In response to President Trump imposing tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, China implemented reciprocal tariffs on over 100 American-made goods, igniting fears of a trade war. The Onion provides a step-by-step guide of how trade wars begin, escalate, and affect economies.

STEP 1: Nation develops worldview centered on own unquestionable supremacy.

STEP 2: Some country’s leader isn’t given enough love in his youth and grows up mean, selfish, and in a constant search for adoration to fill the emptiness within him.

STEP 3: Devastating long-term financial repercussions weighed against benefits of a short-term political win.

STEP 4: Trade war formally declared when one nation sinks another’s shipping container.


STEP 5: Stock market reacts poorly, then positively, then poorly again, then however the hell it feels like reacting.

STEP 6: Nation’s consumers grapple with idea of buying products made by their incompetent fellow citizens.


STEP 7: Organized criminals begin illegally bootlegging soybeans into China.

STEP 8: Truce declared after one nation makes peace offering of one free bar of steel.


STEP 9: Trade war eventually settles down, and any resulting profits are absorbed into salaries of high-level executives.

STEP 10: You pay more for shittier things.