Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday November 10, 2017
Trump trades barbs for flattery in gambit to win over China
Outside the Great Hall of the People here on Thursday, President Donald Trump watched with an unmistakable air of satisfaction as cordons of Chinese troops marched stiff-legged in his honor, an eight-cannon salute preceding their parade.
It was just the latest display of elaborate pageantry put on by his Chinese hosts, and inside the cavernous state edifice two hours later, the outsized display of flattery appeared to pay off.
Instead of lashing China for trade practices he once compared to rape and theft, he praised the country and its powerful leader, Xi Jinping, for cunningly exploiting the US to benefit his own citizens — and harm American workers.
“Who can blame a country for being able taking advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens?” Trump said as Xi watched on from a few feet away. Nervous laughter rippled through the crowd of Chinese and American business executives, whose firms are inking new deals here in a spectacle meant to demonstrate Trump’s negotiating prowess.
“I give China great credit,” he added. “In actuality, I do blame past administrations for allowing this trade deficit to take place and grow.”
It was a remarkable show of deference to Xi, who emerged from last month’s Communist Party Congress the most powerful Chinese leader in a generation. And while US officials downplayed the significance of the remark, it nevertheless laid bare the lengths to which Trump is prioritizing his personal chemistry with his counterparts here as he seeks to advance an agenda of isolating North Korea and brokering new trade deals.
Trump’s praise for his Chinese counterpart wasn’t limited to the remarks at the signing ceremony for the $250 billion in US-Chinese business deals. At the top of a bilateral meeting, the accolades dripped from Trump’s mouth as he expressed his gratitude for the welcome mat Xi had laid out.
They had an “absolutely terrific” dinner. It was a “very, very great honor” to be together. The military display was “magnificent.” And their relationship? “A great one.” (Source: CNN)