Know your country, know the man TrumpIn my opinion, the US has the stamina to withstand a protracted trade war. Hence in an open trade war, it will be a big mistake for any country to retaliate against the US in gradual stages in the hope that the US will eventually come to its sense to halt the trade war. Instead, any country caught in an undesirable trade war with the US should aim for maximum damage on the US economy in the hope of getting the Americans to apply pressure on their government to end the trade war once and for all. This was exactly what had happened during the Korean War in 1950. That was why even when Trump called Kim “little rocket man” and described him as a madman, nobody, not even the US war hawks, had advocated another Korean War. Instead, Trump went all the way to Southeast Asia for his so-called summit with Kim. Even now, he can’t help boasting, “If not for me, we would now be at war with North Korea!”
Don’t be naive to think that Trump only wants to balance the US trade with China, just like a small boy demands to have the same amount of milk as his sibling. It is quite likely America has a hidden agenda to reduce China to poverty and backwardness in a trade war.
China has the following effective means of dealing with the US in an open trade war, and it should use them at once instead of waging a disadvantageous protracted trade war with the US:
1. Suspend all Chinese tours to the US, especially the casinos.
2. Ban all Chinese students from studying in low-quality American colleges or for-profit education companies like the defunct Trump University.
3. Suspend all Chinese investments in the US, and divert them to other countries.
4. In all all-out trade war, China has no obligation to enforce sanctions on North Korea, Iran and other countries.
5. A call to Chinese citizens to boycott American goods.
1. Having launched an undeclared, covert trade war against China, the US now feels that the time has come for it to declare an open trade war. Earlier in this thread, I emphasised the importance for China and other countries to inflict maximum damage to the US economy so as to finish the trade war with the US at lightning speed rather than magnifying their weaknesses in a prolonged cat and mouse game.
On the eve of Sino-US trade war, China and other countries may find some inspiration from a quote in “The Art of War” by Sunzi (510BC).
"Know yourself, know your enemy; hundred battles, hundred victories."
In the context of the global trade war launched by the US against other countries, Sunzi's quote could be rephrased in the following way:
"Know your country, know the man Trump; hundred battles, hundred victories."
In other words, besides knowing its own weakness and strength, a country engaging in a trade war with the US must know Trump's character and temperament very well.
2. At 92, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is the world's oldest leader. Being 21 years older than Donald Trump, he slammed the US leader more than once in public -- well, like fatherly chastisements of his wayward son.
Mahathir hit the nail on the head when he called US President Donald Trump “mercurial”, saying: "He changes his mind within 24 hours … When you have a man like that, you need to be cautious."
He also called US President Donald Trump an “international bully” and a “villain” for his move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Today we have an international bully. Trump, go find someone your own size. This (Jerusalem plan) will only stir the anger of the Muslims....We must use all our power to oppose this villain who is the president of the United States,” he said, urging all Muslim countries to cut ties with Israel.
The USA is at a distinct disadvantage in a major trade war with China.
China has four times as many people as the USA and the transition to
a comsumer society is already in full swing.
The people of China pull in the same direction whereas the people of
the USA are divided and constantly fighting each other.
China has a cultural advantage of being one of the oldest civilizations
on earth while the USA has a very young culture that is centered on
taking that which does not belong to them through use of violence.
The USA only has about 5% of the world's population. There are many
other trading partners besides the USA in the world today. On February 27, 2016, Senator Marco Rubio, a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, delivered remarks to voters at a campaign rally on the Mount Paran Christian School football field in Kennesaw, Georgia. Senator Rubio talked about a number foreign and domestic issues. He also talked about what he characterized as the danger of the Republican Party nominating front-runner Donald Trump to be its 2016 presidential nominee.
The following are excerpts from his no-holds-barred verbal assault on Donald Trump at the campaign rally.
