Donald J Trump says “Trade wars are easy to win.” Of course, history shows us that’s not true but that he says it does not surprise us. History to him is a story of how many people he (pardon my language) “screwed” along the way to conning them.
Trade wars hurt everyone, every side involved. Yes, one side somtimes comes out somewhat better than the other, but to the people hurt (this is not an abstraction, real people suffer in trade wars) it is of little satisfaction to say “Yes, it cost us but less than it cost our opponent(s).”
Today, as I write, Xi Jinping and his Chinese colleagues have announced the imposition of seventy five billion dollars of tariff’s on U S goods coming into China in retaliation for the tarrifs Donald J Trump has imposed and threatened to impose on Chinese goods coming to the U S. And surely Donald J Trump will respond with more from the U S side.
What is going on here is not a coordinated effort by the industrial wealthy world to push back on China, to reign in it’s effort to make trade a one-sided win for them, to reduce if not eliminate their theft of intellectual property and more. These imbalances in world trade and honest dealing must be dealt with.
But what we have here is a contest between two bullies in the school yard begun by Donald J Trump to see who has the biggest, uh, biggest, uh, stick.
Our man Trump was taught by his father Fred and then by his mentor Roy Cohn that the great coach Vince Lombadi was right when he said “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” But Lombadi did not add as Fred and Roy did that you win no matter what the cost, no matter who and how many people you hurt and no matter what tactics you use whether they are unethical or illegal.
So, here we have a trade war that is hurting millions of real human beings and the longer and fiercest it goes, the more people and the more hurt it imposes because Donald J Trump must personally “win” to massage his massive but frightened ego.
Of course, Xi Jinping could fold, could cry “uncle,” as the saying goes, and knuckle under to U S demands. But he won’t because he doesn’t have to.
Yes, I know, between our two countries the U S is the stronger economically by far, we have the greater economic advantage in a trade war. But XI has the one big advantage that counts. He can make the one point three billion Chinese suffer the damage doing to them in this war whether they like it or not because he and his communist fellow rulers can decree it and back it up with lethal force if necessary. Donald J Trump for all his bluster, for all his attempt to appropriate unconstitutional powers, for all his command of cowering Republican office holders and his hold on thirty percent of the American public cannot. When Americans are unjustly hurting, we push back in overwhelming numbers and take it out on the big target sitting in the Oval office.
Simply put, Xi Jinping can outlast him,
And our boy Trump knows it. Today, he lashed out at Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for not bowing to his demand for big interest rate cuts in order to ease the strain on the economy and the pain on American voters who may turn against him next year.
Powell said the Fed will do what it can to keep the economy on a good path by adjusting monetary policy but, he said, some present economic dislocations (and he pointedly said trade is one of them) can not be made to disappear by the Fed).
Donald J Trump, obviously frightened by the path he has chosen but unable because of his “winning” ego to adjust it, lashed out at Powell saying, quote, he “doesn’t know who the biggest enemy is, XI or Powell.”
Thus Powell joins “All Democrats, the vast majority of the American News Media, countless individual politicians, business people, artists, perhaps now the Queen and Prime Minister of Denmark, as “enemies.’ Fortunately for the majority of Jewish Americans (who voted for Democrats) they are presently only “disloyal.” But give him time, give him time.
As to the question of whether XI Jinping or Jerome Powell is the greater “enemy,” I can answer that.
Jerome Powell is not building nuclear missile submarines that, lying off our coasts, can destroy our major cities and populations within seven minutes of launch.
Oh well, take heart. As Voltaire taught us – We live is the best of all possible worlds and all is for the best. A world in which “trade wars are easy to win.”
Still, I have some advice. Set your sound activated alarm clock when it hears a deep underwater “whoosh” to six minutes and when it goes off, run like hell!