But what is typical of commercial deals that involve the Chinese government obtains in political deals as well; there is no reciprocity. Trump has refrained from overt criticism of the Communist Party’s actions in Hong Kong and elsewhere. Meanwhile the Chinese government is constantly propagandizing against the United States within China and beyond its borders. Beijing has blamed the U.S. State Department for instigating, funding, or even leading the “terrorist” unrest in Hong Kong. The idea that American diplomats are both omnipotent and omnicompetent has become a staple of conspiratorial thinking across the world in recent years, and China is deliberately feeding into it.
Just as Trump saw an opportunity when China recently let its currency float downward, and had his administration label the Chinese government currency manipulators, he should let his opportunistic troll side out to speak on “internal” matters in China. Xi is conducting his conflicts with America in an ungentlemanly spirit. Why shouldn’t Trump respond in kind?