Remember “The Manchurian Candidate”? The 1959 novel, made into a classic 1962 film (never mind the remake), involved a plot to install a Communist agent as president of the United States. One major irony was that the politician in question was modeled on Senator Joe McCarthy — that is, he posed as a superpatriot even while planning to betray America.
It all feels horribly relevant these days. But don’t worry: This isn’t going to be another piece on Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia, which is being ably covered by other people. What I want to talk about instead are Trump’s actions on international trade — which are starting to have a remarkably similar feel.
On one side, the “Make America Great Again” president is pursuing protectionist policies, supposedly in the name of national security, that will alienate many of our democratic allies. On the other side, he seems weirdly determined to prevent action against genuine national security threats posed by foreign dictatorships — in this case China. What’s going on?