Thursday, December 15, 2016

Trump Foreign Policy Fail-in-Waiting: China Won't Budge

Trump's "I know how to make a deal" doesn't work with China. Make a deal on Taiwan? China says I got your deal right here. It's called war.

The Chinese move very slowly, except when they're threatened.

The China that I've watched all these years, especially post-China-card, doesn't make quick moves because it doesn't have to. Allow capitalism to creep in over a couple of decades (and quietly chop off a few heads if someone gets too greedy), apply for WTO membership and eventually get it, raise or lower their currency but not so much as you'd notice it (except over time), and so on. They even built an island before any international body could to do anything about it. As for human rights, lock up a few highly symbolic figures, quietly release them and let them go seek asylum.

They govern by monolithicism. It works. Funny thing is, we do it, too. That's how we roll, too, except also with freaking big-ass armed forces.

Complain and China will start another island over there. It's what they do (or, as is in the papers today, they'll put anti-aircraft weapons on them). If there's hope in any of this it's that they aren't going to start World War III. That's Trump's job.

If there's any other hope it's that Trump, for all his bluster and his "Gee, I got a great idea! Let's fuck with them on Taiwan!", will make absolutely no headway at all on the "China Question," and we'll all have forgotten about it in a year, except for some article in Foreign Policy magazine or someplace called "Trump's China Efforts Stall."

And we can go back to practicing our Nazi salutes and planning the next attack on the First Amendment. Have a happy day!

Note. There's also some hope in his choice for ambassador to China. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad knows China, knows their leaders, and can help Trump cool his jets. Might even make quiet progress. It's how it's done, after all.

Note on currency manipulation. Trump loves to complain about China's currency manipulating that "rapes" our economy, but the Chinese yuan has strengthened as much as 30 percent over the past decade, as you can read about in the excellent U.S News report, also linked to above. China has done this partly as a response to IMF and U.S. pressure but also because its burgeoning middle class demands it. A strengthened yuan gives the Chinese increased purchasing power overseas, and though that stifles exports and encourages imports, it's required of a modern, expanding economy. Also, China has a labor shortage because of longstanding population-control efforts, and they need higher wages -- and more modern cities -- to attract new workers to manufacturing centers. You can't export if you can't manufacture.

Also, most of the IMF members manipulate their currencies, too.

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