from The Internationalist and International Institutions and Global Governance Program

Global Agenda: The Roots of Trump’s Trade Rage

January 17, 2017

Blog Post

This blog post is part of a series entitled Global Agenda, in which experts will identify major global challenges facing President-Elect Trump, the options available to him, and what is at stake for the United States and its partners. This following post is authored by Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

For more than three decades, Donald Trump has made it clear that, if ever elected president, he would turn U.S. trade policy in a radically different direction. And he himself would be at the helm. “What I would do if elected president would be to appoint myself U.S. Trade Representative,” he wrote in his 2000 book The America We Deserve, when he was considering a run for president on the Reform Party ticket. “My lawyers have checked, and the president has this authority. I would take personal charge of negotiations…. Our trading partners would have to sit across the table from Donald Trump and I guarantee you the rip-off of the United States would end.”

More on:

International Organizations


United States

Now, against all odds, Trump is about to become the president of the United States, and he has the extraordinary opportunity to upend an elite consensus that has shaped America’s global strategy since the second World War.

In an article just published in Politico Magazine, I argue that Trump’s election indeed promises a new way forward that will be the most nationalist—and likely protectionist—that the United States has seen in nearly a century. The American political system—let alone the transnational elites now gathering in Davos, Switzerland—has not yet come to terms with just how massive the changes are likely to be.

Read "The Roots of Trump’s Trade Rage" by Edward Alden in Politico Magazine.