As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

China Backs Down to Trump

For the whole time I’ve been a reporter in Washington, about two decades, the common “wisdom” has been that you have to carefully kiss China’s ass so as not to disturb markets, cause it to “retaliate” through trade or by “calling in our debt,” and so as to turn China into a democracy.

Meantime China has done what it wants – slapping tariffs on our goods, manipulating its currency, stealing our intellectual property, repressing its people, and illegally seizing territory in the South China Sea.

And as usual, we keep convincing ourselves that we can turn expansionist dictatorships into Jeffersonian democracies. Western leaders and elite always have the conceit of thinking so well of themselves that they assume everyone must be like them deep inside, or aspire to be.

China operates by force, and understands force. President Trump understands human nature, and the nature of our adversaries, far better than any think-tank Ph.D. He knows what China will respond to. Threats, and tough action.

Trump and Xi Jinping

Sure, the entire State Department and the whole Washington press corps pissed its pants when Trump assessed tariffs on Chinese goods.

And so did Xi Jinping.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Chinese President Xi Jinping promised foreign companies greater access to China’s financial and manufacturing sectors, pledging Beijing’s commitment to further economic liberalization amid rising trade tensions with the U.S.

In a speech that officials had billed as a major address, Mr. Xi said Tuesday that plans are underway to accelerate access to the insurance sector, expand the permitted business scope for foreign financial institutions and reduce tariffs on imported automobiles and ownership limits for foreign car companies.

Throughout his 40-minute address, Mr. Xi never mentioned the trade friction with the U.S. or President Donald Trump. His remarks seemed designed to offer some policy initiatives, if not concessions, while drawing a contrast with President Trump’s “America First” agenda and portraying China as a steady global partner committed to the international trade order.

“In a world aspiring for peace and development, the Cold War and zero-sum mentality look even more out of place.” Mr. Xi told the Boao Forum, a government-backed gathering of business and political leaders on the tropical island of Hainan.

China is no partner to any global order. China and the United States are locked in a decades-long struggle for world hegemony and influence. That is why Xi warns about not engaging in a “Cold War.” Because he knows he has created one, and he wants to win it.

6 Responses to China Backs Down to Trump

  1. Just as the business of America is business, so it is in China, too.
    Without a free and fair trade with American interests, the Chinese could find a crimp in their treasury that wouldn’t be good for their future.
    No matter how a country runs their government – republic, democracy, or dictatorship, the people who fuel the economy are the true force behind the man/woman in charge.
    MrTrump is comfortable dealing with people around the world, knows their weaknesses and their strengths. There isn’t (wasn’t) any of the many candidates for POTUS who could have pulled this off or even tried to do it, except MrTrump.
    We can all picture him in our minds standing on his porch with a shotgun in his arms shouting “..get off my lawn.” and the bad guys scattering. Every time he asserts himself, we feel a little safer.
    He’s doing what we elected him to do.

  2. I’ve never understood why the U.S. was afraid of China. All they do is flood our markets with cheap, poorly made goods that consumers keep buying and replacing. Why no U.S. president ever stood up to them is incomprehensible. Just because you’re getting screwed, doesn’t mean you should like it and get used to it.

  3. Two points: 1. Excellent assessment of the situation, Keith; 2. Trump is light years ahead of the Washington establishment and he proved it once again with the China trade challenge.

  4. China’s powers that be need to tread carefully here. The base of their power is their successful economy. They have not suffered a pull back in growth since they have been in power. They quiver when the economic growth picture is not multiples of the rest of the world.
    Beat them economically, and you beat them entirely.

  5. It was bill Clinton who enabled China to become the world economic power. He brought them into the WTO and had a hand in bringing investment into China via Walmart. Remember that Hillary was on the board at Walmart for some years.