Jenkins: Trump’s Trade Tactic Might Work


A game of chicken can always end badly, but why is the U.S. press doing China’s work for it?

Right now a bargaining game is under way that could leave the world trading system better off, with China cheating less. Not the least benefit, this would strengthen the political sustainability of trade in the U.S. and other Western nations—an outcome of high strategic value even to China.

Both sides are in the crotch-grabbing phase at the moment. They want their threats to be treated as credible even if they aren’t.

So eager are some Americans for a Donald Trump failure, though, they rush to convince the world that Americans can’t tolerate the slightest risk of pain or loss in a good cause. U.S. soybeans are on China’s target list, but let us calm ourselves. If China buys Brazilian soybeans, the world doesn’t end. Brazil’s customers would buy U.S. soybeans. The net effect would be only slightly damaging to all concerned, except for the rail and shipping companies that would benefit from the world opting for second-best logistics in getting the global soybean crop to market.

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