Arthur Kroeber

While Trump still has to make his mark on international relations, fears rise that he might disrupt international order in a gross way. Leading economist Arthur Kroeber says it might trigger off international anarchy where China will be unwilling to step into the void, according to the Globe&Mail.

The Globe&Mail:

Even if calm prevails, though, China shows little sign of willingness to supplant the U.S. as either architect or maintenance engineer of the specific ideas that gave rise to the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the like.

If the U.S. under Mr. Trump begins to step away, then, “you end up with a fracturing order,” said Arthur Kroeber, a respected author and China analyst who is managing director of Gavekal Dragonomics.

“Or, in the words of international relations theorists, you are in a more anarchic world, where the common projects that have bound different countries and regions together – those bonds become much weaker and it becomes much more a matter of individual countries pursuing their self-interest in somewhat narrow ways.”…

Mr. Trump’s presence in the White House means it is suddenly unclear the degree to which the U.S. will continue its position as the world’s chief buyer.

If that happens, don’t expect China to move in.

“The Chinese have no interest in playing that role,” Mr. Kroeber said. “They have made it very, very clear that their own industrial strategy is to make sure they can basically produce everything and not be reliant on anyone else. And that is a huge difference. Because if you are now the world’s second-biggest economy and insist on running a trade surplus, you are essentially saying that everyone else in the world – or most major economies have to be in a deficit.”

That, then, is the risk posed by Mr. Trump to the system of liberal globalization: that his presidency will be marked by the rise of both his own “Make America Great Again,” and its Asian counterpart, often enunciated by Mr. Xi himself: “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

More in the Globe&Mail.

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