Sure, I think he’s an idiot, but what if I’m wrong? When Trump’s casinos went belly up, Trump out-played the bankers, living by the adage:
If you owe the bank £100, that’s your problem. If you owe the bank £100m, that’s the bank’s problem. [source]
So let’s go back to China: We raise tariffs, they respond in kind. Currently, we’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars. By the time you read this, the tariff threats will be in the quintillions of dollars. Then China goes to the “nuclear option” and announces that they will stop buying US debt. Everybody freaks out and Wall Street types start taking headers from their office buildings.
What does Trump do? He threatens to cancel the T-bills, notes, and bonds that China holds. Xi Jinping apologizes, the two autocrats negotiate a trade deal that is slightly more favorable to the US than the pre-war arrangement, and they hold a joint press conference in which they bestow outrageous compliments upon one another.
See — it was easy.