First tariffs, and now a move to isolate China in global trade. Can the US succeed?



George Magnus | South China Morning Post

US President Donald Trump’s stance on trade may be the most protectionist since the 1930s but in one respect, at least, it strikes a chord both within the Washington Beltway and in the wider world. It recognises that China is no longer just a major customer and formidable competitor but also an important adversary.

Back in the 1970s, US political scientist Edward Luttwak described the then economic threat posed to the United States by the likes of Germany and Japan as the “logic of conflict in the grammar of commerce”. Today’s Sino-US trade relationship could not be described more aptly…

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