This is my first contribution for Crush The Street under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump — and already, the controversies are rolling in! Of course, this is nothing new. Donald Trump has, and probably always will be, a controversial figure. Indeed, the President relishes the spotlight, and is unafraid to tackle any problem or obstacle.
He’ll need all the vigor he can muster as he sets off to execute his grand campaign promise of “America First.” To recap, America First is a political and economic policy. Taking a sharp turn away from previous administrations’ globalist agendas, President Donald Trump will only engage and invest American resources towards matters that directly affect our country. For economic policy specifically, the President seeks to bring jobs back from overseas, bolster our lagging manufacturing base, and aggressively call out foreign partners who don’t abide by fair trade practices.
Ideologically, this appears like a natural extension of common sense. After all, other countries seek to promote their interests first, so why not “America First?” But in actuality, the challenges are far more severe, and can contradict the lay meaning of America First.
A prime example is the recent deal with the U.S. Army and Sig Sauer. On Friday, the Army ended a decade-long competition to replace the Beretta M9 sidearm. The Sig Sauer P320 — which features a modular handgun system or MHS — beat out offerings from Beretta, FN America, Glock, and most notably, Smith & Wesson, which is now traded under the name American Outdoor Brands Corp. (NASDAQ:AOBC).
The deal with Sig Sauer might seem like a slap in the face. First of all, Sig Sauer is a German brand, operated under Luke & Ortmeier Gruppe. Let’s just say that the American military industrial complex has an underlying rivalry with the Germans. Second, there are few things more American than Smith & Wesson. Other than French fries and donuts, nothing else embodies the can-do Yankee spirit.
While this may appear like a matter Donald Trump would fight given its surface-level contradiction of the America First economic policy, deeper down, the Sig Sauer deal is an example of what would make America great again. Sure, the U.S. military industrial complex is not receiving a native firearm. However, Sig Sauer — though very much German — has a subsidiary in New Hampshire. And the Army’s P320? Made by American hands, right here in America.
Yeah, the Germans are going to ultimately get the vast majority of that revenue stream. However, attacking the Sig Sauer deal would kill American jobs. It now becomes a balancing act — how does Donald Trump approach America First? Does he go after the top, and kill any foreign investment? Or does he let that slide, and frame the discussion as a channel by which American jobs are saved?
The irony of America First is that we must depend on foreign countries to make that native economic policy work. This is the same argument about Japanese cars — one of Donald Trump’s favorite campaign topics. Sure, the money is going to Japan, but so many Japanese automakers have substantial operations right here in the U.S. Because of their might, Japan in turn is one of the biggest job creators for America! So attacking Japan is attacking American jobs — good American jobs that are both industrial and innovation based.
Now, I understand that the America First message resonates among Donald Trump’s core supporters. But now that he is President, I think we have to reconsider what America First really means. The actual execution of it will likely be far more different than what was initially promised.