A worker looks on as they load imported soybeans at a port in Nantong in China's eastern Jiangsu province AFP/Getty Images

The Gift that Keeps on Giving – to China

By abandoning the thoughtful policymaking of his predecessors in favor of a presidency modeled on reality TV, US President Donald Trump has failed to articulate anything resembling a credible national strategy. Trump’s threatened trade war with China, which is already benefiting that country at America's expense, is a case in point.

ATLANTA – All bad management, a business guru once remarked, is taught by example. Donald Trump is teaching a master class on how not to serve as America’s chief executive. By abandoning the thoughtful policymaking of his predecessors in favor of a presidency modeled on reality TV, Trump has failed to articulate anything resembling a credible national strategy.

Instead, what Trump has delivered during his first 16 months in office is a blow to American influence, most notably in Asia. Trump’s misguided economic nationalism – embodied in new sanctions, tariffs, and scuttled trade deals – has weakened the United States in the Pacific Rim, and created fresh opportunities for America’s adversaries. Trump’s threatened trade war with China is a case in point.

To be sure, China’s predatory economic practices must be challenged. In reneging on promises of reform and further market opening, President Xi Jinping is reinforcing the state sector against foreign competition while ignoring intellectual property theft. But confronting China will require allies; Trump’s approach will only leave the US more isolated.

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