Skip to main content

Tsai Ing-wen Ulet Ifansasti/Stringer

A Bull Named Trump in a Shop Called China

With US President-elect Donald Trump’s help, the “Chinese Century” may arrive sooner than anyone expected. By openly engaging with Taiwan, pointlessly pillorying China, and dismantling the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trump is simultaneously provoking and empowering Asia's rising hegemon.

CAMBRIDGE – Some of US President-elect Donald Trump’s nastiest attacks have been directed at China. He has accused it of “raping” the United States with its trade policies, and of creating global warming as a “hoax” to undermine US competitiveness. Why, then, are many Chinese policy advisers and commentators sanguine about future US-China relations?

The reasoning seems to be that Trump is a businessman, and, to paraphrase US President Calvin Coolidge, the business of China is business. China, the thinking goes, can work with a swashbuckling deal-maker like Trump better than with a supposedly “ideological” Hillary Clinton.

Many people would be surprised to see Clinton categorized as an ideologue. And there is scant evidence to support the claim that businesspeople somehow embody pragmatism, given that so many powerful US business leaders are committed ideologues. The Koch brothers, for example, stubbornly cling to impractical and thoroughly debunked libertarian ideas, and numerous Fortune 500 CEOs instinctively side with Republicans, even though the US economy consistently performs better under Democratic administrations. And one should not forget Andrew William Mellon’s infamous and reckless advice to former US President Herbert Hoover on the eve of the Great Depression: “liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate farmers, liquidate real estate.”

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/qs4cmyI;
  1. drew47_Drew AngererGetty Images_trumpgiulianasmiling Drew Angerer/Getty Images

    Will Trump Be Removed from Office?

    Elizabeth Drew

    Assuming the US House of Representatives votes to impeach President Donald Trump, the fact remains that there are far fewer votes in the Senate than will be needed to convict him and remove him from office. But the willingness of Congress – including the Senate – to continue tolerating his dangerous conduct is now truly in question.

    0
  2. rudd9_Darrian TraynorGetty Images_climateprotestburningaustralia Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

    Unsustainable Australia

    Kevin Rudd

    Before the current conservative government came to power in 2013, Australia was well-positioned to make the necessary transition to a low-carbon economy. But now, the country is heading in reverse, and has already fallen behind most developed countries, and even China, on reducing emissions and building resilience against climate change.

    1

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions