As usual, Politico nailed it.
Yesterday, Adam Behsudi and Doug Palmer wrote, “Trump administration presents Capitol Hill with deal to rescue Chinese firm ZTE” ((https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/25/trump-administration-congress-zte-deal-573430).
In March, 2017, Donald Trump’s 79 year old (and suitably bald) Commerce Secretary, mega-billionaire Wilbur Ross, who’s a much better capitalist than Trump himself, fined ZTE, a giant Chinese hi-tech company, one billion one hundred thousand nine hundred dollars for exporting US technology to Iran and North Korea in violation of sanctions — the largest-ever U.S. fine for export control violations (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZTE#Controversies).
Trump, who’s playing with fire as he tries to smack down Kim Jong-un, is juggling lots of balls all by himself. As the Times' brilliant David Brooks said yesterday on Judy Woodruff’s PBS News Hour (https://www.pbs.org/video/pbs-newshour-full-episode-may-25-2018-1527280615/), Trump’s a guy who barely listens to what his advisers and buddies (including his former bud Moon Jae-in), then rips off some stupid-ass letter to Kim and waits for his base to welcome him at a rally as they yell “Nobel! Nobel!”
Another ball that Trump is throwing in the air is his need to convince China’s president for life, Xi Jin-ping, that he, Trump — a man who knows nothing about East Asia (or any other part of the world for that matter) should be free to throw all his fat body around, including in the highly contentious South China Sea.
To say nothing of the North Korea High Drama, as Moon, just left out in the cold when Trump didn’t even tell him he was cancelling the June 12 Singapore meeting, enjoys yet another tender moment with Kim.
Associate solitary reporter Johanna Jones was with Trump as he told his Chief of Staff, Gen. John Kelly, and Son-in-Law-in-Chief, boyish 37-year old Jared Kushner, “John and Jared, you’re lookin’ at the new owner of ZTE — me!! This is the most fantastic diplomatic, political, and business deal ever done in the history of the world!”
Kushner chimed in; Kushner actually knows something about history, having studied at a halfway decent business school, as well as at NYU’s law school.
“Dad,” Kushner began, “When the Brits started the Opium War in China in 1842, in only a few years China was flat on its back because of the predatory nature of British colonialism. Then the Last Emperor was forced out in 1911, and in only five years the nascent Republic of China, led by the idealistic and courageous Sun Yet-sen, lost out to General (here, Kushner beamed at Kelly) Yuan Shih-kai, and before they knew it, the Chinese people were led by the corrupt Chiang Kai-shek government, which lost out bigtime to Mao Tse-dong in 1949.”
Trump fell asleep during Kushner’s talk.
But then he woke up and said, “But you see, Jared, after Mao's Red Guards ruined China completely, along came Deng Xiao-ping, who launched China well on the way to my kind of capitalism, where companies like ZTE, with their vast empire of telecommunications, are so dependent on our technology, but at the same time, ZTE stole all of America’s intellectual property.”
Kelly stirred uncomfortably in his seat as Trump, who is no intellectual, said, “And that’s why I just sealed my Best Deal Ever — I bought ZTE from Xi for a really cheap price. That’s why I told Ross to go real easy on ZTE when he negotiates with Xi and his friends in June.”
Trump bragged on like this for hours on end until his legislative director, Marc Short, burst into the Oval Office and said, “Sir, I hate to tell you this, but both Schumer and McConnell say this deal you just told them to pass to save ZTE is directly contrary to your campaign promises to hit China real hard with many many sanctions.”
Trump shrugged his bulky shoulders and said, “Marc, just go tell McConnell to go back to Kentucky and get drunk real hard on Jack Daniels."