China threatens ‘big stick’ if Trump launches a trade war
Chinese state media has warned Donald Trump that he will be met with “big sticks” if he persists in pushing a trade war.
In an editorial published Thursday, the Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper criticized Trump’s protectionist proposed trade policies, alluding to ominous (if nebulous) consequences if he persists in this vein.
“There are flowers around the gate of China’s Ministry of Commerce, but there are also big sticks hidden inside the door — they both await Americans.”
To which Trump probably replied, “not bigger than mine, huh huh.”
This latest statement came in response to the president-elect’s selection of Robert Lighthizer for trade minister. A longtime critic of globalization, Lighthizer criticized China’s trade policies back in the ’80s when he served as a trade official under Ronald Reagan.
The editorial continued (I had to run this part through Google Translate, but the translation seems decent):
Coupled with the nomination for the Minister of Commerce, [Wilbur] Ross, Trump’s economic team seems to form a protectionist “iron curtain.” They have a strong anti-globalization tendency, and their understanding of fairness and fair trade seriously conflicts with the values advocated by the WTO. They do not appear to be further building the world’s existing trade order, but are more interested in doing this order of the subversive.
Chinese media previously criticized Peter Navarro, Trump’s pick to head the new White House National Trade Council, as similarly bad for business.
The editorial did not say what China would do to punish Trump (and by extension, America). Given the United States’ global hegemony, it’s more likely a cessation of trade relationships would hurt China first. But given the crazy complicated web of globalized trade that currently connects the two countries, the US economy would suffer unforeseen circumstances that would be largely self-inflicted. Plus, China could mess with our security interests in the area.
As bad as the consequences of globalization have been for workers around the world, getting gracefully out of this mess requires an advanced understanding and forward-looking politics that Trump definitely does not have. TL;DR: You’ll have him to thank when your iPhone 8 costs $100,000.