Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Mark Gongloff

Trump Is Up a China Cold War Without a Plan

He’s making the right complaints, but not doing much about them.

Do Xi and Trump know what they’re getting themselves into?

Do Xi and Trump know what they’re getting themselves into?

Photographer: PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images

They say no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy. But what if the genius way around that is to just … have no plan? President Donald Trump may soon find out in his brewing cold war with China.

On trade, he has launched tariffs and threatened more, while also calling for China to stop spying, technology theft and other corporate misdeeds. But the tariffs are dumb weapons that hurt U.S. companies and growth too; and cracking down on corporate espionage is harder than it looks, writes Noah Smith. A much more effective and straightforward approach, Noah writes, would be to convince China to stop keeping its currency so cheap to boost its export. This would make global trade more fair and  curb the trade deficit Trump hates so much.