Pence’s Attacks on China Won’t Help Trump at G-20

Beijing wants to avoid an all-out trade war with Washington. That is what will count at the G-20 summit later this week, writes Patrick Lawrence, not the U.S. vice president’s hostility in Asia earlier this month.

Trying to Isolate China is a Failing U.S. Strategy

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

After Vice President Mike Pence’s poor reception in Asia a couple of weeks ago one shouldn’t expect a great outcome for President Donald Trump when he meets China’s President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires on Friday.

Trump sent Pence to Asia earlier this month to deliver two bluntly hostile attacks on the Chinese and to insist that the rest of Asia choose:  You’re with us or you’re with them.

U.S. officials have delivered many obtuse performances in Asia over the years, but Pence bested them when he spoke in Singapore at an annual summit of Southeast Asian nations and, two days later, at the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation session in Papua New Guinea.

In Singapore he cast China’s presence in the region as an “empire of aggression”—skipping the fact that China has no recent record of aggression. He then turned the 21–nation APEC session into a direct face-off with Xi, who was also present.  

The U.S. vice president’s over-the-top performances were probably a case of  calculated pugnacity; a softening-up exercise. But if they have any effect at all on Xi it will be to stiffen his position when he meets Trump later this week. Washington does not yet realize that challenging China’s place as an Asian power is a losing proposition.

Xi Jinping(Wikipedia)

The incipient trade war between the U.S. and China was one of Pence’s prominent themes. He threatened to more than double the tariffs the Trump administration has already imposed on $250 billion worth of Chinese exports if China fails to fulfill Washington’s long list of market-opening measures. “The United States,” Pence said, “will not change course until China changes its ways.”

Attacks on ‘Belt and Road’

Pence’s most vituperative remarks at APEC concerned China’s immensely ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, intended to connect the Eurasian landmass from Shanghai to Lisbon via ports, power grids, rail lines and other infrastructure projects. Pence asserted the multi-trillion-dollar effort is nothing more than a debt trap structured to China’s advantage.

He then presented Asians with their neatly packaged us-or-them choice. “We don’t coerce or compromise your independence,” Pence said. “We do not offer a constricting belt or a one-way road,” he taunted. “When you partner with us, we partner with you, and we all prosper.”

It takes a lot of nerve, ignorance of history, or both, for an American official to make such assertions. U.S. banks and Western-controlled financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund have made an art of saddling developing nations with debt—and dictating economic policies along with it—since the Bretton Woods system was negotiated in 1944. Remember the Third World debt crisis of the 1970s and 1980s? More than a few developing-nation officials listening to Pence likely recalled it all too well. 

Buenos Aires, site of first G-20 in South America. (Corinna Barnard)

Xi seems to have anticipated the U.S. broadside. Before Pence spoke he said Belt and Road was not for geopolitical purposes. “It is not the so-called trap, as some people say. It is the sunshine avenue where China shares opportunities with the world to seek common development.”

The White House’s strategy here looks like the Dealmaker at work once again: Give the other side a thorough working over, then proceed to the mahogany table and negotiate an agreement to maximum advantage.

Those were the features of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaigns against North Korea and (as we speak) Iran. Trump’s deal of the century in the Mideast, still in development, is another example.

Two Key Flaws

Trump’s brand of diplomacy is flawed in two key ways.

No. 1: It’s foolish to apply what works in the Manhattan real estate market to global strategy. There is little-to-no chance that Trump’s style will deliver the intended results in Iran, North Korea or in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Trump may win further concessions on trade when he meets Xi in Argentina later this week, but this will have nothing to do with Pence’s disgracefully bellicose speeches at the two back-to-back gatherings of Asia–Pacific nations.

No. 2: Obsessed with its decades of primacy in the Pacific, the U.S. simply cannot accept China’s inevitable emergence as a regional and global power. This second problem is the larger and more worrisome, driving one mistake after another in Washington’s trans–Pacific strategies. So long as members of U.S. policy cliques see everything Beijing does as a threat, they will fail to grasp the many opportunities for cooperation that a stronger and more prosperous China makes possible. This is more than merely a shame: it is causing a self-inflicted decline.

Washington would do well to learn that it’s futile to try to isolate mainland China from the rest of Asia. It’s like trying to isolate most of a hemisphere from the rest of the planet. And no Asian nation—not even the ever-loyal Japanese—shows any interest in choosing a side in a confrontation that is more or less of Washington’s making.

