Foreign Affairs

How China Views Trump

Keyu Jin: “Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the US presidential election has shaken the world… But one country has remained largely unmoved: China.”

“…prudence flows through China’s Confucian veins. Rather than jumping to conclusions about future US policies, much less taking premature action, China’s leaders have remained neutral in their response to Trump’s victory. They seem confident that, though the bilateral relationship will change somewhat, it will not be fundamentally transformed. It will still be neither very good nor very bad.”

“Some in the West might think that the rhetoric alone would be enough to incense China’s leaders. But the truth is that the Chinese are far more offended by national leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama, as President Barack Obama did in June. And, as past US elections have made clear, rhetoric may well bear little relation to reality. That is all the more true when the rhetoric in question includes promises that would harm everyone involved, as Trump’s proposed tariffs would.”

Why Turkey Is Salivating for President Trump

Steven Cook: “So what do Erdogan and his supporters like about Trump? What do they see in him that has made them declare, as one Turkish newspaper wrote, that ‘Turkey is optimistic about starting with a clean slate’ for U.S.-Turkish relations?”

“It’s not just that Trump and Erdogan share strongman tendencies like hostility toward the press and a belief in themselves as saviors to their respective nations, or that Trump’s designated national security adviser has cozy ties with the Turks. More important, the two leaders share an anti-establishment message that aligns in ways that indicate to Turks, at least the pro-Erdogan among them, that relations will improve with a Trump-led United States.”

“These parallels do not in and of themselves explain the enthusiasm with which Trump’s election was met in Turkey, however. The answer, in fact, lies in another parallel between Erdogan’s Turkey and Trump’s America: Turkey’s pro-government press and the people they represent hate the American establishment almost as much as the folks who want to ‘Make America Great Again.'”

Growing Out of U.S. Leadership

Adair Turner: “Donald Trump’s election has been greeted around the world with justifiable bewilderment and fear. His victory – following a fact-free, vicious election campaign – has trashed the brand of American democracy. But, while Trump is impulsive and occasionally vindictive – a potentially fatal mix in an already fragile world – his election should be a spur to challenge failed ideas and to move beyond excessive reliance on the United States’ inevitably imperfect global leadership.”

“Few of Trump’s campaign comments can be described as insightful and fair, but he had a point when he suggested that Europe cannot rely on America to defend it if it remains unwilling to make a fair contribution to military capability. America spends close to 4% of its GDP on defense, and accounts for some 70% of total military spending by all NATO members. Most European countries fail to meet the Alliance’s 2%-of-GDP target for defense spending, but still expect America to provide security guarantees against, for example, Russian adventurism. A credible commitment by the United Kingdom, France, and Germany to increase defense spending not just to 2% but to 3% of GDP, would at least reduce the dangerous imbalance at NATO’s core.”

The Worst-Case Scenario for the Economy Under Trump Just Happened in Another Country

Washington Post: “While there are a number of important differences between the Brazilian and U.S. economies, Rousseff’s policies arguably offer a cautionary example for newly empowered Republicans in Washington.”

“More than any U.S. politician’s platform, Trump’s agenda on the economy resembles those of populist leaders abroad. In particular, the policies he has proposed are very similar to those of Dilma Rousseff, the former president of Brazil who was ousted from office in August.”

“As Trump has planned to do, Rousseff enforced restrictions on imports. She promised new spending on infrastructure and granted generous subsidies to corporations with the goal of stimulating the economy, especially manufacturing.”

How Trump’s Victory Could Give Russia Another Win

Eric Edelman and David Kramer: “The Obama administration has worked closely with the European Union to ensure trans-Atlantic unity on sanctions, arguing that they are crucial to containing Russia. But Trump’s victory threatens this tenuous agreement by providing skeptical European nations with a credible argument against renewal: Trump will lift U.S. sanctions soon anyway. Thus, before even entering office, Trump may cause the sanctions regime to crumble, reducing pressure on Moscow and emboldening Putin.”

“Even before Trump’s victory, the sanctions already faced deep suspicion among certain European countries. Leaders in Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus have argued that not only are sanctions not working but, combined with the drop in oil prices, they are hurting EU members economically. Any single one of those countries could upend the current sanctions regime because renewal requires agreement among all 28 EU member states.”

“Thanks to diligent work by U.S. and EU officials, that consensus has held so far, but it is likely to dissolve in light of Trump’s expressed intentions toward Moscow. Even among the staunchest supporters of sanctions — Germany, Poland, the U.K. and the Baltic states — maintaining such measures will become untenable if it looks like the United States will break ranks.”

The TPP Is Dead, Long Live the TPP

Brookings Institution: “The election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States seems to have sealed the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

“We should not jump to the conclusion, however, that a TPP without the United States is without value for the remaining members. In fact, a relaunched TPP could be the best vehicle for these countries to adapt to the new—and harsher—reality of international trade in a world increasingly consumed by populism, especially considering that Trump may feel compelled in the early stages of his tenure to deliver on the disruptive elements of his trade agenda…”

“In this new world of resurgent protectionism, the value of the TPP rises significantly.”

Is Brexit Over After Today’s British High Court Ruling?

Quartz: “A huge obstacle just landed in the way of Brexit.”

