Gideon Rachman is the chief foreign affairs commentator of the Financial Times. In 2016, he won The Orwell Prize for political journalism.

NYR DAILY

Trump in the China Shop

Inflatable roosters, modeled on President Trump for the Year of the Rooster, Jiaxing, China, January 2017

A tilt toward protectionism under the Trump administration would mean that the most important field of US-Chinese cooperation—trade and investment—would turn into an area of rivalry. With both strategic and economic competition mounting, the United States and China would be locked into an increasingly overt struggle for power in the Pacific. If Taiwan becomes the trigger for a sharp downturn in US-Chinese relations, it will in many ways be an avoidable crisis. By contrast, a crisis over North Korea during Trump’s presidency may be unavoidable.