Monday, May 14, 2018

Can Trump Save ZTE?

When we make deals we exchange favors. Friendship requires as much. So do do most consequential human interactions.

For some time now I have speculated that the current diplomatic thaw on the Korean peninsula has come about because the president of China and the president of the United States made a deal. Xi Jinping is the impresario who is directing Kim Jong-un.

And I have wondered what Xi is receiving in return. As mentioned yesterday, in the prior post, Xi did not do it because he was pressured. He changed his policy because he was getting something in return.

As of now, we do not know exactly what.

One thing is certain. Trump is in Xi’s debt, so that if Xi asks for a return favor, Trump is obliged to do it. It's the basic law of human exchange.

Thus, in today’s Wall Street Journal:

President Donald Trump said he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to keep ZTE Corp. in business, throwing an extraordinary lifeline to the Chinese telecommunication giant that has been laid low by U.S. moves to cut off its suppliers.

The surprise intervention comes less than a month after ZTE was hit with an order banning U.S. companies from selling components to the Chinese business. The U.S. Commerce Department directed companies to stop exporting to ZTE in mid-April, saying the Chinese firm violated the terms of a settlement resolving evasion of U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

The Commerce Department is reviewing ZTE’s request for a stay of that order.

Mr. Trump said in a tweet that he is working with Mr. Xi to get ZTE “a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost.” He said the Commerce Department has been instructed to “get it done!”


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Stuart, you talk of “exchange of favors,” or quid pro quo. Yes, this is normal human behavior.

In the wake of last week’s events, I must ask: What did the United States get from Obama’s Iran deal? I still cannot figure out how the Iran deal served our national interest one bit.

Sam L. said...

I don't have a smart phone, and don't plan to ever have one. A Chinese smart phone, never; not that there'd be anything I'd do with one that could be used against me.

Dan Patterson said...

"If I give you a nickel will you give me a dollar?" seems to be the setting. A good move for the US and the Koreans; the potential for opening China to a liberalized form of representative government might be closer.