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1. The following are excerpts from a news report by Jeff Mason and David Morgan, dated August 22, 2019, under the headline "'I am the chosen one' to take on China, says Trump".|
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (21 August) said he was "the chosen one" to address trade imbalances with China, even as congressional researchers warned that his tariffs would reduce US economic output by 0.3 per cent in 2020.
Trump told reporters his life would be easier if he had not mounted a trade war with China. But he defended his actions and said he believed a trade deal between the world's largest economies was still possible.
"I am the chosen one ... so I am taking on China. I'm taking on China on trade. And you know what? We're winning," Trump said, claiming a title often used to refer to religious figures such as Jesus Christ and the prophet Muhammad.
Trump acknowledged for a second consecutive day that the trade war with China could harm the US economy, although he insists a recession is not on the horizon.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday became the latest independent institution to warn about the consequences of tariffs Trump has ordered imposed against China and a host of other countries.
The CBO said changes in US and foreign trade policies since January 2018 will reduce inflation-adjusted US gross domestic product by 0.3 per cent from what it would be otherwise in 2020.
The International Monetary Fund has said that global economic output could be reduced by as much as 0.5 per cent in 2020 as a result of tariffs.
CBO said the tariffs were boosting domestic prices, reducing consumers' purchasing power and boosting the cost of business investment. Real income for the average US household was also expected to drop by 0.4 per cent, it said.
Trump on Tuesday told reporters he had to confront China over trade even if it caused short-term harm to the US economy because Beijing had been cheating Washington for decades....
Trump's tariff plans have roiled global markets and unnerved investors as the trade dispute between the world's two largest economies stretches into its second year with no end in sight.
Growing concerns that the trade war could trigger a possible US recession weighed on financial markets last week and seemed to put administration officials on edge about whether the economy would hold up through the November 2020 presidential election. (End excerpts)
2. As seen in a TV news bulletin, Trump took a glance at the sky after claiming to be the “Chosen One" for addressing trade imbalances with China. Many people may be curious to know whether he saw God smiling approvingly at him from behind the clouds. Let us take note of the following contradictions in his statements.
(a) If Trump is really chosen by God to mount a trade war with China, is there any need for him to keep phoning to his Chinese counterpart for negotiation? His life would be easier without doing anything because he can simply let God finish the job for him.
(b) "And you know what? We're winning," Trump said. If you are winning, what is the point of having a negotiation? Using a favourite catchphrase of his followers, we may ask Trump: "Are you tired of winning?"
3. Another contradiction can be found in Trump's oft-repeated warning that "trade with China cannot be a ''50-50'' deal, and that he would only settle for an agreement that favours the US". Who is so idiotic to negotiate with you if you rule out any "50-50" deal?
Since Trump is bent on winning, all his negotiation partners are destined to be losers. Then why does Trump keep pestering China for a deal? One possible explanation is that he is hoping that his dialogue partner may crack under pressure in the long-drawn-out negotiations at an interrogation table than a negotiating table.
4. It must be pointed out that Trump has gradually become a lame duck or a "bounced cheque" in the trade talks. Bipartisan extremists like Latino Republican Senator Marco Rubio will be ready to enact legislations to ensure he is on the right course if he backtracks in the trade talks.
Regardless of whether the White House incumbent is a "ferocious tiger" or a "paper tiger", China must deal him a crushing blow in the so-called trade war, otherwise future US presidents will pursue the same anti-China campaign, thus prolonging the great power rivalry between the two countries to several centuries and increasing the risk of a global economic holocaust.