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The Art of the Deal
US vs. China: First Round to Trump
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  • jeburke

    Geez, WRM must be getting dotty or daft in his old age — or profiting somehow from the accession of Trump.

    “Why? The U.S. policy on China never changed; the One China policy has been in effect all through the early weeks of the Trump administration. But by raising the question, Trump is now able to get credit for reaffirming something he wasn’t ever going to change.”

    This is the sort of rationalization for Trump’s zany behavior I’m used to seeing in the comments section of nutty right-wing blogs: “The Czar is brilliant. He knows what he’s doing. See what a brilliant strategy he has.” When Trump is actually just blundering around because he sees his new job as being no different from his old job of selling his “brand” to the gullible.

    Face it, professor. Trump had to back off because China was not going to negotiate anything if Trump continued to cast doubt on the FOUNDATIONSTONE of all China-US relations, and because China has many ways to make Trump’s life miserable.

  • Dhako

    Now, folks, pay attention, and take a good notice as to how one should go about clutching straws from thin air. In other words, our Walter here, did a valiant job of demonstrating how low one would go to defend the most bogus assertion ever imaginable, while for dear life, one is grasping empty air for consolation. And by that, I mean, it wasn’t China who were determine to change the parameters of the US-China’s relationship, but Trump. It wasn’t China who were promising to stop the Chinese to build her islands in the SCS, but, Mr Tillerson, acting on behalf of Trump’s administration. Again, it was not China, who said it, that, the SCS doesn’t need a military confrontation between US and China, but, Mr Mattis, the US’s defense secretary acting on behalf of Trump’s administration. And, finally, it was China that was gagging to attack the Japanese’s governed island, as even Mr Obama was the guy (before Mr Trump’s administration come around to that idea) who said, the US-Japan defense treaty covers those islands.

    And, that means, Trump’s didn’t bring anything novel on the table in so far as differences between China and Japan in regards to these islands are concern. Hence, when you put all these factors, is just, it silly and absurd to hold that Trump has the advantage in here, when the truth is, he thought, he can “leverage” that one-china-policy card against President Xi, and when he realize, that President Xi effectively put the relationship on hold, Mr Trump (or more likely his grown-up advisers) have told him, that there is nothing to discuss with China, unless you climb down from that petard you have hoisted yourself on it. And, being seen doing it, by initiating the call that will show you eating raw mea-culpa to the ears of President Xi.

    And, lastly, if you think, that the Chinese’s president Xi can be turn over with this kind silly gamesmanship, then, you will be in for surprise. And, by that I mean, now that China knows, the “childish method of operation” of Mr Trump, particularly in-terms of trying to sell a piece of land twice in the hope of getting something entirely new, will simply mean, the Chinese are going to be playing the same game back at him. Which will mean, when he open his gambit of talking about trade, the Chinese will sell him twice the old good the US had already bought it, such as some long-ago signed-and-delivered-agreement. And they will insist, that, Mr Trump, give his Trump’s tower in exchange of what China gave to his predecessors, or there will be no deal. In other words, watch how China takes him to cleaners, now that they know how this guy operates.

    And finally, it’s pity (well, it disheratening) to see how our Walter, a distinguished scholar, is really losing the plot, just, so that, he can verbally polish, the policy equivalence that is a pile of turd, that is coming out from the Trump’s administration. But, I gather, there are few executive roles in the Trump’s administration that are still vacant. So, perhaps, who knows, what our Walter in here is thinking of, when he penning down this sort of cringing apologia at the behest of Trump’s administration.

    • RedWell

      Nicely put. Or, as Occam would have it, what’s more likely? (A) Trump was shooting from the hip in complete ignorance and had to backtrack or (B) He was playing a subtle rhetorical long-game with the Chinese that many would interpret as a loss but was actually a minor win.

      As for WRM, it is indeed sad to see this seeming break with his former clear-eyed analysis.

