General Goes Nuclear in Support of Section 232

Written by Tim Triplett

Those who believe unfairly traded steel imports pose a serious threat to America’s security have a high-ranking ally in retired Brigadier General John Adams. In an Oct. 16 op/ed in The Hill, titled “North Korea is Distracting from America’s Steel Import Crisis,” Adams argues that the Section 232 trade case should rate headlines comparable those on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

“For months, news outlets have faithfully covered the latest updates on Kim Jong Un and North Korea’s continued nuclear tests. While it is critical for the public to be made aware of these developments, we must not let it distract from the many other ongoing issues impacting national security. The Section 232 probe into the national security impact of steel imports is one such urgent matter that has not received the attention it deserves,” Adams wrote.

The national security of the United States is currently at risk due to the flood of cheap foreign steel imports from countries whose governments subsidize their steel industries, he said. More than 14,000 steel industry jobs were lost in 2015 and 2016 alone, and 48,000 have been eliminated since 2000, due to unfair foreign competition.

Even more concerning is the impact steel imports may have on the nation’s defense, he wrote. As steel factories close in the United States, the military and other vital industries become increasingly reliant on foreign suppliers. Moreover, the loss of steelmaking capacity risks our ability to support our nation’s infrastructure.

“Eliminating our ability to source steel necessary for armor, ships, tanks and other weapons jeopardizes our military’s ability to keep Americans safe,” Adams wrote. “Make no mistake, if we lose our domestic steelmaking capacity, we will be dependent on potentially hostile foreign governments to make the steel necessary for our military equipment and homeland infrastructure.”

President Trump’s failure to move on Section 232 is troubling, Adams said, urging the administration to take swift and decisive action. “As a retired general in the U.S. Army, I find the administration’s lack of urgency on this matter to be extremely concerning. In an increasingly unpredictable and volatile global climate, we cannot afford to sit idly on this issue.”

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