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The world's most important bilateral relationship – between the United States and China – is also one of its most inscrutable.The key assertion driving the current dispute, initiated by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, is that America's trade deficit is too big – and it's all China's fault. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has gone so far as to demand that China unilaterally cut its trade surplus vis-a-vis the U.S. by $200 billion by 2020 .Trump's approach to trade with China enjoys more mainstream support in the U.S. than most of his policies, because most Americans – including many who otherwise oppose Trump – are convinced that China is not playing fair.The question is whether China will bow to U.S. pressure.Within the next decade, China will overtake the U.S. economically, despite not being a democracy.Here, again, there is some irrationality at play: a democratic China would be far more susceptible to populist and nationalist pressures, and thus would probably be a pricklier partner for the U.S. Yet the U.S. remains blinded by ideology, and thus is unable to see the benefits of a China guided by economic rationality.
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