Think a real-life version of the movie “Mean Girls,” according to one business writer.
Brendan Greeley, appearing on MSNBC’s “Velshii & Ruhle” Friday, explained how the 2004 Lindsay Lohan comedy is the perfect way to understand the complex financial and geopolitical issues associated with Trump’s decision.
“It’s all a question of how much power the U.S. has in the international trade system,” Greeley said. “Up until about 2000, the U.S. was, as far as international trade goes, Regina George at the beginning of the movie ‘Mean Girls.’”
“We set the rules, everybody else lived by the rules. We chose who our friends were. Japan tried to keep the yen devalued. They tried to make ‘fetch’ happen, we said stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen. They did what we asked.”
Things changed around 2000, Greeley said, when “we invited a new pretty girl into the group.” That would be China, aka Lohan’s character in the movie.
“We said we can trade with China because it’s going to be good for us. … That did not work out as we planned,” Greeley said. “The Lindsay Lohan character …gains power, and she’s not really a good person in the middle of that movie. That’s where we are with China. … The question is, how do we respond, right?”
Trump’s tariff tirade is exactly the wrong approach according to Greeley and the movie.
“This tariff is lashing out in an indiscriminate way. It’s a way to prove our power again, and like Regina George in the middle of that movie, we don’t have the power we think we do,” he said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the year “Mean Girls” was released. It was 2004, not 2014.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.