With Trade War Lost, Trump Throws Last Punch In China Fight

With Trade War Lost, Trump Throws Last Punch In China Fight

The consensus narrative around the Trump administration's final push to squeeze Beijing ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration revolves around the notion that Trump wants to "cement his tough-on-China" credentials. I'll confess I'm a bit dubious. For one thing, Trump's credentials are pretty solid in that area. After all, he spent two of his four years in office perpetrating a manifestly quixotic trade war against the world's second-largest economy. That battle culminated in what was supposed to be
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4 thoughts on “With Trade War Lost, Trump Throws Last Punch In China Fight

  1. These last minute moves regarding trade policy with China remind one about the incompetence versus malice framework for understanding the motivations of an actor. I was brought up to challenge my thinking such that if I thought an actor was acting with malice, I was not presuming good will. Malice was always far less frequent than what we believed. This we were told by those wiser than us.

    I’m older now and trying to be flexible in my thinking, to adapt to my environment. I’m working hard to accept that we live in a country where both incompetence and malice can be simultaneously accepted as the motivations of an actor.

    That our elites have been so sanguine about our trade practices with China, and more generally, the lack of investment in the future, productive capacity of our economy, is all we need to know.

    I’m thinking about starting an ETF with this investment theme: “America, born from colonies, and to colonies we will return.”

  2. And as Trump railed against the seemingly incompetent failure to clean up the forests in California someone pointed out that those forests were mostly federal properties…… ooops. Another foot in mouth.

  3. Yeah I don’t understand the reasoning. I can only speculate there’s some sort of personal benefit, but have no idea what that could be. Regardless, I expect China will give Biden the benefit of time and attempt a conciliatory relationship, especially with Dems holding the WH and Congress. The Chinese are not stupid; they know Trump’s support is dwindling and retaliation for his actions at this point would likely only serve to increase contempt for China. I personally think they will evaluate whether the new admin is more sympathetic and willing to compromise. I don’t necessarily think Biden will reverse fully reverse the measures imposed (nor should he), but he will probably be more amenable, relaxing certain measures and granting more licenses. In summary: I don’t think retaliatory measures from China are coming (in the near term, anyway).

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