White House officials long talked of two different camps on China during the trade negotiations. “Globalists” such as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged a quick settlement of the trade fight. “Nationalists” such as Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro wanted to batter China with tariffs.
After the trade accord, the lineup changed. Mr. Lighthizer allied with Mr. Mnuchin to preserve the deal and had limited sway on national security. “There’s a defense lane. There’s a broader security lane. There’s a cyber lane,” Mr. Lighthizer told a think tank audience in July. “If I try to get in all of those lanes then I’m just going to get run over.”
Others—who call themselves “decouplers” or “hard-liners”—want to punish China even if that puts the trade pact at risk. Their ranks include Mr. Pompeo, deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, Attorney General William Barr, Mr. Navarro and Mr. Ross, who once worked with the Treasury secretary to get a quick trade deal.
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