No undertaking of the magnitude of Belt and Road—which now involves more than 70 nations—will be without its problems, especially at the front end. But Xi’s description of it seems closer than Pence’s. Of the roughly 1,700 projects now in progress, only one—a port that Chinese firms constructed in Sri Lanka—has run into major financing problems, and these appear to reflect Sri Lanka’s misjudgments more than China’s.

To be fair to Pence and his boss, the Trump administration is not the first to confront Asians with an us-or-them choice between the U.S. and China. That error goes to the administration of Barack Obama when it was negotiating the Trans–Pacific Partnership. By pointedly not inviting China to join the TPP, it treated the deal, primarily, as a device to isolate China.

The U.S. has not had a coherent approach to China at least since the first Bush presidency back in the early 1990s, when there was at least some acceptance of China as a rising power.  

Beijing eagerly wants to avoid an all-out trade war with the U.S. And this is what will count in Buenos Aires, not Pence’s chest-out posturing. Absent an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs now in place will go to 25 percent in January, and the United States will impose new tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of Chinese exports. These numbers are what will motivate Xi. 

The Chinese recently sent the White House a list 140 concessions they are willing to make, which Trump called insufficient.  “Some things were left off,” Trump said breezily after reviewing it. We will probably get them, too.”

If the Dealmaker really wants a deal, he would have to negotiate with an important trading partner, not an adversary, and drop all suggestions that U.S. primacy in the Pacific remains intact. China has already retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products. There is plenty more where that came from if Trump misreads Xi as badly as his vice-president has done. 

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is www.patricklawrence.us. Support his work via www.patreon.com/thefloutist.

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39 comments for “Pence’s Attacks on China Won’t Help Trump at G-20

  1. nick wales
    December 8, 2018 at 11:01 am

    US deserves Chinese arrogant behavior, tahnx to lat 30 years of myopic “most favored nation policy” and corruption by Chinese lobbyists, on the other hand China is rude aggressive economic player, using all possible ways adopting 36 stratagems to undermine world order, peace sand respect for property and human rights

  2. zman
    December 7, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Now Bolton has trumped Pence. Pence tried his schtick on the Chinese, looking for a western type response. FAIL. Then Trump has his confab with Xi and gets a ‘truce’ of 90 days. But of course Bolton, who was there, knew at the same time that the CFO of Wuawei, Wanzhou Meng, was about to be arrested and extradited to the US. How will this affect their economic truce? This is the stupidest bunch of bunglers ever. Unless of course it is their strategy to torpedo every effort they undertake. Look at the NK fiasco, making headway, then backed out with more demands. It’s almost like they design every initiative fail. Surely not.

  3. Den Lille Abe
    November 30, 2018 at 11:47 am

    Pence is like a 3 dollar note. Y ou wish to pass it on to the next sucker.
    This bible belt moron (he is) does not understand that the days of the Evil Empire are waning, China cares Fock about the US, it cant be threatened militarily because of population, Russia cares fock about the US because of size and 7500 nuclear warheads, a sizeable chunk which sail in the Sea of Okhost , which is a no-go zone for US Imperialistic navy (treaties, treaties).
    So Ruskies and Chinamen can make great white glass parking space of the US, they would prolly get on with it, while the US would be relegated to the evil person in future Grimm stories.
    How do you make a Gulag for 330 million Americans (they need it)? You put a wall around it!
    Thanks Trump :)

  4. elmerfudzie
    November 30, 2018 at 11:31 am

    We keep forgetting that the USD is a currency that is about to implode. Our POTUS should steer Xi aside and have a private chat, something to the effect, that he (Xi) should make every effort to convince the CCP that a gradual move of their gold stores to the Bank of Hawaii will be in the best interests of both nations. A new “global USD dollar currency” will emerge, underwritten by the Renminbi. In return, the USPACOM matériel and infrastructure will not be handed over to the naval forces of our closest Asian Pacific allies. The hustle will be based on the premise; better to deal with the USA now, than a collection of your Asian and Anglo-Saxon brothers, who don’t like you in the first place, later…This exchange should be a gradual process and will, in effect, prepare the world for a new currency, a meld, an amalgam of both fiat and gold backed currency concepts. Get on it, Prez! roll the dice, ignore the NeoCon’s just like Prez Reagan did and above all, gamble till sunrise…don’t be aghast Japan, your always in the mix! Sit tight, ya all, the new chief is a real deal maker !

