Opinion | Trump and Xi Sittin’ in a Tree – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“I was glad to see the stock market get a boost from the news that Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators were talking again and that President Trump blinked a bit and pulled some of his planned tariffs.

But don’t be fooled. Trump and President Xi Jinping of China are still locked in a cage match over who is the true big dog in today’s global economy. Both are desperate not only to “win,” but to be seen to win, and not be subjected to the scorn of their rivals or critics on social media.

Precisely because neither leader feels he can afford that fate, both have overplayed their hands. Xi basically believes that nothing has to change — and all can be made to stay the same by the force of his will. Trump basically believes that everything has to change — and all can be made to change by the force of his will.

The rest of us are just along for the ride.

Let’s look at both men’s calculations and miscalculations. Trump was right in arguing that America should not continue to tolerate systemic abusive Chinese trade practices — intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers, huge government subsidies and nonreciprocal treatment of U.S. companies in China — now that China is virtually America’s technology equal and a rising middle-income country.”

Opinion | How Trump and Xi Can Make America and China Poor Again – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

“If you think that the United States-China trade dispute is going to be easily resolved, you’re not paying attention. It’s so much deeper than you think — and so much more dangerous.

If President Trump and President Xi Jinping don’t find a way to defuse it soon, we’re going to get where we’re going — fracturing the globalization system that has brought the world more peace and prosperity over the last 70 years than at any other time in history. And what we’ll be birthing in its place is a digital Berlin Wall and a two-internet, two-technology world: one dominated by China and the other by the United States.

This will be a much more unstable and less prosperous world. Trump and Xi should drop everything and sit down to resolve this crisis before it becomes a runaway train — fueled by populists and nationalists, and amplified by social media, in both countries.

How did we get here? Two things converged: The character of U.S.-China trade changed — it went “deep,” and both President Xi and President Trump overplayed their hands and freaked each other out.”

Opinion | ‘Trump’s Going to Get Re-elected, Isn’t He?’ – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Voters have reason to worry.

Thomas L. Friedman

By Thomas L. Friedman

Opinion Columnist

President Trump in June at the launch of his 2020 campaign in Orlando, Fla.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

“I’m struck at how many people have come up to me recently and said, “Trump’s going to get re-elected, isn’t he?” And in each case, when I drilled down to ask why, I bumped into the Democratic presidential debates in June. I think a lot of Americans were shocked by some of the things they heard there. I was.

I was shocked that so many candidates in the party whose nominee I was planning to support want to get rid of the private health insurance covering some 250 million Americans and have “Medicare for all” instead. I think we should strengthen Obamacare and eventually add a public option.

I was shocked that so many were ready to decriminalize illegal entry into our country. I think people should have to ring the doorbell before they enter my house or my country.

I was shocked at all those hands raised in support of providing comprehensive health coverage to undocumented immigrants. I think promises we’ve made to our fellow Americans should take priority, like to veterans in need of better health care.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Thomas Friedman for such a cognent argument. The comments are well worth reading also, such as this one:

blgreenie
Lawrenceville NJ
Times Pick

Bravo, Mr. Friedman. When all those Democrats raised their hands to promise comprehensive health coverage for the undocumented, I thought, what a gift that was to Trump. It’s like they signed a contract without reading the fine print. I, too, was shocked. Little by little, Democrats are giving away an election that is winnable for them. Will it be Nixon-McGovern, again?

23 Replies1541 Recommended

Opinion | Trump Takes On China and Persia at Once. What’s to Worry About? – The New York Times

 

Thomas L. Friedman

By Thomas L. Friedman

Opinion Columnist

“If you’re keeping score at home on the Trump foreign policy, let me try to put it in a nutshell: The president has engaged America in a grand struggle to reshape the modern behavior of two of the world’s oldest civilizations — Persia and China — at the same time.

Pressing both to change is not crazy. What’s crazy is the decision to undertake such a huge endeavor without tightly defined goals, without allies to achieve those goals, without a strong and coherent national security team and without a plan on how to sync up all of President Trump’s competing foreign policy objectives.

After all, Trump is unilaterally breaking the 2015 denuclearization deal with Iran’s dictator while trying to entice North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, into a denuclearization deal that he’s supposed to trust the U.S. president will honor. Trump is sanctioning China on trade while trying to enlist its help to denuclearize North Korea. Trump is imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on America’s European allies while needing their help to confront China on trade and Iran on nukes.