... Now look, I want to be frank with you. You deserve the truth about what's happening. Our party today after four states, according to the polls, is on the verge of being taken over. The party of Lincoln and Reagan is on the verge of being taken over by a con artist named Donald Trump. Now, how do con artists work? A con artist identifies people who are struggling and convinces you they have something that will turn that around. Donald Trump has done this before. He had a school. He had a thing called Trump University. They would go to people who were looking to make more money. People who paid as much as $35,000 because they were told that Donald Trump's real estate genius would give them all the secrets to making money. They were told, max your credit card. You can make even more money if you sold up for the gold course. And they did. At the end of the process the only thing they got was a paper, a certificate, and they got to take a picture with a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump. That's what they got. That is called a con job. That is what he's doing now to millions of Americans. Millions of Americans who are hurting, people are struggling. You are struggling, some of you are. You're working as hard as you ever have and you're running in place. You have trouble getting ahead, because the world is been unfair, the economy has gone upside down, and here comes this guy who tells you on going to help turn this around because I've been very successful in business. Not really. He inherited millions of dollars. If he had taken those millions of Warren Buffett. But instead he invested in hotels that went bankrupt. He bankrupted a casino. How do you bankrupt a casino? The house always wins. Any time he bankrupted a business, any time he bankrupted a business the people who paid the price where the contractors he had hired. We are over hearing from them. They're calling nonstop, small businesses that did work and he pulled his money out and did what he needed to do and they never got paid. He is not a great businessman. He has taken 4 companies into bankruptcy. You ever heard of Trump Air? It's gone. Four casinos in Atlantic City. He's a guy who inherited hundreds of millions of dollars and had he invested in the stock market, he would have been better off. He's the only one running for president who has hired illegal immigrants to work for him. He hired Polish workers to help on Trump Tower. He's going to protect you from immigrants taking your jobs -- why is he hiring foreigners to do the jobs at his hotel that Americans are trying to get, and he's hiring foreigners to do the job? He's fighting for the little guy, the little guy are the people he's treated the whole time he's been in business. Time and again, it is a con job. I'm a strong leader and the other day he told the protester, I'm going to punch you in the face. He has never punched anyone in the face. Ok? He's a guy who has been protected and privileged his whole life and insulated his whole life. This is a massive fraud he is perpetuating. The stakes are not just a fake degree. The stakes are giving control of the conservative movement and ultimately the United States over to a con artist.
That will not happen. I make this promise to you today. I will campaign as long as it takes. I will stay in this race as long as it takes. Donald Trump, a con artist, will never get control of this party. I know some of your friends have brought -- bought into this. Friends don't let friends vote for con artists. It is time to open our eyes. We cannot allow a con artist to get access to the nuclear codes of the United States of America. It is a big fraud, and it's time to open our eyes, and we will in the days and weeks to come. What happens when you attack Donald? He goes on twitter. You guys want to have a little fun today? Last night he actually was pretty calm. After I punched him around a little bit. is learning how to spell, I guess. Somebody said that here. He's flying around on Hair Force One and tweeting -- here's the one tweet he put out. He put a picture of me having makeup put on me at the debate, which is amazing to me that a guy with the worst spray tan in America is attacking me for putting on makeup. Donald Trump likes to sue people. He should sue whoever did that to his face. Alright, so let's move on. This is an important election. Why am I so fired up about this? Not just because I want to save the country from a con man, not just because I want to save the party from a con artist, but because this election is so important for our future. What is it stake here is what kind of country is America going to be in the 21st century. And we have a chance to make this country better than it has ever been. But that is not the road we are on right now. That is not the road we're on right now. The last eight years have placed us on a road that will leave us as the first Americans who will leave our children worse off than ourselves. That's the road we are going to stay on if we nominate someone who cannot win. If you nominate a con artist, the media will take him apart. Watch the media coverage of Donald Trump. There are two reasons they're laying off of him. I'm convinced some of these reporters are scared of him. The bigger reason is they are just licking their chops. They're waiting for him to be the nominee. The day he's the nominee, which will never happen, they will tear him to shreds. The Democrats are being gleeful about it. They know if I am nominated, we are going to win. They attack me more than anyone else in this race. They know that if I'm nominated, we will win because we will unite this party and we will grow it. But they are holding back and they know if we nominate Donald Trump, they will win. And they can't wait to shred him. And they will. We cannot afford to lose this election… (End excerpts)
Jane Mayer has been a New Yorker staff writer since 1995. She covers politics, culture, and national security for the magazine. Previously, she worked at the Wall Street Journal, where she covered the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, the Gulf War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1984, she became the paper’s first female White House correspondent. She is the author of the 2016 Times best-seller "Dark Money," which the Times named as one of the ten best books of the year, and which began as a 2010 New Yorker piece about the Koch brothers’ deep influence on American politics.
