Donald Trump is accidentally right in saying the US shouldn’t fear Covid-19

(Originally published here by South China Morning Post on October 13, 2020) Donald Trump had a point about Covid-19 when he told Americans not to fear the disease, a remark that sparked an immediate backlash and accelerated the rapid worsening of his re-election odds. Although there’s no scientific evidence that the pathogen itself is mutating into [...]

If economic gains are reason enough for Americans to look past the Trump administration’s flaws, why would this not be the case for Chinese?

(Originally published here on September 15, 2020 in South China Morning Post.) Don’t expect Beijing to roll over when it is collared with the same leash it puts on diplomats posted to China. Conflating one-upmanship and reciprocity as readily as US President Donald Trump portrays America’s Covid-19 disaster as a public health policy success, Chinese Foreign Ministry [...]

Why China should try to keep Donald Trump happy

(Originally published here on September 1, 2020 in South China Morning Post.) When US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, discussed China with the Atlantic Council’s Paula Dobriansky last week, he let slip something unusual for an administration that otherwise projects nothing but confidence about its chances for a second term. “Whether [Trump] has a [...]

US curbs on China’s Confucius Institutes are welcome, but they’re not the real target

(Originally published here on August 18) Washington has finally cornered China with its move against Confucius Institutes in the US (CIUS) last week. United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s order that the US headquarters of Chinese government-funded Confucius Institutes must register as a foreign mission makes sense, but the distorted narrative that is being spun around [...]

US outrage over national security law for Hong Kong puts Donald Trump and China trade talks in an awkward spot

(Oringinally published here on May 25, 2020 in South China Morning Post.) If you missed the statement last week from the US Trade Representative’s office about hopeful progress in its phase-one deal with China, that’s entirely understandable. It came through quietly amid the uproar created by the Beijing’s plan to promulgate a new national security law for [...]