Moreover, the optics of slapping tariffs on allies while flip-flopping on the controversial Chinese technology company ZTE is devastating since it fails to differentiate between countries posing a legitimate threat to the United States and those that do not.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to soothe the frustrations of his Group of Seven (G7) counterparts over the 25 per cent steel and 10 per cent aluminium tariffs that Washington imposed on Mexico, Canada and the European Union this week.
"She said the USA and United Kingdom and European Union are close national security allies and we recognize the importance of the values of open and fair trade across the world". During the visit, some 50 new contracts were signed between French and Russian companies, including a deal between Russian energy company Novatek and Total, which was just forced to abandon its business in Iran due to US sanctions.
The real threat China presents to the USA economy and US businesses is not a trade imbalance, but unfair trade practices such as discriminatory market access, including foreign ownership restrictions, forced technology transfers as a condition of doing business in China, and outright intellectual property theft.
Before last week's trade actions by the US, the European Union and Canada had been granted temporary exemptions.
"I think trade can dovetail into this in a positive way if the president is able to challenge these trading practices and allow Americans to export freely around the world", Mr. Kudlow said.
"I disagree with this decision", House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement seen by the network.
Both Ryan and McConnell were publicly critical of Trump's tariffs in recent days.
"The fact that the president has moved forward with these tariffs is not just going to hurt Canadian jobs". The EU has threatened to retaliate with duties on everything from American motorcycles to bourbon.
"We need to demonstrate that as a sovereign nation we're in charge of our affairs and we can't accept that someone damages our economy for reasons that make no sense", said Morneau, who insisted he doesn't know the American motivation behind the tariffs.
Whether in a real war or in a trade war, waving the flag is politically popular in a way that is hard to understand to those who live through the ultimate consequences.
At the weekend, China - which is not directly impacted by last week's announcement - warned that all trade talks between Beijing and Washington would be void if the U.S. sets up trade sanctions.
"It's possible, I don't deny that", Larry Kudlow, the White House economics chief, told Fox News yesterday.
It all may be part the president's political campaign to convince supporters he's making America great, says Canadian economist Matilde Bombardini, now working at California's Stanford University. "We need to be very clear exactly how absurd this USA action is", she said.
Trudeau will start the week off with a series of meetings that are likely to focus on the tariff issue.
Friction in Whistler could telegraph what may be an even tenser meeting when the leaders of the G7, including Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, hold talks next week in Quebec.