“The Art of the Deal” made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter for Donald Trump, helped create that myth — and regrets it.
The following excerpts are from the Jane Mayer's July 25, 2016 article headlined "Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All" at newyorkerdotcom.
...Trump, facing a crowd that had gathered in the lobby of Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue, laid out his qualifications, saying, “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ” If that was so, Schwartz thought, then he, not Trump, should be running. Schwartz dashed off a tweet: “Many thanks Donald Trump for suggesting I run for President, based on the fact that I wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ”
Schwartz had ghostwritten Trump’s 1987 breakthrough memoir, earning a joint byline on the cover, half of the book’s five-hundred-thousand-dollar advance, and half of the royalties. The book was a phenomenal success, spending forty-eight weeks on the Times best-seller list, thirteen of them at No. 1. More than a million copies have been bought, generating several million dollars in royalties. The book expanded Trump’s renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon. Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”
...as he watched a replay of the new candidate holding forth for forty-five minutes, he noticed something strange: over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One—when it was so easily refuted—he is likely to lie about anything.”
It seemed improbable that Trump’s campaign would succeed, so Schwartz told himself that he needn’t worry much. But, as Trump denounced Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” near the end of the speech, Schwartz felt anxious. He had spent hundreds of hours observing Trump firsthand, and felt that he had an unusually deep understanding of what he regarded as Trump’s beguiling strengths and disqualifying weaknesses. Many Americans, however, saw Trump as a charmingly brash entrepreneur with an unfailing knack for business — a mythical image that Schwartz had helped create. “It pays to trust your instincts,” Trump says in the book, adding that he was set to make hundreds of millions of dollars after buying a hotel that he hadn’t even walked through.
In the subsequent months, as Trump defied predictions by establishing himself as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Schwartz’s desire to set the record straight grew....Schwartz’s colleagues urged him to avoid the political fray. But the prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology — Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered.
Schwartz thought about publishing an article describing his reservations about Trump, but he hesitated, knowing that, since he’d cashed in on the flattering “Art of the Deal,” his credibility and his motives would be seen as suspect. Yet watching the campaign was excruciating. Schwartz decided that if he kept mum and Trump was elected he’d never forgive himself. In June, he agreed to break his silence and give his first candid interview about the Trump he got to know while acting as his Boswell.
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”...
“I was shocked,” Schwartz told me. “Trump didn’t fit any model of human being I’d ever met. He was obsessed with publicity, and he didn’t care what you wrote.” He went on, “Trump only takes two positions. Either you’re a scummy loser, liar, whatever, or you’re the greatest. I became the greatest. He wanted to be seen as a tough guy, and he loved being on the cover.” Schwartz wrote him back, saying, “Of all the people I’ve written about over the years, you are certainly the best sport.”
And so Schwartz had returned for more, this time to conduct an interview for Playboy. But to his frustration Trump kept making cryptic, monosyllabic statements. “He mysteriously wouldn’t answer my questions,” Schwartz said. After twenty minutes, he said, Trump explained that he didn’t want to reveal anything new about himself—he had just signed a lucrative book deal and needed to save his best material.
....A lifelong liberal, he was hardly an admirer of Trump’s ruthless and single-minded pursuit of profit. “It was one of a number of times in my life when I was divided between the Devil and the higher side,” he told me...
....the discussion was soon hobbled by what Schwartz regards as one of Trump’s most essential characteristics: “He has no attention span."
...He asked Trump to describe his childhood in detail. After sitting for only a few minutes in his suit and tie, Trump became impatient and irritable. He looked fidgety, Schwartz recalls, “like a kindergartner who can’t sit still in a classroom.” Even when Schwartz pressed him, Trump seemed to remember almost nothing of his youth, and made it clear that he was bored. Far more quickly than Schwartz had expected, Trump ended the meeting.
Week after week, the pattern repeated itself. Schwartz tried to limit the sessions to smaller increments of time, but Trump’s contributions remained oddly truncated and superficial.
“Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn’t seem to be fully understood,” Schwartz told me. “It’s implicit in a lot of what people write, but it’s never explicit—or, at least, I haven’t seen it. And that is that it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . ” Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement. He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. “If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” he said.
