The Fiscal Times (FT) is no right-wing rag. They are as incorporated into the globalist world culture (and its narratives) as anyone. So this piece on how China views Mr. Trump and his choices is enlightening.
Donald Trump is leading a double life. In the west, most foreign policy experts see him as reckless, unpredictable and self-defeating. But though many in Asia dislike him as much as the Europeans do, they see him as a more substantial figure. I have just spent a week in Beijing talking to officials and intellectuals, many of whom are awed by his skill as a strategist and tactician.
You’d think people who claim to be open-minded and diverse globalists could take reading such thoughts without a visceral reaction, but we know that’s just a facade. So, I’ll give the liberals and Trump haters who just threw up in their mouths a moment to rinse out the bile.
There are opinions other than your own, even across the great seas. And in China, there are those who view Mr. Trump as a clever strategist capable of a long game which should worry you because if that is true for them, he is probably playing you as well.
My interlocutors say that Mr Trump is the US first president for more than 40 years to bash China on three fronts simultaneously: trade, military and ideology. They describe him as a master tactician, focusing on one issue at a time, and extracting as many concessions as he can. They speak of the skilful way Mr Trump has treated President Xi Jinping. “Look at how he handled North Korea,” one says. “He got Xi Jinping to agree to UN sanctions [half a dozen] times, creating an economic stranglehold on the country. China almost turned North Korea into a sworn enemy of the country.” But they also see him as a strategist, willing to declare a truce in each area when there are no more concessions to be had, and then start again with a new front.
To these Chinese, everything The Donald does appears to serve some purpose.
For the Chinese, even Mr Trump’s sycophantic press conference with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, in Helsinki had a strategic purpose. They see it as Henry Kissinger in reverse. In 1972, the US nudged China off the Soviet axis in order to put pressure on its real rival, the Soviet Union. Today Mr Trump is reaching out to Russia in order to isolate China.
Trump is playing a long game with China and Russia could be a huge piece on that board.
In the short term, China is talking tough in response to Mr Trump’s trade assault. At the same time they are trying to develop a multiplayer front against him by reaching out to the EU, Japan and South Korea. But many Chinese experts are quietly calling for a rethink of the longer-term strategy. They want to prepare the ground for a new grand bargain with the US based on Chinese retrenchment. Many feel that Mr Xi has over-reached and worry that it was a mistake simultaneously to antagonise the US economically and militarily in the South China Sea.
What does that look like as viewed from China?
Instead, they advocate economic concessions and a pullback from the aggressive tactics that have characterised China’s recent foreign policy. They call for a Chinese variant of “splendid isolationism”, relying on growing the domestic market rather than disrupting other countries’ economies by exporting industrial surpluses.
So, the result could be a trade deal more favorable to the US and a change in regional posture. Two things the U.S and Mr. Trump are after.
The FT artiel closes with this.
So which is the real Mr Trump? The reckless reactionary destroying critical alliances, or the “stable genius” who is pressuring China? The answer seems to depend on where you ask the question. Things look different from Beijing than from Brussels.
Whatever you may think of his methods or tactics he has a habit (annoying, some would say) of coming out of these squabbles with better deals for America and Americans.
The left hates that because it contradicts their narratives and diminishes their political relevance. He’s a bumbling oaf. Stupid. Reactionary. A loose cannon.
Not so loose it seems. He continues to hit what he aims at even when it is all the way across the world.