By threatening Canada on trade, Trump risks the greatest defense partnership in US history

Donald Trump joins a hostile G7 meeting in Quebec City, an old friendship is on the line.

Relations between the US and other G7 nations have waxed and waned, but since WWII, Americans and Canadians have slept soundly under the protection of a friendly US-Canadian bond that spans 5,500 miles of border, massive trade ties, and deeply intertwined militaries. When Trump insisted on taxing Canadian steel and aluminum last month, officials in Canada were taken aback. Even more astounding was Trump’s justification of the tariffs as a matter of national security, which Canada’s defense minister Harjit Sajjan described as “literally absurd.”

Canada stands between the US and any military threats approaching from the north—as in airborne attacks from Russia (during the Cold War), or North Korea. The US and Canada face risks together, intermingling military defenses, collaborating on intelligence, and even sharing a secret mountain lair in NORAD—the only major military operation in the world that reports to two countries.

“These tariffs are an affront to the long standing security partnership between Canada and the United States,” said Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. In particular, he said, the shift insulted thousands of Canadians who have “died alongside their American bothers-in-arms, comrades-in-arms.”

Can Canada and US make it through this? Some fear that the tariffs could affect this vital military allegiance. “If you feel that your closest ally is not your friend, and is taking punitive action against you, you’re going to rethink your security relationship as well,” said Kenneth Holland, the former president for the Association for Canadian Studies in the US.

Canada: The largest export market for 36 US states

To understand the dangers to the security relationship between the two countries, it is important to understand their economic relationship. Overall, Canada is the US’s second-largest trading partner after China, and the largest market for US agriculture. While US trade with China dominates headlines, Canada is a more important partner for most US states:

Major industries in both countries, and particularly the auto industry, are so integrated that executives are now scrambling to reexamine their supply chains to suss out how tariffs on products crossing the US-Canada border might impact them. US auto companies have “built seamless supply chains across Canada and the US,” said Nick Anstett, a director at Albright Stonebridge Group, a DC consultancy. From Windsor, Ontario to Detroit, Michigan is “really, for the industry, one common belt of development,” he said.

“Negotiating with a gun to someone’s head doesn’t usually work”

The Trump steel tariffs are seen by many trade experts as an attempt to get leverage in NAFTA talks. Canada, Mexico, and the US are in the midst of protracted renegotiation of the long-standing trade pact, with Canada balking at the US’s insistence on a “sunset clause” that dissolves the agreement after five years, and at an opening up of Canada’s protected dairy industry.

This may not be the right tactic. “Negotiating with a gun to someone’s head doesn’t usually work, especially when it is in public,” says Carlos Gutierrez, former secretary of commerce under George W. Bush.

US and Canadian militaries share a secret mountain lair

The threat of nuclear annihilation from Communist Russia helped forge the US-Canada military relationship.

Since the WWII ended, the US and Canada have melded troops, equipment, and military strategies, creating a mammoth invisible shield to protect both countries against the threat of nuclear destruction. During the Cold War, the two countries created a string of radar outposts along Canada’s frozen northern border. They also built the unprecedented North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, which celebrated its 60th anniversary weeks before Trump’s tariffs.

Bloggers he knows not what He has done and the consequences of his irrational decisions Only God can help us now.

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