It is the beginning of the end.
By now it should be clear to our president, like it is to most of us, that the tariff war with China cannot be won. Trade with China needs fixes, of course, but the way our president has gone about it has been self-defeating. His style is aimed more at playing to the world and propping up his fragile ego than to secure a favorable deal.
In the excitement of his impulsive tweets and the frenzy of his contradictions, he has revealed his style to China and they have taken notice.
Sure, he can say one thing now and stocks go up, another thing later the same day and stocks go down, but the market is not the economy.
Gradually, through his erratic ways, he has proven himself unsteady, eroding business confidence and doing real damage to the economy.
The economy can still recover – after a period to make the adjustment – but it would take for Mr Trump to see it as a priority and to focus on stability.
There is nothing to suggest that precious quality lives in him.
Curiously, he knows that a sound economy is essential to keeping alive his hopes of being reelected, but his need to see himself as Entertainer in Chief overpowers his better judgment.
And that’s who we’re stuck with.
A man who one moment wants to buy Greenland (which could be a sound idea if approached sensibly instead of in a capricious tweet), another moment wants Netanyahu in Israel to bar two US congresswomen from visiting the West Bank, then wants to invite Putin to the next G7 meeting – never mind his power grab of Crimea in the Ukraine, and the shooting down of a commercial airliner killing everyone on board, including distinguished scientists – and why not have the meeting at Mar-a-Lago and play a round of golf? Putin, who interfered in the 2016 election and will surely interfere again. Or as Robert Mueller said recently before congress, it is already happening.
Meanwhile, China watches.
China knows to wait out our president. They have taken the measure of the man.
They are willing to endure whatever hardship the trade war will bring for they will not bow to Trump and his swashbuckling style.
Trump doesn’t get that. And we and the world will pay the price.
Maybe that is what it will take for us not to make the same mistake again.