“The UK’s High Court has ruled that the government cannot trigger Article 50—the official notification to leave the European Union—without a vote in Parliament.”

“Could this stop Brexit from happening?”

“Theoretically, yes. That’s because—assuming the government doesn’t win its appeal—a bill to trigger Article 50 will now have to pass through both houses of Parliament; there is a small chance that it might not.”

“That said, lawyer Joylon Maugham thinks there is little or no enthusiasm’ in Parliament for rejecting a bill that goes against the wishes of people as expressed by the result of the referendum. There is, however, enthusiasm to scrutinize whether the May’s negotiations with the EU are satisfactory enough before Article 50 is triggered.”

China’s Millennials Are Risk Takers, and They’re Dreaming Big

Bloomberg Markets: “Meet China’s millennials — a generation that’s more risk-taking and idiosyncratic than its predecessor. And they’re dreaming big.”

“Having grown up in a booming economy that grew nine-fold since the turn of the century, China’s 7.5 million school leavers this year are intent on forging paths very different from their parents, who defaulted to the factory floor, construction site or staid state-sector job.”

“‘This is a good sign for the economy as it shows that they are finding new growth engines and the economy is getting more market-oriented,’ said Iris Pang, senior economist for Greater China at Natixis SA in Hong Kong. ‘But in the longer term, startup failure rates are very high, and those who take the risk should bear the risk.'”

Recently on Wonk Wire, a relevant contrast: Millennials Aren’t Big Spenders or Risk-Takers, and That’s Going to Reshape the Economy

Russians and Saudis Pledge Joint Effort to Limit Oil Production

Bloomberg Markets: “Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s two largest crude oil producers, said they’re ready to cooperate to limit output, helping send prices to a one-year high in London.”

“Coordinated output curbs by Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, who together pump about half the world’s oil, could boost fuel prices for consumers and revive the fortunes of a battered energy industry. While Putin’s comments are the firmest indication yet that such an agreement is possible, Russia is still pumping at record levels and has stopped short of a commitment to pull back. OPEC members also have many hurdles to overcome before implementing their first cuts in eight years.”

How to Fulfill the Promise of the Paris Climate Deal

Carter Roberts and Ray Offenheiser: “By the end of this week, the United States, China, India, the European Union, Canada and more than 50 other countries will have legally joined the agreement, crossing the thresholds that brings the pact into full legal force. Under its terms, the agreement comes into force 30 days after 55 nations, representing 55% of global greenhouse emissions, legally join. These dual thresholds were chosen to ensure that the new deal becomes binding only when both the biggest polluting nations, and a large share of all countries, large and small, are on board.”

“As we look ahead to this new chapter, the choice is between cooperation or division. The Paris Agreement happened because leaders worked together, sometimes at great political risk. And more is needed. The reality is that no single country can solve this problem alone. Our success here in the U.S. relies on success in places like India and Mexico. We need to invest in those places too if we hope to meet our goal.”

How America Will Accidentally Join the Syrian War

Micah Zenko: “During Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate, there was a brief exchange between the moderator and candidates that perfectly captured the muddled confusion over potential new U.S.-led military missions in Syria. It showcased the type of slippery and imprecise rhetoric that could easily result in the United States entering a war the public opposes.”

Pence called for the U.S. to “immediately establish safe zones so that vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners real-time, right now to make that happen.”

Kaine’s response: “I said about Aleppo, we do agree [that] the notion is we have to create a humanitarian zone in northern Syria.”

“People running to serve as commander in chief, or even commander in chief in-waiting, should not be allowed by debate moderators or interviewers to toss out distinct military missions offhandedly without being pressed for specifics on how they would be implemented. A humanitarian zone is not a safe zone, which is not a no-fly zone. Each requires different levels of military commitment, different basing and overflight rights, different degrees of logistics and analytical support, and ultimately would affect the behavior of the combatants in the Syrian civil war differently.”

Unwinding NAFTA Would Come at a Huge Cost

New York Times: “The view among mainstream economists is that NAFTA, over all, has raised incomes in the United States while also costing it thousands of manufacturing jobs. But whether you view the agreement as a net positive or a net negative for the country, the reality is that the United States, Canada and Mexico are now for all practical purposes a single integrated economy. That has wide-ranging consequences — especially if the next president tries to reshape or abandon the deal.”

Upon NAFTA’s repeal, “either major American industries would have to figure out how to restructure themselves to rely less on the movement of goods across borders, or the United States would find itself poorer and more of an island in the global economy.”

The United Nations Will Launch Its First Space Mission in 2021

Motherboard: “Considering that the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) has been around for over half a century, it might seem a bit strange that the organization has never launched its own space mission. This is finally slated to change in 2021, when the UN plans to send a spacecraft into orbit.”

“As detailed for a small crowd at the International Astronautical Congress yesterday, the goal of the 2021 UN mission is to make space accessible to developing member states that lack the resources to develop a standalone, national space program.”

“‘While these experiments may seem small to us, if you go to these countries you realize this is perhaps one of the biggest things they’ve ever done,’ said Mark Sirangelo, the corporate vice president of Sierra Nevada’s Space Systems. ‘The young researchers that will be working on this [mission] all around the world will be able to say that they are part of the space community.'”