Paul Krugman has a Nobel prize in economics; in fact, the scholarly work that won him the award was in international trade. I have neither a degree nor a Nobel prize in economics. Neither Krugman nor I have been awarded degrees or honors in mind reading. And, though I gave up my youthful start as a sinologist, I may know just a bit more than he knows about Chinese statecraft. Or maybe not.
In a recent post I attempted to reverse engineer what the Chinese are up to. If the topic is of any interest to you, you need to read Krugman’s August 8 column on the same topic.
I read the Chinese leadership as royally pissed off and offended by the Trumpster. I believe they have taken the first steps in a ruthless campaign to stick it to Donald Trump, deep in a place where the sun don’t shine. They have in fact given him a choice: go through with his threats and see economic chaos, or back down from his threats and look like a shmuck.
Krugman, who is probably a nicer person than I am, seems to see the Chinese leaders as gently trying to “teach Trump ecomics.” But, at this point, it’s pretty naïve to think you can teach Trump anything. And if the Chinese leaders are afflicted by any shortcomings, naivete is not among them.
But Here’s the Important Point
Or, rather, several important points, all made in Krugman’s piece.
Xi Jinping goes into this international trade poker game with a much, much stronger hard than Trump thinks Xi has.
Trump goes into this international trade poker game with a much, much weaker hand than Trump thinks he has.
Krugman, who possesses a Nobel Prize in the economics of international trade, spells out the details.
Trump does not understand what he is doing. That’s the kind of language we often use, as a rhetorical way of disagreeing with someone’s position. But it this case, it’s not rhetoric. It’s not hyperbole. It’s the God’s honest truth.
Earlier on, Trump did have some people around him who knew what they were doing. (We may question their moral character, in choosing to work for Trump, but at least they were professionally competent.)
Now, Trump has fired all the people who knew what they were doing. He has surrounded himself with boot licking idiots.
Even the idiots have recognized his international trade folly, and have tried to talk him out of it. And he has not listened to them.
And as to Trump’s supporters and enablers, including the farmers, the Prophet Hosea has a few prophesies you might wish to consider: