Donald Trump appoints laugh-a-minute Neo-con parody act John Bolton as National Security Advisor, and announces mega-tariffs on Chinese trade.
Presumably, the idea is that with someone in the White House apparently intent on nuking Iran, North Korea and the UN, the rest of the world will come to its senses and sort everything out, so all threats to global peace will vanish.
That’s certainly the principle behind the trade measures, which are really just proposals and possible plans designed to freak out or at least focus minds. The unmistakable tone of seriously miffed Panda suggests it has had an effect. Just because the US President is a clown, it doesn’t mean that China isn’t mercantilist, or that the West hasn’t been naïve about Beijing for a decade or two. And voila…
If you want to feel good, or at least better/less suicidal, about the Trumpian/Brexit/etc post-elites ‘shake things up’ approach, here’s a Big Picture argument that Trump’s tariffs strategy is worthy of a four-dimensional chess genius.
Thus comforted, I declare the weekend open with some links busy people may have missed, in increasing order of fascination.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s speech at West Point on China’s rise is not overly exciting, but a good summary if you’ve been away for five years. And George Magnus asks whether authoritarian states deliver better economic growth – interesting even though you know the answer.
More hand-wringing as the shocked West starts to wonder whether Xi Jinping might be a Communist. This observer suspects that the ‘crushing of intellectuals, the massive spending on internal state security, the talk of hostile forces and internal coups – these are not hallmarks of real confidence’.
One small scrap of collateral damage in the Xi ‘win-win’ New Era is Hong Kong’s ‘One Country Two Systems’ – a view from Taiwan.
Finally, all you need to know about the lady who prompted That (ie this) Eye-Roll: an in-depth investigation exposes the tedious red-dressed Zhang Huijun as a sleazily-connected bim who slept her way up CCTV’s propaganda greasy-pole organ or something, as you would expect (or not – I couldn’t possibly comment).