Shifting Power Relations

Trump likes to throw his weight around, braying that he’ll pull the U.S. out of various trade deals and treaties and other forms of international agreements. He seems to think other countries will quake in their boots, cower, and give him what he wants.

Probably not. Take China, for example, as described in this opinion piece by Fareed Zakaria:

“The next stage in China’s strategy is apparently to exploit the leadership vacuum being created by the United States’ retreat on trade. As Trump was promising protectionism and threatening literally to wall off the United States from its southern neighbor, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a trip through Latin America in November, his third in four years. He signed more than 40 deals, Bloomberg reported, and committed tens of billions of dollars of investments in the region, adding to a $250 billion commitment made in 2015.

The centerpiece of China’s strategy takes advantage of Trump’s declaration that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead. The trade deal, negotiated between the United States and 11 other countries, lowered barriers to trade and investment, pushing large Asian economies such as Japan and Vietnam in a more open and rule-based direction. Now China has offered up its own version of the pact, one that excludes the United States and favors China’s more mercantilist approach.

Australia, once a key backer of the TPP, has announced that it supports China’s alternative. Other Asian countries will follow suit soon.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-could-be-the-best-thing-thats-happened-to-china-in-a-long-time/2017/01/12/f4d71a3a-d913-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-f%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.d48f82a09522

The damage Trump is going to do to our trade position and relative dominance in the world is incalculable.

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