke with the Toronto Star, Trudeau brought up the air base at Bagotville where Air Force One had landed. Trudeau told Trump, “Why is Bagotville there? Bagotville is there to protect aluminum smelters that were building American warplanes in the Second World War.”

Trudeau’s message clearly didn’t stick. Trump continued his pattern of being friendlier with America’s enemies than with its friends. He called Trudeau weak and dishonest on his way from Canada to a convivial meeting with the brutal North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A possible explanation for Trump’s behavior is that in his worldview, national security appears to encompass freedom of action. To him, a great nation is unencumbered. Trump seems to be energized by engaging with world-historical characters like Kim, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President

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