It is clear that China is feeling the heat of American tariffs. Their magnificent hypocrisy of gamboling in a $360-billion trade surplus with the United States while extorting technology from American companies and reducing American high-tech giants like Apple and Google to snivelling on China’s behalf when their sales in that country are reduced, and all the while leading G-77 in cupped-hands requests for relief from the economically most advanced countries for their pollution of the world environment (although China is the world’s greatest polluter), all of it is ending. The United States will not be the world’s premier chump anymore. The most enthusiastic support the United States is receiving in its trade stance with China is from China’s neighbours, from India to Japan. Of course China is the world’s second-greatest power and must be treated with respect, but that does not mean the shameless grovelling of Trump’s predecessors, paying court to Beijing like lackeys kowtowing to the emperors of the Middle Kingdom.

Every U.S. president starting with Dwight Eisenhower has bewailed American dependence on foreign oil. Foreigners then supplied 10 per cent of America’s oil, a figure that rose to 60 per cent under president Obama, and no one has done anything about it, until the past two years, when oil production has been sharply increased and reliance on oil imports has been sharply cut, on its inexorable way to zero. For decades, whenever the U.S. made purposeful noises about doing the necessary to reduce oil imports, the Saudis engineered a cut in the international price and American will collapsed backwards into the contemptible torpor of declining powers. All that has changed. What were for centuries the Great Powers, and for nearly 50 years after the Second World War, the principal Western Allies and the Soviet Union, have been reconfigured. The Soviet Union has been sliced down to Russia with about 40 per cent of the former Soviet population, offering a pallid replication of Gaullist efforts to make France great again by being an annoying gadfly irritating the Americans around the world. Charles de Gaulle was a great statesman, who personified the historic cultural and political attainments of France in its most difficult and dishonoured times; Vladimir Putin is just another chief thug residing in the Kremlin.