The Anglo-Saxons have, among other shortcomings, bequeathed by former times when they were all-powerful, the delusion of believing in their impunity.
Whatever they do, it would never occur to them to think that others could use the same weapons; they never assume they could suffer retaliation or reprisals. Indeed, game theory, as well as strategic and geopolitical practice, teach that the weak have nothing to gain from using the weapons of the strong: It is said that what goes around comes around. It is thought that they must not go toe to toe, but find specific methods, like those used by David when facing Goliath.
Hence, today, the UK would not pursue the idea that the other Europeans could initiate steps to close the continental markets to them. And the US would not pursue the idea that other countries of the world may be unwilling to invest there, invest their money, or send their talents, and even let their citizens go on vacation, or work there.
Both believe that their partners need them so much that they will resign themselves to suffer their unilateral actions and beg them to accept a compromise.
In particular, that is what Trump hopes for: Like a good business tactician, he knows that, if he alone applies these measures, he will benefit from them; he will bring jobs back home while the rest will keep on importing American products and finance the U.S. deficit.
What if the Anglo-Saxons were wrong? And if the others did not resign themselves in the face of their overwhelming might? What if the rest of the world were to use the same weapons they do? If they were to come out of this mental dependence to which they are accustomed, Anglo-Saxon partners (and especially the most important ones, Europeans and Chinese) would understand that the weapons available to them are more formidable than ever.
For example, it would be sufficient, with regard to the United Kingdom, for other Europeans to close the door to British industrial or financial products, invoking the appropriate articles of the Treaty, for London to lose ground and give up. Similarly, it would be enough for Europeans and Chinese to join forces to apply the same protectionist measures against the United States that Trump has just taken against them for the US economy to collapse. It would mean the following: Prohibiting the access to European and Chinese territories of the citizens of the United States. Prohibiting European and Chinese companies from investing in the United States to re-export elsewhere in the world. Prohibiting European and Chinese banks from buying U.S. Treasury bills.
It is time for Europeans and Chinese not to tremble, and to threaten, in a credible way, May and Trump to implement proportionate retaliations. If the means of retaliation are credible and efficient, May and Trump can only take a big step backward, under pressure from the only people that they truly listen to, their billionaire friends. For that to happen, however, in Europe sufficiently committed people would be needed so that they want, can design, and implement such a policy.
Naturally, in terms of geopolitics, we are in danger of entering on a disastrous and suicidal course of action. Protectionism could start to go sideways ending in nationalism and war; and precisely if Europeans and Chinese do not do so, it is because they both know that no one has anything to gain from this suicidal course of action in retaliations.
Nevertheless, on our side, not to do so is to condemn ourselves to the worst-case scenario, for the sole benefit of outdated and obsolete powers. To do so is to create the conditions to stop this course of action and return to a controlled globalization subject to the rule of law.
Incidentally, it would not be the time, in France, to entrust the reins of power to some amateur…