The heads of the world’s two largest economies are scheduled to meet this weekend to face-off on a range of issues – from trade to North Korea’s provocations.
Allen Carlson, professor of government and expert in Chinese politics at Cornell University, says Trump’s glaring inconsistent approach to China coupled with his lack of vision and experience, will mean he will be out of his depth in trying to manage the most complex and consequential bilateral relationship in the world.
“Donald Trump’s meeting this week with China’s Xi Jinping is, far and away, the most consequential foreign policy event of the American leader’s young and uncertain presidency, especially given the glaring inconsistencies within his approach to the Asian giant.
“To date, Beijing has largely responded to what it must perceive as American provocations with considerable restraint, and generally looked to minimize the appearance of conflict within the U.S.-China relationship. This being said, it is also quite clear that Xi is intent on strengthening his grip over the country he rules while expanding its influence in Asia and beyond. In other words, the Chinese leader has a clear strategic vision for his country and its place in the world.
“Given the asymmetry in vision and experience, in Mar-A-Largo Trump may rant about China, he may lavish praise on Xi, he may do both. However, regardless of which of the American leader’s personas are on display, he will be out of his depth in trying to manage the most complex and consequential bilateral relationship in the world. As a result, it is hard to see how anyone other than Xi and his country will come out of Florida this weekend as a winner.”