  5. DH Fabian
    November 30, 2018 at 2:39 am

    Look at the bigger picture. Republicans have worked to build support for a war against China while Democrats have worked to build support for war against Russia. This warmongering has been such that it finally brought China and Russia together, working out their years of conflict in view of this potential world threat — the US. How do you think this will all turn out?

    • elmerfudzie
      November 30, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      From Elmerfudzie to DH Fabian: I’m praying for a last minute Grace that descends on both sides of the political aisle. A Grace, not usually associated with the intellectual apparatus(es) of fundamentally evil assemblies (inside the beltway) . A revelation that will inspire the sellouts and trolls, who, up to this moment in history, have slaved on behalf of Corporate American interests and not the citizenry at large; to turncoat on their puppet masters. ASIDE, They know that not all of them can squeeze into Mount Weather for the sake of personal safety. These government “representatives” may finally come to realize, that their private financial nest eggs are now in severe jeopardy, that is, once the USD collapses. I hope this sudden enlightenment arrives just before the USD does indeed crash. Hopefully at the same time, this panic will bring all the warring factions to agree on one thing, save the dollar or do whatever it takes. Please review my commentary above for a more detailed potential scenario and strategy

  6. bardamu
    November 29, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    As the generation that fought the second world war dies away, so do the years in which the US can get away with this sort of disinformation.

    There was a reputation the US got as an alternative to aristocracy and servitude in Europe. The reputation extended itself as imperial Europe broke itself in two world wars. But the Marshall Plan was not an invitation to individual or national autonomy, as advertised, but a loan to reinstate an empire between Europe and the United States, to prevent the wave of independence movements that accompanied the stumbling and the fall of centuries of empire.

    A lot of this was called “anticommunism,” and the people who implemented were certainly not communists. But the most consistent thing that they fought against in country after country and continent after continent was national and personal autonomy, not any particular ideology.

    Several generations on, we are left with little excuse to imagine the military and paramilitary of the United States and its allies as other than aggressors and torturers, though certainly the understanding of goals among the personnel involved is apt to be quite different.

    I have no way to guess how deluded or how disingenuous Trump’s or Pence’s posturing around all this might be. Sometimes it’s hard to remain curious. Either way, a different understanding of these things appears on the ascent, and there cannot be enough arms of disinformation to stop it.

  7. November 29, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Some info on G20 at article link below.
    ————————————-
    November 28, 2018
    “Are War Criminals, Murderers, Torturers, Child Killers, and Terrorist Supporters, Meeting In Buenos Aries”?

    http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2018/11/are-war-criminals-murderers-torturers.html

  8. W. R. Knight
    November 29, 2018 at 10:16 am

    “The U.S. has not had a coherent approach to China at least since the first Bush presidency back in the early 1990s,…”

    I would argue that the U.S. hasn’t had a coherent approach to foreign policy anywhere in the world since the end of WWII. Since that time, when we emerged as the only unscathed economic power, our foreign policy has been one of belligerence and exploitation.

  9. Richard A.
    November 29, 2018 at 10:02 am

    The Trump administration will probably be going after Japan in the near future over trade. They will exaggerate Japanese protectionism and may push the Japanese to restrict exports in to the US. Here is a US vs Japan comparison on trade restrictions:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-09-27/a-japan-u-s-pact-looks-like-the-opposite-of-free-trade

    • WALDRON
      December 1, 2018 at 5:22 am

      For TRUMP the US trade deficit can only be cured by using tariffs defying 1930’s history.
      Targeting China represents convenient target to apply his scare-tactics leading to actual war?
      Next in line Germany as largest exporter in the world by far. Japan as the largest car exporter
      to USA now ordering more US military hardware (F-35) to please TRUMP to calm nerves.
      FORD recently ceased all sales operations in Japan raising questions about their future plans
      after approaching VOLKSWAGEN sharing investment in electric vehicle operations in Europe.
      What happens if US trade deficit fails to respond to TRUMP trade tariffs with US dollar in freefall?

  10. Sababu A. Sanyika
    November 29, 2018 at 10:02 am

    PEACE IN…
    Many talk about Trump’s racial leanings but fail to know that Pence is far worst in his racist bigotry mindset.