And last week Trump came within 10 minutes of bombing Iran — but wisely pulled back — in retaliation for its shooting down of a U.S. drone, at a time when we cannot stabilize Iraq, or get out of Afghanistan without leaving chaos behind, absent the cooperation of Iran.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment.
Thank you Thomas Friedman, great essay, and great points. I don’t have the space and time here to repeat all those points, but it is interesting how the commentors criticize and attack you for thinking that Trump can listen to or take good advice. I’m not a fan of Drumpf, but he is brilliant as a con artist and crook, who has shown that he can dominate the press like few ever have. Furthermore, he has a brand to protect. I agree with your main point, that we can settle with Iran and should, extending the nuclear treaty by more years, for lifting the sanctions and maintaining a long, awkward peace. Your points about China are equally cogent. China poses a serious threat to the United States and the world, as well as a fine opportunity. I share in your unspoken grief. We had the beginning of a plan of action, with the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, and we will have to return to such a proactive and intelligent diplomacy, even it it is to be called, at least temporarily, the Trump Pacific Partnership.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.net. He performs a folk concert of songs and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.

Opinion | China Deserves Donald Trump – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

By Thomas L. Friedman

Opinion Columnist,  May 21, 2019,   1420

 President Trump insists that his tough approach to China will benefit the United States.CreditEric Thayer for The New York Times

“A U.S. businessman friend of mine who works in China remarked to me recently that Donald Trump is not the American president America deserves, but he sure is the American president China deserves.

Trump’s instinct that America needs to rebalance its trade relationship with Beijing — before China gets too big to compromise — is correct. And it took a human wrecking ball like Trump to get China’s attention. But now that we have it, both countries need to recognize just how pivotal this moment is.

The original U.S.-China opening back in the 1970s defined our restored trade ties, which were limited. When we let China join the World Trade Organization in 2001, it propelled China into a trading powerhouse under rules that still gave China lots of concessions as a developing economy.

This new negotiation will define how the U.S. and China relate as economic peers, competing for the same 21st-century industries, at a time when our markets are totally intertwined. So this is no ordinary trade dispute. This is the big one.”

Source: Opinion | China Deserves Donald Trump – The New York Times

Opinion | How to Defeat Trump – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

May 7, 2019, 612
“Growing up, I was always fascinated with the magician-psychic Uri Geller, who was famous for bending spoons with his supposed supernatural powers. How did he do that? I wondered. I’ve been thinking about him lately as I’ve watched an even more profound magic trick playing out in our politics. We have a president who can bend people.

In so many cases, Donald Trump has been able to take people who came into his orbit and just bend them to his lying ways the way Uri Geller bent spoons. The latest is Attorney General William Barr, who, in only a few weeks, got bent into becoming Trump’s personal lawyer. But Barr is in good company. Trump took Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, who’d actually been bent against him, and bent them into fawning sycophants. It’s awesome!

How does he do that trick? Surely the answer lies partly in Trump’s energy source: Fox News, Breitbart and Trump’s own Twitter feed keep his base in a state of constant agitation and high partisanship, and Trump, seemingly with no hands, leverages that energy into bending so many Republicans to his will. With a few exceptions, like Jim Mattis, Trump also has a knack for picking people who are bendable.

And bendable people — people who, like Trump, were always outsiders or never on the A-team — are attracted to him to get ahead.

Opinion | Has Our Luck Run Out? – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

By Thomas L. Friedman

Opinion Columnist

President Trump approaches global problems through “transactional muscular unilateralism,’’ according to the author William J. Burns. CreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times

“The year 2019 will be remembered for a lot of things, but in foreign policy it may well be remembered as the year our luck ran out.

How so? The period after World War II was one of those incredibly plastic moments in history, and we were incredibly lucky that a group of leaders appeared who understood that this moment of Western and U.S. dominance would not necessarily last. It was vital, therefore, to lock in our democratic values and interests in a set of global institutions and alliances that would perpetuate them.

They were leaders like George Marshall and Dean Acheson and Harry Truman in America, and Jean Monnet, a founding father of the European Union, and Konrad Adenauer, Germany’s first postwar chancellor, across the Atlantic.”

