When Columbus came to the Western Hemisphere, he was in search of spices. He didn’t find any. What he and subsequent explorers did find were: potatoes, tomatoes, sunflowers, eggplants, avocados, sweet potatoes, peanuts, cashews, pineapples, papaya, guava, yams, cassava, pumpkins, vanilla, beans, squash, chili peppers and chocolate (not to mention tobacco and syphilis) - all previously unknown to Europeans.

When Columbus came to the Western Hemisphere, he was in search of spices.  He  didn’t find any.  What he and subsequent explorers did find were: potatoes, tomatoes, sunflowers, eggplants, avocados, sweet potatoes, peanuts, cashews, pineapples, papaya, guava, yams, cassava, pumpkins, vanilla, beans, squash, chili peppers and chocolate (not to mention tobacco and syphilis) - all previously unknown to Europeans.  
In return, the Native Americans got wheat, rice, beef, coffee, tea, dairy products and horses (not to mention measles, mumps, hepatitis and smallpox).  
Today the world is a better place because of the mixing of foods from different hemispheres.  What would Mexican food be without beef, Italian food without tomatoes, African food without cassava, Greek food without eggplant, Thai food without peanut sauce?  All humanity benefits from international trade. Free trade produces cheaper prices for all and allows countries to specialize in products they can produce most economically.
Change though is difficult.  Countries must recognize their strengths and weaknesses and adjust their policies to promote their strengths.  Attempting to reinvent the past with artificial remedies is foolish and will have unintended consequences.  
Trying to bring back industrial jobs with tariffs will cost agricultural jobs as other countries put up tariffs against our exports.  The biggest cause of decreasing industrial jobs in the U.S. is not foreign labor, it is automation.  True, Mexican labor is cheaper than American labor, but robotic labor is even cheaper.  Ultimately it is robots that will bring manufacturing back to America, unfortunately not to the people who lost jobs in the first place.
The new administration, has abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) handing a big win to China to shape the direction of world free trade which will proceed without us.  
Recently on a visit to South Carolina, President Trump touted the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for being “built in the USA.”  He neglected to mention that the wings are actually built in Japan and Korea; the forward and center fuselage in Japan and Italy respectively; the engines in England; the landing gear in Japan, Canada and England; the passenger doors in France; the Cargo doors in Sweden; and the movable horizontal stabilizers in Australia.
Pieces of it were built all over the world and shipped to the U.S. for assembly, and the final product will be sold to countries all over the world.
More recently the president announced tariffs on solar panels, washing machines, steel and aluminum.  While he claims this is to promote American jobs, far more jobs will be lost than produced. Tariffs will raise the price of solar panels and the lion's share of solar jobs are in installation, not in manufacturing.  This will raise the price to homeowners of going solar which will cost more installation jobs than it creates in manufacturing.
The real reason behind these tariffs is probably the president’s promise to save coal-mining and manufacturing jobs.  The buggy industry could have used a leader like Trump when it faced competition from automobiles a century ago.  Instead of fighting to save the 50,000 coal mining jobs left in America we should be supporting the 250,000 jobs the solar industry has created.
Tariffs on steel and Aluminum may cause industries that use these, like the auto industry, to move their operations overseas in order to avoid the higher cost of raw materials. Honda, Toyota and Nissan all build some of their cars here.  They may now rethink the wisdom of that.
What is needed in this country is far-sighted leaders, willing to embrace the future, not leaders staring into the rear view mirror and dreaming of the “good old days.”

James Rhoades writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.