From Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux on January 27, 2017
More than six years ago I wrote a short post entitled “If Real Wars Were Like Trade Wars…” I’d forgotten about it until David Neilson posted it today on his Facebook page. Vain creature that I am, I believe that this old post deserves to be replayed now. Here it is:
In response to this report at Reuters on the looming trade war between Uncle Sam and Beijing, [HT Andy Roth] I sent in this comment (which, as of 1:03pm EDT today, has yet to appear on the Reuters’ site):
If governments fought real wars like they fight trade wars, here’s how the transcript of the communiqués between the leaders of two warring nations would read:
Leader of Absurditopia (A): I say, leader of Stupidia – we demand that you stop occupying that contested strip of land. If you refuse, we’ll have no choice but to shoot our own citizens.
Leader of Stupidia (S): You don’t scare us! That land is ours. And if you do kill some of your own people, make no mistake that we will immediately – and just as cruelly – commence to killing our own people. Courage is our national motto!
(A): Ha! You’re bluffing. But I’m not. I’ve just courageously ordered my troops to mow down in cold blood ten percent of my fellow countrymen. Take that!
(S): How dare you attack you like that! You leave us no choice but to attack us. I am ordering the Stupidian army to slaughter 15 percent of innocent Stupidians here in Stupidia. How do you like them apples?!
(A): You are cruel and inhuman to damage us by killing your people. I hereby instruct all of my fellow Absurditopians to commit suicide! Only then will you nasty Stupidians get your proper comeuppance and we Absurditopians the justice that we are due!
(S): You can’t beat us, you Absurditopian you! Listen up. I’m ordering all of my fellow citizens – Stupidians all! – to commit suicide. We’ll see who emerges victorious!
Then a long, long silence.