The week was defined by the Trump speech in which he talked of the strategic competition to the US from Russia and China. But the power of the message was undercut by the general and growing sense of confusion emanating from Washington. Trump broke away from the prepared text several times to talk about the Mexican border wall, tax cuts and the stock market. Bannon, who allegedly is considering a run for the presidency if Trump decides not to run in 2020, is stating the case more coherently.
China’s reaction to Trump’s speech was naturally that it was infected with “Cold War mentality” and harmful to both sides. The holy grail of “reciprocity” is going to be tough to reach. If Washington was calm and united behind a sensible president on the issue of countering China – and Russia – that would be a different matter. As it is, it is probably going to be an easy one for Those in Command to weave around.
We’re also watching Beijing’s approaches towards South Korea and Taiwan, both of which could benefit a clearer message of intent from the US (see above), and also the crazy bike-sharing market, just a massive waste of resources in a rush by a few startup wannabe billionaires to make a killing before the whole thing inevitably caves. The same feels true of the great battery charge. Is the wholesale push towards battery-powered cars with current technology going to be a plus or a minus for the environment, and who benefits most?
Much to ponder as the year winds down. Enjoy the weekend!