The world is getting slightly unhinged, and reading the news is more unsettling than usual. Trump of course is a factor in this, but from North Korea to Israel and in just about everything the status quo seem to be wobbling. Delicate balances which have lasted for decades are being upset with consequences no one can predict, especially if there is an interplay of several at once.
This impacts on China in many ways. The Chinese strategy has been for decades to piggyback on the conditions created by others, primarily the United States and Europe. The Middle East is a prime example. China is now the biggest buyer of oil from that region, not the United States, and stability in the Middle East is of crucial importance. China for sure is unhappy with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, for instance, because it makes the whole situation more unstable.
There is always the chance that something good comes out of the wild eyed madman approach of Trump – Little Rocket Man etc – but the greater likelihood is that it increases the chance of a mistake occurring, a cocktail of crises being created that explodes in some way. Korea is the big one for China. It’s right next door, and Pyongyang said last week that nuclear war is now just a matter of time. They’re bluffing, but it’s a concern because Beijing – none of us – can predict what Trump will do next, either to meet requirements of donors – Jerusalem – or to distract attention from Russiagate.
Meanwhile, China is getting significant pushback from Australia to its meddling and signs of a trade war with the US are becoming clearer. Those in Command don’t like uncertainties and there are a lot out there right now. Be careful crossing the street this weekend.