In a recent phone interview, Trump told me that, to the contrary, he has the skill that matters most in a crisis: the ability to forge compromises. The reason he touted “The Art of the Deal” in his announcement, he explained, was that he believes that recent Presidents have lacked his toughness and finesse: “Look at the trade deficit with China. Look at the Iran deal. I’ve made a fortune by making deals. I do that. I do that well. That’s what I do.”
But Schwartz believes that Trump’s short attention span has left him with “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” He said, “That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites.” He added, “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.” During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump’s desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment.
Other journalists have noticed Trump’s apparent lack of interest in reading. In May, Megyn Kelly, of Fox News, asked him to name his favorite book, other than the Bible or “The Art of the Deal.” Trump picked the 1929 novel “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Evidently suspecting that many years had elapsed since he’d read it, Kelly asked Trump to talk about the most recent book he’d read. “I read passages, I read areas, I’ll read chapters—I don’t have the time,” Trump said. As The New Republic noted recently, this attitude is not shared by most U.S. Presidents, including Barack Obama, a habitual consumer of current books, and George W. Bush, who reportedly engaged in a fiercely competitive book-reading contest with his political adviser Karl Rove....
“He was playing people,” Schwartz recalls. On the phone with business associates, Trump would flatter, bully, and occasionally get mad, but always in a calculated way. Before the discussion ended, Trump would “share the news of his latest success,” Schwartz says. Instead of saying goodbye at the end of a call, Trump customarily signed off with “You’re the greatest!” There was not a single call that Trump deemed too private for Schwartz to hear. “He loved the attention,” Schwartz recalls. “If he could have had three hundred thousand people listening in, he would have been even happier.”
This year, Schwartz has heard some argue that there must be a more thoughtful and nuanced version of Donald Trump that he is keeping in reserve for after the campaign. “There isn’t,” Schwartz insists. “There is no private Trump.” This is not a matter of hindsight. While working on “The Art of the Deal,” Schwartz kept a journal in which he expressed his amazement at Trump’s personality, writing that Trump seemed driven entirely by a need for public attention. “All he is is ‘stomp, stomp, stomp’—recognition from outside, bigger, more, a whole series of things that go nowhere in particular,” he observed, on October 21, 1986. But, as he noted in the journal a few days later, “the book will be far more successful if Trump is a sympathetic character—even weirdly sympathetic—than if he is just hateful or, worse yet, a one-dimensional blowhard.”
....“Lying is second nature to him,” Schwartz said. “More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.” Often, Schwartz said, the lies that Trump told him were about money—“how much he had paid for something, or what a building he owned was worth, or how much one of his casinos was earning when it was actually on its way to bankruptcy.” Trump bragged that he paid only eight million dollars for Mar-a-Lago, but omitted that he bought a nearby strip of beach for a record sum. After gossip columns reported, erroneously, that Prince Charles was considering buying several apartments in Trump Tower, Trump implied that he had no idea where the rumor had started. (“It certainly didn’t hurt us,” he says, in “The Art of the Deal.”) Wayne Barrett, a reporter for the Village Voice, later revealed that Trump himself had planted the story with journalists. Schwartz also suspected that Trump engaged in such media tricks, and asked him about a story making the rounds—that Trump often called up news outlets using a pseudonym. Trump didn’t deny it. As Schwartz recalls, he smirked and said, “You like that, do you?”
Schwartz says of Trump, “He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.” Since most people are “constrained by the truth,” Trump’s indifference to it “gave him a strange advantage.”
When challenged about the facts, Schwartz says, Trump would often double down, repeat himself, and grow belligerent. This quality was recently on display after Trump posted on Twitter a derogatory image of Hillary Clinton that contained a six-pointed star lifted from a white-supremacist Web site. Campaign staffers took the image down, but two days later Trump angrily defended it, insisting that there was no anti-Semitic implication. Whenever “the thin veneer of Trump’s vanity is challenged,” Schwartz says, he overreacts—not an ideal quality in a head of state....