Opinion | Trump Mocks Climate Change. That’s a Key to Defeating Him. – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

April 9, 2019, 902
Image
A wind farm near Glenrock, Wyo.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

“Here’s some news you may have missed. Southeastern Africa got hit in March with a cyclone that United Nations officials say was one of the worst weather disasters to ever strike the Southern Hemisphere. “Ever” is a long time.

The storm swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing hundreds. My friend Greg Carr, who runs the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, told me that the lions, elephants and zebras sensed the storm coming and moved to higher ground to avoid the flooding. Among the people and birds that survived, many of the former lost their homes and the latter their nests and eggs.

Image  Beira, the fourth-largest city in Mozambique, was devastated last month by Cyclone Idai.CreditMike Hutchings/Reuters
While this historic weather disaster was unfolding, President Trump was urging Republicans not to kill the Democrats’ Green New Deal proposal — not because Trump wants to work with it, but because he wants to run against it in 2020.”

Opinion | The United Kingdom Has Gone Mad – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Quote

By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

April 2, 2019

964

Image
A protester shouting from a lamppost on Friday outside the Houses of Parliament in London.CreditCreditHannah Mckay/Reuters
LONDON — Politico reported the other day that the French European affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau, had named her cat “Brexit.” Loiseau told the Journal du Dimanche that she chose the name because “he wakes me up every morning meowing to death because he wants to go out, and then when I open the door he stays in the middle, undecided, and then gives me evil looks when I put him out.”

If you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have come to London right now, because there is political farce everywhere. In truth, though, it’s not very funny. It’s actually tragic. What we’re seeing is a country that’s determined to commit economic suicide but can’t even agree on how to kill itself. It is an epic failure of political leadership.

I say bring back the monarchy. Where have you gone, Queen Elizabeth II, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Seriously, the United Kingdom, the world’s fifth-largest economy — a country whose elites created modern parliamentary democracy, modern banking and finance, the Industrial Revolution and the whole concept of globalization — seems dead-set on quitting the European Union, the world’s largest market for the free movement of goods, capital, services and labor, without a well-conceived plan, or maybe without any plan at all.

via Opinion | The United Kingdom Has Gone Mad – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment.
Thank you Tom Friedman for a great essay. I like many of the popular comments, but have something to add. Angela Merkel let some 1.5 million mostly Syrian refugees into Germany in one year, and caused a backlash protest against too many foreigners too quickly. Refugees from climate change and civil war are increasing dramatically, as populations around the world have exploded. We were 2 billion people around 1930, and we have grown to 7.6 billion in just 89 years. It is probably not going to work, to just let a billion or two billion refugees into the healthier more stable parts of the planet. The EU could help diffuse the brexit movement, with some reforms to limit immigration. The world powers need to help the poorer countries with a host of services, including family planning.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com. He performs folk music and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.

Opinion | Whom to Elect for a Foreign Policy Crisis at 3 A.M.? – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Quote

By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

March 12, 2019,   166
Image  Credit
Tom Brenner/The New York Times

“As the 2020 campaign gets underway, we’ve heard about a Green New Deal, Medicare for all, breaking up Amazon and universal basic income — to name but a few of the ideas raised by Democratic presidential hopefuls. But one issue has been largely absent: foreign policy — the potential use of force, great-power competition and the management of alliances that will be more important during the next presidency than it has been in three decades.

Maybe I missed it, but I haven’t heard any of the Democrats running on the argument that he or she is the best person to answer the White House crisis line at 3 in the morning. They all seem inclined to let that call go to voice mail. I hope that doesn’t last, because that phone will be ringing. This will be an extraordinarily volatile and confusing time for U.S. foreign policy.

We’re in the post-post-Cold War era — an era when being secretary of state, let alone president, has become a terrible job. (If anyone asks you to become secretary of state, say you had your heart set on secretary of agriculture.) The post-Cold War era had its issues — 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan, to be sure — but it was in many ways a unipolar belle epoque, in which an American hegemon stifled any serious great-power conflict.

The post-post-Cold War era, which has been slowly unfolding since the early 2000s, requires a president to manage and juggle three huge geopolitical trends — and the interactions between them — all at once.”

via Opinion | Whom to Elect for a Foreign Policy Crisis at 3 A.M.? – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT |NYT comments: