After he bombed at the G20 Summit, Donald Trump was probably hoping his supporters would forget his admission that there was no deal with China, that they don’t know much more than he does about how trade works. He was probably right, but two weeks after his reassurance that China would soon go back to buying our products, based on absolutely nothing, Trump made news again when he tweeted: “China is letting us down in that they have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would. Hopefully they will start soon!”
If China does intend to trade with the U.S. anytime soon, it hasn’t made any indication of doing so. Despite Trump’s grandstanding, they don’t have a whole lot to lose if they resist. In fact, Trump is the one pandering to Chinese buyers, even at the detriment of our national security, as his administration sought tariff exemptions for the Chinese telecom agency Huawei and delayed adding new tariffs. Neither bodes well for American farmers in this trade war, as bankruptcy levels continue to rise and the government reimbursement they’re getting is still not nearly enough to make up their losses.
Throughout the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump promoted himself as a dealmaker, claiming that the U.S. was getting screwed regularly in deals by either President Obama or our own allies. Once he was elected, he made a bribe to Carrier Corporation and hailed it as evidence of his master negotiating skills.
Now, he’s shown himself on the world stage with no leverage, when his top supporters need a skilled negotiator the most – to save them from a crisis that was Trump’s own doing. They certainly can’t rely on Republican lawmakers in their state that are up for re-election, like Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa or Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas who are desperately trying to defend the tariffs however they can.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making