      • Barbara Ann

        ” long-game with the Chinese” – wouldn’t put money on *anyone* winning one of those 🙂

        A good alternative take on the encounter & future for Sino-US relations in the Asia Times

        +1 for Occam too

  • KremlinKryptonite

    Hmm, I appreciate WRM’s take here, but living in Seoul (and having many contacts in China) I can say this is not playing well for Trump. Chinese state media said “good food is worth waiting for” and that is a vicious swipe at Trump here. It’s a common saying in both china and korea.
    In essence, the Chinese regime is saying that they played hard to get and Trump finally did something to win their affection.

    Trump smartly kicked the proverbial tires of this old deal/norm, questioning its worth. Now he’s on the phone with the unelected Chinese president backing the deal, and did the Chinese regime agree to abide by the arbitration case they lost? No.
    Did the regime agree not to build more on the illegally occupied Scarborough shoal? No. how about leaving Second Thomas Shoal alone? No.

    • Suzy Dixon

      Agreed. And it was coupled with the textbook Chinese tactic of a dangerous intercept of an American plane just a day ago. They did the same thing to Obama, Bush, Clinton.
      Trump should not have raised the issue at all until he was ready to use it for a real negotiation.

    • Dhako

      This is what our Walter was reduced to. Which is basically cheer-leading an empty-suit, like Mr Trump, just because some of his advisers talk side-ways about their admiration of Jacksonian’s way of doing foreign policy. And, like smitten-lady gazing her object of adoration, our Walter, seems to have lost the plot, by thinking that, finally, someone else other than him really appreciate the much-maligned Jacksonian tradition in America. And, he thought, to give these circle-of-incompetents a benefit of a doubt. Hence, the tragic sight of seeing a respected scholar and a well-read man being reduced to give tendentious argument at the behest of folks who wouldn’t know how to execute a smart foreign policy, even if their bigoted selves were dependent on it.

      • John33

        On goes the underestimation…You know if you could take a short, objective look without the seething anger you have at Trump(and btw, I totally get the seething anger part, I have had it at various moments too), you might find he indeed has a strategy in foreign policy as well as getting his message out even though he faces a hostile media, of whom he foolishly declared war on at the beginning of his administration. Professor WRM is one of the most intelligent people in the media as well in policy both domestic and foreign. His paradigm is soundly based on history as well as the rightful assessment of human nature and behavior. Which contrasts with pundits who see human behavior and human nature as they want it to be, not how it actually is. It’s going to be a rough 4 years, that’s for sure. But know that underestimating politicians is one of their greatest assets.

  • Boritz

    By this analysis Trump is the stage magician and China the volunteer from the audience whose wallet the magician finds in his own pocket and returns.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    There’re a lot of doubters taking a second look at Trump. Some comments I’ve read: “I love his Cabinet choices” “Great choice for the Supreme Court” “He’s keeping his promises” “He really is going to build the wall” and a backhanded comment here “The Art of the Deal”.

    • Historybuff

      There’s a lot of people that voted for trump simply because it was him… or it. THEY are the ones having second thoughts about trump… and increasingly worried.

      He is not keeping his promises, and he is a lifetime of lying. You mention ‘art of the deal’… here is the REAL author of that book thinks about trump.
      “Tony Schwartz, the book’s ghostwriter, who spent 18 months in the 1980s interviewing and shadowing Mr. Trump, says that it is really a work of fiction. … “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes, there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.” … Mr. Schwartz said he was struck by how Mr. Trump took all of the credit but did practically none of the work.”

      Trump is a perverted, sick mind, and must be watched continuously. He is getting rich from the white house… and the American people will pay for trump’s greed.

      • Wyrdless

        You have Trump Derangement Syndrome.

        “””He is getting rich from the white house””””

        He has been in office three weeks.
        Give me a break , you should at least give him enough time to possibly make money before you make stuff up

        • 4Justice

          A once measured voice, HB has joined the ranks of the hysterical.
          An acceptable loss to gain the leadership of Trump.

