‘I Don’t Think China Ever Wanted a Deal’: Retired General Robert Spalding

The retired General now works at the Hudson Institute think-tank.

Mr. Spalding: I don’t think China ever wanted a deal. It’s just I think before they thought they could convince the president that they wanted to deal in order to continue negotiations without actually delivering a deal. I think now they are, especially after the imposition of the latest round of tariffs, the Chinese Communist Party understands that the president has figured out what their game is. And so what they’re going to do is have progressively harder rhetoric that seeks to essentially portray the president as the bad guy in the negotiations in order to diminish support moving into the 2020 elections, in particular in those disaffected areas like the farmers.

Ms. Gao: Do you think the President need a trade deal with China for his re-election?

Mr. Spalding: That’s a very good question. I can’t predict how the elections will turn out. I will tell you that for the United States of America, if we want to remain a democratic republic, a deal that essentially allows the Chinese Communist Party to continue with actions that are essentially eroding both our economic prosperity and our democratic freedom would be enormously damaging for the American people. So I would hope that the president looking for the long-term good of the nation would do what’s right, regardless of what the outcome of the 2020 elections is.

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