In his journal, Schwartz wrote, “Trump stands for many of the things I abhor: his willingness to run over people, the gaudy, tacky, gigantic obsessions, the absolute lack of interest in anything beyond power and money.” Looking back at the text now, Schwartz says, “I created a character far more winning than Trump actually is.” The first line of the book is an example. “I don’t do it for the money,” Trump declares. “I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.” Schwartz now laughs at this depiction of Trump as a devoted artisan. “Of course he’s in it for the money,” he said. “One of the most deep and basic needs he has is to prove that ‘I’m richer than you.’ ” As for the idea that making deals is a form of poetry, Schwartz says, “He was incapable of saying something like that—it wouldn’t even be in his vocabulary.” He saw Trump as driven not by a pure love of dealmaking but by an insatiable hunger for “money, praise, and celebrity.” Often, after spending the day with Trump, and watching him pile one hugely expensive project atop the next, like a circus performer spinning plates, Schwartz would go home and tell his wife, “He’s a living black hole!”
Schwartz reminded himself that he was being paid to tell Trump’s story, not his own, but the more he worked on the project the more disturbing he found it. In his journal, he describes the hours he spent with Trump as “draining” and “deadening.” Schwartz told me that Trump’s need for attention is “completely compulsive,” and that his bid for the Presidency is part of a continuum. “He’s managed to keep increasing the dose for forty years,” Schwartz said. After he’d spent decades as a tabloid titan, “the only thing left was running for President. If he could run for emperor of the world, he would.”
...Wayne Barrett, whose reporting for the Voice informed his definitive 1991 book, “Trump: The Deals and the Downfall,” says, “It was all Fred’s political connections that created the abatement.” In addition, Trump snookered rivals into believing that he had an exclusive option from the city on the project, when he didn’t. Trump also deceived his partner in the deal, Jay Pritzker, the head of the Hyatt Hotel chain. Pritzker had rejected an unfavorable term proposed by Trump, but at the closing Trump forced it through, knowing that Pritzker was on a mountain in Nepal and could not be reached. Schwartz wrote in his journal that “almost everything” about the hotel deal had “an immoral cast.” But as the ghostwriter he was “trying hard to find my way around” behavior that he considered “if not reprehensible, at least morally questionable.”
Many tall tales that Trump told Schwartz contained a kernel of truth but made him out to be cleverer than he was. One of Trump’s favorite stories was about how he had tricked the company that owned Holiday Inn into becoming his partner in an Atlantic City casino. Trump claimed that he had quieted executives’ fears of construction delays by ordering his construction supervisor to make a vacant lot that he owned look like “the most active construction site in the history of the world.” As Trump tells it in “The Art of the Deal,” there were so many dump trucks and bulldozers pushing around dirt and filling holes that had just been dug that when Holiday Inn executives visited the site it “looked as if we were in the midst of building the Grand Coulee Dam.” The stunt, Trump claimed, pushed the deal through. After the book came out, though, a consultant for Trump’s casinos, Al Glasgow, who is now deceased, told Schwartz, “It never happened.” There may have been one or two trucks, but not the fleet that made it a great story.
...Barrett notes that in “The Art of the Deal” Trump describes his father as having been born in New Jersey to Swedish parents; in fact, he was born in the Bronx to German parents. (Decades later, Trump spread falsehoods about Obama’s origins, claiming it was possible that the President was born in Africa.)
In “The Art of the Deal,” Trump portrays himself as a warm family man with endless admirers. He praises Ivana’s taste and business skill—“I said you can’t bet against Ivana, and she proved me right.” But Schwartz noticed little warmth or communication between Trump and Ivana, and he later learned that while “The Art of the Deal” was being written Trump began an affair with Marla Maples, who became his second wife. (He divorced Ivana in 1992.) As far as Schwartz could tell, Trump spent very little time with his family and had no close friends.....Schwartz says of Trump, “He’d like people when they were helpful, and turn on them when they weren’t. It wasn’t personal. He’s a transactional man—it was all about what you could do for him.”
According to Barrett, among the most misleading aspects of “The Art of the Deal” was the idea that Trump made it largely on his own, with only minimal help from his father, Fred. Barrett, in his book, notes that Trump once declared, “The working man likes me because he knows I didn’t inherit what I’ve built,” and that in “The Art of the Deal” he derides wealthy heirs as members of “the Lucky Sperm Club.