CWR > Volume 6(1); 2020 > Prof. Malawer's US-China Trade Commentary
Research Paper
Published online: March 1, 2020

Trump, Litigation, and Threats: From Queens to the World Stage

Stuart S. Malawer
George Mason University
3351 Fairfax Dr., MS 3B1, Arlington, Virginia 22201 USA.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Donald Trump’s methods of operating and conducting national security and foreign policy are exactly the same as they would be if he was engaged in real estate transactions and deals. To Donald Trump, trade policy, foreign policy, and national security policy are transactions and zero-sum games. My thesis is straightforward: One can draw a straight line from Donald Trump’s ruthless mode of operating in the contentious world of New York real estate to his operations on the world stage today. From Queens to the world stage, there is a straight line from using threats and litigation to avoid commercial and contractual obligations to using threats and litigation in conducting the US foreign and trade policy. Especially as to policies pertaining to the World Trade Organization and the US–China trade relations. His weaponization of tariffs and economic sanctions is now being wielded as a principal tool of the US foreign policy for the first time since the early 1930s.

Keywords : Trade Wars, Tariff Wars, Economic Sanctions, Trump’s Real Estate, Trump’s Domestic Litigation, Foreign Policy by Tariff Threats, National Security, §232 National Security Tariffs, WTO, Dispute Resolution System

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