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Trump’s War With China Has Only Just Started - 21st Sep
The Chinese know something has to give – big time – in their position on trade and investment rules. Secondly, the problem the Chinese have is they have no idea what the administration’s fundamental position is. So the levels of complexity from a Chinese negotiating perspective are massive. In my judgement we have a long way to go yet and I think the Chinese view is that this will get a lot worse before it gets better. But what people underestimate the significance of in Washington, is that the Chinese have politics too; it’s not just a western political reality. The whole notion of backing down – or being seen to back down within Chinese politics to US pressure – is almost as politically unsaleable in Beijing as it is in the Trump heartland. So the bottom line: China wants this dispute resolved as quickly as possible but it is a misreading to assume the Chinese are politically desperate to resolve it.
I don’t see any off-ramp. There is going to have to be a lot of pain before anybody backs away. The trade hawks around Trump seem to think that China’s economy is now so wobbly that sanctions will push the country over the edge, and the Chinese will coming begging for mercy. They seem to have no idea what it would mean for the global financial system if they did succeed in taking down China.
Are China and the US doomed to conflict? - 23rd Aug
To avoid the war that research has found frequently occurs between an established nation and a rapidly rising power, a common basis must be discovered. A constructive realism for a common purpose must be formulated. Striking out collaboratively against climate change is also helpful. Truly working towards a jointly acceptable set of solutions should be the goal of both China and the US. Furthermore, taking a leap of faith to try to attain a dream for all of humankind, not just the Chinese Dream or American Dream is a challenge for all of us.
Chinese Tech Isn’t the Enemy - 6th Aug
America is rightly concerned about spying and intellectual-property theft. But it risks overcompensating—to the detriment of U.S. companies.For years, the U.S. was unsuccessful in stopping the Chinese government’s blatant stealing of U.S. intellectual property and its industrial policy that seeks to make the country world-class in key technologies like artificial intelligence and semiconductors—in part for China’s own growing and menacing military to use. The U.S. thereby inadvertently helped China, including its People’s Liberation Army, accelerate its development of these technologies. But in correcting this, the U.S. now risks cutting off too much technology cooperation with the world’s second-largest economy, which would harm U.S. interests more than China’s. The goal should be to protect a few key technologies and come down hard on China’s illegal practices, rather than cutting off technology cooperation generally.
Building a wall to keep America’s technology in and others’ out is not the right analogy—rather, America should snip the few bad strands in the otherwise positive web of international tech innovation.
Has Xi Jinping Passed His Peak? - 30th Jul
China, for all its problems, seems set on an inexorable rise to superpower status to rival the US. On multiple benchmarks – economic, technological, military and diplomatic – Beijing is making rapid advances. We are a long way, in other words, from peak China. But that begs another question which has been sweeping Beijing over the northern summer – whether we are now witnessing peak Xi Jinping. Xi plans to be in office for many years to come. To ensure he stays there, maybe he will have to share some power along the way.
China is pursuing “opinion deterrence” - 20th Jul
The biggest worry to Beijing—and this goes back to the general influence picture—is not what Americans think about China but what Chinese think about China and what Chinese think about the Party. One of the changes in a recent important Communist Party meeting was putting the body that manages China’s relationship with Hollywood more firmly under Party control. In China, there is the Party and the government. They’re interlinked and they’re related, but they’re not the same thing. The Party serves above the government.
Xi Jinping’s Vision for Global Governance - 12th Jul
What is startlingly new about Xi’s remarks at the Central Conference was his call for China now to “lead the reform of the global governance system with the concepts of fairness and justice.” This is by far the most direct statement of China’s intentions on this important question offered so far. The world should buckle up and get ready for a new wave of Chinese international policy activism.
The future of the global order is in a state of flux. China has a clear script for the future. It’s time for the rest of the international community to develop one of its own.
Trade wars, like the current one between the US and China are easy to stop but hard to stop. Going from trade to politics is quick. Bad internal politics could result when trying to deescalate the situation. On the US-China trade imbalance and IP issues, only time will determine whether just solutions present themselves. Regarding IP, a broad approach focusing on historical US-China relations going back hundreds of years, is the Chinese mindset.
How To Avoid World War III in Asia - 6th Jul
World War II still hasn’t ended, yet World War III already looms. The recent discovery of large oil and gas reserves under the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands islands has heated up the situation dramatically, with military budgets surging, and warships, coast guards and fighter jets scrambling to assert control over the commons. Meanwhile, tensions on the Korean Peninsula have drastically escalated into the world’s most dangerous flashpoint over the past seven decades precisely because the Korean War itself was never formally ended in 1953. A multipolar world can be an unstable landscape of security dilemmas and proxy competitions à la Europe before World War I, or it can be a stable balance of power in which sufficient distance among poles and respect for their spheres of influence generates a dynamic equilibrium. If we want this kind of lasting global stability, we must permit technocrats to make the peace first.
The flattening- and by some global measures, inverting- bond yield curve suggests that the market thinks that momentum could be fragile. Inflation is a potential concern, which is one thing tariffs could help fuel. It’s something that, in the worst case scenario, could bring this cycle to an early end.