Trade speech an important reminder

We Americans often seem less suspicious of foreign competitors, both economically and militarily, than of each other. Just contrast the rhetoric often heard in U.S. political campaigns with that usually employed in reference to leaders in other countries.

But last week in Vietnam, President Donald Trump reminded us that attitude — that all the world wants what is best for all the world — is poppycock.

Addressing a room full of Asian leaders, Trump discussed his view of international trade agreements. “I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first,” he said.

He does not blame other countries “for taking advantage of the United States on trade,” Trump continued. But, he emphasized, his administration will refuse to allow us to be taken advantage of us in trade pacts.

Well, of course. Not one of the national leaders Trump was addressing would have a political future if he could not demonstrate to the folks back home that he had done his best to get a good deal for them.

That attitude often seems missing among U.S. diplomats, more eager to please those in foreign nations than to do right by Americans.

Trump’s attitude is right. It is long past time for Americans to stop playing the patsy.

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