, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I was talking with a professor once who had worked on the National Security Council for a while and I asked them how they liked the experience. Gave me this look like trying to drink water from a fire hose and made great observation: you learn immediately how your choices 1/n
are not between good and better but between awful and worse. Going through the news stories and criticisms of Trump and potential deal, this observation seems all the more apt especially with the arm chair critics. Let's take China for a minute as a given. We know they aren't 2/n
going to make material market changing concessions. Everyone knows who Beijing is now at this point. So the question becomes:how should the US respond. To simplify, Trump can either cooperate and go along with whatever China does or he can defect which imposes costs on many 3/n
From the arm chair critic crowd, he is going to get criticized for going along and he if he defects and imposes costs he is going to be criticized. We do not live in a world, especially in negotiating with China, where trade offs do not exist. China is terrified of real 4/n
economic risks that present larger existential concerns and Trump has the unappetizing choice of imposing costs of US consumers, firms, and yes allies (yes, I recognize he may not even know Canada is an ally). Even if he chooses to take off tariffs pursuing this fight 5/n
it requires imposing costs else where that will harm US or other allied interests. As I noted long long ago, the question isn't whether costs will be imposed challenging, it is how they are allocated to different sectors of the economy baldingsworld.com/2018/04/08/how…
The reason I say all this is to say, think about the reality of choices and trade offs a decision maker negotiating with China here faces. You can cooperate with China and benefit (cave) which you may fairly criticize Trump for, but if you declare you want to criticize him 7/n
for caving, then you must be prepared to NOT criticize him for imposing additional costs challenging China. Too many people have not thought through what trade offs are here. Sticking your head in the sand is not an option but neither is pretending trade offs don't exist. Done
Addendum: I would also link this second blog post about what Trump should do and the mistakes he has made. Both blog posts are now about a year old but I think hold up quite well baldingsworld.com/2018/04/10/wha…
Final addendum: I still put Trump about 0 Presidential Wins Above Replacement (PWAR) not because of Trump but because of China. I see no evidence that any other reasonably chosen President (i.e. not Colbert) would be at any fundamental different point than Trump.
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