Xi has been brilliant at playing Trump, plying him with flattery and short-term trade concessions and deflecting him from the real structural trade imbalances with China. All along, Xi keeps his eye on the long-term prize of making China great again. Trump, meanwhile, touts every minor victory as historic and proceeds down any road that will give him a quick sugar high.
What world are we in? One in which we’re going through three “climate changes” at once.
- We’re going through a change in the actual climate: Destructive weather events and the degradation of ecosystems are steadily accelerating.
.. while China hails globalization, it imposes a 25 percent tariff on imported cars (while America imposes only 2.5 percent) and 50-50 joint ventures and technology transfers for big companies that want to gain access to China’s giant market. But China gets away with it.
.. plowing government funds and research into commercializing 10 strategic industries while creating regulations and swiping intellectual property from abroad to make them all grow faster. These industries include
- electric vehicles,
- new materials,
- artificial intelligence,
- integrated circuits,
- quantum computing,
- 5G mobile communications, and
.. And Trump? On the change in the climate, he’s promoting coal over clean energy, like wind and solar, and has appointed climate-change deniers to all of his key environmental posts. While China is run by engineers, Trump doesn’t even have a science adviser.
.. “This will be wounding to one of America’s gems,” its institutions of higher education, Drew Faust, the president of Harvard, said to me. And it’s basically being done to cut taxes for the wealthy.
.. the Chinese are focused on the giant winds of change, and Trump is betting on his gut and a grab bag of tax cuts based on no take on the world, other than dubious trickle-down economics.
.. When you don’t know where you’re going any tax cut will get you there, any replacement for Obamacare will get you there, any wall will get you there, any trade concession will get you there.
.. I’m certain our economic system is better than theirs — in theory.
But China, with its ability to focus, is getting 90 percent out of its inferior system, and it has brought China a long way fast. And we, with too little focus, are getting 50 percent out of our superior system.