China tried to strike at Trump for launching a trade war – and missed the mark entirely
WASHINGTON – “When you strike at a king you must kill him,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once said. Well, this year China tried to strike at President Trump for daring to launch a trade war with Beijing – and missed the mark entirely.
After Trump imposed massive tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this year, Beijing responded in June with what appeared to be a clever strategy: targeting retaliatory tariffs against Trump voters in rural farming communities across the United States. China is the largest importer of U.S. soybeans, buying $14 billion of them in 2017.
Three of the biggest soybean-producing states, Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota, not only voted for Trump, but also in the 2018 midterms had Democratic senators, Joe Donnell, Ind., Claire McCaskill, Mo., and Heidi Heitkamp, N.D., who were up for reelection.
If Beijing imposed painful tariffs on soybeans, Chinese leaders likely calculated, they could create a rift between Trump and rural voters who put him in the White House, give Senate Democrats a boost and force Trump to back down.
But Trump did not back down. He countered by announcing $12 billion in aid for farmers, threatened to increase his tariffs on Chinese goods and asked his rural base to stick with him while he faced down the economic predators in Beijing.
That is exactly what they did. Far from abandoning the president, rural voters hurt by Chinese tariffs rallied around Trump and the GOP. They threw Donnelly, Heitkamp and McCaskill out of office, allowing Republicans to expand their Senate majority.
And while Republicans lost control of the House, few of the GOP losses came from rural districts. Competitive rural districts mostly ended up staying Republican; it was the urban-suburban districts that flipped to the Democrats.
China’s tariff ploy didn’t just fail to sway the 2018 midterms; it actually backfired. The tariffs made the U.S. soybeans that China depends on more expensive, and Beijing soon found that alternative suppliers in South America could not produce enough to meet Chinese demand, leading to shortfalls.
In other words, China went for a kill shot – and ended up shooting itself in the foot.
That has emboldened Trump in his negotiations with Chinese President Xi Jinping – as shown by news this week that a senior executive of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei had been arrested in Vancouver, at the request of the United States, on charges of violating sanctions on Iran.
China demanded her release but nonetheless affirmed that it will still observe the 90-day tariff cease-fire Trump and Xi reached during their meeting last week in Buenos Aires – putting off a scheduled Jan. 1 escalation of U.S. tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods while the two sides negotiate a deal. Trump has leverage going into those talks. The U.S. economy is booming, while China has just posted its weakest growth in nearly a decade. Moreover, during the Group of 20 meeting in Argentina, Xi saw how Trump has been able to bend his trade rivals to his will, and deliver trade victories for his working-class political base, when he held an elaborate signing ceremony for the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
China will of course be a much tougher adversary than Mexico or Canada. As my American Enterprise Institute colleague Derek Scissors points out, the Chinese Communist Party controls the economy through state ownership and massive subsidies in dozens of sectors where U.S. goods and services can’t compete fairly. Lifting tariffs is easy.
Getting China to change its entire industrial policy will be hard – as will stopping China’s theft of U.S. intellectual property.
But Trump knows that he has no chance of doing so by filing complaints with the World Trade Organization. So Trump is playing a game of chicken with Xi, appearing to calculate that the United States is in a better position to survive an all-out trade war.
The markets panicked this week over Trump’s recent pronouncement that he would be just as happy imposing tariffs as cutting a deal with China, but getting this message through to Xi is the only way to force his hand. As Trump tweeted this week, “We are either going to have a REAL DEAL with China, or no deal at all – at which point we will be charging major Tariffs against Chinese product being shipped into the United States,” adding, “remember … I am a Tariff Man.”
He means it. Trump actually believes that tariffs are good for the U.S. economy. The question is whether Xi believes he believes it. The answer may determine whether we get a deal or a trade war.
Marc Thiessen End the celibacy rule and let priests marry
Whenever someone accuses a priest of sexual abuse they should call the police, because it is a police matter first, and then counsel the person making the accusation and also see if it verifiable.
Also, it’s time to end the celibacy rule now, because of the high percentage of abuse cases in the Catholic priesthood. I do blame the unnatural celibacy rule on much of the sex abuse that is going on in the Catholic Church.
It is the high percentage of sex abuse cases in the Catholic priesthood that is proof that it is a significant problem and that it must end now.
Although ending the celibacy rule does not end sex abuse entirely, it will have a dramatic effect and perhaps save many children from this sin and crime. It will also save many priests from committing a crime that they probably did not want to commit in the first place.
I believe that young men entered the priesthood to do good for themselves and their parishioners, never thinking they would become involved in such horrendous sins. Almost all human beings need love, marriage, home and children, because it is natural and it is what God has created us for.
“Go forth and multiply.” The popes have taken this God-given natural right from these young men and now look at the results.
The stalling, procrastinating and evasiveness by the bishops and cardinals only shows that they are more interested in protecting the church’s money and the institutionalized rule of celibacy than they are in helping the victim/survivors.
The bishops, cardinals and pope will not admit they are wrong. How sinful!
Carl Hoepfinger the 195-nation agreement that was implemented to address this problem. Locally we seek to avoid the deleterious effects of “flickers” when a wind turbine blade crosses our visual path to the sun.
We get to choose. Will we accommodate the minor inconveniences of wind and solar energy or will our children suffer the catastrophic consequences of our inaction?
Robert W. Moore
Climate protection act would cost ratepayers
A recent guest editorial made some bold claims about how New York’s businesses and ratepayers feel about the proposed Climate and Community Protection Act
On behalf of Unshackle Upstate, a nonpartisan coalition representing thousands of businesses and taxpayers across upstate New York, I write to ask a key question that the authors did not address – what will the CCPA cost energy ratepayers?
The reality is this legislation – which would mandate that all energy in New York State be generated by renewables – would significantly increase the already sky-high energy costs that most businesses and ratepayers face. A 2013 study by researchers at Stanford and Cornell found that achieving 100 percent renewable energy in the state by 2030 would cost more than $380 billion.
Upstate New York’s families and businesses simply cannot afford to pay billions more each year in energy costs.
Renewable energy is an important part of our energy portfolio and New York has many programs to help the industry. These efforts, however, should not come at the expense of viable energy sources, like natural gas, which serve businesses and households today, and do not rely on state subsidies for sustainability.
Despite what the authors claim, I have never heard an upstate business or a household ask for higher utility bills. But energy ratepayers need to know that the Climate and Community Protection Act will mean paying more for energy. Michael Kracker Executive Director, Unshackle Upstate