When news broke earlier this month that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin would renew talks with Chinese trade officials, I didn't cover it here because I assumed the talks would go nowhere.
That wasn't exactly a bold prediction, but my instincts were correct.
In fact, they were more correct than I dared guess. We know Mnuchin's "talks" will go nowhere because the talks aren't even going to happen. Trump's decisions to impose tariffs on an $200 billion in Chinese goods -- tariffs that become official today -- prompted the Chinese to cancel talks with Mnuchin because they don't believe the Trump regime is willing to negotiate in good faith.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Chinese officials have said they wouldn’t bend to pressure tactics. By declining to participate in the talks, the people said, Beijing is following up on its pledge to avoid negotiating under threat.
“Nothing the U.S. has done has given any impression of sincerity and goodwill,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a news briefing Friday. “We hope that the U.S. side will take measures to correct its mistakes.”
Chinese officials aren't wrong, but I'll go a step further.
The Trump regime it not just unwilling to negotiate in good faith, they're literally incapable of doing so.
It's virtually impossible to negotiate with Trump or his top advisers because they do not understand trade. After all this time, Trump still doesn't even know what a trade deficit is or why we have one. Trump believes imposing tariffs means other countries will pay us. He doesn't understand that tariffs are a tax on Americans, not foreigners.
How are you suppose to engage in "talks" with imbeciles for whom words have no meaning?
I can't say that canceling trade talks increases the likelihood that Trump will impose more tariffs on an additional $267 billion in goods or that his previous tariffs will automatically increase to 25 percent on January 1st. I can't say these developments makes it more likely because the "talks" wouldn't have made it less likely. Trump is going to do whatever he has already decided to do.