Your editorial "A Protectionist President" (Sept. 15) implies that I was wrong to warn in the 1980s that Japanese mercantilism would rule the world, and you accuse me of false logic in suggesting that a tariff on imports of Chinese tires would actually be supportive of free trade. With regard to Japanese mercantilism, it seems evident to me that having been adopted and imitated by the Asian Tigers and more recently by China, it is indeed well on the way to ruling the world.
As for false logic, it is the Journal that errs by presuming that the conditions necessary to obtain the benefits of free trade exist where, in fact, they don't. The unilateral free trade the Journal propounds is only beneficial when there are no economies of scale, and markets are perfectly competitive. That is decidedly not the situation in the tire industry where competition is oligopolistic and the trading situation is more a zero-sum game than the win-win proposition you presume. In zero-sum situations it is well known that tit for tat is the strategy necessary to obtain cooperation from balky partners.
Click Here to Read the Letter at the Wall Street Journal.