I don’t think anyone would disagree that, being a US election year, 2020 was always going to be about getting President Trump re-elected (or not), a point I made in May in The Circus comes to Town. Unfortunately, what was always going to be a destabilising and destructive process has now turned really ugly due to the global pandemic.
In a typically balanced and well constructed article, the Hinrich Foundation have spelt out the issues in simple terms “Beyond the trade relationship, the pandemic itself has become a landmine, threatening to blow-up the broader bilateral relationship. As the death toll and economic costs of the pandemic continue to mount, unusually harsh recriminations have been on the rise”.
The conclusion is depressing: “For the remainder of the year, the best we can hope for is a holding pattern that limits unnecessary collateral damage to both countries and indeed the world. Cooler heads in Washington and Beijing need to work below the political radar to temper extreme policy options and keep the focus on successfully managing a challenging but necessary partial economic decoupling between the two countries”
Is this really possible?