Webb: DC disruption continues

Webb: DC disruption continues
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Disruption in D.C. continues, but is it working to our advantage? The president, America and maybe even many in the world praise disruptive technology. It’s fairly clear to everyone that President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations MORE is a disruptive politician and, as president, a disruptive force in decades of predictable behavior.

The administration has imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. There is a much bigger issue than the jobs within the steel and aluminum industry. 

The outcry from many on the left and right ignores the complex issue of leveling the playing field with global trading partners. In sports terms, the world has been playing European football, aka soccer, and we show up equipped for an American football game. 

We cannot be successful as the world’s largest consumer economy if we don’t play on the same field, and in the same game, to get to a better outcome. In terms of steel, six smelters have been lost since 2013, five are currently operating and two at full capacity. Of these, only one meets the level of military requirements which is vital to our national security. In simple terms, we should all want a better equipped military where we know and trust the source of the materials. Do you really believe that China has our sovereign interest at heart? The president has rightfully pointed out the issue of transshipping and China’s desire to gain leverage over other nations and industries.

Tariffs are not a bilateral issue and unfortunately politicians think and act in a bilateral manner that has left us at a disadvantage over the years. Right now, many of my fellow free-marketers will immediately say that tariffs are never a good idea. In fact, we already have many tariffs in place, but it’s a hodgepodge of special interests. There is a carve-out for Canada and Mexico, because we’re renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. Again, this is about leverage. 

As a negotiating tool, and this is exactly what the administration is doing, we can bring global concerns and other nations to the table to negotiate a better and more free market-based playing field for trade. 

Think about the European Union’s response. They talked about taxing bourbon from Kentucky or going after Harley Davidson exports as a way to send a message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWarren on family separation policy: Trump is ‘taking America to a dark and ugly place’ Senate GOP tries to defuse Trump border crisis Schumer rejects GOP proposal to address border crisis MORE (R-Ky.). The fact is that Asia’s appetite for the brown liquor from America and scotch from the United Kingdom has absorbed much of that market for years, so the Europeans were merely playing to emotion and a weak Republican leader. When it comes to Harley Davidson, President Reagan taxed Japanese motorcycles to protect an American institution.

Let me simplify. What this means for a six-pack of beer is a total of possibly 1.5 cents. And on a high-ticket item like a $300 million airplane from Boeing, it will be $25,000 dollars. 

The news about the change at the secretary of State’s office, the removal of Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump cannot blame policy of separating children on Obama North Korea looked to set up communications back channel through Kushner: report North America wins 2026 bid to host World Cup after lobbying from Trump MORE and the nomination of CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council US pulls out of UN Human Rights Council Negotiators must redouble efforts as clock ticks on NAFTA MORE, alters the State Department’s foreign policy leadership but also expands the Trump foreign policy doctrine. For too many years we have had predictable behavior and have been at a disadvantage. We have degraded our counter intelligence operations and left a group of negotiators in the diplomatic circles in charge. There is a need for diplomacy and diplomats but there needs to be a balance with our other capabilities including intelligence and military.

We have a woman, Gina Haspel, nominated to lead the CIA and she would be the first woman, if confirmed, to take the position. The Democrats can claim Republicans keep women down, but the opposite is true. If she is not confirmed, it will be because of Democratic obstruction. 

The House Intelligence Committee has concluded that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. It is a 150-page report and I recommend that everyone read it when it is available and ignore Rep.  Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House faces growing outcry over migrant family policies Schiff: ‘Deeply disturbing’ that FBI gave Nunes confidential info on Clinton's emails Schiff: White House using migrant kids’ grief and tears to build border wall MORE (D-Calif.) and the other Democrats who have nothing but narrative to offer. 

Meanwhile, all the Democrats have to offer is bring back tax-and-spend. They are not at the table for serious discussion and should simply be left out of the room so that the adults can execute the charge of running this country.  

Webb is host of “The David Webb Show” on SiriusXM Patriot 125, a Fox News contributor and a frequent television commentator. His column appears twice a month in The Hill.