China does not yet have the economic power that America has. And it is likely that if the trade war escalates, China will, indeed, be hurt by it, more so than we will. Of course, so will the world economy.
I doubt that China will back off if Trump follows through with his threat of imposing more tariffs, even though it appears that they are dependent on American technology companies as suppliers of component parts.
But why abuse our position of strength?
Why try to bring China to its knees?
I think it is a mistake.
There are, presently, in China, sectors that are deeply wedded to the notion of a more democratic society. They battle daily the state’s oppressive surveillance system and still they are growing.
It will take more time for these resistance sectors to eventually make their presence felt in the existing power structure, but one day they will. Any effort on our part to “beat” China economically, is likely to increase political repression and weaken their struggle.
Pushing China around economically will not last long, anyway. Eventually they will find their stride for they are resilient and strong. And when they do, then what?
Jack Ma, the head of Alibaba – the gigantic online commerce platform – is a communist party member. A multibillionaire enlisted by the Communist Party. Does that not tell us something about what is going on in China? Is that not the height of contradictions? Is that not a glaring example of a country in transition?
Mr Ma represents the Chinese state’s reliance on men and women who’ve been able to channel their creative energies and generate all manner of opportunities for the rest of the nation.
The Chinese model has transformed a nearly feudal society into a world powerhouse. But lagging well behind is the push for human rights. As dissenters have said, they not only want rice, they want rights too. And their drive will continue to grow.
Just this weekend a large mass of protesters in Hong Kong showed their opposition to a law to extradite residents to the mainland.
Mr Trump needs to look at his choices with a sense of history.
An escalation of tariffs may win him some points in the short term and satisfy some of his supporters, but in the end will amount to little more than a pyrrhic victory. So we may win the battle today but not the war tomorrow.
Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net