Trump Playing the Old Reagan Game with China

Back in the days when I was a Democrat I was suspicious of Ronald Reagan.  There were still anti-abortion Democrats pro-defense democrats who understood that Communism was as bad as Nazism or worse and that opposing it was a moral duty so I wasn’t quite alone but when the whole concept of Star Wars came all hell broke loose.

The entire media and a good chunk of the academic community went nuts.  The idea of a missile defense was crazy, lunacy and it would bankrupt up.  Almost nobody said it was impossible, America left hadn’t yet completely conquered academia so we weren’t at the point where we didn’t believe in ourselves yet but many claimed that such a system was not worth it because it couldn’t stop every missile.

I thought their arguments were weak, nobody said ships shouldn’t have AA guns because you couldn’t stop every attacking plane and I was in the computer field as a student and knew how good we were.  But more importantly Russia also knew how good we were and decided that they had to try to do what we were doing.

So in addition to financing the left and the protests against Star Wars (a tactic that our enemies still use with even greater effectiveness today) they tried to match us, but with no economy to speak up, and the need to prop up regimes in Cuba, South America and elsewhere it soon became apparently that to them (but not to the academic left) that they risked collapse, thus they started talking but when they were unwilling to make a fair deal Reagan to the astonishment of everyone walked way.

Five years later the Soviet Empire that guest speakers at my college and the smartest minds in media and government insisted was here to stay folded like a wet blanket.

Which brings us to Trump and China.

Like Russia China is in a spot, you have them trying to prop up our foes like the  Venezuelan tyranny and the North Koreans among others, they are short key natural resources and greasing others to keep them.

They are trying to build up their military and sinking a lot of money there as well.

They have their own Islamic issues with the Uyghurs and  despite their deal with Francis they are still having issues with the underground Catholic Church that is not as big of a sucker as he is, they still have Falun gong issues and now are dealing with revolt in Hong Kong.

Adding to that problem is a male heavy population that is unable to find a mate thanks to the effects of the now gone one child policy and a population that has now gotten used to better than the subsistence life that they once had to endure.

It’s a tough balancing act but as long as you have pliant companies willing to do your bidding and a weak United States it can be done.

But then comes Trump.

  • Suddenly he is reasserting US strength in the region at a time when neighboring countries are most afraid of your power.
  • Suddenly he is making moves on North Korea and when they launch missiles in to the sea isn’t willing to come hat in hand to China to beg them to stop.  He’s wiling to call the bluff.
  • Suddenly he is willing to put on tariffs to force fair deals and when you retaliate instead of folding he doubles down even in an election year.
  • Most importantly business’ seeing what’s going on decide that it’s a good idea to relocate to neighboring nations making both your economic and social problems worse.

Worst of all he does it knowing the same thing that Reagan did, that the powerful US economy fueled by dynamic citizens with the freedom to react and innovate, something that the Communist Chinese aren’t allowed,  can absorb the hit that tariff’s bring particularly since he’s made the country energy self sufficient.

China can not and every day this goes on China exacerbates their social problems and drains the funds needed to keep their balls in the air.

They could of course choose war,  but unfortunately for them their land forces can’t reach us and their naval and air forces are no match for ours.

And if you’re thinking nukes, well let’s say that a communist regime who loses it’s head wouldn’t last long, particularly with an unfriendly India and a ravenous Russia next door with a long memory and a score to settle.  Plus there is Tibet and the Uyghurs waiting for a chance to revolt for self determination.  Then consider what would happen if a Nuke hit DC and NYC and LA.  You would still have Democratic state governments able to function food production, energy production and more would go on unabated and despite the best efforts that our foes can buy in the green movement there are more than enough sufficient number of pipelines to keep things flowing and a giant strategic reserve in place.

And I haven’t even mentioned Taiwan.

China might hope for the defeat of Trump and they will likely put all their eggs in that basket but if that fails then their already weak bargaining position will be even worse, particularly since Trump has a “Trump” card concerning the debt of ours their currently hold.  as the old saying goes, if you own the bank $100 dollars it’s your problem, if you owe a million it’s theirs.  Multiply those numbers by a few million and you can see my point.

Furthermore there is the temperament of Trump, the longer this goes on the higher price he will demand because he understand that if this trade war goes on China as a nation will grow weaker, while we will still be in a position to at worst tread water, and at best still grow stronger, and as I said China has a bunch of enemies around them with scores to settle.

If China is smart they will make a deal now while their bargaining position is strongest and the damage done to this point is controllable.  If they are not they will put all their eggs in the NeverTrump basket where they will find plenty of Americans ready to play.

But the longer they wait the more industries will decide that it’s safer to move their manufacturing elsewhere and future manufactures will think twice before committing there.

So even if they manage to put a Democrat in office by then they will lose both in the short term and the long.

Trump and anyone who knows history understands this, which is why Democrat voters do not.

Update: I can’t believe that I forgot to mention the Chinese Pork crisis in this piece.