T Nation

Trump: The Second Year


#2063

I trust nothing that China does. I think they are the actual great geopolitical threat of our age, and we have every chance of losing to them.

Anyone who celebrates Chinese policy can be hanged with that rope.


#2064

To be fair, China’s policies are amazing. For China. They’ve gone from, let’s face it, a shit spot on the totem pole to arguably the 2nd most powerful global economic factor (after American consumerism) on the planet.

And with a president for life that can play the game with immunity to partisanship, they’re SOOOO much better equipped from within to win something like a trade war. A unified front with that much economic power is terrifying geopolitically.


#2065

Quite so. That China IS a threat is a testament to their political advantages. The west should wake up to the fact that they are a threat, lest they purchase all the bonds in Christendom. They own several trillion in US sovereign debt, good God it frightens the life from me.


#2066

And the fact that they gives a Rat’s Ass about their people and workers.

These are people who are used to both work and TRUE hardship. For many of the Chinese; we can’t inflict anything on them that many of them have probably not already faced.

Trump is mistaken if he thinks this is a “war” we can win.


#2067

Sometimes societies change when they have had something better and then that is taken away. Thus the government must continue running sweatshops that keep tens (hundreds?) of millions of former subsistence farmers working, but not buying. Plus bringing 1.3 BB out of the stone age to top of the world in 50 years is expensive.
China’s debt and shadow debt is estimated at like 94% GDP.

@Legalsteel China holds $1.2 TT of US debt, but Japan holds $1.1 TT…does that scare you? About 5% each. Not trying to be snarky.


#2068

The sweatshops aren’t the issue, it’s the invasive police state and espionage I don’t like. I take your point about the debt issue, that’s not all that concerning, I had heard far higher and should have checked.

But China concerns me because it has effectively uncoupled the myth that liberal democracy and GDP growth are linked. That’s a lesson that others will pay attention to.


#2069

There’s a couple preconditions to that. Off the top of my head the biggest dealbreakers are:

  1. Millions need to die while central planning gets in gear.
  2. It’s hollow GDP growth. Entire empty cities with nobody in them. Much of the durable goods sales in China are useless make-work.

For instance when Joy mining bought a Chinese mining manufacturer for $1 Billion to enter the market they found out that almost all the Chinese domestic sales were to “dealerships” where the machines would go sit and never mind a single thing. Of course all those dealership “sales” evaporated once Joy bought the manufacturer.


#2070

Part of me wonders what present day China would look like if American consumerism was more in line with other 1st world countries.

Would many of China’s ‘on paper’ economy boosting tactics work without a steady stream of American spending?


#2071

I don’t disagree with any of that. My concern is that they have made the blueprint for future despots to follow. It also doesn’t help that they can be among the worst governments on earth, and still get the red carpet treatment on state visits.

I’ve read too many hagiographies regarding the Chinese system to not be concerned that some aren’t seeing a roadmap.


#2072

Okay…now I’m confused if many of you think Trump is doing the right thing escalating a Trade War with China.

I say “no” because we are going into a street fight with one hand tied behind our backs (labor laws; safety standards for workers; minimum wages; environmental concerns; representative Government with check and balances, etc…ALL of which are good things…)…while China’s Authoritarian Government, with little concern about workers; polluting whole cities; etc…has a distinct “advantage”?

And maybe Trump is playing a long-game that I am too ignorant to see.

So where are you guys on this Trade “War”?


#2073

This is about where I’m at. We brought a knife to a gun fight while drowning in partisan politics. As far as I’m concerned as long as this doesn’t end Indiana Jones style it’ll be a saving grace for us.

And this is the issue. He CANT play the long game. He spent his entire life in control and in power with the full ability to wait out his opponent and/or outspend them.

Now he has term limits against a President for life. And he can’t even get his own party to agree on something.


#2074

My personal opinion. The “tariffs/trade war” stuff is just a way for Trump to get an agreement signed so he can do a victory lap in 2020. See the Mexico deal for an example. I think he does honestly want “fair” deals… but the victory lap is more important to him.

The problem is no matter what deal China signs, they won’t abide by it anyway.

The one thing I find interesting is you can find clips of Trump railing against Chinese manipulation, trade etc… in 1980 and ever since.

If there’s one issue where Trump has a consistent unchanging principle, it’s that he believes the Chinese economy and government are crooked and unfair to the USA. He may be the madman with the football on this one particular issue.


#2075

We can never beat them on comparative advantage, but we do need to buffer the difference by strengthening our own production abilities from raw extraction to finished product.


#2076

Great point, @SkyzykS.


#2077

I will posit a theory concerning a trade war.
The US consumer has funded a huge portion of the rise of the China story. Their several contributions are:

  1. reversal of isolationist policy combined with desire to return to millenia old mindset of being the center of their sphere (interesting subject btw)
  2. willingness to hack, steal, lie, close market to gain proprietary r&d and manufacturing know-how/capacity
  3. to fund immediate infrastructure (most extensive in world history, I would venture) rulers have appropriated not our democracy, but our free enterprise system. Sell at the best price to destroy non sovereign, non slave wage, non ecological friendly competition. And plenty of debt.
  4. the profits of China Inc go to China. Those zillionaires in China and Russia are merely subsidiary heads of the guys with the guns, in the board room.
  5. since consumption is low in China, they must export to keep cash flowing. See point 1 - US consumer has been “forced” into buying their goods by Walmarts of the world. I realize we consumers demanded low prices, so please start a new thread if wanting to debate this. Effectively, we opened a Pandora’s box, not realizing every functioning society must produce more than merely new consumers.
  6. we turn off the spigot ie leave 1000 container ships sitting off Long Beach for a year, not only no cash flow, but if long enough, maybe Communists pursue consumption (like every other modern society/economy)
  7. actually this works better for us, since now Chinese serfs get a taste of good life. After a point, you don’t want to go back to the farm or the 90 hour work week living in the dormitory.
  8. 1/2 of world’s population in China and India - maybe it’s time for them to import

#2078

^^^^
Long winded, but l feel we as a country have a fighting chance. But not if our government and globalists economy leaders (multi national companies) continue to grab our arms just as we attempting to defend ourself in the bar fight.


#2079

You way lost me here. This is a 1000% non starter. Americans DONT sacrifice anything unless literally forced. And that forcing would be so counter to our way of life even 50 Bernie’s wouldn’t get it done.

Or American pols inevitably cave to pressure from voters while President for life China laughs at the intense damage we’ve done to our economy in the name of levelling the field.

Why would the Kings of production need to import widescale?

So in reality we have no fighting chance? And wont unless forced by the govt?


#2080

@pfury @treco

Fighting chance against what and whom exactly? The way I see it the world is as prosperous as it has ever been. Especially the US.

We’re so prosperous in fact we can invent pretend money out of thin air and pay indigent people (through domestic welfare and foreign aid). That pretend money gives them real food, clothing, shelter and entertainment. We (humanity) have essentially financed a population boom worldwide, with a credit card. Pray that it never maxes out.


#2081

Against China in a trade war? Isn’t that the topic?


#2082

Right. My feels was getting more at: what does victory look like?