Friday, November 13, 2020

Petulant and Powerless

Trump supporter David Goldman once served on a White House task force on China policy. He eventually quit because he had some serious questions about views voiced by Peter Navarro and Steve Bannon. Actually, he thought that they were both grievously wrong about their lust after open confrontation.

Of course, the administration’s war on Communist China was an integral part of its re-election strategy. How did that one work out?

Yesterday, the Trump administration banned America from investing in certain Chinese companies, especially those that were associated with the military.

To which Goldman responded on his Facebook page:

China has a national savings rate of 44% vs 17% for the US, which means that it is overflowing with capital. It is a net exporter of capital, not an importer. Banning Americans from owning a handful of Chinese companies is utterly and completely useless. It doesn't have symbolic value, except to make us look petulant and powerless. 

Utterly and completely useless.... Petulant and powerless… not good looks when you are running an election on how strong you are.

One also notes that yesterday, the Trump administration decided to drop its war against Tik-Tok-- the Chinese video-sharing app used by tens of millions of American young people-- and perhaps a few who are not so young.

Did the attack on Tik-Tok have any real value? Was it utterly and completely useless? Did it show the Trump administration to be strong and decisive? Or did it show it to be petulant and powerless?

When you are considering how Trump could have lost to Joe Biden, ask yourself whether the posture toward China-- filled with recriminations and empty threats-- contributed? How much did America gain by having leading senators, the secretary of state and the president himself declaring that they were going to punish China, and was going to make it pay.

Those are the kinds of threats you direct at children. They are threats to face-- and the Chinese will never allow you to threaten face without responding in kind.

The threats felt empty at the time. They felt like posturing. The seemed to be an effort to shift the blame away from their own handling of the pandemic. They made the administration look petulant and powerless.



trigger warning said...

Regarding Huawei, Goldman's pet China project:

"5G rollout needs to be recognised as a strategic rather than merely a technological choice. Solutions chosen today will steer and limit the choices available for years to come. Given the complexity of socioeconomic and security issues affected by the decision to deploy backbone digital infrastructure, the issue of welcoming or refusing Huawei or other Chinese providers cannot be left for technocrats alone to resolve. It requires the political will to step out of the comfort zone and tackle complex aspects of technology, economy and security, the effect of which will span well beyond parliamentary election terms."
--- NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence, 2019 [emphasis added]

The FCC has formally designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats.

Goldman can invest in whatever he wishes to.

Ares Olympus said...

Sure, Trump's entire presidency was about bluster and attempted bullying, withdrawing quietly when it failed, or respinning anything and everything into a win. How about this week's military leadership firings, Defense Secretary Esper and others, during his lameduck transition? The primary power Trump really has is to use legal power to sabotage our own government's effectiveness, or reverse course if enough complain, and spin again. That's the character who still earned 73 million votes. Without the left's "Defund the police" insanity with blue city riots, Trump surely would have lost a historic landslide.

However I believe now, without the pandemic, even his petulant leadership could have still cakewalked into a landslide victory in 2020 over any Democrat. Trump's right to feel the Chinese virus is all unfair. And with 160k new cases yesterday, it becomes clear US will return to 2000-3000 daily deaths in December. Trump said on March 29 "If we can keep it between 100k and 200k deaths, we'll have done a very good job." I'd just like Trump to judge his own leadership on the same standard he would have applied to a president Clinton had she won.