BEIJING – There’s a Chinese saying that stems from the philosophy in Sun Tzu’s ancient text “The Art of War”: You can kill 1,000 enemies, but you would also lose 800 soldiers.
Centuries later, the proverb is suddenly apt again, being mentioned frequently in discussions around Beijing. Now, it highlights the potential damage U.S. President-elect Donald Trump could inflict if he makes good on his threat to start a trade war with China, the world’s second-biggest economy.
Having backed off some other campaign pledges, it’s unclear if Trump will end up slapping punitive tariffs on China — and Beijing has signaled some optimism he will be more pragmatic in office. Still, the message from China is that any move to tax Chinese imports would bring retaliation: The U.S. economy would take a hit and America would damage its long-standing ties with Asia. Continue reading
In view of the escalated Russian military activity in Syria, and declarations by senior Saudi officials on the option of an imminent Saudi ground intervention in Syria, the editorialist for the official Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, Ayman Al-Hammad, published a caustic article attacking the Obama administration’s Middle East policy. Al-Hammad claims that the Obama administration is adopting a soft-power policy in the Middle East, and particularly vis-a-vis the Syrian crisis, while forgoing the military dimension – thereby awarding Russia and her allies senior status in the region. Condemning America’s “surrender of Syria”, its neglect of the Palestine issue, and its rapprochement with Iran, the author claims that the U.S. has lost the trust of the Arab states, which feel that it has turned its back on them. Al-Hammad advises the Obama administration so stop eschewing military force, because this means is occasionally required “to put things back on track”.