I think what you can see is this is a president of action. I mean he is not one that’s going to sit there and talk for too long. If he thinks someone is wrong, he’s going to deal with it. And I think that, you know, the reason people are uncomfortable is because he acts. He doesn’t talk with a bunch of people about it before, he just acts.
As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
The group of roughly 30 House conservatives, gathered around a mammoth, oval-shaped conference table in the Cabinet Room of the White House, exchanged disapproving looks. Trump wanted to emphasize the political ramifications of the bill’s defeat; specifically, he said, it would derail his first-term agenda and imperil his prospects for reelection in 2020. The lawmakers nodded and said they understood. And yet they were disturbed by his dismissiveness. For many of the members, the “little s—” meant the policy details that could make or break their support for the bill — and have far-reaching implications for their constituents and the country.
A nascent grand strategy is becoming visible for the Trump administration, and it’s a rather disturbing one. The grand strategy is that the administration demonstrates a willingness to rent out its foreign policy to any interested investor. So long as Trump can proclaim some glossy, high-profile investments, he is willing to trade off U.S. interests in the Pacific Rim or Europe or wherever. Which means that countries such as China can have their way with Trump so long as they meet the minimum price, which is a few promised billions.This is a dangerous and stupid game to play. Current shifts in foreign policy can have long-lasting effects; announcements of investments can be followed by non-implementation. It also guarantees that all of America’s allies in the Pacific Rim will gravitate closer to China than the United States.
“China has made a few modest concessions that cost it very little, in areas strategically picked to maximize the political benefit to Trump,” said Arthur Kroeber, managing director of Gavekal Dragonomics, an economic research firm in Beijing. “But the substantive impact on U.S.-China trade and investment flows is pretty minimal.”
The new pact could be a “breakthrough,” but it may not constitute progress, at least from the U.S. perspective. On the contrary, it might actually increase America’s bulging trade deficit with China….Unfortunately, a number of Beijing’s promises in the 10-point plan are essentially pledges not to do something that it should not have been doing in the first place. Take the much-publicized agreement on U.S. beef. China in 2003 imposed a ban on all U.S. beef because of an isolated case in Washington state of bovine spongiform encephalopathy — mad cow — disease, and, without justification, effectively kept the prohibition in place.Similarly, China’s credit card promise is essentially a pledge not to continually violate its World Trade Organization obligations. Beijing lost a 2012 case on the subject.
US seems to now support China's Belt & Road initiative. Compounds error of dropping TPP, which like B&R is as much geopolitics as economics— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) May 14, 2017
To some former US officials, Trump advisers, business executives and other close watchers of the US-China relationship … this was a poor deal in which Beijing had simply reheated old promises. They say it raises questions about the Trump administration’s strategic wherewithal and the very negotiating muscle the president has so often touted….According to the administration, the deal — part of a 100-day plan hatched by Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Florida summit in April — will turn out to be the first of many. But critics say that in its impatience to get a deal done, the new US administration had given up many key points of leverage that would have been useful for future negotiations.Meanwhile, in the name of reducing a trade deficit with China worth more than $300bn last year, the administration showed no signs of addressing bigger strategic economic issues such as Beijing’s efforts to force US companies to use Chinese technology or to buy US companies in key sectors. “[The Trump administration has] a single metric for trade success and that’s ‘have we reduced the trade deficit with a country?’, says Robert Atkinson, head of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based think tank. “And the Chinese fundamentally don’t care about the deficit. They are willing to give that away. What they care about is dominance in advanced industries.”