You are inventing economic points that are just wrong. You started out arguing against the term "trade war", now we are arguing about the value of international trade in general.
I don't want to argue with you about well-known economic principles.
I don't think you can, because I think you only understand them on a superficial level as dogma. It is not easy to go beyond the vagaries of general economic language to analyze the way it translates into more tangible details of economic production, distribution, and consumption and the various choices people have of how to use their time and resources, and how those interact with financial commerce.
I am going to skip that subject that unless you say something interests or challenges me. It is obvious to me that trade in general improves economic output and productivity. If you disagree with this, OK... but it doesn't interest me to argue something so basic.
If you're not willing to discuss it, then don't assert it.
This is interesting enough....
There is a strong argument that the best thing for the planet would be for all humans to go back to a pre-industrial time. Is this what you are arguing for? I would probably agree that this is best for the planet. It doesn't mean that I am willing to give up conveniences like cars, electricity and indoor plumbing.
No, you are expressing a common fallacy that historical periods exist in coherent wholes and that any form of economic change would require a radical break from the current time period to return to a previous one or go into a completely new one. Think evolution, not revolution.
The question about what is "best for us as a species" is subjective.
Not really. There is a certain amount of leeway for people to waste resources in the short term without it causing immediate problems. However, over time resource waste adds up and there is no way to escape the consequences as they build up generation after generation. This problem was very clear when people realized that the long half-life of radioactive waste meant that ash from nuclear power plants would be piling up for hundreds of centuries before it would be safe to handle.
Nuclear waste is just one example, though. If you are good at analyzing patterns in terms of the net effects of their cycles over a very long term, you can see how certain practices are not sustainable if they are maintained from generation to generation.
When we choose unsustainable economic habits, we are dooming future generations to figure out ways to change things that we could never muster the will power to change ourselves.
I like being an engineer... it suits me. I like traveling in an airplane. I like to buy socks rather than knitting them myself. I like to be able to buy a TV or a stereo for a small fraction of my income and use the rest of the money for airplane tickets (something that brings meaning to my life).
Great, so you must realize that it would be more efficient to build machines to produce things more locally and reduce total shipping rather than produce them across the ocean and ship them in containers to various ports?
Can you acknowledge that the only reason it is more efficient to make things in Asia and ship them to the US and Europe is because of huge wage gaps that make it too expensive to produce things where they are distributed? Does that make sense to you?
There are people who are not doing anything very productive in the US who could be producing things locally instead of shipping them in from Asia, and it would reduce a lot of waste and CO2 emissions to do so.
All of the things that I enjoy about my modern American life; cheap electronics, mass produced clothing, exotic fruits (avocados don't grow where I live), bumming around on the internet.... stem from an economy that is based on trade.
Ok, but if eating exotic fruits proved to be unsustainable and cause climate change that destroy quality of life for future generations, are you willing to sacrifice those future people for your own indulgence?
Giving these things up would likely be better for the planet. The might be what is "best for the species" although as an individual human, I would like to have the freedom to decide for myself what is valuable in my life.
The invisible hand constrains that freedom. You may wish you had the freedom to fly a helicopter everywhere but you accept the invisible hand's prohibition of that option.
The invisible hand is currently being limited by government policies that reduce competitive pressures to manage and save money. When the economy crashes, huge numbers of people would find themselves in Great Depression circumstances if it wouldn't for all these tricky interventions governments enact. I'm not arguing that it's good to let people die off in another Great Depression, but we should realize that this socialism that maintains our purchasing power is artificial and we should put more effort into reducing resource waste because it is bad for the future of the planet and thus our species as well as others.
Tariffs are a small tool for stimulating more local production and reducing resource waste by making better use of local labor. If you only see it as a drag on the global economy, you're looking at it from the wrong perspective.