The flagship of the American business press, the Wall Street Journal, came out with a panic about the upcoming "battle of the Titans" between the US and China. The actions of Donald Trump approximate the most real trade war with Beijing, and the result of it may well be the collapse of the entire existing system of international trade. Moreover, American financial journalists point out that for the US this will result in rising unemployment and a sharp drop in profits of companies such as Apple, Boeing and General Motors. This does not mean that everything will be simple and painless for China, but even the Wall Street Journal doubts the ability of the States to inflict enough damage on the Chinese economy to force Xi Jinping to political surrender and fulfill the demands of Donald Trump.
The genesis of the forthcoming trade war is the desire of Donald Trump and that part of the American economic elite that led him to power to radically change the role of the United States in the world economy. They are categorically not satisfied with the position of the "world money printer", thanks to which the States can easily plug budget holes with a printing press in the short term, maintain a colossal trade balance deficit and provide their population with an endless stream of cheap imports, at which nominally American ones earn, and at the very business transnational corporations. These corporations have long been controlled by the so-called "offshore aristocracy," that is, super-rich families who are considered citizens (or even masters) of the world, and the US is not their homeland, but merely a convenient tool whose army performs for the "offshore aristocracy" a military company that can be used all over the world.
The existing scheme of international trade is very beneficial to the "offshore aristocracy", which uses China as a "workshop of the planet", while the lion's share of revenues from the sale of the same iPhones does not settle in the US, but in various offshore jurisdictions. From the United States, jobs are being washed away, and the economy is gradually losing the competencies necessary for international competition. For example, a special commission of the US Department of Commerce has suspicions that in the event of an end to the import of Chinese steel, the US simply will not be able to produce steel to meet the needs of the military-industrial complex. This does not mean that the US has no advantage in terms of high technology development, but the current administration of Washington does not like the fact that these technologies are turning into finished products on foreign territory, and the revenues from their sale do not work for the US economy.
According to the "offshore aristocracy", the world owns the one who owns "intellectual property", that is, technology. According to Trump's supporters, "intellectual property" costs little without factories to make it into final goods, as well as a powerful army that serves as a "roof". Based on their logic, it can be argued that if the situation is not corrected right now, then in 10-15 years, China may well break out into world leaders, and the US will pay for today's comfort and affordable imports by the loss of world hegemony, and this ultimately means the subsequent loss and comfort, and the ability to buy the cheap labor of the population of other countries.
To implement the Tramp slogan "America first!" it is necessary to ensure that the operating industries are returned to the United States, and new ones are created immediately in America, and not in other countries. This can be achieved in two ways. For example, to ensure that American workers and entrepreneurs work and invest more efficiently (that is, they create more products at lower costs) than their Chinese or Mexican competitors. For obvious economic, political and cultural reasons, this is an almost impossible approach. The second option remains: protectionism, which should in some form or other make Chinese (and preferably all foreign) goods so expensive to ensure the competitiveness of American manufacturers. The side effect of implementing this scheme will be a strong blow to the Chinese export-oriented economy, which from Washington's point of view is a big and important plus.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump's team does not yet have a full-fledged plan of attack on the Chinese economy, but several possible directions of the strike are already being seen. For example, the idea of imposing anti-Chinese sanctions on the pretext of punishing the DPRK's aid in circumvention of UN sanctions is being actively discussed. Also, plans to impose severe fines on Chinese companies that are accused by the US of massive theft of American intellectual property are very actively discussed. In a recent interview with Reuters, Trump said that it was about fines of this size "that they can not even be imagined." If you focus on the numbers that mention American companies affected by the actions of Chinese competitors, it is about "hundreds of billions of dollars." Another anti-Chinese weapon in Trump's trade war is likely to be defensive tariffs and quotas on imports of Chinese goods, which the presidential administration is preparing to introduce against a wide range of Chinese products, including steel and solar panels. And for a radical solution to the "Chinese problem," the US will try to introduce systemic restrictions on China in the WTO, and, as the Wall Street Journal report, US officials believe that the very fact of China's admission to the WTO (even in the status of a country with a non-market economy) the tragedy and the grossest mistake of previous US administrations.
The US problem is that such a plan would work well 10 years ago. Perhaps he (with a scratch) would have passed five years ago. But today even the eternal optimists from the American business press are skeptical about Trump's chances of winning. The fact is that in recent years, the Chinese market has become a key for many American companies, including those already mentioned by Apple, Boeing and General Motors. And this means that the PRC's retaliatory measures will hit hard on the incomes of these companies, as well as on many high-paying jobs in the US. The Wall Street Journal cites two specific examples: China may stop buying Boeing aircraft, replacing them with Airbus, and stop importing American soybeans, which will lead to serious losses for farmers of the States that voted for Trump in large numbers. An important additional problem will be rising prices for US consumers, who will be denied access to cheap imports. Moreover, US journalists who spoke with Chinese officials say that despite the friendly statements of President Xi Jinping, who calls on the United States "to work together to increase the total pie," Beijing already has a detailed plan for a trade war with the States and an iron political will for its implementation in life. It is expected that the Chinese response will be chosen in such a way as to inflict maximum damage to specific voters of specific senators and congressmen who will support anti-China measures. According to the apt remark of an unnamed Chinese official who retold this Wall Street Journal plan, "the Chinese are better able to eat bitterness", that is, to withstand difficulties, which distinguishes them from American voters and gives Beijing certain advantages in case of serious economic confrontation.
If one looks at things realistically, the trade war between the US and China is just a matter of time, and the very historical logic of the confrontation between the "dying hegemon" and the coming multipolar world dictates its inevitability. Already, we can say that all parties to the conflict will suffer from it, and the existing system of international trade will most likely not survive this "battle of the Titans." True, China has one important trump card: Washington is in conflict with virtually the whole world, from Russia and the European Union to its neighbors on the continent - Mexico and Canada, against which the US authorities are also going to use tariff barriers and other restrictive measures. If all who are dissatisfied with US policy can create their own system of international trade without Washington's participation and without taking into account its interests, then no Trump administration's trade wars will help. The world will go to the future, sending American claims to world domination for the dump of history.