    Prayers China can guard against any harm from these savage thinking European Americans.
    PEACE IN…PEACE OUT…

    • Anne Jaclard
      November 29, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      Well put. The impeachment of fascist Donald Trump, responsible for the caging of children, eco-terrorism by pulling out of the Paris Accord and TigerSwan/FBI attacks on environmental activism, and the threatening with genocide of entire countries should nonetheless be avoided, because while all this is criminal and bad, Mike Pence is dead set on a nuclear war with China and expansion of Asian hegemony at all costs. Mueller investigation threatens war, not with Russia, but with China.

    • DH Fabian
      November 30, 2018 at 2:49 am

      It'[s not about race. In the modern era, US wars are driven by the powerful wealthy to acquire control over international resources.

  11. Brad Owen
    November 29, 2018 at 9:00 am

    I listened to Steve Bannon for the first time when he gave his speech to Black Americans For A Better Future (BAFBF.org). He was spot-on, regarding our relationship with China: They’ve been engaged in economic warfare with us for decades, and they consider that war to be over and that we lost it. China is a totalitarian, mercantilist, Confucian, Nation. We are Jamestown to their “British Empire”, a colony with an annual $500 billion trade deficit, being held to “just” $500 billion by shipping cattle, hogs, tin, copper…in other words, the colony ships raw materials to the “Mother Country” and they sell us manufactured goods, because THEY have the factories and jobs that once belonged to our, now-called, “Rust Belt”. Hence the need for tariffs to force some of those factories and well-paying jobs back over here. Remember: the best, most efficient, welfare program is a well-paying, secure job that you can work at, for 40 years, and retire from comfortably with dignity, paying for your own food, clothing, shelter, education, healthcare, etc…Bannon got THIS Sandernista’s attention.

  12. michael
    November 29, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Neoliberalism (debt peonage and military adventurism) is threatened (somewhat) by a multipolar world. Rather than joining the more populous nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in trade in mutually beneficial ways, American neolibs and neocons continue their unilateral dominance, helped by the EU poodles, since Reagan. China was to some extent modernized under Clinton (by ‘forgetting’ Tianeman Square and shipping American technology and jobs to the communist country) to further isolate Russia, the perennial bogeyman, who the Clintons have always been obsessed with, even while raping the country with evil oligarchs under puppet Yeltsin. The slaughter in the Balkans, setting up a neoNAZI regime in the Ukraine and NATO bases everywhere on Russia’s borders to isolate essentially a nothing country (economy smaller than Italy’s), is so typical of incompetent American foreign policy since Reagan. Pence is the neolib/neocon “adult in the room” who the Establishment wants to replace Trump. Pence’s parroting Hillary’s and Bolton’s ‘Libya Model’ while dealing with North Korea is seen by these people as a positive. Pence’s seeking to isolate Asia (more debt for the Giant Squid and Wall Street) from China, who America created and turned into the strongest economy in the world!, won’t work. The older Asians are petrified of Japan (our good friend; only politicians’ memories are so short) and while they don’t trust China, they recognize the economic opportunities in China (and to a lesser extent in India). The US is observed as a nice counterweight to China, but Asia has no illusions that our Navy is there to protect THEIR interests (plus our $$Billion ships don’t do well in collisions with garbage scows and barges!)

    • WALDRON
      December 2, 2018 at 4:27 am

      Russia as a “nothing country” smaller than ITALY wide of the mark. Ironic really as Italy demanding the end of sanctions against Russia. Russia ranks as a military super-power selling SS-400 / SS-300 missiles to Egypt Turkey Syria and China. Russia a competitor to US in the global arms trade. Russia in Syria has turned the tables against Sunni plan for a new Arabia. Note that Russia enjoys good relations with Turkey and Iran. Iran represents a real blot on the landscape for US-Israel. Israel with Saudi Arabia have been very successful up to now building an anti-Iran coalition that could easily spiral out of control. Iran relying on protection from that “nothing country” Russia? Likewise your remarks on China (friend of Russia) may not stand the test of time; especially with North Korea in the Chinese sphere of influence even after the grand overtures of the US President that came to nothing in the final analysis. Nothing is what it seems now.

  13. David G
    November 29, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Patrick Lawrence writes:
    “It’s foolish to apply what works in the Manhattan real estate market to global strategy.”

