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‘Hard to Overstate Political Theater' of Trump's Anti-Chinese Tariffs - Author

© REUTERS / Joshua RobertsU.S. President Donald Trump gives thumbs-up as he returns from Palm Beach, Florida, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., March 25, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump gives thumbs-up as he returns from Palm Beach, Florida, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., March 25, 2018 - Sputnik International
US President Donald Trump announced last week he would be imposing roughly $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports, which sent the US stock market tumbling to its biggest decrease since early February.

Though China inevitably revealed $3 billion retaliatory tariffs following Trump's Thursday announcement, the East Asian nation kept quiet after stock markets took a bit of dive.

​Patrick Lawrence, the author of "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century," and John Ross, the first non-Chinese citizen to be appointed to a full-time post at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies in Shanghai, talk with Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear to discuss China's "muted" response.

"I think China has carried out a strategy and presented it tactically," Ross told show hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. "China does not want a trade war, it believes in win-win relations, it will hit back if it is hit, but it's not going to take aggression. China's style is not to make big noise… China's style is to be very firm."

"It announced $3 billion of actions over the questions of US trade, but that was an exactly proportional response to $3 billion of the US deal on aluminium. I don't think they're being muted, I think they're being exactly proportionate," Ross added.

U.S. President Donald Trump gives out pens he used to sign presidential proclamations placing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to workers from the steel and aluminum industries at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 8, 2018 - Sputnik International
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For Lawrence, however, the situation is "very discombobulating."

"China is a developing country… it has tasks, challenges and difficulties that are not at all a match to developed nations. If there are cooler heads around they are typically in China, especially given the [US] administration that's handling this," the author told Becker. "I find the entire episode very discombobulating. I think these people are making it up as they go along… they have no idea of the consequences."

But Kiriakou asked: could Trump's tariffs be part of a bigger move that's aimed at securing votes for 45 in the next presidential election?

"It's so superficial, how many votes are there?" Lawrence questioned. "There is something of a political spectacle in this."

"There's a display aspect, let's say, of ‘I'm doing this for the people that put me in office,' but what this turns out to be… is probably going to be very little. I think it will be hard to overstate the political theatre of all this."

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