Trump is in Asia and it changes the atmosphere somehow, adds to the pollution. Japan and South Korea went sort of okay, he didn’t screw up, and Abe did the right stuff to massage his ego, while knowing all along that whatever he did would be trumped by more vigorous massaging in Beijing. And so it was. Never was a president more welcoming of manipulation. Even the use of his granddaughter was open to manipulation by the other side. We did not watch the video of her speaking Mandarin. She is not to blame.
What emerged from the visit we will find out in the days ahead, but it appears not much. Nothing significant on North Korea or on trade. Trump will go home saying he has the chi-coms on-side and the world will move on, with America’s influence continuing to be frittered away, and Mueller closing in. it is interesting that the countries Trump jilted in terms of the trade deal that should have been – TPP – appear to have found a way to put it together with the US. There is hope.
One other longer-term thought springs from a viral video out there involving a dispute in a Shanghai kindergarten over treatment of the kids by the teachers. It’s not hard to find online. The outrage of the parents is overwhelming, and the denouement – the security guards are pushed aside and the teacher has wasabi forced into her mouth and nostrils – points to a key problem in China today: there is no effective mechanism for resolution of such disputes. China in the end will not be an exception to the universal rule that the middle class requires such a mechanism. Slamming teachers onto the floor is not the answer, nor is slamming the security guards and what they represent.