This is a guest blog by Akash.
Earlier it was believed that if a nation wants to avoid conflict then it must have a strong army but nowadays if a nation wants to avoid conflict then it must be able to trade.
Trade makes countries interdependent and prevents disputes. These days due to rise of far right political parties a trend of protectionism is on the rise in the world with public being wooed for electoral gains. Humanity witnessed protectionism a century earlier as it was a cause for the Great War.
Former champions of liberal trade are themselves running away from it today. Tariffs imposed by USA on targeted countries and Britain’s adventure of Brexit are two good examples. This is leading to unnecessary confrontations and also reducing the effectiveness of organizations like the WTO and UNO.
From the past few months Trump administration was engaged in a trade war with China where tariffs imposed by US along with allegations of intellectual property theft have elicited retaliatory measures from China. Even though a settlement has been sought on the sidelines of the recently concluded G20 summit, the effect of it is yet to be noticed.
Similarly with Russia, which has been historically hostile to US, tariffs on steel and manufacturing goods were put leading to another dispute. Also USA left NAFTA replacing it with a more beneficial deal for itself.
As stated earlier, protectionism of similar kind was the trend before World War 1. Most of Europe and USA were imposing tariffs to safeguard their markets. Only Britain had stayed liberal which is not the case at present.
The world is moving fast towards the4th industrial revolution. To benefit humanity cooperation between states is vital. The revolution is set to boost the global economy and living standards of people. Non-cooperative environment will cause creation of power centres opposed to each other and slow down the benefits reaching the masses.
Climate change and environment protection are also being adversely affected by the direction in which US is moving. This will ultimately harm the interests of mankind. Nobody stands to gain by this narrow minded approach being promoted by Trump.