      • EMyrt


  • Arkeygeezer

    Another head-fake from Trump! Enjoy.

    • Historybuff

      I settle for calling it ‘amateur hour at the white house’.

      • 4Justice

        Sad to witness how far you have fallen into disparing hyperbole.

  • Psalms564

    I think Trump and Xi are well and good if you are into that kind of stuff. I personally think that somebody calling someone is meaningless one way or the other.
    What matters is access to resources. China is a net importer of food and energy. US is the net exporter of food and is about to become a large net exporter of energy. Where would you like to live as an ordinary citizen? How about a high and mighty Chinese princeling?

  • Pete

    Trump put the Chinamen on notice that things can change faster then they realize.

    • ltlee1

      No better way to lose Taiwan.

  • Disappeared4x

    “blind underestimation”? “hysterical narratives” ? Well stated Mr. Mead! On ever more levels: FLOTUS Melania adds to the diplomatic U.S.-Japan weekend, with genuine coverage by CNN, and a gift to Akie Abe from Ukrainian-born American artist Vladimir Kanevsky: “Melania Trump set for first solo event as first lady: Trump will visit garden with Japan’s Akie Abe By: CNN Posted: 6:58 AM, Feb 11, 2017

    DELRAY BEACH, Florida (CNN) — First Lady Melania Trump is committed to continuing the White House garden tradition, showcasing her interest in a Saturday morning visit to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden with Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    “The First Lady has a deep personal commitment to her role as caretaker and nurturer, beginning with her family. She believes there
    is a connection between a child’s mind and places of calm and beauty to be used as a tool for us all. As a mother and as the First Lady of this country, Mrs. Trump is committed to the preservation and continuation of the White House Gardens, specifically the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden and the Rose Garden,” Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, senior adviser to the first lady, said in a statement to CNN.

    Melania Trump and Akie Abe will tour the Delray Beach museum and its six Japanese-inspired gardens, while President Donald Trump and the Japanese prime minister are slated to play golf at Trump’s club in Jupiter.

    “Both our countries histories and cultures are steeped in the nurture and nature of gardening,” Melania Trump said in a statement. “Having knowledge of different cultures and customs is a wonderful way to learn and to explore. Gardening teaches us the fundamentals in care and the evolution of living things, all while inspiring us to nurture our minds and to relax and strengthen our bodies. I hope that together Mrs. Abe and I can continue to inspire our youth to enjoy the beauty around them and to restore their minds in the peacefulness of their surroundings.”

    Trump will present Abe with the gift of a a porcelain rose, the “Rose in Bloom,” from Ukrainian-born American artist Vladimir

    The visit marks Trump’s first solo public appearance as first lady. She’ll host Abe for a private lunch later in the day at Mar-a-Lago.” ”

  • Disappeared4x

    The news analysis from Japan is quite good today: “…Abe was offered an unprecedented level of red-carpet treatment when Trump accommodated him, including a summit meeting, joint press conference and Air Force One flight to Trump’s Florida villa for a round of golf.

    Jared Kushner, senior adviser to Trump, took the lead role in arranging the schedule. Kushner, 36, is the husband of Trump’s eldest
    daughter, Ivanka, and a keen businessman. Trump deeply trusts him.

    It is said that Kushner constantly receives calls from government officials from many countries wanting to establish contact with Trump. Japanese government officials directly met with Kushner during a brief break in the flood of inquiries, and finalized the schedule for the Abe-Trump meeting. …

    The Japanese government aims to build individual relationships of trust with U.S. Cabinet members who are knowledgeable about
    Japan — including Vice President Mike Pence and Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross — and also Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

    While doing so, the Japanese government is aiming to establish closer ties to the Trump administration.”

    More interesting: “…The application of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty to the defense of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture was confirmed at the meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump held on Friday, aimed at sending a signal to China, which has been making aggressive advances in East and South China seas.