    I know it’s not Mr. Lawrence’s beat, but how at this late date can he evidently still believe Donald Trump to be a successful real-estate developer, least of all in Manhattan?

    On some level it bespeaks a certain willful ignorance to have somehow overlooked the mountain of books and articles demonstrating in minute detail that His Eldritchness is no such thing.

    But it is also another regrettable demonstration of the power of Trump’s industrial-scale lying: most people simply get worn down by the effort necessary to fend off the unremitting torrent of orange-hued B.S.

    I guess that that John Barron fellow was a better P.R. flack than we gave him credit for.

  14. David G
    November 29, 2018 at 7:15 am

    Yesterday’s NY Times front page reports the U.S. ready to blink going into these talks:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/us/politics/trump-xi-trade-g-20.html

    Trump doesn’t want to run for his second term just as the recession he is cultivating reaches full flower.

    Even with U.S. democracy diluted down to homeopathic levels, it’s remarkable to see the salutary effect an upcoming election can sometimes have on politicians’ decision-making.

  15. F. G. Sanford
    November 29, 2018 at 2:35 am

    Xi Jinping wants a new Belt and Road. It’s a threat to our humble abode.
    We’ve become so effete we no longer compete,
    Seems our future is down the commode!

    Since the sixties we’ve made crappy cars. But we dream about dancing with stars.
    We’ve got hand-held devices and social net splices,
    Elon Musk sent a dummy to Mars!

    Hillary still blames the Russians. We have endless collusion discussions.
    Healthcare’s a mess and you can’t trust the press,
    Social justice produces concussions!

    There are plans for an Asian trade meeting. Some speculate there will be cheating.
    Mike Pence set the stage, Mr. Trump will engage,
    They’ve decided Jinping needs a beating!

    It’s an Empire of Chinese aggression. Asian power could lead to oppression.
    Dick Nixon’s vision caused market collision,
    Now we’re stuck with financial depression!

    It could be a financial blunder. Those Communist Chinese might plunder.
    Those Asian exploiters could make us Detroiters-
    All our factory jobs could go under!

    Mike Pence went to meet the G-Twenty. His opinions were offered aplenty.
    He surprised Singapore with his talk of trade war,
    And said Asians should be more repent-y!

    In New Guinea he seemed quite distressed. Papuans were scantily dressed.
    But everyone prays, they have laws against gays,
    Mike exclaimed, “They’re good Christians and I was impressed!”

    Mr. Trump’s headed down Buenos Aires. He’ll confront all our trade adversaries.
    It’s hopeless of course to resort to brute force,
    So Mike Pence can’t send crazed missionaries!

    Gina Haspel could send in some pastors – those CIA God pimping blasters!
    They’d save Asian souls spreading Western trade goals,
    With salvation, we’d cause them disasters!

    Sri Lankans got buried in debt. They got caught in that Belt and Road net.
    Mike said it’s a trap, that Chinese Road map,
    Those poor Lankans ain’t paid it off yet!

    We could give them the century’s deal. They’ve got resources we could reveal.
    We wouldn’t coerce, compromise or be terse,
    We’d just sanction them if they should squeal!

    We could double the tariffs imposed – if they don’t like the deal we proposed.
    We’ll promise them rapture with free-market capture,
    With the art of the deal, they’ll get hosed!

    Neoliberal IMF debt, is a wish-list they’ll never forget.
    We’ll treat them real good, just like profiteers should,
    They’ll be saved from that Red Commie Threat!

    We could offer to change their regime. We can gear up an NGO team!
    We’ll send in some rebels and organize crowd swells,
    Human rights is a plausible theme!

    There’d be plenty of organized riots. And sanctions would limit their diets.
    So what if some starve, it’s their freedom we’ll carve-
    They’ll rejoice when the violence quiets!

    At first freedom might seem a fable. So some fascists could come to the table.
    A puppet dictator installed until later,
    Would insure the transition was stable!

    That’s the way we can stop Xi Jinping. Put his Communist butt in a sling!
    The Belt and the Road will begin to implode,
    With the art of the deal, Trump’s a king!

    • mike k
      November 29, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      Another tour de force F.G.! If you were our secretary of state, our foreign policy would be poetically great. It would make Chomsky noetic, and Bolton apoplectic. The sun would then rise on a sight for sore eyes – a world without lies!

