Did you miss how China is trying to recruit our allies to work against the U.S. in the trade war? The war is not looking good. We have no coherent, intelligent people crafting national policy. China does. The articles below discuss what our approach SHOULD be, but when we’re penalizing our own allies with tariffs instead of enlisting them to make China play fair, we’re just shooting ourselves in the [unmentionables] for media attention and voter base emotions. There is a real case to be made that China has stolen intellectual property, erected barriers to entry, manipulated commodity prices and currency, etc. But the West has been seduced by the “potential” and “size” of the China market, and has no will for concerted joint effort – to date.
Relevant anecdote: 30 years ago, a businessman I knew was trying to sell high technology pumps into China. After much travel and negotiation he sold a pump for a pilot project. As in one (1). Then, nothing. A couple of years later, he’s in Japan and hears from one of their trade reps that they’re interested again. “Why haven’t I heard from you in two years?” He asks. The honest answer: “We couldn’t duplicate your performance when we built them.” Turns out my friend had proprietary metallurgy and plastic/polymers in the seals that were non-trivial (at that time) to replicate. I have similar stories from others who knew enough to put ‘dead man’ switches inside the chips they designed, which had to be activated in a particular way, or the chip was useless. Only then would they offshore chip production. There are more examples, but what is real is that:
1. China does NOT trade fair. and…
2. The U.S., as currently run, is not competent enough to win a Trade War with China.
I do believe one could be waged, but we’d need Kissinger in his prime, flanked by real, competent economic advisors and diplomats to do so. And a President in office for 8 years with a cooperative Congress. In other words, not very likely.