    U.S. administrations have sometimes been wavering on the application of Article 5 to the Senkaku Islands. Former President Barack Obama was the first president to confirm the application, in 2014. Shortly after his inauguration Obama placed high value on U.S.-China relations, and it took more than five years for Obama to confirm the application.

    On the other hand, Trump had already stated the application of Article 5 and spoken of the importance of U.S. forces stationed in Japan not long after his inauguration, apparently deciding that it would be better to send a signal to China in cooperation with Japan. …”

    The Legacy of Week 3: In Jordan, King Abdullah II getting credit for being an effective voice for Fatah, who cannot get a return phone call from the WH.

    Imagining the Trump Administration with a confirmed Cabinet – week 12?

    • Historybuff

      LOL !

      Is this the SAME Japan that little trump advised to get their own nuclear weapons… because he would not defend them?

      What trump trollop.

      • MR CW.COOL

        why lie

  • Mike

    There are many explanations of Trump’s decision to stand down. For example, Xi could have called Putin and demanded that he reigns in his agent or else. It sounds at least as plausible as Trump’s cunning.

  • Tech

    Trump’s call to Taiwan wasn’t bumbling – hardly. He’s announcing that things are now different. He challenged their authority to gauge their reaction and to indicate that he’s not intimidated by anything. He’s called them every name there is, and he’s not wrong. He can always get easier with them, but it’s next to impossible to become more stern. His opening gambit was strength, and he got their attention.

  • Jason

    If a child starts playing in toilet water, do you start clapping because he doesn’t drink it? That’s how dumb this article is. Congratulation mr. Mead for having given us all this turd to laugh at.

  • swek

    trump, the puppet, had tp walk back his idiocy about taiwan before the chinese would even take his call

  • longlance

    The Mighty Dragon is ascendant, even as the flaccid Eagle flops & falters. Go, Team China!

  • jk in durham

    Another delusional column from WRM.

    China tells Trump that they won’t talk to Trump until he admits publicly that the one-China recognition is still US policy.
    So after his Bob-Dole-initiated call to the Taiwan leader 3 weeks ago, Trump finally gives up and admits reality: yep, I’m for the one-China policy after all.

    Of course, Trump never admits that he was wrong in questions 1CP 3 weeks ago, but everyone else in the universe knows….except WRM, that is. What an outstanding contortionist.

    • CosmotKat

      Perhaps it’s not delusion on the part of Mead, but rather your own ignorance. Trump’s operating at a level that is clearly above and beyond your capability of understanding how he is getting it right with China and now Japan. And our best allies in the Mid-East are finding Trump to be just what the U.S. needs at the moment.

  • Trump wants to be friendly with Putin, Erdogan, and Xi Jinping. Not so much with Tsai Ing-Wen.
    The leftist comrades are interested in crony capitalism. Taiwan embraces free market capitalism.
    It makes one wonder what Trump is going to do about the U.S. government’s crony capitalist relationship with Castro in Cuba.

  • OBX47

    It is no wonder that Trump’s fans “get him.” They are as delusional as he is. Facts and truth are just what one believes; alternative facts rule. Trump lost this one “bigly.” He made a point of saying that we didn’t need a “one China Policy,” and it depended on how China negotiated, etc. He was going to make a big deal with China holding this over their heads. All of a sudden it is all gone; no big deal, but China got the “one China policy.” Hey, Guys! Don’t you get it? This guy is a bully and is brave when he is in front of his friendly crowds or on Twitter where he can carry on like an adolescent and nobody can answer back. At least with Nieto he didn’t back down until he had to face the guy in person. In this case, he caved over the phone.

  • Historybuff

    This is about as STUPID an article as I have seen from trump acolytes.

    So… trump ‘wins’ by being stupidly wrong… then being forced to correct his mistake.

    The trump people are getting pretty desperate.

