I have viewed it more as a trade skirmish, perhaps because I am looking at it from an American perspective. Don Surber says that it looks quite different from a Chinese point of view:
To find the news, I read the South China Morning Post, which is worried spitless that the Red Chinese economy will tank like its stock market has.
(Its stocks overall have declined in value by 40% in the last three years. Our stocks are up 33% since we elected Trump. In the eight years from Obama’s election to Trump’s, the Dow rose by 33%.)
The newspaper is running a series of columns by panicked investors and experts.
Aidan Yao is senior emerging Asia economist at AXA Investment Managers.
Yao wrote, “China needs to put its house in order as the trade war goes from bad to worse.”
He pointed out, “In contrast with the progress seen in United States-European Union negotiations, there are no signs of trade talks resuming between the US and China since the breakdown of negotiations in June.”
Surber points out that China made $375 billion last year on exports to the U.S. So they have a lot more skin in the game than we do.
Xu Yimiao is an independent China-based researcher.
Xu wrote, “China should cut its losses in the trade war by conceding defeat to Donald Trump.”
He spared not Chairman Xi’s regime.
“Beijing’s strategy of a tit-for-tat retaliation over tariffs has clearly failed. In fact, this strategy escalated the conflict.”
Other commentators in the region are drawing similar conclusions:
Reporters Wendy Wu and Kristin Huang wrote, “Did China think Donald Trump was bluffing on trade? How Beijing got it wrong.”
This happens when your intelligence consists of spying on Dianne Feinstein and watching CNN.
That last is very funny.
I am no expert on foreign trade, but like Donald Trump I have a lot of experience in negotiation. It makes perfect sense that since China has much more to lose from impeded trade than we do, we have a stronger bargaining position. Trump understood this. Why his predecessor failed to do so, I have no idea. Maybe Obama knew little about negotiation, or maybe he just wasn’t concerned with advancing American interests. In any event, it is no surprise that to get a straight story on the U.S.-China tariff squabble, you have to go to the Southeast Asian press.