China trade Trump

China Incredulous At Trump’s Tech Threat: ‘He’s Acting Like A Bully, Is America Really That Fragile?’

"U.S. is asking China to open its markets but creates obstacles for China, contravening principles of equality, fairness and reciprocity."

So let’s see how hard he pushes for this and in the process we’ll find out if lawmakers are prepared to take one more step down the road to authoritarianism by allowing Trump to start using “national security” as an excuse for anything and everything.

That’s what we said late last month when the Washington Post reported that Trump is apparently considering whether to try and get the Pentagon to pay for that  “tremendous”,  “big league”, “beautiful”, “see-through”,  monument to xenophobia he wants to build along the southern border.

The point, in case it isn’t clear enough there, is that this is what autocrats do – they start using “national security” to justify things that are absurd on their face. As usual, it’s not clear that Trump truly appreciates how dictatorial he sometimes comes across. While it’s certainly true that he admires dictators like Putin and Erdogan and Duterte and while he once accidentally quoted Mussolini, he’s such a dolt that one doubts he has the mental capacity to purposefully transform America into an autocracy. Rather, he seems to be stumbling down the road to becoming an autocrat by virtue of his narcissism, sense of entitlement and naïvety about separation of powers, and he’s dragging us all along with him.

Well in yet another testament to the notion that “national security” is going to be the excuse for everything he wants to get done because it’s often easier to expedite shit when you couch things in terms of “threats” and “emergencies”, Treasury is considering the use of an emergency law to punish China for IP theft. You probably heard about this yesterday and it’s characteristically alarming for what it says about the lengths Trump is willing to go to in order to push his populist agenda. Here’s Bloomberg:

The U.S. government is reviewing the possible use of a law known as the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, said Heath Tarbert, an assistant secretary in the agency’s international affairs office. Under the 1977 IEEPA law, President Donald Trump could declare a national emergency in response to an “unusual and extraordinary threat,” allowing him to block transactions and seize assets.

When was the last time you were walking down the street and said to yourself “my God, this China IP theft is an unusual and extraordinary threat!”? Yeah, never. Bloomberg goes on to note the following:

While investors have so far focused on Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on Chinese imports, new restrictions could deepen a slowdown in Chinese investments in the U.S. since Trump took office, hurting the ability of American companies to raise capital and holding down valuations.

And see there it is (again). Trump doesn’t care about American companies or about the American economy. Trump only cares about checking boxes on the list of promises he made while he was shrieking on the campaign trail. Amusingly, it’s not even clear that he would care about that if it weren’t for the fact that if he fails to deliver, it would make him look weak.

Speaking of “weak”, that’s what China thinks this shows. Overnight, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said restrictions on China’s investments in U.S. tech would represent “an improper use of national security considerations to limit the country’s access to American markets.”

“The U.S. is thinking and acting like a bully — only it can have high tech and others cannot,” Hua said, before suggesting that the “national security” excuse is an absurdly transparent ruse:

With regard to the high tech restrictions, they are citing the reason of national security, but their motivation is protectionism. Is the U.S. really that fragile?

U.S. is asking China to open its markets but creates obstacles for China, contravening principles of equality, fairness and reciprocity.

Right. But hey, what do you expect, right?




9 comments on “China Incredulous At Trump’s Tech Threat: ‘He’s Acting Like A Bully, Is America Really That Fragile?’

  1. KOYANNISQUASTI, 1. crazy life., 2. life in turmoil., life out of balance.

  2. KOYANNISQATSI, n. (from the Hopi language)

    Life out of balance, totally.

    Just my thought.

  3. Anonymous

    China has a long history of staggering theft of intellectual property and bullying American companies that set up shop in China. Like the Mafia, they demand a ‘Piece of the action’.

    • > Like the Mafia, they demand a ‘Piece of the action’.

      You mean like what the IRS does to anyone that sets up shop in the US? US demands “a piece of the action” to the tune of 35-40%. At least the tax in china for most foreign companies is zero. So tell us again which gov’t is really “like the Mafia”?

      • It all goes into the “kitty” to keep the country afloat — bills to pay, things to buy, roads to fix, clean the air, wash the water, trim the parks, wash the monuments, fight CRIME,

        • and alot for the bloated military and bloated salaries/pensions of fat politicians.

    • An enlightened and historical perspective from a hedge fund mgr now living the good life in NZ:

      “The US government are hooting and panting that the Chinese are stealing their intellectual property forgetting context and history. What intellectual property the US has is likely not worth stealing.”

      A bit of hypocrisy revealed therein. UK said same about US in the last century until US tech largely surpassed UK, much like China tech is now surpassing US tech in numerous fields today.

      “Like Japan before them and the US before them, China is on this path towards empire-dom. In the next decade their economy will be triple the size of the US.”

  4. monkfelonious

    You finally got it right; comparing the Flaming Pumpkin to Il Duce. The only difference is that Benito was more intelligent.

  5. And to QE programs that boost the rich and their assets
    … all on the poor and middle class’ dime.

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