    • CosmotKat

      The article is stupid only to those who are truly ignorant and filled with Trump hate, like you HB. Your infantile outrage renders you incapable of understanding how your hate matters little to Trump and he is going to continue confusing and confounding those, like you, who let hate rule your mind. He is more concerned with getting things done than worrying about what detractors like you have to say.

      • Historybuff

        ‘Getting things done’? Like what? EO’s… like obama did?

        Trump is viewed as a buffoon in the world, and he needs to straighten up and act like an adult.

        • CosmotKat

          Getting things done is exactly what is says and means. If that’s your view, HB hang onto that if it makes you feel better and soothes your innate hatred of those you whom disagree. Your commentary demonstrates a distinct odor of ignorant grade schooler. Who are you to criticize?

          • John Drake

            HB is a troll with a lot of time on xir (gender-neutral sjw pronouns for referring to sjw trolls) hands. Xe apparently uses that time to stoke xir bitterness and hate. I’m sure the irony of xir own intolerance is lost on xir. No need to your waste time getting entangled with xir ilk. They’re like the idiot protesters who don’t know what planet they’re on when questioned about why they’re protesting and then get violent in their embarrassment when they realize they’ve been exposed.

          • CosmotKat

            Yes, I know. I have had to deal with his special brand of idiocy before. He calls himself historybuff while knowing little history.

          • John Drake

            More irony lost. I’m sure xe thinks xe wins every argument too. Stupid people are just too stupid to realize they’re stupid… so they embrace it by embracing a failed ideology of failure that fails at everything except failure!

  • John

    An interesting take on the China/Japan movements. I am not looking that way all that much so I was very unaware of it. Piecing it together as the author did, is making sense of the fragments I am picking up about the Far East.

    I especially liked the authors take on President Trumps methods. He read it well. The Donald is not going to give the media breathing room and has enslaved them, with their own actions and methods. They seem clueless about it. I am actually looking forward to what the ´resistance´ has in mind concerning the president. They are probably going to blow it by miles and offer some serious entertainment in the process. I wish well to all.

  • Rodrigo Juri

    Ha… what an “alternative fact”. The only thing that is clear now is that Mr. Trump, face to face with somebody as strong as him, behaves like a COWARD.

  • babeebab

    Trump can relax because whatever he does, no matter how pathetic, there will be someone who will construe it as a genius move! No matter how arbitrary and messy his moves, someone will construe them as part of a “doctrine”…

    • Johannessen

      the flip of that is what the media have been doing, which is no matter how good or thoughtful a move he may make, to immediately call it racist and sexist and xenophobic. So, no matter what he does, one group will pillage him and another will support him. How is that productive?

  • Dyllin Barnett-Lozano

    Living in Japan for nearly a decade, and married to a Japanese wife, we watch the NHK news daily on TV. Trump is coming across very well indeed, and is facilitating Abe efforts to circumscribe re-militarization restraints by the post-war constitution. At the same time he has a general in Beijing talking with counterparts about improving Sino-US relations. “Generals” have a way of realpolitik that transcends the politics of the commanders. The ChiComs have consistently demonstrated over the past 25 years that they’ll do damned near anything for economic benefit. Access to US goods and the US market is mandatory for the Chinese economy to grow. Yes! There are now as many “well off” Chinese as there are total Americans. But there are another 700 million living not much advanced over subsistence village life on the farm. Trump’s successes will not come from super-detailed complex strategies and policies. It’s coming from straight talk and simple common sense.

  • simon li

    What did Walter’s ancestors do that begot such deformity in their posterity?

  • Bobbi60

    There are positives and negatives to almost any possible approach to foreign policy. The problem I have with so much of the media is that after many years of giving constant irrational approval to Obama, they have now switched sides to giving no credit at all to Trump. If you listened to them, you would believe that Trump basically has no policy, that he’s wandering like a babe in the woods, to be eaten by the first wolf that comes along. If one really looks at his actions, however, that isn’t how Trump appears at all.

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