      • Frederike
        November 29, 2018 at 9:29 pm

        You are not so bad yourself!

    • rosemerry
      November 29, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      Wonderful, FG, every word!!!

      “Beijing eagerly wants to avoid an all-out trade war with the U.S” as any normal sentient human being would understand, and any country caring for harmony would want as well.

  16. Jeff Harrison
    November 29, 2018 at 1:35 am

    Upon re-reading this piece, Patrick, it occurs to me that your phrase “tariffs the Trump administration has already imposed on $250 billion worth of Chinese exports” while pretty standard, hides reality. I would probably reword that to say “tariffs the Trump administration has already imposed on $250 billion worth of American imports” because, after all, it will be American buyers, not Chinese producers that will pay the tariff.

  17. Jeff Harrison
    November 28, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Trump is an amateur negotiator. A negotiation in a long term relationship is not all about one-sided advantage but rather about settlements that reflect the needs of both sides.

  18. mike k
    November 28, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Bullies always exaggerate their powers. They have an inflated image of themselves, and are incapable of self criticism. They will claim to have won, even when they have been thoroughly beaten. Trump lies to himself even more than he lies to others. This is a serious character flaw which will guarantee his defeat. Hubris is always coupled with blindness to reality.

  19. Pft
    November 28, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    Trump -Pence playing the good cop bad cop game, or is it heel vs face, whatever.

    Chaos, unpredictability and confusion are essential elements of his negotiating strategy.

    Perception/expectation management as well. After Pence expectations low so if something good comes out no matter how trivial he can blow his “winning” Trumpet

  20. November 28, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Honest to God, these guys are going to oversee the collapse of the world economy and an orderly system of dealing with problems.

    And they are ideologically thick enough to believe they are doing good.

    America, you are a disaster, an unqualified disaster.

    • Frederike
      November 29, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      “And they are ideologically thick enough to believe they are doing good.” I wonder. I have a feeling that they have no ideology, whatsoever.

  21. KiwiAntz
    November 28, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    China has something to offer to other Countries who wish to participate in the ambitious “One Road, One Belt” initiative & that is the chance for everyone to benefit from the free Trade this will engender & infrastructure spending & investment in those Lands, under this scheme! Contrast that to America’s bankrupt Empire & policies with Trump & his bellyaching VP Pence, who have nothing of any value to offer, too the World except death , destruction & chaos via its zero sum game policy of endless Wars, supporting Terrorism & Tyrants in Saudi Arabia & Israel along with its immoral arms sales & US coups with Regime change, in order to justify stealing other Countries resources & eviscerating its Citizens! Is it any wonder Nations are choosing China & it’s peaceful cooperation & coexistence policies over the murderous ambitions of a dying US Empire, currently on he wrong side of History & flailing about like a beached whale in a last gasp effort to hang on to its waning influence? China is driving into a prosperous future where everyone can benefit whilst America is fast disappearing in the rear view mirror, a has been Empire, fading into irrelevance!

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 28, 2018 at 10:01 pm

      It’s embarrassing as all hell KiwiAntz to see my country’s one dimensional religion wearing on his sleeve Vice President sound so angered and desperate. Xi should have waved Pence off like an insubordinate hack who overran his mouth, and queried ‘who’s your daddy’… but that would have been far too kind of Xi. In real life when the toughest start sending their hired help in to the fray it shows not only a sign of disrespect it shows a sign of genuine honorable weakness. The U.S. knows damn well it could negotiate a safe passage through the Chinese seas, but for the U.S. as it was with the Native Americans and the Victims of the Spanish American War mutual profit sharing is never an item left on the table.

      The U.S. must come to grips that it is long overdue the plan to execute conquering 7 nations in 5 years, and realize that other nations have had time to catch up into their own U.S. inspired arms race. Coalitions among those who have been sanctioned down to dirt are arsing, and the stretched out to the four corners of the world U.S. forces (who are in need of a well deserved break) are going to be hell bent logistically and humanly trying to defend this country against these rising self made adversaries, if they ever decided to attack in mass. It would only be ‘all too kind’ if the world were to leverage down the U.S. Hegemonic PNAC commissioned empire without any brutal reacting force if that option still would reamain open. One can only wish if you are a disgusted American with this whole new world order bull that the world’s reaction to this overbearing U.S. hegemony will be soft while deliberate and not hard when deadly event if it ever comes to that… yet again I digress.

