Donald Trump has effectively killed the Paris Climate Accords, neutered the UN, all but cratered NATO, and now he has murdered the World Trade Organization.
The United States has spent two years chipping away at the World Trade Organization, criticizing it as unfair, starving it of personnel and disregarding its authority, as President Trump seeks to upend the global trade system.
This week, the Trump administration is expected to go one step further and effectively cripple the organization’s system for enforcing its rules — even as Mr. Trump’s widening trade war has thrown global commerce into disarray and another tariff increase on Chinese goods set for next weekend could send markets reeling.
Over the past two years, Washington has blocked the W.T.O. from appointing new members to a crucial panel that hears appeals in trade disputes. Only three members are left on the seven-member body, the minimum needed to hear a case, and two members’ terms expire on Tuesday. With the administration blocking any new replacements, there will be no official resolution for many international trade disputes.
The loss of the world’s primary trade referee could turn the typically deliberate process of resolving international disputes into a free-for-all, paving the way for an outbreak of tit-for-tat tariff wars.
It could also signal the demise of the 24-year-old World Trade Organization itself, since the system for settling disputes has long been its most effective part.
“The W.T.O. is facing its deepest crisis since its creation,” Phil Hogan, the European trade commissioner, told members of the European Parliament this year. If the rules governing international trade can no longer be enforced, “we’d have the law of the jungle.”
Mr. Trump has already embraced that scenario, wielding America’s economic power to press for better trade terms. He has sidestepped W.T.O. rules by imposing metal tariffs on allies like Canada, Europe and Japan, and by adding punishing levies to Chinese goods, prompting appeals to the global body for relief.
The president and his top advisers have long viewed the W.T.O. as an impediment to Mr. Trump’s promise to put “America First.” They say the organization, which insists that all of its members receive equal treatment, has prevented the United States from protecting its workers and exerting its influence as the world’s most powerful economy. They have also criticized the W.T.O. for emboldening China — whose economy boomed after it became a member in 2001 — while doing little to curb Beijing’s unfair trade practices.
The WTO is done. It has no enforcement power and no dispute-resolution ability, because Donald Trump killed it all. It's toast.
If we don't get rid of Trump in 2020, if he's re-elected, then the rest of the world will give up on us and they will start taking punitive action against us as befitting the rogue state we are. As bad as this decade was at the end, the 20's are going to be far, far worse.