      Pence should have been trying to promote our steel and aluminum products into the OBOR. Why not join them. I’m sure the U.S. using friendly persuasion methods could hammer out some kind of deals… I mean why not we have the ‘art of deal’ President, no?

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 29, 2018 at 5:30 pm

      KiwiAntz I wrote a comment but apparently it has disappeared….no biggie. What I had said was Pence shows a sign of weakness in Trump’s administration, that by sending him to throw insults and threats around this is a sign of a dying empire, that’s all. Love your comments KiwiAntz. Joe

      ps maybe my original comment will appear…who knows, but I love the Consortium regardless.

      • KiwiAntz
        November 30, 2018 at 8:17 pm

        Thanks Joe for your comments. Although I have been quite critical of the US Empire, my opinion is not a dig at the American people, who are good people who find themselves in this situation of being held captive by a Rogue Hegemonic Empire? And my own Country NZ, despite being, quite a compassionate Nation is also hanging to the coattails of the US Empire. Only recently under increasing pressure from the US, we have had to cancel a major Huawei infrastructure & 5G Fibre upgrade rollout based on the hysterical notion that China is undermining & planting spy technology in our Fibre upgrades! Totally unfounded accusations which will have a negative effect on own Trade relations with NZ’s largest Trading partner, being China! All to satisfy the US Empire trying to stick it to China? It’s absurd but just demonstrates the lunacy of the US Empire trying to hold on to its waning influence & how it impacts on other small Nations? Have a great Xmas Joe.

  22. November 28, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    The Ugly American: Eugene Burdick, William J. Lederer 1958 book describes our behavior in Asia during the Cold War. Recently, the ugly American just seems to get uglier. Our ugly behavior was kept under control during the Cold War but since Gorbachev opened the door to a more hopeful future, we instead have begun bullying the world, oblivious of the blowback.

    Trump, ugly by his words, is no different that his predecessors, and his clumsiness may simply hasten outcomes that were bound to come.

    In such an atmosphere, the consequences are all over the place, from serious military blowback, to economic isolation, to the climbing down of America seeking cooperation instead of confrontation. Great dangers and great opportunities.

  23. November 28, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    How can you make a treaty or an agreement with such a person? How can anyone – be it China, Russia, North Korea, Europe – negotiate with the United States and believe anything Donald Trump says?

    Would you? No. Of course you wouldn’t.

    The Birth Of Fuckery: How To Think About Donald Trump’s Lies

  24. Anne Jaclard
    November 28, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Trump’s negotiating style is not a personal trait, unfortunately, but a US tactic going back decades. If the world is coming to an agreement, the US demands major concessions in order to make it palatable at home. Then, when the deal is reached, they pull out anyway leaving the world with a framework designed by US capitalism but without any responsibility placed on the US. The Kyoto Protocal, Paris Climate Agreement, TPP, and Iran Deal are all examples of this. More recently, the US has also engaged in a blackmail strategy where they levy an extreme broadside or threat against a country (like China or the EU) and demand immediate change in behaviour. The victim country, wishing to preserve the international order, relents and allows the US to extract any and all demands so long as the original threat is not applied. Now, the EU is being forced to ship in US fracking oil and GMO soybeans without any democratic debate, screwing over local activists and also polluting communities in the US. Only the corporate technofascist forces (Atlantic Council, multinationals, Israel) benefit. Other countries need to slap back hard at the US so they can’t apply these tactics anymore, for the sake of their own people as well as ordinary people in the US itself.

    • tina garcia
      November 29, 2018 at 11:33 pm

      all true, but the only thing that matters in these dismal times, is djt he is the ruler of everything and he gets what he wants. I stopped CN back in 2016 because every article and comments were Killary, Warmonger, Cankles, warmonger. CN was never one day fair to HRC in any honest way. Cn is all rah rah for djt. I feel sad because I expected better from Consortium News.

    • Tim
      November 30, 2018 at 9:34 am

      > Now, the EU is being forced to ship in US fracking oil and GMO soybeans
      > without any democratic debate

      “Forced”? Ha! The Commission and most of the Council of Minister were all in favor, anyway.

      And with regard to their views on “democratic debate”, the current scandal concerning the review of the Water Directive should have made that clear to anybody who wants to know…

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